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August 1, 2009

Michael Jackson and Katerina Witt as Celebrity Spies?

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News this weekend from Germany reveals another aspect of Michael Jackson’s mystique. According to a report from Das Spiegel, Jackson and other western performers were spied on by East German secret police Stasi. According to the news Jackson’s 1988 concert in Berlin was cause for more than a stir from fans there, as the then communist regime was apparently dealing with an already restive East German youth movement. Files from the former East German secret police also suggest that Ice Skating double Gold Medalist Katerina Witt and other stars may have been used in “diverting” attention from Jackson’s and other concerts during this time.

Katarina hosted a concert featuring Brian Adams during this time, which actually did draw some attention away from what were feared to be “influential” performances from the west. Ironically, Katarina gave an exhibition in late 88 in the midst of her Calgary Gold Medal quest featuring none other than Michael’s song Bad. Was this performance the Stasi thumbing its nose at the west and Jackson, declaring who was really bad? The Stasi evidently put forth considerable effort to watch Michael before his concert on 19 June, 1988. The documents obtained also revealed the Stasi’s fear of unrest from young people who apparently intended to listen to the concert from over the Berlin Wall or from in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

Michael’s West Berlin performances of Bad below, reveal a little of the power these celebrities exuded.

katarina spyAt the time of this “Bad espionage” crisis, the LA Times and other newspapers billed the Jackson – Witt performances as something of a match of ideals, calling Michael’s and Katerina’s relative concerts an “East-West battle of the bands”, which according to the numbers of people at each, Katarina and Brian Adams likely won, given there were nearly 3 times as many fans attending Witt’s extravaganza.

Interestingly, in the Winter Olympics of 88 East German athletes won more Gold Medals than the Americans. Talk about a war of the wills! Perhaps the CIA (if they were using stars for democracy) fought a losing battle in this “fact or fiction” cold war.

Below, Katarina’s version of “Bad” before a packed house at the 88 Calgary Olympics

In all seriousness, it is fairly evident that governments play all the cards in the deck when playing “hard ball” for power. However, though Katarina could play Mata Hari pretty well for the East, Michael never did really come off as the James Bond type for me. The real impact Michael had however, cannot be underestimated. This is just another peripheral example of the appeal and power of such personalities.

Michael in Berlin 1988

Michael in Berlin 1988

Michael Jackson and Katerina Witt as Celebrity Spies?

Ivorian villagers claim the body of Michael Jackson, their son and prince

Ivory Coast - Company
décès(223) - Michael Jackson(37) - cérémonie(2) death (223) - Michael Jackson (37) - Ceremony (2)
03/07/2009 08:41:04 | AFP | 03/07/2009 08:41:04 | AFP |

Des villageois ivoiriens réclament le corps de Michael Jackson, leur fils et prince Ivorian villagers claim the body of Michael Jackson, their son and prince

In 1992, Michael Jackson was crowned Amalaman Anoh, named after a former prince of the kingdom En 1992, Michael JAckson est couronné Amalaman Anoh, du nom d'un ancien prince du royaume © AFP In 1992, Michael Jackson was crowned Amalaman Anoh, named after a former prince of the kingdom © AFP


La star de la pop, décédée le 25 juin dernier, avait visité Krindjabo, village ivoirien, en 1992. The pop star, who died June 25 last, had visited Krindjabo, ivoirien village in 1992. il y avait été fait prince et avait souhaité y retrouver ses "racines africaines". there had been prince and had wanted to regain its "African roots". Le village estime qu'il devrait y être enterré, parmi les siens. The village believes that there should be buried among his own.

"Il était notre fils, nous réclamons son corps": les notables de Krindjabo, capitale du royaume du Sanwi (sud-est ivoirien), demandent que Michael Jackson soit enterré dans ce village qu'il avait visité en 1992 et où il avait été intronisé "prince". "It was our son, we call her body" means significant Krindjabo, the capital of the Kingdom of Sanwi (south-eastern Ivory Coast), requested that Michael Jackson is buried in the village he had visited in 1992 and where he was inducted "prince".

"Nous réclamons que son corps arrive pour qu'il soit enterré dignement à Krindjabo", explique Ahissan Nogbou, porte-parole du roi des Sanwi, un royaume des Akan, grand groupe ethnique qui s'étend de la Côte d'Ivoire au Togo. "We demand that his body happens to be buried with dignity Krindjabo," says Ahissan Nogbou, spokesman for the King of Sanwi, a kingdom of the Akan ethnic group which extends from the Ivory Coast in Togo .

Alors qu'aux Etats-Unis l'incertitude règne sur la destination de la dépouille de la star décédée le 25 juin à Los Angeles - l'hypothèse Krindjabo apparaissant toutefois des plus improbables - le notable ivoirien ne veut pas croire que le corps puisse être transféré ailleurs qu'au village. While in the United States there is uncertainty about the destination of the remains of the star who died June 25 in Los Angeles - the assumption Krindjabo appears most unlikely, however - in the Ivory Coast does not believe that the body can be transferred outside of the village.

"Ce serait une honte, car dans la tradition akan un prince est toujours enterré chez lui", fait-il valoir, drapé d'un pagne noir, couleur du deuil, sous le regard du roi Amon N'douffou V qui, selon la coutume, ne parle jamais en public. "It would be a shame, because in the Akan tradition is still a prince buried with him", he argues, draped in a black cloth, the color of mourning, under the gaze of King Amon N'douffou V, according to the custom, never speaks in public.

Le prince couronné The crown prince

Le 13 février 1992, le chanteur de "Thriller", en tournée sur le continent africain, était venu dans ce gros village au coeur de la forêt pour retrouver ses racines africaines. On 13 February 1992, the singer of "Thriller", on tour on the African continent, came in this big village in the heart of the forest to find his African roots.

Tano Koutoua, un planteur octogénaire, faisait partie des notables qui avaient participé à l'événement, sous l'égide du roi précédent, Amon N'Douffou IV. Koutou Tano, an octogenarian farmer, was among the notables who attended the event, under the previous king, Amon N'Douffou IV.

"Son séjour dura 30 minutes. Il avait été couronné Amalaman Anoh, du nom d'un ancien prince du royaume, sous l'arbre à palabres" qui se dresse majestueusement au milieu du village, se souvient M. Koutoua, une photo de la cérémonie à la main. "His stay lasted 30 minutes. He was crowned Amalaman Anoh, named after a former prince of the kingdom, under the palaver tree" that stands majestically in the middle of the village, remembers Mr. Koutou, a photo of the ceremony at hand.

Michael Jackson "avait expliqué à l'assistance que ses origines proviendraient de ce royaume Sanwi, avant de dire merci en langue agni (ethnie locale, ndlr)", raconte-t-il, disant pleurer "un enfant du village". Michael Jackson "was explained to the audience that its origins come from this kingdom Sanwi before to say thank you language agni (local ethnicity, ed)," he says, crying saying "a child of the village".

Collégien à l'époque, Fulbert N'Douba, 30 ans, se rappelle que la superstar avait promis "la construction d'un foyer de jeunes qui devait être une pépinière des vedettes de la chanson". College at the time, Fulbert N'Douba, 30, remembers that the superstar had promised "to build a home for young people who should be an incubator of famous singers.

Las, "le projet n'a pu être réalisé en raison de la politique destructrice des fils du terroir", se lamente Fulbert N'Douba, désignant les quatre hectares de terrain réservés, désormais envahis par les herbes. Las, "the project could not be achieved because of the destructive policy of the son of the soil," laments Fulbert N'Douba designating the four hectares of land reserved, now overgrown with weeds.

Selon lui, l'artiste avait été déçu par la suite de recevoir dans son ranch californien de Neverland, pour évoquer le projet, "une délégation de notables autre que celle qui l'avait accueillie en Côte d'Ivoire". According to him, the artist was disappointed by the result of receiving in his Neverland ranch in California to discuss the project, "a delegation of notable other than that which had greeted in Côte d'Ivoire."

Mort du "fils adoptif" Death of "adopted son"

Pour l'heure, les habitants du village ont décidé cependant de mettre en sourdine leurs querelles pour rendre un hommage princier au "roi de la pop". For now, the villagers have decided however to mute their quarrels to pay a tribute to Prince's "king of pop".

La Mutuelle des originaires du canton de Krindjabo (Amok), association des cadres de la localité, a annoncé mardi la mort du "fils adoptif" dans la rubrique nécrologique du journal pro-gouvernemental, Fraternité-Matin. La Mutuelle des originaires Township Krindjabo (Amok), an association of managers of the resort, announced Tuesday the death of "adopted son" in the obituary section of the pro-government newspaper, Fraternité Matin.

Un comité travaille sur le programme de la cérémonie, qui comprendrait une exposition de photographies et d'oeuvres discographiques dans la grande cour royale. A committee working on the program of the ceremony, which includes an exhibition of photographs and recordings in the great royal court.

L'un des temps forts devrait être une parade de sosies de Michael Jackson sur la place principale du village. A highlight will be a parade of look-alikes of Michael Jackson on the main square of the village. Et une causerie-débat sur "l'influence de l'artiste sur la musique du XXe siècle" réunira journalistes et musicologues. And a talk and discussion on the influence of the artist on the music of the twentieth century "will bring together journalists and musicologists.

Mais malgré l'hommage prévu, les villageois expriment d'une même voix un regret. But despite the planned tribute, villagers express with one voice a regret. "Michael Jackson est mort sans laisser aucun souvenir dans son village", déplore une vieille dame, Thérèse Somian Affala. "Michael Jackson has died without leaving any memory in his village," says an old lady, Teresa Somian slumped.

Prince Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh (prince of Sanwi) will be buried in Côte d'Ivoire

Prince Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh (prince of Sanwi) will be buried in Côte d'Ivoire

APA - Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) - La Côte d'Ivoire s'apprête à organiser des funérailles pour le roi de la pop, Michael Jackson, décédé le 25 juin dernier à Los Angeles, aux Etats Unis. APA - Abidjan (Ivory Coast) - The Ivory Coast is preparing to hold a funeral for the king of pop, Michael Jackson, who died last June 25 in Los Angeles, USA.


La cérémonie, prévue du 31 juillet au 2 août prochains, aura lieu dans le village du Krindjabo, dans le sud-​est de la Côte d`Ivoire, ont annoncé samedi les organisateurs, qui entendent ainsi rendre un dernier hommage à leur « prince Michael The ceremony, scheduled from 31 July to 2 August, will take place in the village of Krindjabo in south-east of Ivory Coast, announced Saturday the organizers, who intend to pay their last tribute to their "prince Michael  Jackson ». Jackson.


« Nous attendons près d'un million de personnes qui viendront d'Afrique, d'Europe et d'Amérique pour rendre cet hommage méritoire au roi de la pop que nous avons intronisé prince en 1992 à la faveur de son voyage en Afrique », explique le président du comité d'organisation, Olivier Kattié. "We expect nearly one million people who come from Africa, Europe and America to make this worthy tribute to the king of pop that we have enthroned prince in 1992 through his trip to Africa" says the chairman of the organizing committee, Olivier Katt.

En visite en Côte d'Ivoire en 1992, Michael Jackson avait été intronisé prince du royaume de Sanwi, dont Krindjabo est la capitale. On a visit Côte d'Ivoire in 1992, Michael Jackson was inducted prince of the kingdom of Sanwi, Krindjabo which is the capital. Or, les princes Sanwi sont toujours enterrés chez eux. But the princes are buried Sanwi home. C'est suivant cette tradition que les notables du royaume vont organiser les funéraires, en dépit de l'absence de sa dépouille qu'ils ont réclamée à sa famille. It is following this tradition that the notables of the kingdom will organize the funeral, despite the absence of the remains they claimed to his family.

La désignation du successeur de Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh (prince du Sanwi), conformément aux us et coutumes, des danses traditionnelles, la projection de films, constitueront les temps forts de ces funérailles. The appointment of the successor to Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh (prince of Sanwi) in accordance with the customs, traditional dances, film shows, will be the highlights of the funeral.

Michael Jackson est décédé le 25 juin dernier à Los Angeles, d'un arrêt cardiaque, à l'âge de 50 ans. Michael Jackson died last June 25 in Los Angeles of cardiac arrest at age 50.

L'Amérique et le monde lui ont rendu un hommage émouvant, le 7 juillet dernier au Staples Center de Los Angeles. America and the world have made him an emotional tribute on 7 July at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Prince Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh of the Anyi Other Funeral

Michael Jackson's other funeral

By John James
BBC News, Krindjabo, Ivory Coast

Villagers attending funeral
The village will be in mourning until a new prince is announced on Sunday

A "funeral" for pop star Michael Jackson has been taking place in the village of Krindjabo, where he was crowned a prince of the Anyi people on a visit to the country in 1992.

The village has been in mourning since his death on 25 June.

The villagers appealed without success to have the body returned, but since his official funeral in Los Angeles they have decided he also needs to be properly buried according to the customs in the Sanwi kingdom.

The village football pitch here has been transformed into a green square surrounded on all sides by tents full of what I guess is around 1,000 people from the village and - like us - from Abidjan to formally say goodbye to one of the biggest pop music stars of the last 50 years.

You may know him as Michael Jackson, but here he is Prince Michael Amalaman Anoh.

One of the organisers of the event, Emmanuel Kassy Kofi, said they had appealed through the international media and the US embassy in Abidjan for Michael Jackson's body to be returned.

Michael Jackson during Ivory Coast visit in 1992
Michael Jackson was enthroned as a "king-in-waiting"

Michael Jackson was enthroned as a king-in-waiting and should normally be buried in a river.

"If for example the Americans or his family permitted for us to bring the body here we'd do what needs to be done," Mr Kofi said.

"We asked for the body - it's for us. It was Michael Jackson himself who tested his DNA and said it'd be good to find his family.

"And by certain signs the King also recognised certain signs that he was part of the dynasty. And the royal seat that the king's sitting on - Michael Jackson sat on it too."

The organisers say his spirit is already here and will be put to rest.

The whole village is in mourning here until Sunday when the successor to Prince Michael Jackson Amalaman Anoh will be announced.

Until then, the party and memorials will continue well into the night.

As Elvis, Robert Patrick wanted to pay tribute, restore 'dignity' to the King : commercialappeal.com

As Elvis, Robert Patrick wanted to pay tribute, restore 'dignity' to the King

By John Beifuss

Saturday, August 1, 2009

For his role as the shape-shifting, Schwarzenegger-slashing android assassin in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," actor Robert Patrick is guaranteed a prominent place in the modern movie hall of fame.

But as entertainment icons go, even the T-1000 can't compare with the character Patrick portrays in the new comic murder mystery, "Lonely Street."

The film's title, which alludes to the lyrics of "Heartbreak Hotel," is the tip-off: In "Lonely Street," Patrick portrays Elvis Presley.

In this case, however, Elvis is a 75-year-old man preparing a surprise comeback after faking his death, hiding out in Albuquerque for three decades (as a reclusive millionaire named "Mr. Aaron"), and giving up prescription drugs and fried peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches for smoothies, wheat-grass shooters and tai chi.

"This is a man that's sure of himself," said Patrick, 50, of his onscreen interpretation of Elvis. "He's confident, he knows who he is, he's got a sense of humor about himself. It's kind of what we all wish would have happened if Elvis had stayed alive. He's making protein drinks and he's a fit man."

He also unwittingly launches a murder investigation when he hires New Mexico-via-Mississippi private eye Bubba Mabry (Jay Mohr, one of the film's producers) to protect him from a zealous tabloid reporter.

To become a gray-haired and somewhat wrinkly but still handsome, easily recognizable and convincing Elvis, Patrick had to spend about five hours in the makeup chair to begin each of his five days of shooting. (The makeup was developed by the famous team of Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, known for their work in "Alien" and "X-Men" movies.) Despite this ordeal, Patrick was eager to star in "Lonely Street" because he wanted to restore "dignity" to Elvis, and not parody or mock the singer, who died on Aug. 16, 1977, at the age of 42.

"That's the most important reason why I did the movie," said Patrick, who shot a scene as Elvis with Mohr several years ago as a teaser to help the producers raise money for the film. "I didn't want to play into any stereotypes. I wanted to do it as a tribute to him.

"I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, I was raised in the South, and I remember Elvis Presley and the impact he had on the people I knew," said Patrick (who said he was speaking on the phone from "my car in a parking lot in Hollywood, California").

"So I felt like I wanted to do it in a way that honored the man, and I also felt like we had a unique opportunity to portray him as what he would have evolved into as a human being, not necessarily where he ended, stuck in time in the '70s."

Said Peter Ettinger, the film's writer and director: "Robert and I were very much on the same page about not wanting it to be too outlandish -- to make it an interpretation of Elvis rather than an imitation."

Often cast as a steely-eyed tough guy in such films as "The Marine" and "Die Hard 2," Patrick already had a professional relationship, so to speak, with Elvis and other Sun Records artists. He portrayed Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, in the 2005 CBS miniseries "Elvis" (with Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Presley); and he was Johnny Cash's daddy, Ray Cash, in 2005's "Walk the Line." (Somebody please cast Patrick in movies about Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, so he can wrap up Sun's entire Million Dollar Quartet.)

The production of "Walk the Line" brought Patrick to Memphis for 15 weeks.

"I really got to immerse myself in the whole Memphis life," he said.

Did he visit Graceland while he was here?

"Hell, yeah. I've done Graceland like three times, and that was before I even knew I was gonna play Elvis.

"I love Elvis, the whole Elvis story, who he is, where he came from. I mean, I've been to his (childhood) house in Tupelo, I've been to his teenage residence in Memphis, that (Lauderdale Courts) public housing apartment. I mean, he was so frickin' cool."

Patrick said he eats barbecue at Rendezvous every year when he passes through Memphis on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, on his way to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where he visits "the troops."

Said Patrick: "I'd love to live in Memphis."

Patrick said he "constantly" watched concert footage of Elvis while shooting "Lonely Street," to "get a concentration of what it must have been like to have been that man. You know, I don't sing, and I've never had the ability to have that many people in the palm of my hand."

For the performance scene at the end of "Lonely Street," Patrick said, "the producers got me this jumpsuit, and I said, 'You're out of your (ever-loving) mind,' I said, '(Forget) that.' I said, 'I want to see the guy in an elegant suit, like Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett.' He's a 75-year-old man, and there's an elegance to him. Otherwise it becomes a caricature."

Patrick said he's disappointed "Lonely Street" didn't get a theatrical release, but he believes it will find appreciative viewers on DVD. "I want this project to get as wide an audience as possible. I'm really proud of what I did, and I'd really like for people to see it."

As Elvis, Robert Patrick wanted to pay tribute, restore 'dignity' to the King : commercialappeal.com

The Rumors Are True!!! Memphis Wrassling Book Out Soon!! via shangrilaprojects.com

The Rumors Are True!!!
Memphis Wrassling
Book Out Soon!!

After four years of research, Shangri-la Projects is thrilled to announce the release of the greatest book on wrestling ever! We give you Ron Hall’s Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling to be released September, 2009!!!

Memphis music historian Ron Hall created a whole audience for the over-the-top Memphis garage rock scene of the ‘60s & early ‘70s with his two books: Playing for a Piece of the Door: A History of Garage & Frat Bands, 1960-1975 and The Memphis Garage Rock Yearbook as well as two compendium CD’s. The compilation CD’s gathered unbelievably rare lost 45 gems from many of the bands featured in the books. Not only did the books break all garage rock book sales records, they also revitalized the historic Memphis garage rock scene and helped many of the bands re-form 35 or 40 years later!

Now Hall has turned his attention to the also-amazing Memphis wrassling world — pre-cable, bleached hair, and steroids–with a new book Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling to be published by Shangri-La Projects in September, 2009. Memphis wrassling WAS the roots and forerunner of the WWF and the WWE. Many of the giants of the corporate cable wrestling world first wrestled in Memphis–including Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Hart, Lance “Banana Nose” Russell, and many others. But before Lawler, in Memphis, there was Sputnik Monroe, Jackie Fargo, Don and Al Greene, Tojo Yamamoto, and Plowboy Frazier. Why do you think Andy Kaufman put his multi-million dollar career as a comedian and actor on hold? To come be a part of the greatest wrassling territory in the U.S., of course (and to wrestle Memphis women as well!)

Hall’s book captures the insanity of the ring and the outrageous costumes and get-ups of the wildest and most original wrestling era. The book contains over 400 images of wrestlers, programs, advertisements, and other Memphis wrassling ephemera. Any professional wrestling fan must own this book!

If that is not enough, the King of Memphis, Jerry “The King” Lawler adds his thoughts about early Memphis wrestling in the book’s introduction! But, wait, there’s more…

Additionally, Hall’s book includes some of the most amazing early 1950s never-before-published live action Memphis wrestling photos from the Robert Dye, Sr. collection.

And, like all crazy releases from Shangri-la Projects, this book comes with still even more: a cd of rare recorded gems from Sputnik Monroe, Handsome Jimmy Valiant, & Len Rossi–among others!!!!

This book is a must-have for any & all wrestling fans. Read more about it at Ron Hall’s Early Memphis Wrestling Blog.

Available September, 2009! Order yours now & it will ship before your neighbors get it!


Memphis Goons’ long-awaited Peppo release is now available on itunes! Call up your friends at Apple, ask for the Memphis Goons newest & greatest, & download away!

Peppo, now available worldwide.  Goons' fans unite around the ipod!

Peppo, now available worldwide!



Check out Nashon in this week’s $5 Cover Amplified!


Well, the $5 Cover bomb landed all around Shangri-la Projects last night! Twas Craig Brewer’s best production to date, shot in mid-town/downtown Memphis last summer, weaving Memphis musicians’ soap opera lifestyles throughout their day jobs, live gigs, & personal daily lives. The “acting” was surprisingly very good in most cases for what most would agree were acting debuts by Memphis musicians (Granted every one of the musicians have “performed” in public before this so they are not new to showbiz, but only a couple of times during the series did things fall off into cheesy dialogue/bad indie film acting territory). Memphis looked great visually and sounded tasty musically. Overall, $5 is a massive improvement over the very disappointing, unfortunately cast/written/directed/acted and farcical Black Snake Moan (although the rootsy soundtrack saved the day for that flick!) and better than the interesting and edgy Hustle and Flow. Standouts are Al Kapone, who comes off larger-than-life on the big screen; Packy, the erstwhile dope-smoking scene keeper of the flame recording engineer played by Jeff Pope; Patti Pistol, who plays the bitchy boss foil to Amy LaVere (ironically, in real life, they work together at Sun Studio!); & Claude, Packy’s curmudgeonly tough-talking landlord turned Memphis music mogul.

Enough movie critiquing, let’s move some units, to paraphrase Stephen Colbert. Let’s laser in on the Shangri-la Projects’ connections in this mini-series debuting nationally tonight on MTV and playing for the next month. Let’s start with producer Scott Bomar, who was Shangri-la Records’ employee of the month June, 1996, as part of the crack crew that set sales records that still stand on the books today. Bomar has become quite the producer and studio maven working with Brewer on all of his successes since the P& H days. In addition to producing the series, Bomar composed, performed, and selected many of the tracks. (If there was a small flaw with this show, perhaps giving Muck Sticky three songs was at least one too many…).

Roy Berry makes many appearances in $5 Cover playing himself, drummer for Lucero and looking more and more like Animal all the time. Most Lucero fans—and there are tons of them and many more to come with their new tour and recently cut record at Ardent coming out soon—do not know that before the massive success of Lucero, Roy produced and recorded some of the best indie rock in Memphis in the early ‘90s. Specifically Berry recorded the 1st groundbreaking record by the Grifters, So Happy Together, (“a brilliant pastiche of noise”) at the now infamous Shops of Ann Adler where Dave Shouse and Stan Gallimore worked and the band practiced and recorded at night (as well as drove their flowershop van all over the country on tour!). In addition Roy produced and drummed for the Simple Ones Worth the Weight and 2 Cups for a Tale. Both have genius pop moments throughout and Worth the Weight is like a greatest hits of the first few years of this very popular early ‘90s indie rock group. Kudos to Roy, and the Roy Army, for all his silver screen success. Lucero fans: start stocking up on Simple Ones downloads, 45s, & cds today at your neighborhood Apple download center! Let the buying begin!

As a corollary to the Roy Berry story, many of the $5 scenes were shot across the street from Shangri-la Records at Rakapolis where legions of Memphis musicians including Jeff Evans,

Jeff Evans, the Mayor of Rakapolis & the godfather of Memphis Garage Rock!

Jeff Evans, the Mayor of Rakapolis & the godfather of Memphis Garage Rock!

Nick El Diablo, Roy Berry, Tripp Lamkins, Jack Yarber, & Brent Shrewsbury (“Nic”) have lived and recorded—including 2 Cups for a Tale as well as friend of the label Jeff Evans‘ late ‘90s yet to be released Memphis garage bonanza compilation.

Former Shangri-la Records co-conspirator and ordering guru Eric Friedl’s Goner Records was feted with many t-shirt and sticker sightings as well as label stars like Harlan T. Bobo featured. There was even one obscure Oblivians t-shirt appearance!

Cody Dickinson (as well as $5 Cover drummer/lover Paul Taylor), featured on Gutbucket’s “Where’s the Man with the Jive”–one of the rarest 7”s manufactured & distributed by Shangri-la Projects, has a small role as a musician/engineer trying to implore the voluptuous & flirtatious Clare to “be sexy” on a record.

The biggest surprise to Shangri-la Projects’ fans (present company included!) was the amount of screen time given to Antenna Shoes star Tim Regan, who was wearing an Antenna Shoes shirt on-screen. The Antenna Shoes also received an on-screen recommendation for Antenna Shoes’ drummer Paul Taylor to hook up with Amy LaVere in the plot. Antenna Shoes’ Nashon, Luke, & Steve Selvidge were also given massive airtime on stage with Amy LaVere, Two Way Radio, and my favorite joke of the whole series.. Snowballs, er, Snowglobe. In fact, Snowglobe, which is basically the non-touring version of Antenna Shoes, played and starred in the climactic final episode scene. Millions of $5 Cover fans can now discover the majesty of the great Antenna Shoes Generous Gambler. Ladies & gentleman, let the downloading begin now!

All in all, $5 Cover is a great promotion for many of these bands, Memphis, & Shangri-la Projects’ artists! Thanks to Craig Brewer and Scott Bomar for helping Shangri-la Projects get these musicians the recognition and sales they deserve. MTV & MTV fans, time to enjoy some down-home Memphis music!

P.S. I went out to two live Mid-Town clubs to catch some great Memphis music after the world premiere–one was $7 cover and the other was $10 cover. $5 cover is ancient history!!!!


You can’t keep a good band down! The Memphis Goons, who never really went away, are returning for their first album in 10 years, and their last album from 30 years ago! Peppo!

The Memphis Goons came of age 10 years after the U.S. garage-rock phenomenon and 20 years before grunge. Recording between 1968 and 1974, the Memphis Goons were largely ignored by their fellow Memphs musicians, and likewise the Goons ignored their neighborly influences of the time–Elvis, Al Green, Alex Chilton. They were indeed a clump of crabgrass sprouting in America’s rich musical soil.

The Memphis Goons recorded in the garages and basements of its members—Xavier Tarpit, Wally Moth [Vanilla Frog], Jackass Thompson, and Rover Rollover—literally one mile from Graceland. (After “successful” recording sessions, the band members would often frolic at the entrance of Elvis’ humble abode to piss on its gates). The Memphis Goons managed to ingest all that went down in the ‘60s and subsequently infuse it with the nervous propensity of a youth culture run amuck. Influenced by great garage groups such as The Stooges, The Seeds, and Grand Funk, the Goons piled the rawness of pre-punk on top of replicas inspired by Trout Mask to achieve a noisy synthesis unlike anything in popular music up till then.

The Memphis Goons named themselves after the British radio comedy team, the Goons, as well as Alice the Goon from Popeye comics. Their initials are a tribute to the MG’s of Booker T. fame. The band came from the Memphis suburb of Whitehaven. Every day after school, the group members would gather to create recording projects they were convinced would attract the attention of the music business beyond Shelby County.

That day did occur in 1969 when founder Xavier Tarpit received a personal letter from Frank Zappa on Straight label stationary, praising the recent reel of tape the band had submitted. With this inspiration, the Goons floundered forward, their dream of suburban escape nearing closer with every revolution of the tape reel.

The nut of the the Goons’ musical genius is the so-called ecstatic monkey wrench. Just when a song seems so out-of-tune or so chaotic that it is about to collapse, it comes together in an epiphany of adolescent abandonment. There are hundreds and hundreds of hours of these documented songs, with many of them only now surfacing and reaching the light.

The Goons’ projected output of albums were all sequenced, arranged, and packaged as if they were destined to be major releases, including intricate liner notes and surrealistic scrawling. In the fall of 1996 the brave Memphis label, Shangri-la Projects, Memphis’ most beloved record label, released the Memphis Goons’ first full-length CD Teenage BBQ from this treasure trove of material–a kind of “greatest hits.” The album became an instant underground success with over 50 positive reviews in online and print publications all over the world. Rolling Stone’s Alt-Rock-A-Rama called it “One of the greatest garage recordings of the 20th century!” Thurston Moore said of the Goons: “The Memphis Goons are this fantastic American rock ‘n roll story.” Fans of the then-current lo-fi sound loved the Memphis Goons and recognized their clear sense of purpose and astounding commitment to the garage sensibility. Suddenly it was apparent that the Memphis Goons were the missing link between garage-rock and the Sex Pistols’ brand of punk. Indeed.

Although the Memphis Goons practiced and recorded constantly, they never got a chance to play live, except once when they were pelted with rocks and bottles by neighborhood kids in their backyard. Therefore, Shangri-la Projects gave them that opportunity on the first day of spring in Memphis in 1998 at the 10 year anniversary of the Shangri-la Record store. There, they gave a highly successful performance, and although the members were 25 years older, the band’s aural madness moved garage rawness to an even further edge. From that moment, the Goons developed a strong base of loyal fans that continues to this day.

So, get your paypal accounts out and get ready to download some digital Peppo, as the Memphis Goons’ reissue series begins May 5th, 2009, in your favorite corner digital download store all over the world. It’s been a great year for the recording industry: 1st Bruce Springsteen, then U2, &, finally now, the long-awaited return of the Memphis Goons to save the music biz!

This Memphis Goons reissue series is dedicated to Rover Rollover, the Goons’ longtime manager & confidant extraordinaire, who passed away in January, 2009. Rover Rollover, wherever you are, the Goons miss you a whole lot!

Flyer Flashback | Flyer Flashback | Memphis Flyer

Flyer Flashback 

To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

Jerry Lawler
  • Jerry Lawler

Jerry Lawler may never break the tights barrier to become Memphis' first wrestling mayor, but his place in entertainment history is assured. On July 24, 1997, Flyer writer Jim Hanas put Lawler's most famous nemesis, funny man Andy Kaufman, on the cover. His story "The Comedian and the King" was a meditation on the night in 1982 when Lawler smacked and allegedly injured Kaufman on Late Night with David Letterman.

"There had been a plan, but Kaufman getting smacked wasn't part of it," Hanas wrote. "They were supposed to show footage of Lawler injuring Kaufman with an apparently vicious pile-driver move at the Mid-South Coliseum ... . Lawler was to apologize for the injury; and then Kaufman was to burst into a rendition of 'What the World Needs Now is Love.'" But that's not what happened. Lawler hammered Kaufman, Kaufman threw coffee on Lawler, and a lot of words got bleeped.

"You can see it in Andy's eyes and you can see it in Letterman's eyes," Lawler said of the moment when he hit Kaufman. "It's like, what's wrong with this guy? Why ain't he doing what we all said we were going to do?" The incident, named by the Museum of Radio and Television as one of the top 100 moments in the history of television, marks professional wrestling's jump from niche sport to lucrative mainstream entertainment. It's also the big bang of fake reality programing and everything from Jerry Springer to the comedy-meets-reality antics of Stephen Colbert and Sacha Baron Cohen owes a debt of gratitude to Lawler.

In 2007 Lawler told the Flyer that if Kaufman were still alive he would have been asked to induct the King into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Flyer Flashback | Flyer Flashback | Memphis Flyer

Graduation | Music Features | Memphis Flyer

Graduation 

Girls rock campers made good: Those Darlins' charming debut.

Those Darlins

Those Darlins

It's fitting that that the Murfreesboro trio Those Darlins will play Memphis on the tour supporting their much-raved-about debut album the same week that the first Delta Girls Rock Camp will be held at the Hutchison School.

Kelley Darlin, the blond, bass-playing member of the roots-pop trio, founded the Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp (SGRRC) while a student at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, and then expanded the camp to Memphis as the organization's executive director, first at the Gibson Guitar Factory and then at Hutchison.

Kelley stepped down as SGRRC's director this year when her band began to tour frequently, and, under new leadership, SGRRC decided to pull back its Memphis presence, but has assisted locals — including musicians Angela Horton and Kate Crowder and artist Sheri Bancroft — in forming a Memphis-based counterpart, the Delta Girls Rock Camp, which starts July 27th.

The original SGRRC in Murfreesboro was also the genesis of Those Darlins, according to guitarist Jessi Darlin. After Kelley, as a college freshman, founded the camp for girls ages 10-17, Jessi, then a junior-highschooler from nearby Nolan, Tennessee, was an attendee. Jessi continued to attend the camp for several years, even after moving to Kentucky, and later met the band's third member, ukelele-playing Nikki Darlin, who visited the camp with a friend who was volunteering. (The bandmates have adopted the group surname, Ramones-style.)

"I was talking about moving to Murfreesboro because I wanted to start a band and play with people," Jessi says. "At that time, we'd moved to Kentucky and lived out in the middle of nowhere, so I didn't know anyone who wanted to play music."

With Nikki also relocating to Murfreesboro from Nashville, the pair became roommates, introducing each other to faves from the Carter Family (Jessi) and Woody Guthrie (Nikki) and playing music together. Soon, Kelley joined up and the band was born.

Those Darlins, the band's recently released debut, is rooted in old-timey acoustic country sounds, with all three band members playing stringed instruments and swapping or sharing vocals. The band deploys this style with gusto, charm, and an utter lack of the self-righteousness that plagues so many (mostly male) alt-country types. But the band's musical range extends beyond early country. Strummy acoustic guitars pour out over rough-and-tumble, slapdash percussion (credited instrument: "belly slaps"), while twangy lead vocals lead into girlishly modern group choruses.

The opening "Red Light Love" is early rock-and-roll that evokes Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. "DUI or Die" has a girl-group swing. The band takes the Carter Family's "Who's That Knockin' at My Window" and converts it into classic-rock, with heavy drums and a menacing opening guitar riff.

Thoughout, the band plays with Southern imagery. "Whole Damn Thing" opens with the confession, "I got drunk and I ate the chicken." "Glass to You" sets this scene: "Sitting here on the front porch of my little house in the country, sittin' here with nothing to do."

Though Nikki's snarling "Wild One" comes off as the band's statement of purpose, Jessi's "Snaggletooth Mama" is the band's most intensive deployment of the Southern iconography that some mock and others romanticize.

"I live so far out down the country roads/There ain't nothing for hours/By the time I get back from the grocery store/The milk's already gone sour," Jessi sings. "Well the mechanic say my pickup ain't doing so hot, but it sounds pretty good to me/It may be old and it may be rundown, but it can still climb the hills of Tennessee." Surveying the scene, Jessi concludes, "Between the midnight kisses and front-porch sittin', I love my backwoods life."

While the song sounds like a loving but sarcastic bit of band self-mythology, an exaggerated take on their house-sharing life in "backwoods" Murfreesboro, it turns out that the song — one of the band's first — was instead inspired by Jessi's out-of-the-norm upbringing.

"I grew up in the middle of nowhere in this old house in the country," Jessi says. "My parents were both artists, and we were really poor at the time. The woman who owned the house let us live there for free if we'd mow her mother's yard. We fixed it up and lived there, but for a while we didn't have electricity or water. We lived half a mile from Lake Cumberland, and we'd go swimming there. That was our bath. It was a crazy way to grow up. Being as young as I am, most people don't have that experience. At that time we pretty much had nothing but each other, but we had a really good time. We would just hang out and do creative things. I learned to play guitar. We had animals and gardened. We would just be a family, and I really cherish that time in my life."

After self-consciously avoiding the trappings of "redneck" and "hillbilly" stereotypes in high school, Jessi says that traveling began to change her view.

"I started to really appreciate some of the people who had been supportive of me that other people would consider backwoods hillbillies. So I wanted to write something that [had an] 'I'm proud to be from the middle of nowhere' [attitude], about being satisfied with yourself and happy with what you're doing and where you're coming from. I didn't think the country was going to hear it. I was just happy to have another song that was ours to play."

Graduation | Music Features | Memphis Flyer

» Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling

Record Label

Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling

Memphis historian Ron Hall spent over four years documenting the insanity of Memphis wrestling from the early 1950s until the late 1970s--from Sputnik Monroe to Jackie Fargo to Jerry Lawler, Plowboy Frazier, & Tojo Yamamoto and everyone in between! Released September, 2009, Hall's coffee table paperback book captures the beautifully wild wrestling action from Ellis Auditorioum and the Mid-South Coliseum to other wrestling hotspots around the Mid-South. See all the crazy costumes, get-ups, and angles of the wildest and most original wrestling era! The book contains over 400 images of wrestlers, wrestling programs, wrestling advertisements, and other Memphis wrassling ephemera. Longtime King of Memphis wrestling, Jerry "the King" Lawler adds his two cents about Memphis wrestling in the book's introduction.

The book also includes a must-have bonus cd with some of wrestling's rarest music tracks from Sputnik Monroe, Jackie Fargo, Len Rossi, & Handsome Jimmy Valiant! Any professional wrestling fan must own this book! No jabronis allowed!

Available September, 2009. Order yours now & be the 1st on your block to own this essential piece of wrestling history! Book price is $25.00 plus $3.00 shipping in the U.S.

For foreign shipping, email for price.

Price: $28.00

» Sputnik, Masked Men, & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling

segway dismount

Animations of people falling off Segways
bestgifever
I have a Segway rant about how stupid they are on my writings page.
http://homepage.mac.com/joester5/art/index.html

How to avoid Gmail's Sponsored Links - About Gmail

How to avoid Gmail's Sponsored Links

Are you a Gmail user, or do you have friends who are? Do you resent the "Sponsored Link" advertisements that come up next to the incoming mail? Now you and your friends can do something about it!

The solution is simple, when sending an email to a gmail user include a sentence or two that mentions catastrophic events or tragedies. Google does not use humans to read your email, only computers. These computers search for keywords that trigger the advertisements, however, if they hapen to find a catastrophic event or tragedy Google errs on the side of good taste and removes the ads altogether.

You may want to make mention of what you are doing so the recipient is not alarmed by your sudden Tourette's-like outburst. You can link to this site by way of explanation if need be.

Before

After

Of course, Google still slips in some non-generative ads too, just for good measure.

UPDATE - Turns out, these are not ads either but "Web Clips" which you can turn off in preferences so the dream of ad free gmail lives!

UPDATE 2 If the message runs long google turns the ads back on, however, if you add another "sensitive" word they go off again. After extensive testing I've discovered you need 1 catastrophic event or tragedy for every 167 words in the rest of the email. I usually toss in a couple extra for good measure.

I've been told by an early adopter that the very elegant and self explanitory "These words are designed to kill advertisements" works wonderfully.


Targeted ads in Gmail

All major free webmail services carry advertising, and most of it is irrelevant to the people who see it. Some services which compete with Gmail attempt to target theirs ads to users based on their de mographic profile (e.g., gender, income level or family status). Google believes that showing relevant advertising offers more value to users than displaying random pop-ups or untargeted banner ads. In Gmail, users will see text ads and links to related pages that are relevant to the content of their messages. The links to related pages are similar to Google search results, and are culled from Google's extensive index of web pages. They are selected solely for their helpfulness and are not paid advertisements.

Ads and links to related pages only appear alongside the message that they are targeted to, and are only shown when the Gmail user, whether sender or recipient, is viewing that particular message. No email content or other personally identifiable information is ever shared with advertisers. In fact, advertisers do not even know how often their ads are shown in Gmail, as this data is aggregated across thousands of sites in the Google Network.

By offering Gmail users relevant ads and information related to the content of their messages, we aim to offer users a better webmail experience. For example, if you and your friends are planning a vacation, you may want to see news items or travel ads about the destination you're considering.

To ensure a quality user experience for all Gmail users, we avoid showing ads reflecting sensitive or inappropriate content by only showing ads that have been classified as "Family-Safe." Gmail's filters also block ads from running next to messages about catastrophic events or tragedies, erring on the side of not displaying an ad if the content is questionable.

Many people have found that the search-related ads on Google.com can be valuable--not merely a necessary evil, but a welcome feature. Similarly, many users have told us that they have found Gmail's ads and related pages to be helpful, because the information reflects their interests.

Prom Night in Mississippi Clips

In 1997, Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman made an historic offer to the high school in his hometown of Charleston, Mississippi: He would foot the bill for the school's senior prom—on condition that both black and white students be allowed to attend. Even though the students shared classes and every other aspect of school life, Charleston High had a tradition of holding two proms—one white, one black. Freeman's offer was ignored. In 2008, he made it again. This time, the school accepted and history was made, but not without significant opposition. PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI tells the highly entertaining and ultimately hopeful story of the fallout from Freeman's offer, as senior students of Charleston High rally in preparation for the school's first-ever integrated prom.

Visit http://www.promnightinmississippi.com
Category: Entertainment
Tags:
morgan freeman segregated prom night mississippi sundance

Pirates of the Flats Trailer

Trailer for the upcoming fishing series Pirates of the Flats which will air on ESPN2 in January. The show stars Tom Brokaw, Michael Keaton, Thomas McGuane, Yvon Chouinard, Lefty Kreh and Val Atkinson as they fish for bonefish in the bahamas.
Category: Entertainment
Tags:
pirates of the flats bonefish bonefishing fishing bahamas salt flats Michael Keaton Tom Brokaw Lefty Kreh Yvon Chouinard Thomas McGuane Val Atkinson

Great American Imagists

Welcome to the National Museum of American Illustration, where artworks from the Golden Age of American Illustration and from other eras, are presented in the Gilded Age architectural frame of Vern...

TIM HAMILTON AW09

LISSIE TRULLIE 'SELF-TAUGHT LEARNER'

Eudora Welty Thinks A Lot of Anne Tyler, Not Much of The New Yorker 1981

@mrjyn Twitter Digest for Friday, July 31, 2009 (GMT) @nichopoulouzo visualguidanceltd.blogspot.com

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