Crosstown Arts, 430 N. Cleveland
Fri., June 5, 6-9 p.m.
This large-scale multi-media installation exhibition incorporating audio, video, digital photographs, and tamale leaves by Richard Lou is visually stimulating. And it is also the start of some fantastic tie-in events such as the lecture and artist talk on Saturday with visiting scholar and art historian Guisela LaTorre followed by a tamale cooking demo on Sunday benefiting Centro Cultural Latino de Memphis. I won’t get into the specifics now, but this will also prepare you for the Tamale Fest 2015 on June 27 at Caritas Village and — shameless plug ahead — Memphis Flyer Margarita Festival, also on June 27, in Overton Park.
Some other food-centric events this weekend include Friday’s Feast on the Farm, a farm to table event, and Saturday’s Books & BBQ celebrating literacy. Both will be held at the Agricenter. Taste of Caribe will feature Caribbean food, music, and dancing to benefit International Children’s Heart Foundation at ANF Architects. Finally, bringing it back downtown will be the Ceviche Chef’s Competition on Sunday at Cafe Keough.
Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central
Fri., June 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m. and Sat., June 6, 9-11 a.m.
Stewart wrote Wicked Plants: The Weed Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities, which also happens to be the inspiration for the Pink Palace’s “Wicked Plants” exhibit opening this weekend. This fun family-friendly exhibit of the world’s most diabolical botanicals will run through Sept. 7.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is also opening a new exhibit, “The Art of Video Games,” exploring the forty-year evolution of video games through painting, writing, sculpture, music, storytelling and cinematography. Memphis Knit Mafia will be jump-starting this exhibit with an outdoor yarn bombing installation on the plaza. Currently underway and ending on Saturday is the Minecraft Design and Build Contest. A quick click to the Brooks website will enlighten you to all sorts of video game related events to fill those lazy summer days.
If you like books and love Memphis, visit my good friend Austin McLellan on Saturday at South Main’s Book Juggler. He will be reading and signing his breakout book, Twenty Grand. Tell him I sent you and you’ll get a free smile and market price copy of the book.
Various locations in Midtown and East Memphis, see website for locations
Sat., June 6, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
This event is a citywide self-paced garden tour featuring on-site experts at each location discussing trees, turf, herbs, roses, garden art, wild birds, and more. The tour is free, donations benefiting Memphis Area Master Gardeners are greatly appreciated however. If you find yourself inspired, also visit the Daylily Show and Sale on Sunday at Memphis Botanic Garden. The Garden will have a large variety of blooms for sale at affordable prices so you can be on the garden tour next year.
Highpoint Terrace, 3734 Johnwood
Sat., June 6, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
I am particularly fond of this event because it is held in the neighborhood where I spent many fond moments of my youth. My first job was given to me by Mr. Shirley at Highpoint Grocery where Cybill Shepherd’s mother still shopped for her daily groceries. I made about $30-$40 a week which I squandered on Aqua Net hairspray and leg warmers. But I digress. This art fair features over 25 vendors selling handmade items including art, crafts, mosaics, glass, pottery, jewelry, metal sculpture, decorated furniture, and more.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Saturday Parking Lot Sale at Mewtopia on Yates featuring items from over 25 families benefiting our feline friends. Cats also make great leg warmers I might add, so get them in pairs. Should you not find one — or two — in the color you desire, Paws for a Cause will have more leg warmers than you could hope to find anywhere at their massive pet adoption event at Shops of Saddle Creek. The celebrity pet wash is just one of the amusing features of this annual event.
Audubon Park off Park Avenue
Sun., June 7, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
My first interaction with the Memphis Jewish community was when I returned to Memphis in 1998 and met Milton Fortas and Nathan Blockman. These two recession-proof older gentlemen were probably the last of the Jewish businessmen still in the Pinch. Fortas showed up every day for work with his sidekick, William. They sold circa 1960 medical equipment. The glass storefront put in plain view the fact that they both showed up for work, despite the lack of customers looking for vintage medical equipment, because it is what they had always done. Fortas used words like “gay” and “chaps” as they were used in yesteryear. For example, the time my brother and his friend were walking down the street and Fortas unlocked his front door and yelled, “Hello, you two gay young chaps!” Translation in today’s vernacular, “Hello, happy young men.”
Blockman ran a rag company at Overton and N. Main. Once a bustling business, his last few customers were old enough to recall the invention of dirt and regularly bought rags as an excuse to visit Blockman. One day my brother and I were driving past Blockman’s building and saw two work boots attached to legs sticking straight up out of the dumpster. Upon further inspection they were attached to Blockman who jumped out of the dumpster stinking mad. He was holding an unidentified cylinder in one hand and some sort of meter-reading device in the other. He held the wand of the meter next to the cylinder and said, “The dumpster company won’t pick up my trash. They said it was radioactive. But I found it!” The meter measured radioactivity and sure enough it sounded as if it were going to explode as the needle tried to jump off the graph. My brother stated the obvious, “Um, Nathan. Do you think you should be handling that?”
I doubt anyone ever had a more interesting introduction to the Memphis Jewish community as my family did, but you can try at this year’s Israel Festival featuring entertainment, speakers, camels, and a falafel eating contest. And a whole bunch of other shtick worth schlepping out there to enjoy.
For a full list of what’s happening this weekend in and around Memphis, check out our calendar of events. Also, be sure to tag your favorite Instagram photos of Memphis while you are out and about with the #memphisflyer hashtag. I hope you have a great weekend.