Wednesday, May 8, 2013

About That Grizzlies Game Last Friday Night...

"Screw Calm and Grind On" shirt by Sache, available at their
store in South Main or RIGHT HERE.

As we post this, a couple more games have happened in Oklahoma City -- one sad loss and one amazing triumph. Aimee will be posting on those games as they happen, but she got to go to last Friday night's amazing final game against the LA Clippers, where we guaranteed that poor TJ Simers won't have to write about the Clippers for a long while. It was her first time actually being in the Grindhouse. Here's what she has to say about that game:
by Aimee Stiegemeyer
Our Memphis Grizzlies came back home ready to grind Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs, and I was lucky enough to be there in the Grindhouse to witness it go down. The energy in the air was indescribable, and judging from the sight and sound of the sellout crowd cheering and waving the bright gold growl towels, the excitement was contagious.

I’ve watched many a Grizzlies game when they are broadcast locally, and listened to the radio cast of quite a few of the ones that were not, but this was the first time that I have had the pleasure of attending a game at the FedEx Forum. I cannot say enough positive things about the arena itself and its staff. The last basketball game I attended was back when the Tigers played their home games at The Pyramid, or the “Tomb of Doom” as it came to be called, long before the Grizzlies came to town.
It was an amazing experience and my only regret is that I waited so long, I will definitely be back.

This was a very physical game from the start, as you could tell by how many fouls happened in the first quarter alone. That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night, with the aggression from both teams increasing in the second half, culminating with the eventual ejections of LA’s Chris Paul, and our very own Zach Randolph in the final minutes of the game. It was all over but the shouting at that point, literally, as it seemed the whole building shook from the sound of nearly 18,000 people joined in a fevered chant of “Z-BO!” as Randolph made his way back to the locker room.
Moments later the Grizzlies closed out the game and the series with a final score 118- Memphis, 105- Los Angeles. This is a bittersweet victory for us, having been in this exact same spot last year, and losing to LA in round 1 of the playoffs.
This best of possible 7 series started with 2 consecutive losses for the Grizzlies at the Clippers home stadium in Los Angeles, the second due to a lucky shot by Chris Paul just before the clock ran out. The team found its mojo back on familiar ground at the Grindhouse, and went on to win two consecutive home games and one more in LA before this sixth and final game Friday night.
This was a real ball till you fall game, and the clearly outmatched Clippers got desperate and downright dirty all throughout, but to no avail.
Like our towels said, “We Don’t Bluff.”
Highlights include:
  • Mike Conley, like a fucking boss. Not only was he a beast with a total of 23 points overall, he took some really hard hits and got back up and back to the grind.  
  • Tony Allen, the Grindfather himself, quick, fast, and on the grind, scored a total of 19 points and all sorts of assists.
  • Jerry Bayless with that amazing long shot right at the buzzer at the end of the 3rd quarter
  • Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph, tussling, just like old times. We’re waiting for the tape to decide.
  • The sounds of nearly everyone in the building chanting “Whoop That Trick!”
  • Nastiest play of the night goes to Chris Paul and his “accidental” gut check on Marc Gasol, this coming just a split second after Gasol being boxed in by Matt Barnes.

Now we have advanced to the semi finals against the Oklahoma Thunder in another best of 7, started this past Sunday in OKC, with a narrow loss by the Grizz. You can read more about that here.
Game 2 was last night (Tuesday, May 7), and as you should know by now, we more than pulled it out in the end. Next up is this Saturday, back in the Grindhouse, at 4:00 PM, and we'll be looking for the Grizz to own Oklahoma City on our turf just like we did with the Clippers.
Above all else, remember to stay calm and grind on, and more importantly, Believe Memphis.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Westboro Baptist Attention Whores Protesting Graceland

My name is Shirley and I need lots of attention! Also, I use
lots of emoticons in my e-mails, like a preteen! I have a
serious job!

I know it is tempting to go counter-protest on May 17 when Westboro Baptist Church shows up to Graceland, but believe me. They are not worth your effort. This is what they do. They show up, they hold ridiculous signs, they yell, and this is how they support themselves. Westboro Baptist Church has literally no influence on national affairs. It's better to just let them show up and scream at no one in particular. To actually take this seriously is to play into their pathetic little game.

Here is Westboro's word salad explanation of why they are protesting Graceland:

God hates your Idols, so Westboro Baptist Church will picket one of the many major idols of Doomed USA, to wit: Graceland. Former home of Elvis Presley. ALL the evidence suggests that his present home is HELL. 
Ask the Question: How did Elvis die? The Internet gives this: Elvis died on August 16, 1977 in the bathroom at Graceland. After being found on the bathroom floor, Elvis was rushed to the hospital where he was officially pronounced dead. 
The coroner recorded the cause of death as cardiac arrhythmia. While true in the strictest sense (cardiac arrhythmia means that the heart was beating irregularly), the attending physicians deliberately omitted the fact that what had apparently caused Elvis' heart to beat irregularly and then stop was an overdose of prescription drugs. These drugs included codeine, Valium, morphine, and Demerol, to name a few. 
Some people believe that Elvis Presley is still alive. It is an interesting idea to explore. (WHAT?! You people need something to do with your time!!) 
Assuming you do believe that Elvis died, you can visit his grave at Graceland. (YES, gotta worship the rotting carcass of that lecherous, adulterous, pervert and drug addict!) I did NOT ask the Question: What happened in the Jungle Room! My stomach is only so strong.

Fuck them.


Titus Andronicus defies an easy explanation. Wikipedia calls them a "punk/indie rock" band, whatever the fuck that means. Yes, there are punk elements. But way across the divide, what I think when I hear their music is "majestic." But yet punk. But yet majestic. Well, these two things can happen at the same time, and they've happened at the same time before, but Titus Andronicus takes it to a new level.

All good songs have a structure. Indeed, as a songwriter, a singer and a concert pianist, this is something I will preach to anyone who will listen. There are songs that follow familiar paths -- verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, etc. -- and I've written songs like that. I've also written songs that follow structures that are foreign to the average pop music listener. Titus Andronicus writes a lot of songs like that. Indeed, to my ears, many of their songs seem to be written in sonata form. There are movements. They relate to each other, but they're not always going to give you that big reprise chorus that modern pop music says they should give you. They start in one place, move to a different place, and land you somewhere you never expected to be:

Back to that "punk/indie" thing. Whatever. I don't like either of those descriptors, because I don't think that either really encompasses the music that exists underneath those words. Lately the music I've been most drawn to has fallen into the category of "gritty and yet majestic." That describes Titus Andronicus for me. Lead singer Patrick Stickles' voice isn't perfect -- and who cares? It's honest. Chaos takes turns with beauty, and sometimes they meet in the middle.

All in all, there is an experience in each song, and if it means you drop your preconceived notions of "punk" or "indie rock" or "garage rock," or whatever other genre they seem to be reminding you of at the moment, then that's a good thing.

Of course, once in a while, they'll just play a straight rock song. Here's their cover of Nirvana's "Breed":

Titus Andronicus will be at the re-opening of the Hi-Tone tonight. You should show up. It's only ten fucking dollars, god.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MEMPHIS ANIMAL LOVERS: The K9 Animal Rescue Was Destroyed By A Tornado And They Need Your Help

Hey, Effin' Memphis readers. Here's an important story about a Memphis area man, the animals he rescues and the struggles they're facing after his rescue was hit by a tornado last week. ANIMAL LOVERS, PAY ATTENTION. Read it, share it and do what you can to help! - Ed.

by Cassie Fox

Last Saturday night, I sat in my living room in south Tipton County, following the weather closely as thunder boomed outside my window and lightning lit up the sky. I am the weather fanatic in our family, and during any storm, I can be counted on to have Channel 5’s Dave Brown on the TV, Channel 3’s radar on my laptop, the weather radio plugged in and stocked with fresh batteries, and Twitter and Facebook opened up side by side so that I can toggle between all the weather personalities I follow. This particular system was pretty weak by the time it crossed the river, and the worst of it for us only lasted about twenty minutes. I had gone back upstairs at the last fading sound of thunder, and was settling in for the night when I noticed we were inexplicably under a tornado warning; thirty seconds of panic later, I realized it was only for the southernmost east corner of the county, as well as neighboring Fayette, so I left Dave on and fiddled around online for a few minutes. Maybe half an hour later, I posted this status update to my Facebook wall:

“When Dave Brown says, "Uhhh, this is not good", you feel a little pukey on the inside. Hope Fayette County isn't as bad as they're making it sound. ”

Unfortunately, it was that bad, but mainly for one man, and his animals. This is their story.


Bill Funk is the kind of Marine they make movies about. He served his country during a decade when doing so wasn’t popular – from 1960 to 1966, through the Cuban missile crisis and the assassination of a president, from the worst of a war that devastated and divided a nation to the end of an era defined by long-haired hippies and the sounds of Hendrix and The Who – and was stationed at Guantanamo Bay before it was a political buzzword. He’s been married, fathered children, watched his grandchildren grow, and loved his Lord through it all. Semper Fi means “always faithful”, and Bill has remained constantly faithful to his idea of what a man should be – strong in heart and mind, kind and compassionate to those in need, loyal to those who love him. He doesn’t take any crap, but he won’t give you any, either, unless you are entirely deserving of it.

About twenty years ago, Bill founded what would eventually become the K9 Savior Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit, non-specific breed dog rescue that started off small and has grown into a sanctuary for any animal needing a loving, caring home, whether for a short time or forever. His ranch in Fayette County currently houses over one hundred dogs, as well as several cats, horses, and even rabbits. Every morning at 4 a.m., seventy-one year old Bill wakes up and starts his day, one that is largely comprised of taking care of all the K9 animals. Dogs are walked, horses fed, kennels checked, and so it goes. It’s a huge undertaking, but one Bill accepts readily and without complaint. Some time ago, it was made known that Bill no longer wanted to take on any further animals; however, people continued to drop sick, wounded, and unwanted dogs in his area, and, faithful as always, Bill could not turn them away.

The tornado warning I heard that night turned out to be the real thing. At about 9:30 p.m., an F-1 tornado dropped down in one strangely small spot, a spot that turned out to be Bill’s barn and kennel area. Trees snapped like tiny twigs, and the barn was completely destroyed, as well as all the outdoor kennels; one dog died when trees fell directly on top of the kennel he was inside, and one cat was lost, but fortunately, all other animals survived. Bill was distraught – these are animals he has nursed back from the brink of death, comforted when they were lonely, and saved from sad lives that knew no love. They are family to him. Fortunately, Bill is part of a network of dedicated animal rescuers, and when they heard the news, they jumped into action. Within hours, word was spreading at an incredible rate, mostly using Facebook as a way to get news and updates out. The next morning, hundreds of people showed up at the ranch; they brought chainsaws, and shovels, and food, and most of all, they brought a selfless determination to fix things, both for Mr. Bill, and for Mr. Bill’s animals. Those who couldn’t come in person shared flyers and posts, donated money, and passed information on to their friends and family. By Tuesday, nearly $3,000 had been raised, thanks to generous Mid-Southerners.

There’s still work to be done. Most of the animals need foster homes while the ranch is rebuilt, but permanent, loving homes would be even better. Kennels must be purchased and rebuilt, the dogs need volunteers to walk, feed, and water them, and supplies must be replenished, especially large volumes of dog food and stainless steel bowls that were lost in the storm. So much has already been accomplished, but this will be an ongoing project for quite some time, and volunteers will be continuously needed. A sense of community and a desire to do good in the face of disaster is not unusual, but Bill Funk does it every day. Every day. From before the sun comes up until it sinks behind the horizon, he works tirelessly for those who can’t help themselves. If you can find a little time or money to help him out, please visit the K9 site for information on what you can do to ease the burden of someone used to shouldering it all, partly in the name of duty, and partly in the name of just being a good human being.

Cassie Fox is a writer, a mom, a wife, a photographer, and an avid fan of British television, though not necessarily in that order. In her spare time, she reads books in the bathtub and quotes Anchorman as often as possible in her everyday conversations (though not necessarily in that order.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Message From Memphis's Musicians: "We Want YOU!"

The Incredible Hook performs at an Accendo Media
 event, photo shot by Dustin Taylor of Sideways Media 
There are many things Memphians keep in their arsenal of things to do. There are always the safe bets like The Memphis Zoo, The Brooks Museum, or The Levitt Shell, and bars that cater to any number of specialty drinkers (Absinthe Room, what?!?), and then everyone’s default when all else fails -- let's go to a show! It makes sense for that to be our default, because look at our scene here: from reggae to metal with niche genres all along the way! However, at some point we have got to notice that the bands that we enjoy listening to end up relocating, quitting, transforming into cover bands or even worse: they stay the same. SO below is a list of what YOU can do to improve our local music community!

1. LOOK AROUND - It's easy to listen to the same couple of bands all the time because you always go to the same bar, club or venue, and you're right. Our musicians DO run in circles that they are sometimes hesitant to step away from. This gives the feeling that our community is lacking in talent and creativity. Try going to new places, as there are tons of venues around town that not only have varied music, but keep it coming through. Otherlands, Minglewood and Memphis Rehearsal Complex are three prime examples of locations that put a significant amount of effort into recruiting talent, and not just friends as we have seen other venues do.

2. BUY DRINKS!!!! - This is one of those things that may seem like it shouldn't have any impact on the bands. However, most venues make most of their money off the bar. So, the more drinks that are purchased during a bands performance the more likely they are to not only get paid more, but will be able to get better and better venues. In addition to this, it will allow your favorite clubs, bars, and venues to maintain the environment that you want to visit. This sounds simple, but there is a reason that so many places have drink minimums.

4. DON'T BE AFRAID TO PAY FOR QUALITY MUSIC – This is a big one; we as a city seem to all scream WTF?! when we see a ticket price over five bucks. I’ll just say this as plain and simple as I can: imagine you get a job that requires you to dedicate most of your life to learn how to operate at a functional level – not including all the additional time you spend to become the best at what you do – and you and your cohorts, let’s say you have a team of five and you have to split $150 between you. Then, your employer tries to pay you more so you can survive and all the customers immediately scream at the sky in disgust and frustration and go home…or down the street to listen to other bands willing to play for “exposure”. Tip your musicians, buy their merchandise. If we want the talent to stay in Memphis, we have to support the talent while they are in Memphis. In short, it is okay to buy a steak instead of a hot dog.

4. PROMOTIONS – Holy crap is this a big one. Even in the best of times, when bands and venues promote a show until you wish that someone would open the chest from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark and take your eyes and melt your face off…they still have a limited reach and can’t reach everyone. Local acts don’t have that kind of reach, so if you see them share a link…share it on your social media outlets. It doesn't take long and it means a lot to everyone involved. Take your friends out with you, slap their stickers on stuff, just generally support them. Things like that, which will take you less than thirty seconds, can be the difference between a band making good money one night, or living on a Ramen diet for another week.

5. HAVE FUN! -- Don't be afraid to get out there, dance, and just generally make a fool out of yourself! That’s what this time is for… don't hide in the corner guarding your over-priced drinks like they are the queens jewels. Get up and shake your ass, throw your arms around. Smile, throw your bras on stage [Or, if it is your Effin' Memphis editor playing -- MORE ON THAT SOON -- your jockstraps. Or whatever. -- Ed.]  Let. It. All. Go. Entertainment shouldn't always just make you think deep thoughts, change your perspective or make you cry…sometimes just making you forget about certain parts of your life for a few minutes is the point.

To sum up: Have fun! If you like somebody, help promote them! If you go see them, don't be scared of paying so that the act you like can survive on a living wage! Buy a drink! And jump out of your comfort zone once in a while. You won't regret it.

Will Scheff is the director of Accendo Media, a local nonprofit which seeks to support Memphis artists both at home and abroad. Check them out here!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Remembering the legacy of Maxine Smith

by Liz Rincon

Memphis has a long, rich history of civil rights and activism. We saw the worst of humanity show up on our river banks when an assassin's bullet struck down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th, 1968. Many people believed that his dream died on the balcony of the Lorraine motel. Would the Civil Rights Movement be able to carry on?

Of course it could, and did.

There are many people who worked to ensure that the dream of those who came before them would continue, even when the movement itself started to lose media traction and we found ourselves moving into a new century. While it may have been true that the "colored only" bathrooms, segregated lunch counters and whites-only bus rides had been outlawed, racial injustice still could be (and still can be) seen in other arenas. From the boardrooms of major corporations where you will most likely see only white male faces, to colleges and universities that have unjust hiring practices, and many other points between and beyond, the struggle continues.

One woman who fought in this movement was our beloved Maxine Smith. Maxine was a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement. When she was turned away from enrollment at then Memphis State University, she was accepted into Spelman College in Atlanta, a historically black college. Her denial to the University of her hometown led to her involvement and then her organizing on behalf of those who were being denied equal opportunities.

She was tough. Very tough. She organized the "If You're Black, Take It Back" campaign to boycott Memphis businesses that refused to integrate, both in regards to their workforces and their clienteles. That the title of the campaign itself was so strong spoke to Maxine's ability to not take any you-know-what from folks. She would be perceived by many as hard to deal with, but what that really came down to was that she was unwilling to compromise in her life's goal that everyone be given a fair chance. And there is, of course, that old saying: "Well behaved women rarely make history."

She would later go on to work with the NAACP, sitting on the National Board as well as serving as Executive Secretary for the Memphis Chapter. The work that she did was hard, and it was intolerant of those who did not want to see change. When you are a "change agent," you have to deal with the brunt of that work. I think this is what I admire most in her.

As a Memphian, a woman and a person who has worked in politics for a very long time, I have nothing but the utmost admiration for a woman who was right there at the center of the struggle, went on to run a campaign to elect the first African-American Mayor of Memphis, protected the young children who were there in the first moments of integration and held so many people captive with her words.

We are Memphis and if we really want to honor a woman who did so much for us, we need to pick up that torch and carry on in her name and the names of those who came before her. So here is my suggestion: the next time you hear someone say something negative about our city, tell them the story of Maxine Smith and what she did to improve where she lived and thus where we all live. Keep her spirit alive by keeping our city alive. We owe it to her.

Godspeed, Maxine.

Friday, April 26, 2013

If you're in the mood for burlesque, tonight's your night!

So, maybe some of you aren't going Downtown for the LUVGLO and you want something a little different. Well, tonight, there is another Sock It To Me Burlesque show at Newby's. Doors at 9!

If you've never seen burlesque, you're in for a treat. If you know burlesque, but you haven't seen the MEMPHIS burlesque scene, well, then, bigger treat.

Chloe du Bois sets the scene:

We are performing Friday, April 26th, at Newby's, and this time it's a 50's themed show, 'The Sock It To Me Sock Hop'. We are also going to have a 50's themed costume contest with awesome prizes for the winners, like a carriage ride for two downtown, and gift certificates from vendors such as Nip Knacks and Dare Threads Vintage & Art.

Fun! Get tickets here. And here is Chloe du Bois herself from one of their recent performances, doing one of my favorite Gershwin songs: