Thursday, December 20, 2007

Now in Living Color

Here's the first of the video's I took of the best Christmas lights in town:

Rudolph here is one of seven songs in the set. I've got video of four or five of them that I'll upload as time permits.

More video --

I've got at least one more to post.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Best Christmas Lights in Town

I don't care if you only wander outside the parkways once a year, the lights on this house are very seriously worth the detour from your annual trip to Wolf Chase (or most anything else for that matter).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Save the Date: Tomorrow

I meant to post about this earlier, but I got too wrapped up in my own stuff. If you get the chance, tomorrow at noon, there is a film lecture (part of a series put on by the College Honors program) being held in the Farris Auditorium at the Macon Cove Campus of Southwest Tennessee Community College.

From the news release about it:

Dr. Jack Barbera, English professor at the University of Mississippi, will give a presentation entitled Use of Static Space: The Vertigo Shot. He teaches film at the university. All students, faculty and staff, and the general public are invited – there is no charge; just bring your lunch and enjoy.
Parking is a little weird because of construction (see map linked above), so you might want to get there a few minutes early if you can.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Feeling Like Arse

I had every intention of writing about the transformative experience that was my trip back to Nashville, but I'm frankly too messed up on sinus medication to properly spell the word transformative without the aid of a spell checker. Maybe when my sinuses become convinced that I'm not the devil, I can tell you about it.

In the mean time, I'm posting the audio of Dave Hickey's lecture at MTSU. The recording was made with the rather crappy mic on my PDA because it's all I had with me in Nashvegas. The content is well worth the horrible audio (but if you know who he is, you probably already knew that).

Here you go. (1hr 8min MP3 audio - 27.6MB)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Desparately Seeking Star Trek

So it turns out that of all of the places in the country showing the remastered double TOS episode The Menagerie on the big screen, Memphis doesn't qualify. Nashville gets three screens. Jesus even Knoxville and !@#$ing Little Rock are getting screenings?!? Little !@#$ing Rock!!!!!

On the plus side, I finally got to see the inside of Metalworks tonight.

UPDATE 11/04:
Forget the Trek. We're getting Emmet Otter. DIY wins again!

(And no, I'm not being snarky. I'm seriously so excited I'm having to restrain myself from waking Amber up to tell her.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Towards the new Rhetoric of Purity

So I went to the U of M open studio and saw a lot of fantastic work by some really cool people. That is not why I'm sitting here writing this.

I actually heard an artist foist up and defend the position that of course oil painters are naturally better than acrylic painters because ones choice of medium is dictated by ones level of skill. In other words, oil painters are better painters, hence they paint in oil.

The whole time he's talking I'm just thinking to myself, "Go ahead and say what you mean: Oil is the one true medium."

Random Notes on Upcoming Events

Just a few quick notes:

  • There is the possibility of us getting a real jazz club in Memphis. Please, please, please god, let this happen. (Via Mediaverse)

  • The Lantana Projects will be holding their Class of '07 show on November 17. I can't find a location listed, but I'll post it when I find out.

  • It's a little short notice, but in case you haven't heard, the MFA students at the University of Memphis are holding an open studio night, tonight from 5:45 to 7:45.

  • For those of you into this sort of thing, mark your calendars early for the Geminid meteor shower, which peaks December 14. It should be a particularly good show this year and the last one for a while, since all of the major showers next year will peak against unfavorable phases of the moon.
Also, I've never said it here so it's worth posting now I suppose (even though if you're actually reading this on my blog page, it's directly to the right). I haven't really fallen off the face of the earth . Most of my day to day kind of stuff, probably more than you ever need to know, I'm posting to my Twitter Feed (here it is in RSS if you're geek like me).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Surfacing (Meta-Blogging) or "Blog Inaction Day"

As seen at the Problem Properties Collaborative:

Monday, January 21, 2008 will be the 22nd national King Holiday, a Day of Service in remembrance of Dr. King’s lifelong commitment to his fellow man. This year, Volunteer Memphis/Hands On Memphis will host the 8th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Summit on Service, a series of events designed to serve as a starting point for meaningful volunteer action and community engagement. Projects will last from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on January 21. Attached you will find additional information and the application for volunteers.

I missed "blog action day" by an hour or 24... but still... go do [PDF].

Monday, September 24, 2007

Surfacing (momentarily)

I heard today from a fairly reliable source that the Medicine Factory is closing up shop. I can't say I'm particularly surprised (my cynicism knows no bounds), but god what a shame...

Monday, June 11, 2007

On spamming my own blog

This is not a Pipe - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Seriously, I couldn't help it... I ordered this shirt within moments of getting the reprint notification. Yay for conspicuous consumption! Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Putting our mouth where our money is

So regardless of what the Commercial Appeal says, apparently the top of Memphis' agenda is street paving and a boat dock. One of these two things I don't have a problem with.

Actually, it's not fair to say that I have a problem with the idea of improving the landing (despite my vitriolic first response for those of you who saw it). I have a problem with *this* plan to improve the landing. I could spend a good 1500 words going into detail but there's not a hell of a lot of point now and besides, it's already been said better.

There are those who say that our expenditures are a clear indication of our priorities. If the City Council represents the will of the people (which is how it works in theory), where was the big public outcry in support of the Beale Street Landing? People around here seem pretty worried about crime, but the council only gave the police force additional funds equal to less than half of this years allotment for the Landing. Does this mean that 120% more Memphians are worried about a commercial boat dock than are worried about crime? Something tells me the answer is no.

If we want to take this as a spin on "we want to work on something positive rather than just throwing money after a negative" we can take a look at another potentially large capital improvement that was on the city council's agenda: the Wolf River Greenway. Despite its broad and vocal public support from a wide cross section of the population, its funding was cut to less than half of what was proposed (which incidentally is 4% of what the boat dock is getting). Again, where is the overwhelming public support for the Beale Street Landing Project? Proportionally this means that somewhere there must have been a public rally with enough people to fill the FedEx Forum, all cheering at the idea of this modernist travesty of a commercial boat dock getting tacked onto downtown.

Wait, you mean that didn't happen? Well then why all the public money?

Oh right. This is Memphis. What developers want, developers get. The rest of us can beg for scraps.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Random Notes on a Monday

  • It's been a long time since Amber and I had a good solid argument about a piece of art, but the show at DLG on Friday made up for that. The crux of it came down the nature of objectification versus the rhetoric of technique. If you saw the show, you probably know exactly the painting we were discussing. Tangentially, I think it was a nice little visual joke to hang the boob next to the boobs... or maybe it's just me.

  • Even more tangentially, I'm not sure how I lived in Memphis this long and never knew the name Wayne Edge (apparently he's been here forever) but I was rather smitten with the thingness of his work. It will go on my list of things to acquire when I win the lottery/get a grownup job.

  • Somebody cut down all the trees on the street next to my office. I'm not the worlds biggest fan of Bradford pears, but Sweet Christ did they really have to remove the last vestiges of shade in this neighborhood. They made a nice break from the heat walking back up the street for lunch. Oh well, I suppose I'll just have to learn to cherish my now unimpeded view of the 5 acres of empty !@#$ing asphalt...

  • Also, Chris Peck on the Wolf River Greenway and Mediaverse-Memphis responds (about half way down the post).
UPDATE: I'd been wondering what was with all the Greenway news in the last few days, well apparently tomorrow's the vote...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

With the promise of more to come...

Not the same project that I was writing about before, but tangentially related:

This certainly seems like a bit of good news.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Save the Date: Terra Groundbreaking

Demonstration House Groundbreaking Ceremony: Terra

June 12 (Tue), 9:30 am
NE corner of N Main & Greenlaw
RSVP 901-678-5669
Center for Sustainable Design

More information here [pdf]

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why yes, I am in a bad mood... thanks for asking.

So I'm reading this interview with the MATA planning director Tom Fox by Tim over at "I'll meet you at the Station" and I got distracted by a number. Tim apparently solicited questions from his readers (bravo for crowd-sourcing), and put together a really solid list of questions for Mr. Fox.

The general theme of the answers came in the form of "we're working hard but we need more money." This didn't come as any great shock to me; I work for the state. Budgets are tight all around and I get that, but then Mr. Fox actually quoted a dollar figure.

The thing standing in the way of the Cordova/Downtown light rail line is $17 million dollars. Our mayor wants to piss away $175 million dollars of our tax money for a football stadium in a city that already cocked up its bid for a professional football team and has been thoroughly screwed on the other two professional sports venues built here and you mean to tell me that the only thing standing in the way of this desperately needed bit of public transit is a measly $17mil?

And before somebody takes me to task for the "desperately needed" bit because they think people in the 'burbs all suck, I've got to get something off my chest: I'm sick to death of this "us versus them" crap between the inside-the-parkways crowd and everybody else in the MSA. Cordova and Collierville need downtown and downtown needs Cordova and Collierville, no matter how much both sides resent it. If Memphis were doing as well off from the Midtowners' money as they and their never ending stream of press releases would have us believe, then Main Street after dark would look like Vegas and not a pan handlers convention.

That said, do I wish there were less sprawl? Of course I do, but I also wish I had a tree that grew gold bricks... fat lot of good that's doing. We have to work together starting with the Memphis that's here, not the Memphis we wish we had.

In his critique of this notion of the Creative Class that we're supposed to be attracting in droves and that will apparently pave the streets in platinum and make jewels fall from the sky, a good friend of mine brought up the point of what he called "legacy Memphians." His point being that, ok fine, we bring all these super hip people here with all their super hip techno VC and the people who are already here and broke are still here and broke. WTF are we supposed to do for them?

(Speaking of critiques, if you haven't read fearlessvk's skewering of this myth of the Creative Class go do it now... right now... I mean it... I'll wait...)

But taken a step further, sprawl is also a part of "Legacy Memphis." Ignoring it or making fun of it isn't going to make it go away. We still have to be neighbors after we're done snarking about each other on our blogs.

My foul mood this afternoon aside, I'm not saying there aren't good things happening in Memphis because God knows there are lots of them, but they are having to happen in spite of our divided-and-politically-conquered natures. I freely admit to being a newb (I made 5 years here in December), but Steve Cohen's partisan rant aside, the Charles Jordan talk a few weeks ago was the first time since I've lived here that I felt like I was part of a community that was actually interested in doing something.

And by community, I don't mean Central Gardens, I don't mean Raliegh, I don't mean Hickory Hill... I mean Memphis... all of it.

Like it or not we're all in this together.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Save the Date: Physics, Wright, and Bosch

I promise I will write a real entry soon, but in the mean time:

TONIGHT at 7 p.m. in the Psych Auditorium at the University of Memphis, Alan Lightman will be presenting a lecture entitled "The Physicist as Novelist." From the press release:

"For more than 20 years, the Memphis-born Lightman taught physics and astronomy at Harvard University. He is now an adjunct professor at MIT, where he teaches in the writing and humanistic studies program. Lightman has been recognized for his writing by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has twice been a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in the fiction and non-fiction categories."
THURSDAY, March 1 at 7p.m. in the Meeman Journalism Auditorium, Michael Hatt, head of research at the Yale Center for British Art, will be giving a lecture "Speech and Silence: Richard Wright’s Twelve Million Black Voices." From the Press Release:
"Wright's third book, published in 1941, gives voice to the struggle of black Americans to find a place in a society closed to them. The feelings of the book are intensified by Depression-era photographs by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Arthur Rothstein. The lecture in the Meeman Journalism Auditorium is free and open to the public."
Also THURSDAY at 7, Henry Luttikhuizen, professor of art at Calvin College, will present a lecture "Through Boschian Eyes" Thursday at 7 p.m. at Rhodes College. Again with the press release goodness:
"Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) is noted for his meticulously painted compendiums of monsters and demons meting out grotesque punishments in vast allegorical landscapes lit by hellish fires.Serving both devotional and satirical purposes, Bosch's work, filled with references to folklore and religious symbolism, grew out of the intense social and political tensions of his time. The lecture in the Blount Auditorium of Buckman Hall is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Lillian and Morrie Moss Endowment for the Visual Arts."

For those who may be interested, I've started sharing my events calendar via iCal Exchange. I don't go to everything on there (it would be physically impossible), but I put things on there that I find interesting just to remind myself of what I could be doing if Amber weren't so sick and I weren't working so f!@#ing much.

The iCal file itself is here if you'd like to subscribe to it, and the pretty HTML version is here.

I've also (just as an aside) been thinking of writing a back end system for the software that drives iCal Exchange as sort of a public service so that local organizations could easily syndicate their event dates the way blogs syndicate stuff, but I've got to get out from under my day job first.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Two views of Claus Oldenburg

Here's the other one.

(you can get closer to it in Google earth....)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dancing about Architecture

I'm entirely to tired to say anything sensible about it, but I just wanted to point out a interesting bit of conversation happening over at the Lantana Blog for those of you who haven't seen it. Good stuff, conversation... we need more of it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Roadside Attraction

Originally uploaded by skippytpe.
A quick bit of calculation tells me that I’ve driven in the neighborhood of 2800 miles since Christmas. Some of it was by choice and some of it not, but either way I’m getting a little tired of being on the road. I should only be out of town for one weekend in February. After that, who knows.

This last weekend brought a day trip down to Vicksburg for my grandmother’s 91st birthday; her name is Gladys. The last of her brothers died the week before (something she’s not in good enough health to know yet) and the family decided it’d be nice to convene in Vicksburg for something not depressing. For as good as it always is to see her, a stroke two years ago robbed her of the thing she was probably best known for: the ability to tell stories. Better writers than I have described the art that is the rambling southern narrative, but it’s worth saying here that she was a master at it.

My mom had this superstition that once you record someone’s stories, they pass on. I didn’t buy it, but I often let it stop me when I had the chance to make recordings of Gladys. As a result, I only managed to capture about five of the literally thousands of hours of oral history (her history) that she passed on to me over the years. What remains in my conscious recollections is but the tiniest sliver of an amazing life. The rest is locked away in my grey matter somewhere... hopefully it’ll come back one day.


Last night was the Lucy Lippard lecture at MCA. I know I recommended it here and it was a genuine recommendation (there is no discounting her importance as a voice in art criticism), but I actually tend toward a pretty unsympathetic reading of her work. Maybe it’s just me being catty because she’s made a career out of unsympathetic readings of other people, but listening to this New York intellectual waxing rhapsodic about her love of her (relatively) new found little New Mexican village I was struck by the thought that she was about one bad decision away from a pretty hypocritical bout of cultural imperialism. Or maybe I’m just being an ass.

Either way, she did spend a lot of time talking about place and how one develops a sense of it. Not particularly new ideas, but I think for me right now that’s a idea worth exploring. In the last month I’ve been to nearly all of the places I would have at one point or another called home, but I hardly feel like I’m “from” any of them anymore (or perhaps I’m from all of them, I’m not sure). Lippard quoted someone as saying that you learn about a place by listening to its stories. So much so that places can become so laden with stories that the name of the place comes to stand for the stories rather some location on a map.

I’ve come to believe that the same can be true of people.

Save the Dates: Thursday Night: Lantana Projects and Reuben Lorch-Miller

Copied from their respective press releases:

Lillian and Morrie Moss Endowment for the Visual Arts: Reuben Lorch-Miller
2/1/2007 | 7 p.m. | Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall

Lorch-Miller integrates a variety of media -- text paintings, photography, sculpture, furniture, flags, video, sound, and landscapes -- to compose a cyclical and tangential visual narrative. The images and forms he uses in his installations are often inverted, reversed, reflected, looped or doubled. Themes explored include isolation, fear, power, redemption, and reinvention.
(Net)Working to Grow Something Good in Memphis
How do you start a personal or corporate art collection? Where are there opportunities for artists in Memphis? How can artists and businesses partner to improve our city's vibrancy and economy? Please join us on Thursday, February 1 from 7:00-9:00 pm at Tsunami Restaurant in historic Cooper-Young for the opportunity to discuss these questions and more as you mingle with respected guests from Memphis' cultural community.

Friday, January 19, 2007


The post holiday rush hasn’t slowed down one bit. I keep thinking things will calm down and I’ll have a chance to write, but it doesn’t look like things are going to settle any time soon.

We’ve been in the throws of a redesign at work. The project was supposed to be done by the first of the year but for an uneven mixture of technical and political reasons it didn’t get done in time and is now largely falling to me. It’s been a deeply frustrating process and one I’m very much looking forward to seeing the back of.

This afternoon on my drive home I put on Eric Dolphy’s Last Date. For whatever reason it tends to insinuate itself in time between me and the time that was. A sort of forced perspective that drives back the day. Worth a listen if you get the time.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Save the Dates: Lucy Lippard and Charles Jordan

I found two upcoming dates on my calendar that I wanted to share just in case anybody else hadn’t heard but might be interested.

First, Lucy Lippard will be speaking at MCA on January 30 at 7pm. For those who don’t know her work, Wikipedia has a pretty good biography of her. The short version is that she’s been an fairly important voice in Post-Modern Feminism and art criticism for going on thirty years now. Definitely worth your time to go have a listen.

Second, Friends for Our Riverfront announced this morning that Charles Jordan, Directory of Parks in Portland, is coming to MCA to speak on improving the quality of life in our cities through the better use of our public spaces. The lecture is at 10am on Saturday, February 10. With all of the renewed interest in Memphis’ urban design here recently, this should prove to be a good opportunity to get perspective from someone who’s helped a city get it right.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Where's Kitty?

Where's Kitty?
Originally uploaded by skippytpe.
The author Douglas Adams once said that he absolutely loved deadlines, “I love the wooshing sound they make as the go by.” My return from my all too short holiday vacation (most of which was spent in a Land Without Internet), was greeted with a series of twelve hour work days brought on by just such a deadline. In honor of my being just about fed up with work, however, I’m forcing a break into my morning so that I can write a little:

  • This year marked the first time we’ve hosted my in-laws (or any family for that matter) at our house for the holidays. The experience was a good one, though (or perhaps because) we couldn’t talk them into actually staying with us; they insisted on renting a room. They did so ostensibly for privacy, but I began to suspect it’s because one of them has a cat allergy and just didn’t want to say anything. We really don’t get to see enough of them, especially now that they are scattered all over the Southeastern US because of Katrina.

  • We had to cut our post Christmas trip to Vicksburg short to come back and feed our animals. Our return was fortuitous in one regard, in that we got to meet up with Tim, Liz, and Brooke for a little pre-New Years dinner shindig. I didn’t ask them about their actual New Years plans (and probably should have) but since we had nothing else happening, Amber and I headed back to the Land Without Internet again to stock up on fireworks and make entirely too much noise for that time of night.

  • One of my ropefish committed suicide two nights ago. We’re not sure exactly why he jumped (though the species is known for it), but sometime between 2 in the afternoon and 8 at night, Flotsam made a break for it. A good friend of mine consoled me with the notion that surely it couldn’t have been that bad being one of my fish and I hope she’s right; I’ve resigned myself to the idea that he was just trying to evolve. His tank-mate (the predictably named Jetsam) spent all of yesterday moping near the back of the tank.

  • Warning Geekpost: I updated the Memphis OPML while waiting on my computer to do something else in the background the other day. A few notable additions include Friends for our Riverfront and the Playhouse on the Square. There was a good post on the need for RSS over on Gates of Memphis the other day that’s worth checking out if you’re not already a regular reader (and you should be… good stuff that). He also points out that Live From Memphis finally has an RSS feed (though it’s apparently not quite ready for prime time). As a technology, RSS itself may not be particularly whiz-bang-sexy, but I have to sound a small note of solidarity with the Gates on this: Memphis could definitely use more of it.

After work tonight I’m headed back to Mississippi to take care of some stuff. I’m going to try to swing by the Twin show at DLG before I bail, but we’ll have to see how I feel after getting home and loading up the truck.