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Zo dia c Bal l Bl ue s on th e B lu ff速 P aw P rints Auct io n Gala Li ve a t the Gard en Q&A wi th Pat Ker r Tigr ett

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405 N. Germantown Parkway • Memphis, TN • 901-365-2584 (Just North of Walnut Grove Road) ©2008 BMW of North America, LLC. The BMW name, model names and logo are registered trademarks.





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Contents September 2008

From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Signature Memphis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 C. Kemmons Wilson Jr. This Memphian is an entrepreneur in his own right, but he inherited business know-how and charm from his father, Kemmons Wilson Sr.

Zodiac Ball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 The Peabody’s Grand Ballroom transformed into the “Summer of Love” for the American Cancer Society’s grooviest fund-raiser yet.

The quirky personality and the amazing artistic ability aside, this sculptor leads anything but a ho-hum life thanks to his penchant for creativity. This Choctaw Indian shares his rich experiences with historians and eager listeners at one of Memphis’ most underutilized landmarks. She instills jobless women with perseverance, business savvy, and a new zest for life. StreetSeens spotlight John McIntire, Cubert Bell Sr., and Susan Kyles.

Onsites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28, 50 & 62 Gatherings that have earned an honorable mention.


WEVL FM 89.9 celebrated 20 years of its famed blues concert at the National Ornamental Metal Museum.


Blues on the Bluff ®. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Homestyle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

24 STREETSEEN Cubert Bell Sr.

The home of Judy and Mickey McLellan evokes New Orleans style inside and out, even though it’s hundreds of miles away from “The Big Easy.”

Vox Popular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Q&A with Blues Ball founder Pat Kerr Tigrett.

33 HOMESTYLE An Escape to the Deep South Judy and Mickey McLellan SEPTEMBER 2008


ZODIAC BALL Hal and Kim Lovett

StreetSeens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22, 24 & 26



52 PAW PRINTS AUCTION GALA Tripp Carter and Wanda Hunsaker

RSVPeople . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 A trek across the city’s party landscape.

Paw Prints Auction Gala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Animal lovers supported their furry friends by coming out for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County’s fund-raiser at Temple Israel.

Live at the Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Crosby, Stills & Nash played to a sold-out crowd at the Memphis Botanic Garden’s summer concert series.

RSVPhillippi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64

30 BLUES ON THE BLUFF® Lee Anne Turner and Herb Hyman

Hostel Takeover Wisecracker Dennis Phillippi has befriended the neighborhood’s international visitors with his Southern gentility.

Cover Photo Sarah Carpenter and Dr. Frank Ognibene at Zodiac Ball Photo by Don Perry

58 LIVE AT THE GARDEN Kelly and Ed Phelan

Volume XIII

Number XII

September 2008 PUBLISHER

Roy Haithcock EDITOR

Leah Fitzpatrick O F F I C E A D M I N I S T R AT O R


Jonathan Devin Dennis Phillippi Lesley Young ART DIRECTOR



John Hammer Don Perry Steve Roberts SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Toni Ander son




Libby Huff RSVP Memphis is published monthly by Haithcock Communications, Inc. First class subscriptions are available for $75.00 per year. Send name and address with a check to: Haithcock Communications, Inc. 2282 Central Avenue Memphis, TN 38104

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For advertising information contact Roy Haithcock Phone (901) 276-7787, ext. 101 Fax (901) 276-7785 e-mail WEB For editorial information or to request coverage of an event, please contact RSVP Magazine one month prior to the event. Call 901-276-7787, ext. 105 or fax to 901-276-7785. e-mail Copyright 2008 Haithcock Communications, Inc.



4th Annu al


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hortcuts sound good in theory, but are the “quick fixes” really too hassle free to be true? (No, this isn’t a trick question.) Well, I think the answer depends on whom you ask. Your company’s computer whiz might say keyboard shortcuts are a godsend, while a physical therapist might be horrified at the thought of a shortcut for proper rehabilitation. In my opinion, shortcuts are suitable substitutes for almost any domestic task (I’m a firm believer in the iRobot Roomba, a robotic vacuum.) and when it comes to starting, let’s say, a fire, but not when relationships between people, and yes, animals are involved. The reason I’m broaching such a topic stems from my recent experience dog sitting a relative’s pet. At 50 pounds, the dog’s weight equals that of a young child. While the dog wasn’t as exhausting as a toddler, it did require a certain amount of attention to which I was not accustomed. Each time I was away, I envisioned the pooch violently wagging its tail, waiting for me to open the front door, however this endearing visual was quickly replaced by the responsibility that came with the pet. Getting to the point, I couldn’t shortcut my attention or care for this loving animal if I wanted 100 percent assurance that my kinfolk’s dog would return in the same condition it arrived in. As witnessed at the Paw Prints Auction Gala, many area animal lovers feel in much the same vein about shortcuts as I do. Featured in this issue on page 52, the event raised awareness, funding, and support for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. The number of stories I heard about people adopting or rescuing animals from abuse and neglect made me realize that lots of shortcutting happens at the expense of living beings. In retrospect, I realize how thankful I am for the individuals who continually and willingly allow me a glimpse inside their daily lives for the sake of this magazine. Those featured this month include the Blues Ball founder, the on-site interpreter for the C.H. Nash Museum, a renowned sculptor, and the executive director for Dress for Success Memphis. Each of these individuals provided me the utmost of details and graciousness, and I can’t wait for you to pour over their unique stories. Thanks for reading, and remember that the quickest way might not always be the best way.

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Last book you’ve read: Same Kind Of Different As Me and The Ultimate Gift. Guilty pleasure: Secretly promoting my daughter’s artwork. Personal hero: Any faith-based worker/volunteer. Biggest obstacle you’ve overcome: Self…still working on this one. Childhood ambition: Centerfield-New York Yankees. First job: Carpenter’s assistant (age 14). Favorite author: Apostle Paul. Ideal vacation spot: Jackson Hole, Wyoming. One thing most people don’t know about you: I jumped out of an airplane from 12,000 feet without a parachute. Words or phrases you overuse: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Your greatest achievement: Marrying Norma Thompson and having five wonderful children. Your mantra: It is not about you…it is about HIM.

photo by Steve Roberts



C. Kemmons Wilson Jr.


Zodiac Ball


“Summer of Love”



Dr. Michael Jones and Tina Dickinson

Colleen Smith and Ashley Burton



he “Summer of Love” spirit was in full swing inside The Peabody hotel’s Grand Ballroom at a bash hosted by the American Cancer Society®. Flower children couldn’t have felt more nostalgic than if they were attending a Woodstock reunion. From psychedelic prints and long wigs to tie-dye napkins and gigantic peace signs, ‘60s memorabilia, style, and music permeated the room. A faux Austin Powers emceed and had three sidekicks, all dressed as Foxy Cleopatra in gold lamé and afros, who helped get the crowd to its feet. Fun Fun Fun enhanced the relaxed vibe with its musical tributes to The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Co-chairs Valerie and Jeff Morris and event chairs Tina Dickinson and Dr. Michael Jones enjoyed overseeing the fun-filled festivities, with Dr. Jones joking, “We’re here to support the American Cancer Society, so I hope you all will become chemically altered and bid high on the auction items.” With high energy and even higher jumps, special guest artist Michael Israel wowed the audience with his five-minute paintings for the live auction. He painted the canvases while they were upside down, and spun each around to reveal uncanny resemblances of John Lennon, Muhammad Ali, The Beatles, and the Statue of Liberty. Partygoers showed their approval for Israel’s technique and impressive talent by cheering the painter on during his performance backed by genre-appropriate music. As is customary, the Zodiac Ball Hall of Fame’s newest member was inducted. Dr. Lee Schwartzberg, an oncologist at The West Clinic and past president of the American Cancer Society’s local board, took home this honor. More than grateful, he used the opportunity to encourage others to support cancer treatment and research. He also told the crowd that Hope Lodge, an $8.5 million residential facility for adult cancer patients who can’t afford to drive back and forth to the city for treatment, is close to breaking ground; the facility will be located where Manassas and Union Avenue meet. The party that brought guests down memory lane also raised thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society to fight cancer and save lives throughout greater Memphis. Now, that’s “Groovy, Baby!”

See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

Dr. Stephanie Insko and Greg Broy

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by Don Perry

Sharon and Dr. Lee Schwartzberg

Matt and April White

Steve and Eileen Wishnia

Joshua Spotts and Alex Martinez

Adrienne Whittaker, Richard Halpern, Christine Ethridge and Deborah Nelson

Kelly Gray and Dr. Mary MacDonald

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John McIntire Sculpted Ambition





hen John McIntire moved to Memphis in 1961, the sculptor with a heart of gold chiseled a world all his own. Not only did he win over the student body at Memphis College of Art (MCA) for 24 years, but he also helped start the Cooper-Young Festival, introduced Memphis to one of its first coffee shops (the Bitter Lemon) in the 1960s, and claims to have debuted the city’s first yard sale. At age 73, he shows no signs of slowing down his list of firsts. Take his recent Hawaiian shirt auction at MCA, for example. McIntire donated a 50-year collection of 700 Hawaiian shirts (a wardrobe staple) to fund a MCA scholarship in his name; though McIntire attended college, he never received an undergraduate degree, largely due to financial constraints at the time. Not surprisingly, his new collection is back up to 60 Hawaiian shirts thanks to his weekly yard sale and secondhand store raids. The vintage finds don’t stop at clothing. Wizard of Oz memorabilia, medallions, bowling balls, Buddhas, and aloe vera plants comprise just a few of the numerous objects he stores at home. “I haven’t bought something new in years,” McIntire admits. The back yard functions as McIntire’s studio. Winter or summer, the sculptor can be found outside huddled over marble slabs, with public radio and his dogs as companions. He begins with drawings, progresses to models, which he sometimes makes hundreds of, and finally brings out air hammers to carve the finished product. Purely intuitive, McIntire explains that his sculptures are abstract but figurative. Pointing at a piece he’s currently working on, he says, “If you look closely, you can see pieces of bones, arms, and legs.” In November, McIntire’s works will be on display at the Brooks Museum in an exhibit titled “To Touch, To Feel.” The sculptor’s inspiration for this show were visually impaired children, whom he hopes will positively interact with the sculptures’ smooth textures and intriguing shapes. McIntire recently revealed another talent as a children’s book author and illustrator. Called The Frog and the Owl, the book serves as a tribute to McIntire’s nephew, who lost his battle with a brain tumor. A slew of animal characters fill the pages, which are now being edited, and a sequel is already in the works. The motivation behind such endeavors stems from McIntire’s favorite philosophy: “The more you give away, the more you get in return.” Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts





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ubert Bell Sr. just might be the C.H. Nash Museum’s most valuable living exhibit. Bell, a full-blooded Choctaw Indian, prides himself on being able to speak the Choctaw language (courtesy of his grandmother) as well as read and write it (thanks to a patient uncle). And he’s a traditional dance leader and Choctaw language teacher to boot! Employed by the University of Memphis as the museum’s on-site interpreter and tour guide, Bell leads visitors on a “fascinating excursion of learning, with a double dose of archaeology and the Choctaw and Chickasaw culture.” Located at the Chucalissa Archaeological Site, the museum recently underwent a facelift since closing the 15thcentury south mound for preservation purposes. A new educational room once reserved for archaeologists has opened as a hands-on labo-

ratory, giving guests a chance to channel their inner Indiana Jones. The museum grounds also gained recognition as a Level One Arboretum in May to renew visitor interest. The Southwind Garden Club helped make this designation possible by identifying 30 species of trees along the half-mile nature trail. Bell says bird watchers, ethnobotanists, and hikers are taking advantage of the trail, but he thinks the institution is worthy of more than its current number of 20,000 visitors annually. When asked what draws him to the museum, Bell offers, “It’s kind of serene here when you come sit under one of the trees. Natives of all tribes come and say they feel a connection with lots of things.” On October 25 and 26, Bell hopes the Southeastern Indian Heritage Festival will attract record numbers. Choctaw social danc-

ing, a hunting tool demonstration, a blow gun competition between Choctaws and nonnatives, and lots of arts, crafts, and food vendors (fry bread, anyone?) comprise the activities. Bell’s favorite part comes the last day, when an Indian stickball match takes place. Mostly men compete in the game, but Bell says some girls play the “grandfather of all field sports,” too. Festival admission will be included with the purchase of a museum ticket, but the chance to see 200 Choctaws, most dressed in tribal clothing, in one location is priceless. “I feel a sense of pride when watching the festival going on—it’s very enjoyable,” Bell grins. Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts


Susan Kyles Suiting Success Stories





s Dress for Success Memphis’ executive director, Susan Kyles estimates that 500 unemployed women walk through the nonprofit’s doors each year looking for an interview suit, but she knows that many will land more than a new vocation. “The favorite part of my job is when I see a woman who’s come here for a suit, having no idea what that suit would do for her life, come back and be a part of the Professional Women’s Group, get a promotion, and take care of her children,” Kyles says. “Then I know that woman is living a fuller, more self-sufficient life.” Selecting the perfect suit, with the assistance of a personal shopper, is the easy (and fun) part, but receiving eligibility for an interview suit comes a little harder for some. A woman must have a job fair or interview scheduled and be recommended by one of 80 referral agencies before obtaining a suit. For those struggling with their job search, the organization houses a career center, with a computer lab in the works, at its new location, 2730 Colony Park. Twice monthly, women can participate in mock interviews, classes on resume writing and application instruction, and a “Fashioning Your Future” course (all in conjunction with BRIDGES) to address proper body language during an interview. Kyles adds, “We want to make sure women are ready and polished for the professional world and have a place to get direct feedback.” Last year, 20 percent of the women in the program gained employment, and 80 to 90 percent of that number retained a job. Kyles says this statistic shows 100 percent improvement for the organization, which reached another milestone in 2007 when it won the Professional Women’s Group Affiliate Award. Other Dress for Success affiliates have even adopted C.O.I.N.S. (Circle of Influence Networking Soirees), which the Memphis office developed for supporters wishing to host small-scale fund-raisers for the program. Those passionate about Dress for Success can volunteer in many capacities, from becoming a personal shopper to donating a gently used suit, and Kyles says men often help out, too. The Upscale Garage Sale, to be held at the Idlewild Presbyterian Church parking lot on October 11, will provide a chance to witness this organization’s dynamic backers. The Vogue and Vintage Vault reception takes place on October 9 at Joysmith Gallery as a special pre-sale party; Louise Patterson, Bishop G.E. Patterson’s widow, has donated some of her famed hats to be auctioned off. Everyone has something to share, but perhaps the best donation is sage advice. “Understand that things happen in life and you’ll never be without troubles, but you have to learn to pick yourself up and turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones,” Kyles beams. Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photo by Steve Roberts


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Sphinx Queen’s Luncheon Ennead Clubroom University Club Carnival Party


he Grand Krewe of Sphinx hosted its 63rd annual Queen’s Luncheon at the Germantown Country

Club. The krewe recognized Linda Dever as Queen Tiaa LXIII, Robert Bryant as King Horus LXIII, and Sarah Faucheux as the Sphinx princess. Queens and chairmen of visiting krewes joined in the revelry and enjoyed

Bill McMurtray, Debra Beard, Joyce Laws and Bud Cowgill fashions by Stein Mart and a three-course lunch. Cheryl at Ennead Clubroom

Camille Mueller, Coleman Connell, Adele Wellford and Bill Mueller at University Club Carnival Party

Bledsoe served as event chairman, and Jamille Laughlin assisted as co-chairman. In keeping with Carnival week’s formalities, the Grand Krewe of Ennead threw down with an Ennead Clubroom at the U of M Holiday Inn. Dressed in crisp tuxes and gowns fit for true royalty, Enneadians minSEPTEMBER 2008

gled among themselves and special guests in recogni-

camaraderie. Funk De Ville supplied the beat that kept the dance floor hopping. The action at the University Club Carnival Party Robert Stoker and Kathy Jacobs at Ennead Clubroom

unraveled in a familiar setting some may remember

Debbie Watson and Danny Cummins at University Club Carnival Party

from 16 years ago…the tennis courts. Bedecked with



tion of Carnival participants’ altruistic efforts and

giant pink, yellow, and white lanterns, the courts evoked the ultimate summer soirée, and the pool wasn’t too far away. Despite the humidity, hundreds were Cruisin’ at the U-Club” to toast Princess Selden “C Humphreys and Prince Sisco Larson and to enjoy The Kadillacs’ show band tunes.

Story and photos by Leah Fitzpatrick Lisa and Ken Roberts at University Club Carnival Party Kristin Alber, Joyce Hufford and Gaia Robilio at Ennead Clubroom

Dawn McDaniel, Linda Dever and Wanda Barzizza at Sphinx Queen’s Luncheon

Ed Galfsky, Rush O’Keefe, Howard Stovall and Keith Renard at Sphinx Queen’s Luncheon

Russell McDaniel and Sarah Faucheux at Sphinx Queen’s Luncheon


Blues on the Bluff


20th Anniver sary

T Karen Smith and Eddie Golden



Shandace and Laverne Henderson



wenty summers might have come and gone, but the popularity of Blues on the Bluff® grows hotter each year. The brainchild of WEVL FM 89.9’s staff, this annual fund-raiser showcases some of the region’s finest blues and soul musicians at the National Ornamental Metal Museum grounds. Chairs and blankets in hand, more than a thousand groupies and their offspring gathered for an evening that couldn’t be surpassed with its killer combination of ice-cold beverages, a sunset view of the Mississippi River, barbecue courtesy of Central BBQ, and good ole family fun. Early birds secured spots in front of the Riverbluff Pavilion, where Robert “Wolfman” Belfour began the evening lineup. This special artist made his radio debut on WEVL and has participated in many Blues on the Bluff® concerts, making him a tough act to follow. As several attendees clamored to snap shots of the golden sunset, others gave up a round of applause for The Bo-Keys. The group celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and is going strong with its signature soulful sound. Even more meaningful is the fact that Scott Bomar, a longstanding WEVL member, founded The BoKeys. The closing act belonged to Blind Mississippi Morris & The Pocket Rockets. Comprised of guitarist Brad Webb and singer and harpist Morris Cummings, the cousin of blues legend Willie Dixon, the group knows a thing or two about the electric blues. Blind since childhood, Cummings (also known as Blind Mississippi Morris) doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t play his favorite musical genre. Cummings is also a veteran WEVL supporter, as he first appeared on the program nearly three decades ago. Blues on the Bluff® continually brings out the best in musicians and fans alike, with their contributions to the city’s only independent, listener-supported volunteer radio station. Sales from tickets, food, beverages, WEVL merchandise, and the Blues on the Bluff® commemorative poster and T-shirt, both designed by volunteer artist Anthony Biggers, raked in $27,000 for WEVL. The concert also served as a memorial to the late WEVL deejay Dee “Cap’n Pete” Henderson, one of Memphis’ greatest blues lovers.

Larry Franks and Diane Tonellli

Gaye Hansen and Bill Woods

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by Don Perry See all the party photos at Password: RSVP Porter Blue and Joel Hilgenberg with Laura Hajar

Laura and Bill Todd

Mike and Gail Huey

Daniel Solway, Rebecca Krell, Severine Habarov, Abby Shure and Mallory Gold

Missy Flinn and Robin Morehead


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Featured Home of Judy and Mickey McLellan

Left: The reflecting pool and hot tub offer a relaxing afterwork venue surrounded by the simple beauty of brick and ivy.




hen building a house, homeowners often stylize part of it in the aesthetic traditions of their favorite city, making their surroundings a sanctuary rich in culture. Judy and Mickey McLellan love the style of New Orleans so much that they incorporated the city’s feel inside and outside of their residence near Collierville. Coming home from a busy day, they are instantly transported to the French Quarter by simply stepping through their patio door. “We both said that we wanted a house that incorporates a center courtyard,” says Judy, “and then when we got the idea [of doing the backyard], we called Richard Babin. We’d seen his work in Southern Living.” Babin, a native of New Orleans, has been creating artistic landscapes for the past 30 years in both Memphis and the Crescent City and was all too happy to help the McLellans transform their yard into “The Big Easy.” “As a designer I always let the space tell me what to do,” says Babin. “I knew that I had a linear space here. We had to create space instead of filling up space.” Water features are very important to the McLellans, so they focused the backyard around an unusual rectangular reflecting pool with a square hot tub joined by a spillway lined with river pebble. The water from the hot tub trickles its way over a short fall into the pool, which stays heated throughout the winter. A white trellis canopies the water wonderland and creates a tunnel of bold lines. [continued on pg. 36]




Below: The courtyard truly captures the feel of downtown New Orleans with its lush foliage, iron filigree antiques, and lion’s head fountain.

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Brick walls that mimic a herringbone design enclose the entire space and further strengthen the linear slats seen in the long, wooden, louvered shutters. Dynamic lighting, including copper gas lanterns from Bebelo Lighting in New Orleans, completes the look. “Obviously water was a big factor, but it couldn’t be that big,” says Babin. “We had restrictions on space and city ordinances to consider. The main thrust for me was knowing that they [the McLellans] work long hours every day. And so I knew that my approach was that they wanted a garden they could relax in. To me, gardens are very therapeutic.” Lush foliage, shrubbery, and blooming flowers are the icing on the cake. This spring, the McLellans chose to have an all-white garden of hydrangeas, azaleas, camellias, geraniums, petunias, and bocopa. “At nighttime, the white really shows up,” says Judy. “It makes me think of it as a really spiritual garden.” The bright blooms contrast nicely with textured walls of Boston ivy, a deciduous variety that turns red in autumn, and tall Savannah hollies. Judy purchased large antique, clay jars in Nashville to fill empty spaces and soften the masculinity of the brick. The largest jar sits at the end of the pool where Babin had originally envisioned a wall fountain. In the end, they decided that the beauty of the brick and ivy combined with the texture of the jar exudes the perfect look. (They did choose a simple fountain consisting of a basin on a pedestal for the front yard.)

Above: Even though the McLellans decorated their home in the style of New Orleans, several pieces by local artist Paul Edelstein incorporate a taste of the bluff to the bayou.



Above: The living room provides a comfortable, indoor extension to the courtyard for entertaining.

“Pottery is a wonderful choice to bring in an artistic element,” says Babin. Numerous pieces of rusted iron filigree adorn the outdoor brick fireplace and sitting areas. The fireplace keeps the patio accessible during the winter, and reminds Mickey of the West Coast. “We love to vacation in Carmel by Big Sur,” says Mickey. “About 12 to 15 years ago we went to the Hog’s Breath Inn, and they had a great outdoor fireplace.” The center courtyard, which opens off the living room, is similarly appointed and features a semicircular fountain in which lion’s head spouts shoot water into a babbling pool surrounded by tall autumn ferns, boxwoods, fatsia, and cyclamen. A French cemetery angel keeps solitary watch from the antique iron sideboard

belonging to an outdoor iron dining suite shaded by a soaring Japanese maple. “Part of the reason the garden looks as mature as it does is because the appointments are older, vintage pieces—except for the teak pieces—everything is antique, which we love,” says Judy. The McLellans first moved into their house in 1991. The home itself is spectacular, including five bedrooms and baths and a complete mother-in-law suite, all comprising 5,200 square feet. Hank Hill of Looney Ricks Kiss takes credit for the architecture, and Sharon Walpole designed the interior. The McLellans share their space with the company of two adorable King Charles spaniels named Bentley and Hewgley. For colors, the couple chose a warm palette that relates the modern house to a country estate of the 1800s. The walls range from light beige to rust, except for the dining room, which makes a statement all its own in Kermit the Frog Green. The brightness of the green juxtaposed with the rest of the downstairs makes for a dramatic yet charming feature. Interior windows in the living room, which was originally part of the courtyard, add to the feeling of airiness right outside the door, and animal figurines from rams, lions, and rabbits to human figures continue the outdoors theme indoors. Local art by Paul Edelstein and John Robinette graces several of the walls. The McLellans, both real estate agents, like to throw an annual party for as many as 350 of their customers. Watching their guests stroll outside and take in the beauty of the gardens and courtyard always makes them smile. “When you walk outside, you truly feel like you’ve gone on vacation,” says Judy. Story by Jonathan Devin Photos by Steve Roberts

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Vox Popular Q&A with Pat Kerr Tigrett


emphis musicians are the fabric of the Bluff City, but nowhere are they celebrated so much as at the Blues Ball. Now the largest annual ball in the country, the Blues Ball turns 15 on September 27 and promises to be the best ever, with 16 bands and seven stages spread throughout the Gibson Guitar Factory, The Westin, and Lt. George W. Lee Avenue. RSVP editor Leah Fitzpatrick met with Blues Ball founder Pat Kerr Tigrett as she shared the event’s history and divulged her admiration for those who make Memphis great, including the late Isaac Hayes, who was always an honorary co-chair. Tigrett said, “In my mind, there’s nothing you can really give another friend quite as powerful as a great memory, and that certainly applies to these musicians because they have contributed so much to the global music industry while they were in the middle of being ostracized at home…I love it because it’s really their ball.”



Tigrett: The reason I started this…I was living in London, and invariably I would come home to chair the Bridge of Lights or the Symphony Ball, or to chair something, and I would be asked, “Who are you bringing in?” And, it was always just an enigma to me that we weren’t recognizing our Memphis musicians as we should. I started really thinking about it, and it was terrible that we had the attitude we did because at that time, when Elvis died in ’77, something really happened that had an impact on my feeling about Memphis musicians. That was when I was meeting with my late husband and my son, Kerr, who was tiny then, and we were taking him for lunch down at The Pier. I’ll never forget. I was devastated because I had just heard about Elvis’ death, so when I walked in [The Pier], I was just in shock and said, “Oh my gosh, I’m just devastated,” and they [the staff] said, “What?” I told them that Elvis just died, and I’ll never forget this lady looking at me and saying, “Well, who cares about that redneck punk ruckus?” I was staggered by her comment, and then I realized that it was much deeper than just her because anyone that was having a party and did sort of have to stoop down and get Memphis musicians, they didn’t want to pay them or they just wanted to pay their gas. At any rate, that’s kind of how it [the Blues Ball] started, as a way to introduce Memphis musicians to Memphis because they [as a whole] didn’t have the experience that I had had because I was in college. During that time, my friends and I had a different club that we went to every night, and it was Charlie Rich at the Nightlighter club one night, Willie Mitchell at the Whirlaway club one night, it was all these incredible musicians, and The BarKays were playing, and Ronnie Milsap was at TJ’s. That was in the height of Stax and Sun, so we had all the stars and so much going on. I thought at that time I was like everyone else my age in America, and they were all having the same experience in their towns. It wasn’t really until I moved away—you know, you always see clearer when you’re away—what we really had, so I decided to come back and do this. RSVP: When you chaired the first Blues Ball, did you tell anyone the lineup? Tigrett: When I started it, I didn’t tell anyone who was playing, and I wouldn’t because it was like selling the hole of a doughnut. Everyone here was so accustomed, as they are in other cities, to buy-

ing tickets because of who is going to play, and that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to embrace all genres and ages and types of music, which I did. I kept telling people, “I can’t tell you who’s playing because it’s a secret, but you have to hurry and buy your tickets because it’s going to sell out.” We were really lucky because we sold the first Blues Ball out at The Peabody and had 1,250 people. Finally, we outgrew The Peabody so after that we were homeless, and then I started looking for construction sites that we could use. One of the ones was the Central Train Station, which was under construction at the time and had mud floors. Thomas Boggs had the cutest statement on one of the programs, where he said, “I’ll never forget the time Pat told me the train station was perfect for The Blues Ball. But in the next second she did say there was a “small” problem since it had no electricity, heat, toilets, or running water. Otherwise it was fabulous.” I couldn’t tell you how few people knew where the train station downtown was, so we had to send maps out; it’s about Memphis music, it’s about charities, and it’s also about enlightening Memphis, giving Memphians great memories, but also introducing them to parts of town that they are unfamiliar with. The following year we went to Gibson, and it was under construction, and that was great fun. With the Gibson, we transformed the rooms with Mylar and lighting, which is what we’re known for and the reason is, it’s a way to sort of add a blues joint kind of atmosphere to elegant places like The Peabody. Once the Gibson started their factory, we were booted out of there, so then we went to where the Clark Construction Company was doing the Cook Convention Center. From there, we went to The Pyramid, and we had it there for three years, and that was for me very special because my late husband was instrumental in The Pyramid. We hung 100-foot strips of 4inch Mylar hydraulically from the ceiling…it’s such an amazing orchestration, it’s like a symphony. Photos by Don Perry


RSVP: What prompted you to start the Blues Ball some 15 years ago?

RSVP: How many volunteers are required to help set up the Blues Ball? Tigrett: We have a core crew of probably six, and then hundreds of others show up, even if they can only stay an hour or five hours. Once they get involved though, they feel a sense of ownership. RSVP: What are the different awards the Blues Ball gives each year?


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Tigrett: Each year we do a Gospel Award winner, which is terrific, and we have a Pyramid Award, a Memphis Sound Award, we have special honorees, and sometimes we do a Lifetime Achievement Award, which is rare when we do that. But we will do a Lifetime Achievement Award this year and that’s going to be someone very special, and I’m hoping he will be in town because we will hold the award until next year if he isn’t. Our volunteers are so special, so we always do a Volunteer of the Year Award, and this will be our fourth one; this is a unique award because it’s the music that makes the ball hum.


RSVP: How does this ball stand out compared to other balls across the nation?



Tigrett: It’s a much more complex ball than a typical ball, where you go in and you’ve got the venue the day of or the night before. We have a minimum of 250 tables, and we have one girl [Sally Wilburn] now that is exclusively overseeing that for us. The seating is for 2,500, and we also have a lot of people that crash the party before it’s over with. It’s a massive citywide project. It isn’t just for one charity. We wrap our arms around the city, and everyone is invited. It’s a big effort; just the stamping of the envelopes is a huge event. I’m so grateful to our sponsors, who consistently really do support us not just with sponsorship dollars, but with product. We have also launched products. We launched Powertel, SunCom, Vontoo, and liquor and wine

products. Also, the out of town people who come in are just unique. We’ve had literally everyone from the height of the music industry: Mike Green, Phil Ramone, who is one of the great recording producers in the world, Michael Houseman, and people who are making movies here come. Last year, Joanne Herring, who is the woman Julia Roberts played in Charlie Wilson’s War, came, and just an incredible group of people are lined up to come this year like the Consulate General of El Salvador. Priscilla [Presley] never misses, and Lisa Marie has been here…all the greats, really. RSVP: What is the theme for this year’s Blues Ball? Tigrett: Hallelujah Homecoming. I came up with this name because that’s what it is—joyful. One of the most powerful things that we do is at the very beginning of each ball. I’ve always had a gospel choir, and I’ve always had flags. They are so uplifting and joyful, and for me, it’s a blessing of the event. RSVP: Do you have an emcee yet for the awards ceremony? Tigrett: He has been with me every year, and it’s George Klein. He’s a part of the history of Memphis music, and everybody adores him. RSVP: Will the Blues Ball be holding an online charity auction this year?


Girls Clubs of Memphis, the Maternal Welfare League, Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, and the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, to name a few. Also, there are many other things that we do annually because things come up. RSVP: I’ve heard that the Foundation helps fund scholarships. Tigrett: Well, we do scholarships. Blues Ball has been a real leader, but quietly. For example, we were the first ones to give $25,000 to the University of Memphis in Sam Phillips’ honor to help young musicians who can’t afford to go into a studio to record. Then, we gave the seed money of $10,000 to the Memphis Music Commission for insurance for Memphis musicians. The needs are so deep here. RSVP: Do you have a monetary goal each year that you hope the Blues Ball raises?

RSVP: What is your criterion for selecting the Blues Ball/Memphis Charitable Foundation beneficiaries?

Tigrett: Just as much as we can. RSVP: What has been your favorite memory from the Blues Ball?

Tigrett: Some of those are on boards of which I serve; that’s why St. Jude has been factored in every year I’ve been involved, and specifically for the Jingle Bell Ball, which is also under the Memphis Charitable Foundation umbrella. Others we’ve helped include The Baddour Center, Stax, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Boys and

Tigrett: The excitement annually or really seeing those smiles on people’s faces. It’s accomplishing what our ultimate goal was and that is to recognize these incredible talents who deserve so much recognition—it’s been a long time coming, and we feel like a real catalyst in being able to make that happen.


Tigrett: Maybe in the future. It’s one of the things that we did early on. Channel 5 had just been bought by Bert Ellis out of Atlanta, who was into the whole high-tech element prior to it being a big thing here, and he and Mason Granger came over, and I said, “This is really what I want to do.” I’ll never forget that he [Bert Ellis] had to catch a plane, and he gets up after we’d been talking for about 15 minutes and said, “Mason, just give her anything she wants. I have to go to the airport.” And I’m going, “This is fabulous. I’m so excited.” So, I told Mason, “Yes, what I’d really like to do is do the auction online.” To my knowledge, it was the first charity auction ever online. Then, I said, “What I really want is I would like you to interview families from the Memphis music world, one a day building up to the Blues Ball, and I want it on at 5:30 p.m.” They did 30-minute interviews of the Sam Phillips family, the Rufus Thomas family, and so on. We have this really rich archival history of Memphis music.



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A Trek Across the City’s Party L andscape East Memphis Lock-Up Muscular Dystrophy Association Fund-raiser

people letting on to their friends that they’re really in jail. They sound like they’re desperate sitting there in 201 Poplar,” said “convict” Kelley Harrison, also with Strategic Business Solutions. “It’s a good cause with a fun twist,” said Elder Jenkins, a volunteer from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Others who attended the event included Christy Prewitt (MDA district field rep); Bruce Orpet (jailbird, public relations for Cellular South); Kelly Lorenz (MDA district director); Phillip Penny and Richard Birdsong (Memphis Police Department T.A.C.T. Unit); Paul Hethmon and John Richartz (Shelby County Sheriff’s Department Special Services); Tamika

Members of the Memphis Police Department T.A.C.T. (Tactical Apprehension Containment Team) Unit, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department Special Services, and other law enforcement officers, were busy rounding up “criminals” for some serious infractions. But if these criminals had to go to jail, it might as well


Sandi Eley and Stephanie Fitzpatrick



Kelly Lorenz, Bruce Orpet and Christy Prewitt

have been at the Crescent Club in East Memphis, where they could dine on a variety of cheeses, homemade pretzels, chips, and sandwiches, and sip lemonade at their leisure. Authorities nabbed Sandi Eley at work for wearing black and pink at the same time. General contractor Don Austin was carried in for wearing a bow tie. Stephanie Fitzpatrick, with the Family Cancer Center, did not get to pass go because she allegedly “ran across the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge without any clothes on.” These jailbirds were among close to 50 East Memphis employees, business owners, and city officials who partici-

pated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s East Memphis Lock-Up, a fund-raiser for the local arm of the organization. Participants were picked up at work, some of whom were cuffed and treated to a ride in the back of a cruiser to the opposite end of Poplar Avenue from 201, at the corner of Ridgeway Road. Judge Kennedy, known for her antics on the Morning Show with Q107.5, convicted the misfits, who donned blackand-white-striped inmate shirts to have their mug shots taken behind bars. Many were able to come up with the $850 for

Amanda Rogers and Kelley Harrison

Fossett, Veronica Carpenter, Lauren Tomlinson, and Jason Hale (all with MDA); Mondonico Williams (jailbird, Studio Aesthetic); Gilbert Garcia (jailbird, Regions Bank manager); Amber Brady and Jennifer Hornsby (jailbirds, TransForce employees); Matt Kline (MDA Lock-Up manager); Megan Marlowe (MDA administrative assistant); and Elder Grable, Elder Halasima, and Elder Townsend (volunteers with the C.J.C.L.D.S). Story and photos by Lesley Young Amber Brady and Jennifer Hornsby

Kennedy and Don Austin

bail, contributing to the overall amount of $22,000 raised during the five-hour lock-up. Some had trouble. “It says ‘U should rot,’” Amanda Rogers, employee of Strategic Business Solutions, said of a playful text message she received from a friend. But everyone had fun for a good cause. “It’s fun sitting here listening to

Mike Miller Celebrity Charity Weekend Bluesville Bash Beloved Memphis Grizzlie Mike Miller teamed up with Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks for a second year and scored big with the Mike Miller Celebrity Charity


Weekend. Held in Tunica, Mississippi, the weekend was filled with action-packed activities, ranging from golf (at Tunica National Golf Course) to poker, but sports stars and guests replaced their athletic clothes for party gear at the Bluesville Bash inside the Horseshoe Casino. Miller debuted the event four years ago to raise funding for the Mike Miller Foundation and other charities that provide assistance to disadvantaged and/or disabled children. During this particular weekend, event proceeds benefited the Boys and Girls Clubs of

Addie McGowan and Liz Leininger

Metro Atlanta, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Mike Miller Foundation. Though Miller will play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, he and his wife, Jennifer, plan to continue this weekend tradition. Emcee Steve Conley added, “Last month, Mike [and Jennifer]

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Miller gave $200,000 to St. Jude— the largest NBA player contribution ever to St. Jude.” Not only does the 6-foot, 8inch NBA star give big, but he also plays big, and welcomed all to do the same at the Bluesville Bash.



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The Mardi Gras theme, seen on tabletops in the form of purple and yellow feathers, roses, and masks, contributed to guests’ enjoyment, as did the New Orleans style jazz band. The dessert buffet even tempted guests with slices Ettienne and Dr. Shelly Vanzyl of the signature “king cake” usually eaten at Mardi Gras. Appletinis, cosmos, and lemon drop martinis were the drinks of choice as partygoers crowded in front of an ice luge that the bartender poured the preferred flavors down. During dinner, silent auction items of autographed athlete memorabilia, provided by Ultimate Pros, tempted sports fanatics, as did diamond bling, courtesy of Platinum Jewelers. The live auction included Kenny Chesney tickets, a New York trip, and an Ultimate Fighting Championship event, to name a few. The moment attendees had been awaiting came when Sister Hazel walked on the Bluesville stage. An alternative rock group out of Gainesville, Florida, the group is best known for hits like “Champagne High,” Ernie Barrasso and Rosanne Luciano-Barrasso “All for You,” “Change Your Mind,” and “Happy.” By the end of the band’s set, those previously seated at their tables helped clear an area in front of the stage for dancing…that’s showing the band some “happy.” Hosted by Harrah’s, the event had generous support from FedEx, Gossett Motor Cars, First Premier Bank, RAHFCO Investment Funds LP, and WMG (Wasserman Media Group). Others who supported the cause were Addie McGowan, Liz Leininger, Torrence Holt, Michael Reighn, Ettienne and Dr. Shelly Vanzyl, Christine Roberts, Bobby Wiseman, Amy Martin, George Klein, Rudy Gay, Molly Fitzpatrick, Kyle Lowry, Ernie Barrasso, Rosanne Luciano-Barrasso, Bud Cowgill, and Kevin Kane. Christine Roberts, Bobby Wiseman and Amy Martin

Story and photos by Leah Fitzpatrick

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Martha Perine Beard, Judy Bell and My Harrison

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expressed lots of delight at the chocolate fountain tempting all at the end of the buffet. Stacie Martin Waddell filled in as mistress of ceremonies and presented the day’s first honor, the Strong Award, to Martha Perine Beard, who

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was recognized as a youth mentor and as the first African-American woman to lead a Federal Reserve Bank branch. Judy Bell, the senior vice president of the Memphis Area Teachers’ Credit Union, received the Smart Award for her coaching and mentoring of area youths. Upon receiving her award, Bell said, “No matter how old you are, you still have heros and ‘sheros.’” My Harrison, a special agent for the FBI’s Memphis field office since 2005, left with the appropriately titled Bold Award. Harrison urged audience members to be the best they can be and said, “Your attitude equals your altitude.”

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announced the organization’s teen pregnancy prevention program. Waddell said teen pregnancies account for 15 percent of births in Shelby County, which ranks first in Tennessee and third in the nation for its teen pregnancy rate. “Our vision is to take the program citywide in the next five years to places like churches, schools, community centers, and other teenfocused centers,” Waddell added. “As we develop girls, we strengthen Memphis.” Those who attended the luncheon were Meghan Cloud, Deborah Hester, Iyona Hilliard Houston, Shirley Hilliard, Kimberly Fillman, Netisha Burnett, Valencia Roberts, Raven Golden, John Moses, Diane Spears, David Waddell, and Mark Hendricks. Story and photos by Leah Fitzpatrick

Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary “Righteous Bridge and Red Hot White Elephant Sale”

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Bridge players gathered at Mullins United Methodist Church to compete for their top bridge scores, win cool prizes and merchandise, and support the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary. The Righteous Bridge and Red event was dubbed the “R

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Following a video presentation, produced by Tran Bui, of the Girls Inc. program, the youth award recipients were honored. Er’nyce Smith and Yakeima Holliman were the Scholarship Award winners. Kendra Brown (not in attendance) won the Challenger Award. Jameka Hayes received the She’s on the Right Track Award, and Kimberly McDowell rounded out the list with the Girl of the Year Award. As the agenda came to a close, Waddell

Felecia Teddleton, Pam Montesi, Helen Gaines and Fran Jabbour

Hot White Elephant Sale” in tribute to the book Red Hot and Righteous, which outlines the history of the Salvation Army’s venture to America. Arlene Southern, with the help of co-chair Anne West, oversaw the festivities that began with

Marsha Everett, Sherrye Willis and Hilda Mullen

Story and photos by Leah Fitzpatrick SEPTEMBER 2008

bridge playing at 10 a.m. At high noon, players broke for a delicious Southern-style lunch provided by Party Tenders, and heard a touching invocation from Major Rhea Dawn Woodcock of the Salvation Army. The event’s choice color was interpreted throughout the luncheon decor, from glass swans filled with Red Hots to red heart balloons and crimson linens. Copies of the inspirational book, 31 Days of Praise, were given as party favors. Southern then turned the emcee duties over to Felecia Teddleton, owner of Felecia Bella, for the fashion show. Teddleton, who donned a leopard-print dress, told the crowd her boutique’s name means “happy” and “pretty,” and said she’s big on color and mixing and matching different wardrobe pieces. Then, she presented each of the volunteer models, who waved as they passed their

Rock for Hope benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Musicians, philanthropists, music producers, local celebrities, and close to 200 others stopped in the New Daisy Theatre to rock out and give back at the first Rock for Hope, a concert benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Burch Entertainment Group and Marie’s Mission hosted the event for anyone who wanted to groove to the tunes of rock ‘n’ roll groups the Mulch Brothers, a set of Nashville brothers with a backing band, and the Infidelles, a local “garage soul” band.


Betty Gray, Jeannine Blackwell, Kitty Strub and Pat Massengill

Bridge playing commenced afterward for another hour, as did the silent auction in the hallway. Guests competed against themselves and against others for winnings, and five lucky people also received door prizes. Others who left with great memories and contributed to the event’s success included Hilda Mullen, Helen Gaines, Dianne Champlin, Nelda Hamer, Marsha Everett, and Sherrye Willis.





Anna Weatherley

Nelda Hamer, Arlene Southern and Anne West

friends in the aisle, and described the colorful ensembles they sported. Pam Montesi, Fran Jabbour, Pat Massengill, Betty Gray, Jeannine Blackwell, and Kitty Strub stunned attendees with their catwalk struts. Teddleton joked, “One of the models told me that she had sold one of the outfits already, so I told her I hope she had something to wear home.”

Marie Pizano Firtik and Charley Burch

Local folk singer Kim Richardson opened the event with her clever anecdotes and wordy tunes to get everyone loosened up for a night of fun. Amy Cowman of Fox 13 News and Loretta

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McNary, a local talk show host, emceed the event. Anthony and Deborah Chadwick brought their kids up from Hernando, Mississippi to see the Infidelles play, and also contribute to a good cause. “I always like to support St. Jude,”

Deborah said. Marie’s Mission is a local fund-raising organization that hosts events to raise awareness and funding for local and national charities, specifically women’s and children’s charities. With door cover and an open bar, event hosts were able to raise nearly $1,000 for St. Jude, and they hope to sponsor another Rock for Hope concert next spring. “It was a positive experience across the board, from the musicians to the fans to the venue,” said Charley Burch, producer, agent, and manager of James and Brandon Chadwick with Savannah Nabors Burch Entertainment Group. “I think we did pretty well for a first event. I think everybody here had fun, and that’s all we could ask for,” added Marie PizanoFirtik, director of Marie’s Mission. Others who attended the event included Nick and Mark Mulch, Shawn Zorn, Justin John and Lourdes Salzlein Brown, Mick Parrish, Erik Griffin, Roger Ewing, Sherry Smith, James and Brandon Chadwick, Savannah Nabors, John and Lourdes Salzlein, Brenda and Jerry Brown, and Greg Firtik. Story and photos by Lesley Young

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Miracle Maker Blast “Preemie Affair” Fellowship of Christian Athletes Reception Coach Cal Appreciation Night



Marie Pizano-Firtik, Anita Vaughn and Greg Firtik at “Preemie Affair”

Pam and Esmond Arrindell at “Preemie Affair”



pon arrival at the Memphis Zoo, Miracle Maker Blast attendees boarded a tram headed for the Northwest Passage, where the animal craze in support of Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center began. “Bear Necessities” hors d’oeuvres and a “Safari Dessert Bar” awaited, but the sea lions and polar bears literally stole the show with their crowdpleasing performances. Jim Jaggers of WREG Channel 3 emceed the splashtastic affair, during which the McCarter family was announced as the Miracle Maker Family of the Year. Together, the Tashie, Blakely and McCarter families raised more than $106,000 for Le Bonheur in their eight weeks of fund-raising. Pam and Esmond Arrindell invited guests into their home for the second annual Baptist Memorial Hospital fund-raiser dubbed a “P Preemie Affair.” Dee Griffin of Eyewitness News Everywhere served as mistress of ceremonies for the disco-themed night, and the Plaintiffs supplied the cool sound. Griffin, along with Basil Williams, auctioned off numerous silent and live auction items, which helped raise $49,000 (in conjunction with an online auction) for the newborn intensive care unit at Baptist. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), with the help of John Bramlett Ministries, hosted a reception at Colonial Country Club prior to the “Pop” Andrews Golf Classic. Steve Largent, a member of the National Football League Hall of Fame and a NFL Man of the Year, was the guest of honor and received a welcome basket courtesy of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. Keith Butler, the linebacker coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, also attended the event that benefited the local FCA chapter. The Racquet Club of Memphis threw a Coach Cal Appreciation Night in honor of John Calipari’s most successful season with the University of Memphis men’s basketball team. Engin Tuncay, Tony Barrasso, and Nafe David coordinated this special evening, which was filled with 250 guests enjoying Italian food and lots of blue, from pompoms on the table to a cake made with Blue Curacao liqueur. Painting the town blue was never so much fun!

Matthew, Steven, Lainey and Angela McCarter at Miracle Maker Ball

Carolyn Jackson and Michelle Stubbs at Miracle Maker Ball

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by John Childress and Leah Fitzpatrick George Klein and R.C. Johnson at Coach Cal Appreciation Night

Tony Barrasso, John Calipari and Kevin Danish at Coach Cal Appreciation Night

Sarkis and Jenny Kish at Coach Cal Appreciation Night

John “Bull” Bramlett, Steve and Terry Largent and Nancy Bramlett at Fellowship of Christian Athletes Reception

Rebecca and Rachel Bramlett at Fellowship of Christian Athletes Reception


he Paw Prints Auction Gala always signals the end of the dog days of summer, and this year, an unbearable heat wave. With the thermostat reaching the 100-degree mark, nearly 400 animal lovers found refuge by heading inside Temple Israel for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County’s largest annual fund-raiser. Co-chaired by Sondra Levingston, Maria Lapuente, Carol LaRocca, and Dana Farmer, this event offers hundreds of locally donated items that appeal to the fanatic pet lover and the most discerning shopper. From jewelry to artwork to celebrity memorabilia, the silent auction had it all, but pet-friendly wares were definitely guest favorites. Standout items included hand-painted pet carriers courtesy of Ora Cooper and Houston Middle School and a “recycled” chair depicting a hound dog with flowers hanging from its mouth. Artist Betsy Bird proudly identified the source of her creation. “I found the chair on the sidewalk and glued it back together and painted it…I’m kind of the ‘neighborhood scrounge,’” Bird laughed. During the silent auction, guests could also purchase raffle tickets for a “Key to a Perfect Evening.” The package, valued at more than $1,000, boasted a night’s stay at The Peabody, Champagne, dinner at Chez Phillippe, brunch in The Peabody Skyway, and tickets to Legally Blonde at the Orpheum Theatre. Elizabeth Edwards and Daniel Mathis of Lee Pruitt Interiors won the “key” for a memorable night out on the town. The live auction followed, with Larry Moss at the auctioneer block. Moss sold six tempting goodies, but Coach John Calipari took over the auctioneer duties for a special item he personally donated. The coach’s charm worked because Humane Society supporter and University of Memphis fan Michael O’Neal purchased the “Assistant Coach for a Game” item for more than $6,000 for a chance to sit on the bench with Coach Cal during a nationally televised game…now that’s spirit! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for 75 unique Buddy Dog statues on display throughout town. The statues will be auctioned off online and at the “Best in Show” Dog Adoption Auction on November 8 at The Peabody hotel.


Paw Prints Auction Gala Benefiting the Humane Society

T Kent and Dana Farmer

Bernard and Joyce Lansky



See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

Rich Hall and Ginger Morgan

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by John Hammer

Carol and Chris Woods

Marian Huddleston, Al LaRocca and Debbie Glenn

Michelle and Sammy Ragan

Rusty and Caresse Hyneman

Mike and Becky Rivalto with Maureen O’Neal and Kenneth Glenn

Herbo Humphreys and Elizabeth Masterson


Clair Kelley and Paul Mead

Gary Garlington and Nichole Pryor

Dr. Kathy Mitchener and Mickey Foster


David and Pearl Pollow

Kojo and Gretchen McLennon

Tim Garrett and Maria Lapuente



Sam and Mary Cornpropst

Toba and Leslie Kornberg

Kembree Darakshani and Tony Brown

David and Allison Egner

Jan and Dr. Lee Stein

Elizabeth Fisher, Ronald Weiss and Anne-Marie Varnell

Brooke Newlin and Warren Pan

EVENT Janet Brueck and Jerry Lang

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Jonathon and Melanie Rudner


Faye Sewell and Jim Runyan




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Jim Duncan and Sherry Misner

Stan Myers and Maureen Jacobs



orty years after their debut, Crosby, Stills & Nash remain a vocal powerhouse, as evidenced during the Live at the Garden series’ third summer concert this season. More than 7,000 fans crowded on the Memphis Botanic Garden’s lawn for an evening spent soaking in the folk-rock icons’ signature harmonies. The sold-out show attracted the most die-hard fans, who were more than happy to share in the nostalgia with younger counterparts. Hits like “Southern Cross” and “Love the One You’re With” prompted group sing-alongs, drowning out the nightly insect symphony heard this time of year. Beneath the glow of the hazy half moon, Graham Nash gave a shout-out to the masses by saying, “Ya’ll look like fireflies to me…thanks for coming to see us!” A brief intermission interrupted the group’s set, but many were glad for the opportunity to refresh wine glasses and mingle amongst friends. The Encore section looked particularly festive as candles (from lots of Citronella and tea lights) cast an amber sheen across tables decorated with flowers of every hue. Groups seemed to compete for the table exuding the best ambiance, but no décor was as beautiful as the ever-present smiles plastered across fans’ faces. The audience’s satisfaction must have resonated with Crosby, Stills & Nash because the band delivered one of its biggest hits, “Teach Your Children,” for the encore. The days of Woodstock might be long gone, but outdoor concerts like the Live at the Garden series still reign big in these parts. Not only has the series provided the biggest back yard parties for eight years running, but 100 percent of event proceeds help fund the operation of the Memphis Botanic Garden. That’s reason enough to secure your spot at the B-52’s concert on September 12 and the season finale with Huey Lewis and The News on September 26.

Ron and Peggy Troy

Rachel Bradley and Holly Harrison

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos by Don Perry See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

Allie and Barbara Prescott

Bobby and Janette Krauch

Dan and Amy Meadows

Leigh Shockey, Beth Flanagan and Gay Landaiche

Tom Corona and Karen Smith


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Mike and Lisa Noonan

Kristen Myers and Blake Waddell

Margaret and Trip Monger


Dixie James and Dee Nichols

Robbie Ann Pahlow and Peggy Thompson

Lawrence and Jennifer Dow



Debbie Carey and Julie McCarter

Becky and Bob Fisher with Jerry and Nina Patton

Jo and Lynn Talley

Sarah Donaldson and Drew Smith

Lanetta Lanier, Wanda Barzizza and Kathy Breckenridge

Steve West and Pamela Hauber

Lynda Biggs and Drew Baddour

Sue and Dale Skaggs

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Warren and Alice Ball with Brian and Claire Sullivan

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COMEC Treasure Hunt Beale Street Caravan Blow Out Spirit of SRVS Kickoff Liberty Bowl Legends Dinner



Jim Lanier and Greg Koziel at Beale Street Caravan Blow Out


62 Cameron Mann and Amy Daniel at Beale Street Caravan Blow Out

Selena and Kyle Silvestro at COMEC Treasure Hunt

aptain Jack Sparrow couldn’t have had a more swashbuckling time than the kids and adults who attended the Commission on Missing and Exploited Children (COMEC) Treasure Hunt. From patches to pirate hats, young and old alike embraced the theme as well as a treasure hunt, the “Captain’s Deck” stage with entertainment provided by Kindermusik, and the “Kids Fun Fair” on the Pink Palace Museum’s lawn. Fox 13’s Darcy Thomas and COMEC president Shawn Sandy emceed the Sunday-afternoon event that raised more than $10,000 for COMEC. Harpist Billy Gibson welcomed music lovers to the Beale Street Caravan Blow Out at the Ground Zero Blues Club. Joe Birch of WMC-TV 5 fulfilled the auctioneer duties, while attendees practiced playing free harmonicas they received at the entrance. Event proceeds benefited Beale Street Caravan, an internationally syndicated blues radio program based in Memphis that reaches 2.4 million listeners weekly. The Spirit of SRVS Kickoff offered Shelby Residential and Vocational Services supporters a chance to see a benefit performance of The Producers at Playhouse on the Square. During the event, guests also dined on appetizers courtesy of the John Barzizza family and various other friends, and enjoyed a wine tasting courtesy of Southwestern Distributors. Signature artist Lori Butler was on hand to autograph posters of her painting named Let the Sincerity of Your Love Flow, which was later auctioned off at the Spirit of SRVS event in August. This kickoff raised more than $4,000 for SRVS, an organization that aids people with developmental disabilities. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl Legends Dinner celebrated 50 years of the classic football competition held in Memphis each December. Former Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning was the guest of honor, but many other notable head college coaches and players packed in the Grand Ballroom of The Peabody. All proceeds from the dinner and the golf tournament the following day benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Tom Schmitt, Sharon Higgs, Petra Rees and Peggy Williams at Spirit of SRVS Kickoff

Lori Butler at Spirit of SRVS Kickoff

Story by Leah Fitzpatrick Photos Submitted and by Leah Fitzpatrick Jim Shannon with Patti and John Warra at Liberty Bowl Legends Dinner

Claire Slade Brophy and Ally Roberts at COMEC Treasure Hunt

Archie Manning, Troe Gillespie and Steve Erhart at Liberty Bowl Legends Dinner

Dave Chambers, George O’Leary and Dan Patrick at Liberty Bowl Legends Dinner

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By Dennis Phillippi






ur neighborhood, beautiful crime free Cooper-Young has always had a reputation as a haven for every stripe of weirdo, outcast, and crackpot, and now you can add yet another species to the list: foreigners. A few months, eh, maybe a year ago, First Congo, our neighborhood hippie church that serves the area as everything from a place of worship to a place where you can sell your handmade jelly jar wind chimes, opened Pilgrim House, a youth hostel that never seems to have actual youths as guests. From what I can tell (understand that finding out whether this is true would require going almost two whole blocks to do some reportorial research and I certainly don’t want to set that precedent), it’s a place where Europeans and other globe-trotting bargain shoppers can stay for less than it costs to buy a can of macadamia nuts out of a real hotel’s mini bar. They’re mostly in their 20s and want to see America, and what better place than Memphis? At some point months ago, I started noticing people with odd accents roaming our neighborhood. Not Yankees, I know them on sight because they’re the people who are too stunned by the weather here to even complain about it. They just sit, sweat-stained and heat-stroked, unable to muster the energy to whine. The new accents were strange and involved a lot of people calling one another “mate.” The first tourists I noticed were English. I know this because they immediately sought out drinking establishments before even unpacking. One English kid (I say kid because he was in his mid-20s, which is a child to me) was in love with all things Memphis. He loved the trees, the people, the music, and even the weather. To him, being in a place that routinely topped 90 degrees for days on end was adventurous, like going on a safari, or staying at Charlie Sheen’s house. He had traveled around the North some, was swinging through Memphis, then headed to New Orleans, then the Grand Canyon. I enjoyed talking to him, then toasting his imminent demise. Shortly after that, I met the Pirate. He wasn’t an actual pirate, just a guy from Australia with a shaved head, extravagant beard, and I swear, an eye patch. His name was something normal like Mike or

Dave, but the Pirate seemed more exotic a moniker. Mind you, I didn’t call him that to his face. He was a little on the hemight-snap-and-kill-us-all side. Still, it was fun drinking with him. Not that I could keep up. I know it’s time for me to go home the second an Aussie says, “Ah, no Mate, we’re just getting staaated.” Meeting him was a treat, and then something really odd happened.

To him, being in a place that routinely topped 90 degrees for days on end was adventurous, like going on a safari, or staying at Charlie Sheen’s house. A couple of weeks after the Pirate left, another Aussie showed up, another kid, I think his name was Justin. I realized he was Australian by the way he said, “I’m from Australia.” So, I said I had met the craziest guy recently from Australia with a crazy beard and an eye patch and he said, “Oh, you met Dave.” Or Mike. It seemed impossible that two guys from the other side of the planet happened to both pass through the same bar in Memphis and also happened to know one another back home. In fact, it was impossible; they had met at a hostel in Los Angeles. Justin was next planning on boarding a bus for a 20hour trip to New York City. I toasted his impending demise as well. These people (oddities that seemed to have been air lifted into our leafy paradise) had become accustomed to being treated as quasi-celebrities. I bought them drinks as they told strange tales of living in places where everyone talked like them, and everyone loves soccer. Silly foreigners. On the other hand, I have had to adjust to being seen through their eyes. People from

Australia, New Zealand, and all throughout Europe have shown up, and they love Memphis. They love our accents, they love our women, and they love our sports. They may not have any idea what’s going on in a baseball game, but they sit there and watch, amazed at how giant our athletes are and how polite the fans are. That’s the thing; most of all they love how nice we are. Being nice is so engrained in Southerners, and I believe especially in Memphians, that we’re unaware we’re even doing it. Politeness and generosity is bred into us, and then re-enforced throughout our lives. Everyone, not just women, expects you to open a door for them, and everyone expects to be thanked for doing so. Kindness is a defining trait of a Memphian, although you’d hardly guess it from our local politicians. A friend of mine works downtown, and he drives Union twice a day everyday and has been doing so for more than two decades. The hostel dwellers presence reminded him that everyday for all these years, he’s seen bus loads of people standing in the Domino’s Pizza parking lot on Union taking pictures. Not of the Domino’s, they probably have those, but of Sun Studios, something we pass all the time and think nothing of, other than to occasionally note the tight-pantsed Europeans standing outside wearing belly bags. We’ve always had tourists in Memphis; they’ve just never had a place to stay in Cooper-Young. We like to think that their staying here gives them a different perspective than they would’ve had in some other part of town. We like to think that they’ll get home and tell stories of what a bunch of freaks, drunks, and perverts we are here in Memphis. Sure, we may be an island of misfit toys in our neighborhood, but because we’re also Memphians, we’re nice misfit toys.

We here at RSVP respect Dennis Phillippi’s sincere effort to shed a little local flavor on the unsuspecting outsider. However, we think our dear comedian’s humor, niceties ignored, might be lost on foreigners as much as theirs is lost on him. Luckily for Phillippi, he’s only met tourists he shares the same language with…just wait to the Swahili come to town.


High School Sweethearts


1 94 1




etty Jean Irwin got acquainted with Gale J. Raymond (he was her familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s paper boy) when she was in the ninth grade at Bellevue Junior High School and when he was a senior at Central High School. The two were inseparable, just like they were on the day this photograph was taken in front of the Hill Mansion on Union Avenue. Sweethearts can have photos made with these same lions, which now guard the Brooks Museum. PHOTO COURTESY OF BETTY (IRWIN) GLOSSON If you have a past photo you would like to share with RSVP readers, please contact Leah Fitzpatrick at 276-7787 ext. 105 or e-mail the photo and caption to All photos will be returned promptly.

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RSVP Magazine September 2008  

society, lifestyle magazine covering the Memphis Teennessee metro area.

RSVP Magazine September 2008  

society, lifestyle magazine covering the Memphis Teennessee metro area.