From high-powered airboats skimming the surface of the Mississippi River to young adults dancing ecstatically to electronic music late at night to kids and their parents rocking and romping around the grounds of the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, the latest batch of short films from the Flipside Memphis series depicts Memphis as a vibrant, diverse place.
That's the idea and, as the series' producers at Live From Memphis will tell you, it's also the reality.
Flipside Memphis — a series of short documentary films on local people, places, activities, and events created by Live From Memphis in partnership with the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau — began as a companion piece to Craig Brewer's MTV $5 Cover series.
"That's what sparked it," says Live From Memphis' Brad Phelan, who took the reins of the project midway through its initial 35-episode "season" and has been the primary producer for the 15-episode second season, which debuts in total this weekend at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
"$5 Cover was a reality show in a way but still scripted. Flipside Memphis started as documentary vignettes about people and places that $5 Cover highlighted," Phelan says. The first batch featured many $5 Cover-connected topics, such as Java Cabana, the Hi-Tone Café, drummer Paul Taylor, and Memphis Roller Derby.
"But we took it further, also featuring things [not in the $5 Cover universe], and the CVB thought it was a great idea. These 15 episodes don't have anything to do with $5 Cover."
Among the topics covered in the new season of Flipside Memphis are activities (Shelby Farms, Rock-n-Romp), businesses (Underground Art tattoo parlor, Royal Studios), personalities (Jerry Lawler), and performers (Beale Street Flippers, Wiseguys Improv).
The series, which is housed at its own blog site, FlipsideMemphis.com, is aimed at both external and internal audiences.
"The whole purpose for the CVB is to showcase the city to people looking to come in, whether for vacation or conventions or to move here or start businesses," Phelan says. "But we've found that it really hits a chord with Memphians who may not know about some of these things. It's a way to help people learn about their own city. There are people who live here and think there's nothing to do in Memphis, but they don't know about some of this stuff. I know I've learned more about the city by [doing the Flipside series]."
In addition to the local people, places, and enterprises captured on camera, Flipside Memphis also uses all-local music as its soundtrack, with artists such as the River City Tanlines, Tunnel Clones, Blair Combest, and Organ Thief featured in the current crop of episodes.
The showing this weekend at the Brooks will feature Flipside Memphis subjects off-screen as well as on, with members of Wiseguys Improv emceeing the event and additional live entertainment provided by DJs from Electrocity and members of the Memphis Roller Derby.
Flipside Memphis Season 2
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Saturday, July 10th
1 p.m.; free