May 23, 2015 |
'Inspired by actual events" has become one of the more misleading phrases used to push entertainment. In Memphis , now in a musically sensational staging at the Walnut Street Theatre, the claim to a factual basis creates huge dichotomies within the production, and makes a mess of the entire evening. In the 1950s, Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips broke radio's color barrier by becoming one of the first white DJs to play "race music," then a euphemism for rock-and-roll and blues sung by African Americans.
May 18, 2015 |
CLARKSDALE, Miss. - In the 1930s, a mediocre young guitar player stopped at a rural Mississippi crossroads at midnight to sell his soul to the devil. In return, Satan gifted him with wondrous skill. So goes the legend of the real-life Robert Johnson, seminal bluesman - "the master" in worshipper Eric Clapton's words. Today, Johnson's name beckons from roadside markers along a magical meander called the Mississippi Blues Trail. Wending through not only the Mississippi Delta and environs but down through the decades, back more than a century to the birth of the blues, the path was trod as well by Big Joe Williams, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, Johnny Young, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and so many other icons-to-be looking for a way out of the dim-lit, whisky-soaked juke joints and the destitution of the Deep South.
May 15, 2015
AS SIDE projects by rock 'n' rollers go, David Bryan 's is a doozy. Bryan, best-known as the keyboardist for Bon Jovi (and as the lifelong pal/musical sidekick of Jon Bon Jovi ), is cowriter of the hit Broadway musical "Memphis," which runs through July 12 at the Walnut Street Theatre. Considering that "Memphis," which was inspired by the 1950s birth of both the civil-rights movement and rock 'n' roll, was the Central Jersey native's first stab at musical theater, it's tough not to be impressed: The show opened on Broadway in the fall of 2009 and copped four Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score (which Bryan shared with lyricist-author Joe DiPietro )
May 13, 2015 |
POOKIE POWELL, a 6-1 guard from Orlando, Fla., and a borderline top-100 recruit out of high school, will transfer to La Salle after playing one season at Memphis. Powell averaged 4.3 points while shooting 37.7 percent overall and 28.8 percent from three-point range last season. He had 72 assists. He had a season-best 18 points against South Carolina Upstate at a time in the season when he was getting significant minutes. His time dwindled later during the American Athletic Conference season.
April 22, 2015 |
AS MOTIVATIONAL signs go, it was far from letter-perfect. According to a report in the Oregonian, Portland posted a laminated card in its locker room at the FedExForum in Memphis before battling the Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs on Sunday. The card contained various messages, including "We don't lose to Spanish players," which caused a bit of politically incorrect stir, seeing as Barcelona-born Marc Gasol plays for the Grizzlies. Blazers coach Terry Stotts addressed the situation at a news conference yesterday.
April 17, 2015 |
While Motown Records billed itself as "Hitsville U.S.A.," Stax Records pointedly took the title of "Soulsville, U.S.A. " The reissue of two voluminous box sets covering the Memphis label's final eight years offers another reminder of just how much Stax lived up to the "Soulsville" name, even as it expanded beyond its gritty, gospel-based roots. The box sets - also available digitally for the first time - highlight some notable new releases in the roots and country fields. The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles Vol. 2 (Concord ****)
April 6, 2015 |
Demonstrators in North Philadelphia on Saturday marked the 47th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with demands for a $15 minimum wage. Sharon Sobukwe, a political science professor at Eastern University, told more than 100 people gathered before the march that the poverty rate in the United States has been reduced to 15 percent, but that still means "there are 45 million people living in poverty. " Among African Americans, she said, the poverty rate is 28 percent.
March 20, 2015 |
STAN VAN GUNDY knows 76ers guard Jason Richardson pretty well after coaching him for two seasons with the Orlando Magic. He got an appreciation for Richardson then and it has only grown over the years. Like many, Van Gundy is amazed the 34 year-old Richardson has bounced back after missing 2 years due to injury and surgeries to his knee. "I called him from time to time over the last couple of years just to see what he was doing," said Van Gundy. "He's one of my favorites. He's a great, great pro, a great worker, a great person and a tremendous guy to coach.
March 15, 2015 |
HARTFORD, Conn. - Temple passed yesterday's quiz. Now, can it ace today's killer midterm? The Owls took care of Memphis, 80-75, in a game that was part American Athletic Conference quarterfinal and part meat grinder. It was Fran Dunphy's 500th coaching victory and, more urgently, critical for Temple's NCAA Tournament hopes. "It was great, just paying back coach Dunphy for giving us all scholarships," senior guard Will Cummings joked. "It's great just being here from my 4 years, we've kind of been bounced out the first round of our conference tournaments every year.
March 15, 2015 |
HARTFORD, Conn. - The risks and rewards were out there on the floor at the XL Center, with Temple's season on the line. A trainer had walked over and whispered in Fran Dunphy's ear, confirming what the Owls coach already had suspected, that power forward Jaylen Bond was done for the afternoon with a sprained ankle. For the last 9 minutes, 34 seconds of Friday's American Athletic Conference quarterfinal against Memphis, the Owls stuck to four guards and a freshman forward on the court, their NCAA hopes maybe contingent on how that worked out. Was such a lineup a no-brainer for Dunphy?