Welcome to this magazine’s third annual “Culture Issue.” We at Memphis have long felt that celebration of who and what we are as Memphians is a critical part of our mission as publishers of this city’s eponymous magazine for well over three decades now.
As regular readers know, we take our role as custodians of Memphis’ heritage very seriously, just as seriously as we take our mission of keeping our finger on the pulse of the city .That’s why we always try to make each of these culture issues something of a three-legged stool, putting together a collection of stories that touch upon our past, present, and future. Ideally, most of our “Culture Issue” features touch on all three at once.
Pride of place in this year’s editorial package (page 69) goes to a visual preview of an absolutely stunning exhibition at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art opening on June 8th. “The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South” honors the centennial of the birth of the man who was unquestionably Memphis’ greatest twentieth-century visual artist. This particular Cloar show presents the largest single collection of his work ever accumulated in one place; you won’t want to miss it!
Also this month, we take a close look at the past, present, and future of jazz, a musical form that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle in this city that’s long been the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock-and-roll (page 50). Then we present an excellent in-depth exploration of an entirely new dance form — “Jookin” — that was born in the streets of North Memphis in the late 1980s and now has swept all across America (page 37).
In our regular “Great Memphis Homes” slot this month, we demonstrate that the past does indeed have a future, as we feature the recently renovated Mallory-Neely House in Victorian Village; with its original furniture now back in place, this great home is surely one of the most spectacular of its kind in the entire South (page 43). And in “The Heart of the Delta,” we profile critically acclaimed Memphis author John Pritchard, whose sense of his own past in rural Mississippi informs all of his work, some of the most wonderfully outrageous fiction produced in these parts in recent decades (page 60).
Last but certainly not least in this year’s “Culture Issue” package, we publish this month the winning entry in our 24th annual fiction contest, “To Be Happy,” by Amy Lawrence, a two-time contest winner (and co-author of The Chubby Vegetarian cookbook, just published). Special thanks to our hard-working fiction judges, and to the Booksellers at Laurelwood and Burke’s Book Store for their usual generous financial support of the Memphis Fiction Contest.
In addition to celebrating our city’s culture this month, we also celebrate the thousands of companies throughout the Mid-South who have shown their support for our editorial efforts over the years by advertising with Memphis magazine and memphismagazine.com. Already in 2013, over 400 different businesses have “put their money where our mouth is,” so to speak. We could not have survived so many decades without their financial commitment to what we do, and for that we are profoundly grateful to each and every one of them.
Needless to say, we feel the same about you, our readers. Every month, we do our best to provide good value for your subscription or single-copy dollars; hopefully, you’ll agree that (at $15 annually) Memphis is a gift that keeps on giving. Thanks for your continued support!