August 2010 Archives

Travel + Leisure magazine stepped in it a bit with a piece in its August issue ranking "America's Best Music Cities." The survey includes the mega-cities of New York, L.A. and Chicago, musical heavy hitters like New Orleans, Austin and Nashville, and seemingly randomly chosen cities like Santa Fe, Providence and Orlando. But no Memphis. None. Nowhere in the listing of 30 (THIRTY!) cities for music does Memphis appear.

As one could only hope, the commenters called B.S. over the omission. A sampling ...

I'm from Iowa, of all places, and as the list counted down, I assumed I was going to see Memphis at the top. What the hell? Beale Street gets no love?!? So much for any authority on this subject!

So if I referenced your magizine when deciding where to travel based on the music history or scene, you would advise me to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico or Providence, R.I. over Memphis. Ummm ok.

I would not argue with Chicago, Nashville, or Austin, but failing to list Memphis in the top five- top ten even- is like not mentioning Mathew when you talk about the gospels.

Oops, somebody left off a glaring ommission in their article. Let's hope the boss doesn't read the comments section.

So into this rising tide wades a T+L writer to explain (from the handle downtownkb, I'm guess that it's bylined author Katrina Brown Hunt).

Hi all--as a T+L writer I want to explain why MEMPHIS is not on the list! has nothing to do with Memphis being a good or bad music city (obviously, it is great, legendary)--it's just that Memphis is not one of the 30 cities in this overall T+L American Cities survey, and I'm not even sure why, other than a geographic spread. Only one small component of the survey was actually about music, but in this case it does make Memphis' absence seem particularly odd. So, anyway, there was no offense meant to Memphis! Readers just didn't get asked anything about Memphis in regard to hotels, food, airports, etc., in this particular survey.

No offense, Memphis! And, given the design of the survey, maybe none should be taken. I mean, why not leave off the 18th-largest city in favor of 131st-ranked Providence? But as Gary Robinson e-mailed after passing along this story, "i thought it was just interesting how people stood up for memphis. doesn't happen very often."

Washington Post writer takes running tour of Memphis

With our city's reputation as a deep-fried public-health Gomorrah, one might not think of Memphis as a destination for an active vacation. But Memphis couple John and Crissy Lintner have set out to change that reputation, offering guided running tours of Memphis through their Rockin' Running Tours.

The Lintners, and Memphis in general, feature prominently in a Washington Post on the phenomenon of sightjogging or sightrunning. Writer Nancy Trejos took both the Midtown and Downtown tours, and she recommends them as a good way to take in some less-touristy but worthwhile sights like Central Gardens, Cooper-Young and Victorian Village.

Trejos seems to enjoy Memphis; she speaks of being in awe of the Levitt Shell -- where Elvis got his start -- and Galloway United Methodist Church -- where Johnny Cash got his. Kudos to her for wanting to dig deeper and see more of the city.

Kaywin Feldman, former director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, turns up in a story in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal about the younger generation of directors who are expanding their museums' missions beyond being mere exhibition spaces. Think cocktail parties, film series, outreach to minorities, even an increased focus on sustainability.

"We live in a more global, multicultural society that cares about diversity and inclusivity," Ms. Feldman says. "We're thinking about how we increase our service to the community."

Feldman, now the director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, was elected recently as president of the Association of Art Museum Directors.

Timberlake, Efron interested in 'Memphis' movie

Broadway World's Rialto Chatter reports on the rumor mill concerning a possible Hollywood film adaptation of the musical "Memphis." Not only Memphis-area native Justin Timberlake but also Zac Efron appear interested in starring, and director Oliver Stone has been in talks with "Memphis" creators Joe DiPietro and David Bryan.

UPDATE: More about Efron's interest here.

Wall Street Journal explores 'The Elvis Enigma'

Looking back on Elvis Week just past, Marc Myers of The Wall Street Journal returns to the question of just why so many thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to Memphis year after year -- in that heat, to boot -- to pay their respects. He finds a variety of thoughtful answers from fans of different ages and backgrounds. The common thread seems to be that because Elvis the man and Elvis the artist are so big and complicated and multifaceted, understanding them necessarily requires constant revisiting.

"Elvis is infinitely mysterious," said June Balish, 49, a medical editor from Brooklyn, N.Y. who has attended Elvis Week for 14 years with her husband Rob. "He's the only star who touches your mind, heart and sexuality all at once -- and you never really fully figure out why."

But there is no single "why"; Elvis appeals to so many people on so many different levels. So back they continue to come, those of Elvis' own generation as well as those born years after his death.

"No matter how big you think Elvis is, he always turns out to be even bigger," said Barbara McLean, 64, a custom wedding-cake designer from Ottawa who has returned for the past 15 years. "Every year, I think I've finally figured it all out, but I haven't. He just keeps growing on you."

Further Elvis reading from this blog's archive here and here. And because noted Elvis fan and disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich happens to be in the news today, let's revisit this old gem.
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