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The Rant

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Let me just see how self-serving I can be. In the interest of full disclosure, I work for the Stax Music Academy, which is next door to the Stax Museum, where I also work. So know right off the bat that this is not objective. But I have to tell you that if you miss the Stax Music Academy's annual Spring Concert this coming Saturday, May 12th, you will be missing something that's going to be really great for a number of reasons: One is that Britney Spears will not be there. Nor will Paris Hilton (she'll be in jail, apparently, doing what she describes as her "cruel and inhumane" jail time for breaking the law, the same amount of time any of us little people would do, which is what she gets for letting that dog of hers poop on a friend of mine's floor in Nashville and calling it "hot"). Nor will that great singing talent Jessica Simpson. Nor will any rap groups going on and on about hoes. Nor will Ashlee Simpson be there lip synching. There are actually going to be special guests who have real talent, especially in the way of one Wendy Moten, one of the world's greatest singers. If you don't remember Moten, she is a native Memphian who had a Top 40 hit back in the 1990s with "Come In Out of the Rain" and has gone on to do some other great things, but she has never garnered that mass fame here in the United States like the aforementioned people who have despite being devoid of any real talent. Oh, Moten could have. She was compared all over the world to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, but she did not want to be the next Houston or Carey. She wanted to do her own thing, which was more alternative. So she refused to let the major labels turn her into something she wasn't, and she went her own way, and she's a household name in Japan and other countries like many other Memphians who have that kind of independent spirit. And, to top it off, another native Memphian who has made his own great career and has moved back to make Memphis his home again, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, is on the bill as well. And not to be a name-dropper, but when I mentioned to Isaac Hayes and Steve Cropper of Booker T. & the MGs that Wendy Moten will be doing this concert with the Stax Music Academy students, both of their jaws dropped and their eyes lit up like headlights. I have a feeling they will be there. And so should you. If you don't know a lot about the Stax Music Academy and aren't yet a supporter in some way, I will be more than happy to go on at length about what the school is doing not only to mentor these primarily at-risk youngsters but also how really talented they have become. Some of them are already getting professional work, and two of them just got accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The academy is one of the greatest gems in our city, and you'd be surprised at how similar it is to the old Stax Records way of life. So be there at the Michael D. Rose Theater Saturday night at 7 p.m. and drop the big five-buck admission to actually support some people with talent. There. I have spoken my piece! On to other things: I was going to rant and rave about the big White House dinner for 130-something people for Queen Elizabeth, and how much that must be costing us taxpayers, and how I don't want my tax dollars helping fund it because she was so mean to Princess Diana (and I still really don't), but I have to give the queen a break. I read, "In a nod to global-warming concerns, the queen will offset the carbon dioxide emissions from her trip. The emissions from her aircraft travel will be calculated and their environmental cost reimbursed using reforestation projects or research into carbon-neutral forms of energy generation," so I guess she's not so bad. It's more than our own fearless leader can say about his jaunting from D.C. to the ranch every hour for some vacation time or sending Condoleezza Rice all over the world to embarrass us. Heck, maybe the queen will scoot on down here for the Stax Music Academy concert. She could do worse.

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