I’m proud to say I made my film debut at the recent Indie Memphis Film Festival playing a TV reporter in Waikiki Beach, a film directed by my colleague Joshua Cannon.
I had one line, which I didn’t screw up. I thought I did a good job, but I didn’t see a slew of movie directors waiting to sign me to another movie after the film was shown at the Halloran Centre during the festival.
I loved the movie, which Cannon describes as a “drama comedy.”
This year’s Indie Memphis Festival was outstanding, says Indie Memphis executive director Ryan Watt. “I feel like it’s our best year ever based on the films and the response we’re getting from everybody,” he says. “Just through our surveys from the audience and the feedback. We did an audience survey. Four hundred people replied. It was our third year to do it and I would say it was our best feedback.”
Counting every type of film, including music videos and shorts, Watt says there were 275 movies shown. “Which is the most we’ve ever had.”
I really loved Waiting: The Van Duren Story, a documentary about Memphis singer/songwriter/musician Van Duren. It won the Audience Award for Best Hometowner Feature this year. It’s a must see if you haven’t already seen it. I did a feature story on Van Duren a couple of years ago. He told me a documentary was being made on him, but he couldn’t talk about it.
I enjoyed meeting the Australian directors Wade Jackson and Greg Cary at the festival’s filmmaker’s after party, which was held November 5th at Tad’s Indoor Trailer Park.
Wade, who stayed a while after Cary left Memphis, got up and played guitar during Van Duren’s regular Thursday night gig at Mortimer’s.
I love grilled cheese sandwiches. My mother used to make killer ones on an electric toaster oven, which she procured after saving Top Value or Green stamps. She’d dot each sandwich with four tabs of butter before she put the sandwiches in the toaster. That’s all she ever used that oven for, as I recall.
All this is a long way of saying I’m a fan of Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival. This year’s event was held November 4th in front of the Hi-Tone.
One of the most arresting booths was the Mempops booth, which was manned by children.
“This is their third year to help,” says Mempops owner/founder Chris Taylor. “We got tired of doing it. (We said,) ‘You’ll take over. You do it.’” Manning the booth were the Taylor kids — Caroline and Harry — and their friends Anna Ratton, Anna Lauritzen-Wright, and Sarah Kate Ratton.
They grilled the sandwiches on an electric flat top, Taylor says.
He’s a Grilled Cheese Festival veteran. “We’ve been doing this since they’ve been doing it. It’s a block from my house, so it makes it easier.”
Bram Bors Koefoed won this year’s grilled cheese eating contest. He won a toaster and a pair of socks dotted with a pattern of little grilled cheese sandwiches.
Cole Ellis, owner of Delta Meat Market in Cleveland, Miss., was one of the chefs participating in this year’s Wine & Dine fundraiser, which was held at Tower Center atop Clark Tower. The benefit was for Special Olympics Greater Memphis.
“I thought it was great,” Ellis said.
And, he says, “I’ve done a lot of those type events and it’s always nice to do stuff like that that involves my family. Lisa’s my second cousin.”
He was referring to Special Olympics Greater Memphis executive director Lisa Taylor.
I was crazy about the cuisine Ellis served. I ate several dishes. He made a carrot toast with smoked pulled Springer Mountain chicken from Georgia and smoked onion marmalade. “We use pecan wood in our smoking process. An indigenous tree in our area.”
Getting back to that carrot toast. “I made our carrot cake recipe and then baked it into logs and made it into a French toast. Instead of an egg batter I infused it with flavors I would normally use for carrot cake.”
I wish I had some right now. I also wish I could have made it to the restaurant on its fifth birthday. But Ellis says they're postponing the birthday party and having a big Christmas party. “We’re going to do steaks for the original price for when we opened and a few other odds and ends. Frogmore stew — a shrimp boil with corn and potatoes. Basically, we’re
going to have a big party.”
The big news at LeMoyne-Owen’s President’s Gala, held November 10th at Memphis Cook Convention Center, was the $250,000 donation from the Shelby County Commission. County Commissioners Mickell Lowery and Willie Brooks made the presentation to the school's president Andrea Lewis Miller and board of trustees chair J. W. Gibson. The money will be used for scholarships and other things.
The gala, which drew about 700, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the merger of LeMoyne College with Owen College.
The Garry Goin Band and the LeMoyne-Owen Concert Choir performed. Dinner included chicken roulade with sweet potato medallions and New York cheesecake with raspberry coulis.
Not everyone was a LeMoyne-Owen, LeMoyne or Owen alumn; Perrin Crews, who attended with his wife, Jill, wore a pair of purple and gold - LeMoyne-Owen's school colors - socks. "I may not be an alumn, but I'm here to support the school," he says.
The two recent Memphis Flyer events — Memphis Tequila Fest and Crafts & Drafts —were big successes.
Guests tasted and learned about 30 exotic tequilas at Memphis Tequila Fest, which was held October 19th at Overton Square. Among the brands included at the event were Casamigos, Maestro Dobel, and Tres Papalote Mezcal. A mariachi band, face painting, cigars, and cuisine from Babalu, Laura’s Kitchen, and Regina’s Cajun Kitchen rounded out the festival.
About 950 people attended. Proceeds benefited Volunteer Memphis.
Crafts & Drafts, which was held Nov. 10, featured 85 local artisan and craft vendors in front of the Crosstown Concourse. About 3,000 people attended. Proceeds benefited Crosstown Arts.