Archives for category: Out and About

“…no two people’s maps will be the same.”
Mary Schmich

it’s map time!

The Mississippi is uniquely Southern. So this observation I overhead from a Northerner discussing Southern accents seems appropriate in light of the Mississippi’s recent uprising. Here’s to the river and to the southern accent.

The greenline is special.  But it’s even more special after 3 p.m.  In the late afternoon, the Vollintine and Evergreen stretch of greenline becomes filled with warm sunlight filtering through the trees. Star-shaped honeysuckle petals cover the ground. Distracted children pour out of Snowden Elementary and leave traces of their steps with a trail of flaming-hot Cheetos. And who could miss Rhodes College student Graham Smart’s Big Kids with flower pots sticking out of their heads at the west end of the V&E? Memphis is getting its cool back!

Thanks to the steady revitalization of Broad Avenue and the artistic talents of world recognized French artist Guillaume Alby, Memphis is getting more artsy. If you want to check out Alby’s bold, geometrical work, drive by 2542 Broad Avenue and see some live painting. Alby will be in Memphis for two weeks or so. If vous parlez Français, shout out a ‘Bienvenue’ to Alby, like I did this afternoon. It was a little embarrassing for me (my French is very countrified), but it made him smile.

Nick Redmond is a musical treasure. In an auto-tune, plastic-beauties obsessed world, it was refreshing to see Nick’s worth as an artist, doesn’t depend on the push of a button or some gimmicky physical attribute. Although his über-cool, Samuel L. Clemens inspired mustache is a conversation piece, its coolness doesn’t come close to Nick’s obvious talent and passion for music.

After a few days of playing phone/text tag, I met Nick last Wednesday for a brief interview, in the Memphis Music Room, at Neil’s Bar & Grill in Midtown and witnessed a rising star.

Once inside Neil’s, I kind of felt out of my element, and there was no one to greet me, except a thin layer of cigarette smoke. While maneuvering between odd couples and loners who peppered the restaurant, I looked for my friends. Shout-out to Sarah, the waitress, who helped me navigate the dimly-lit bar to find them. Minutes after I joined Valerie and Khara, I turned around and saw Nick. He sat with us and we began the interview with polite, breezy conversation about Apple’s new iPad and then I launched some hard-hitting questions.

“27. Geez, you are forward. ‘How old are you?’ How many years young are you, that’s the way I like to think of it,” Nick said, after I abruptly asked how old he was moments after glorifying Apple’s latest gizmo. Smooth. I know. Ok, lesson learned: save the indiscreet questions for the end of the interview or text them. I also learned, in addition to being a solo artist, Nick makes up a third of the group Star & Micey (founding members Joshua Cosby and Geoff Smith complete the trio).  For a year and a half, they’ve been playing together and traveling the country. Out of boredom, Nick would often leave work at the renowned and prolific Ardent Recording Studios, also located in Midtown Memphis, and perform at Neil’s during their Artist Round night, where Nick and Joshua first met. Joshua gave Nick a 24-track CD to listen to and the rest is music history.

“I loved all the songs. I thought they were beautiful. I said you should let me produce some songs some time. [We] basically started on an 8 track quarter-inch tape machine, recording simple songs,” he said. “[We] went to Ardent, they liked what was going on, [they] signed the band, and the next thing we knew, they were saying you can make a record in the studio. Which is weird, because I started out helping them in a completely different light and then I ended up, after a certain point, joining the band. I love them so much.”

The chemistry they share as band mates is appreciated, he said.

“We all kind of met in this room and completely, coincidentally, ended up starting, I’d say, one of the (most fun) projects I’ve ever had a chance to be on. I mean, the guys in that band are great. We may not hit all of the right notes, but we get along,” he said.

Congeniality can go a long way in the music biz; it can make or break a band, according to Nick.

“I’ve been in projects for a long, long time, that, you know, we would get to a point and work so hard and then someone’s pride screws the whole thing up,” he said.

Six minutes after our conversation, it was time for Nick to play.  While on stage he acknowledged “some of the most talented musicians” he knew, Rebecca Almond and Jeremy Stanfill. It was a great set of original music by people, undeniably devoted to the art and craft of singing and songwriting. You can see a bit of his performance here. With genuinely talented and animated artists like Nick, it gives us a glimmer of hope that the music industry isn’t dead yet.

Article: KLG
Photo: Valerie Harris

> Thanks Nick for being the first musician featured on this homespun blog. We couldn’t have interviewed a better subject.
Want to hear more music? Check out Nick’s Myspace page here.

Read the rest of this entry »

How could I forget to post this gem of a sound byte I collected from a cab driver while visiting New York City. I tell you, the stories continue to flood from that place, and I wasn’t there a week!

I’ve finally finished my South African Travel blog. If you’d like to check it out, please click here.

Before my voyage to South Africa, I spent a day in New York with friends. My stay was short but sweet. And I stumbled upon the mecca of all French brasseries stateside, Balthazar Restaurant in SOHO on Spring Street. If you love fresh, simple, yet hearty food inspired by French cuisine, you must stop by. Oh yeah, if you’re a java-lover, the coffee at Cranberry’s was delicious, really creamy and rich.


We guzzled beer. Great beer. Beer infused with liquid smoke, beer from Brazil, beer so dark, it came with it’s own event horizon. The standouts for me during Raffe’s Beer Garden & Deli beer tasting: Browar Okocim S.A., a.k.a OK beer, and Old Peculier. They were both slightly sweet, which is why I enjoyed them most. Both are definitely keep-in-stock worthy ales. Jared was keen on the Zingu beer and so was our newfound friend and fellow bar patron Jerry or Jeff or something-or-other. I’m sure Zingu’s a great beer, however, I couldn’t really taste it, my tastebuds were still conversatin’ (yup CONVERSATIN’) with the last drop of OK beer. A few empty solo cups later, we were encouraged to try a beer, according to the hostess Kerryn, that tasted “just like beef jerky.” Indeed, it did. I like smoky, and I like meaty, but those two flavors combined with hops? Not so much. To complement our beer flights, we ate food of the Syrian variety: pita bread, hummus, baklava cigars and something that simulated lamb meat. There was a little Syrian entertainment too in the form of a belly dancer named Liz, who balanced a sword on her head and promised to dance with her pet boa constrictor at the next beer tasting. I am so there. Go Liz! Go Jerry! Go Everybody!

*Ok, the video is pretty dark and there’s at least one scene where the dancer is horizontal, cuz I have a crappy movie maker/editor, long story! You get the idea though.


“Am I in Memphis? It doesn’t smell, doesn’t sound, doesn’t look like Memphis,” I wondered, this Friday, as I visited galleries and shops along Broad Avenue for the 4th annual Broad Avenue Arts District Art Walk. I discovered there are a lot of people who live there, work there on Broad. What a cool gig. There was a comic book art show. You know I love the cartoons. I checked out Odessa, finally. I’m definitely going back and staying longer. When I walked inside I was pleasantly greeted by some beautiful work done by artist Brooke Kanther, she’s a student at MCA. I liked the organic, serpentine, look-and-feel of her artwork. After visiting a few more galleries, I wriggled my way into this crowded room that wasn’t quite a library, wasn’t quite someone’s apartment, and wasn’t quite an exhibit space. And it smelled like old books, which I curiously liked.

It’s so refreshing to see the Arts progressing and being supported here. Could we do more? Abso-freaking-lutely. I see the creative class in Memphis is expanding, and I want to be apart of or support it in any way I can. Memphis will, as a result, become a more diverse and less polarized place to live. The kind of city, I could hang out with, show-off to my friends – a trophy city. The kind of city, that would make my ex-boyfriend jealous. The kind of city, I could whoop-and-holler for during its graduation ceremony. The kind of city, I could cut the crust off of its bread, because I loved it so much.

Next year’s Art Walk, you should come with me.

I have pictures and a small video clip. See.