So now, according to whoever wrote a letter to the editor of this paper a couple of weeks ago, I am a Castro sympathizer just because I happen not to care very much for our president. Love it, love it, love it. And just for you, Mr. Letter to the Editor Writer, I'm going to give ol' George W. a break this week. After all, he must be really, really stressed out, given the fact that he is taking a five-week vacation at his ranch in Texas. Yep, taking a little R&R to go mountain biking, cut some brush, invite a few friends over, and take it easy. And it is well deserved. I mean, who wouldn't be a bit stressed out after, in the wake of 9/11, attacking the wrong country? According to a news piece I saw on television the other day, the president feels much more at home in his pick-up truck in Texas than he does in the White House. So, while we are at war with the wrong country and millions are starving in Niger and our own kids are dying in Iraq by the week, he's taking the month of August off to chill out in his blue jeans and cowboy hat. Gives a whole new meaning to ranch dressing. Personally, I think he should go all out and dress up like Annie Oakley. I can easily see him with pigtails and a gingham prairie skirt, walking around the ranch singing show tunes to the horses and carrying a rifle. Kicking up his pink cowgirl boots in the air and hopping over fences with tumbleweeds swirling around him and the farmhands dancing in sync in the background. Or, since he seems to be obsessed with oil, he could do a reenactment of Elizabeth Taylor's role in the film Giant, which takes place on a similar ranch in Texas. Since he's something of a bigwig, he could, well, wear a big wig. He doesn't really have the waistline for it, but he could at least try. Or maybe on this vacation he could pretend he's in the movie Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which is about a celebration in the town where Giant was filmed. He could dress up like Cher and re-create her stirring performance. If that wouldn't take his mind off attacking the wrong country, I don't know what would. But I guess none of that would really matter to him, as he hasn't yet figured out that he attacked the wrong country. I'm still waiting for the United States to suffer a chocolate shortage so we can get our hands on Luxembourg. But all of this matters not to me. As long as he is on vacation, the world is a safer place. And now, here's a quick look at some of what's going on around town this week. Tonight's Sunset Atop the Madison Series on the rooftop of the Madison Hotel features cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and live music by FreeWorld. Just a few blocks away, there's a Peabody Rooftop Party with live music by Yes, No, Maybe. Today kicks of the four-day Outflix Film Festival at First Congregational Church in Cooper-Young, a Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community-sponsored film series with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered themes. And Susan Marshall Is Honey Mouth is at the Blue Monkey Midtown.
And speaking of gender issues, tonight is opening night at TheatreWorks of the New Moon Theatre Company's production of What the Butler Saw, a comedy about gender confusion and mistaken identity. There is an opening at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music (where I work, I should add, just to be on the up and up) for "Between Midnight and Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive," a collection of 60 black-and-white photographs taken over the last 40 years by internationally renowned photographer Dick Waterman. This show is very cool, with shots of Junior Wells teaching a really young Mick Jagger to play the harmonica and great photos of Etta James and Mavis Staples. The opening features live blues by Delta Highway, along with beer, wine, soft drinks, "soul" hors d'oeuvres, and tours of the entire museum. 7-10 p.m.; $10 general admission, free to Stax Museum members. And while I'm rattling on about the Stax Museum, let me also say that today kicks off the two-day Soul-A-Thon annual fund-raiser. WRBO Soul Classics 103.5 will be broadcasting there live today and tomorrow, interviewing former Stax artists and others. On Saturday, there's an outdoor festival in the back parking lot with kids' waterslides and other rides, along with live music by Yo! Memphis, Free Sol, and the Soul Children's J. Blackfoot. There. Thanks for indulging me. Today also kicks off this weekend's Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival down in Clarksdale, which is always a big time. There's live music on four stages, vendors selling great food, and you can always pop into Ground Zero to cool off and have a drink. Tonight's Orpheum Classic Movie Series feature is one of the best movies of all time, The Thin Man, in which Myrna Loy and William Powell might just set a record for drinking the most martinis ever in one film. Tonight's big Paw Prints Party and Auction at the Cadre Building to benefit the Memphis Humane Society is as worthy a cause as it gets in my book, with live music by Mo-Boogie, a live and silent auction, and more. Tonight's Memphis Bandstand: Garage Band Reunion at Strings & Things features musicians who got their start practicing in garages in the 1960s and '70s, a period costume contest from the era, dance contest, and door prizes; proceeds benefit the Ricky Huddleston Memorial Scholarship fund. Yamagata is at the Beale Street Tap Room. And last but certainly not least, the Memphis Sessions band returns to the New Daisy tonight for a big tribute to Elvis. The band members collectively have played with Elvis, The Box Tops, Dusty Springfield, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and dozens of other artists. Should be a fun time.
And there's yet more art for us animal lovers. Today's opening reception for "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" at Artists on Central is for a show of cat-inspired artwork by G. Allen Bowden, Angi Cooper, and Josie Elousa; Mewtopia helpers will be on hand to take donations and cats will be available for adoption. There's also an opening reception tonight at Midtown Artists Market for a show of Elvis-inspired art, with live music by Andrew Couch; proceeds benefit Youth Villages. There's the annual Dead Elvis Ball at the P&H Café tonight with music by the Rhythm Hounds. And at Mo's Memphis Originals, it's the Memphis Songwriters Association Summer Songwriting Series with Nancy Apple.
Di Anne Price & Her Boyfriends at Huey's Downtown this afternoon, followed tonight by Joyce Cobb and Cool Heat.
Circuit Benders, Leslie Keffer, Tusco Terror, and Heart 2 Heart at Murphy's.
Preston Shannon at B.B. King's.
Native Son at the Flyer Saucer, and now I must bounce. I have to flip through the channels and see if I can catch George W. sawing a stump in a prairie skirt.