VOL. 131 | NO. 63 | Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Last Word: Back to Nashville, Dentistry & Genomes and Living The Fable
By Bill Dries
The Memphis traffic is again heavy on the Interstate to Nashville as the Senate state and local government committee meets Tuesday to pick up where it left off with the still-forming version the upper chamber is crafting of the de-annexation bill.
Here is where things stand and a bit from two of the city’s most vocal opponents of the de-annexation legislation who have seats and parking spaces and votes in the legislature – state Senate Democratic leader Lee Harris and state House member Joe Towns.
They were both on the WKNO TV show Behind The Headlines, which should be up soon if not now on our video page, video.memphisdailynews.com.
Fear not, de-annexation advocates. As we speak, a show is being assembled to air Friday that will be the other side of this volatile issue.
But de-annexation has some competition as we are on the other side of Easter.
And some of that competition comes from the same building in Nashville where efforts are moving to seal police body camera video from public view even in the event that an "ongoing investigation" by police has been concluded.
Yes, this is more than the season when you can wear white shoes and seersucker without fear of official retribution. We make no guarantees about the other kind of retribution which might include Matlock jokes.
But back to those other issues trying to crowd out de-annexation.
This is the point in our program where we make the obligatory reference to the Overton Park Greensward controversy. Done. For now.
There is a possible referendum to lift county government’s term limits that has lost two of its three rounds before the county commission – a group of elected officials to whom the term limits apply.
The move to redevelop Mud Island River Park still has two finalists with Monday’s announcement from the Riverfront Development Corp. group that has been weighing proposals.
The interesting thing is that there are scenarios where RVC Outdoor Destinations and Mansion Entertainment could become partners in this since Mansion’s interest is in running only the amphitheater.
The Mud Island story above includes a note at the end about Widespread Panic’s coming show at the amphitheater.
Meanwhile, there is another concert series in the works with the opening in September of the concert stage at Shelby Farms Park.
The first event on the stage will be a three-day music festival Sept. 23-25 that is being organized by the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy with The Consortium Memphis Music Town group led by Stax legend David Porter.
The man arrested at Bellevue Baptist Church Easter Sunday with two guns – one loaded and in his pocket and the other in a backpack, along with a lot of ammunition – will not face any firearms charges for the incident.
The man was ordered held by Memphis Police on an involuntary commitment, which means the officers questioned his state of mind and his mental health.
Two medical device start-ups with origins linked to the Memphis Bioworks accelerator program were winners at a recent meeting of entrrepreneurs in New Orleans and in the case of SweetBio of Memphis, winning there has meant reaching $1 million in secondary funding.
SweetBio is one of the startups we told you about in Andy Meek’s recent cover story “Five To Watch” in our weekly, The Memphis News.
The premise is using biomaterials to heal wounds especially in dental practices. That includes honey for gingival healing. And there is about three years of development behind the concept.
If you’ve driven down the stretch of Jefferson Avenue east of the Danny Thomas Boulevard overpass and our offices, you’ve probably noticed the Genome Explorations building – a modest storefront that has seemingly been there since long before genome research became as well known as it is today.
For about 15 years, Genome Explorations has been a much bigger force than the small storefront might suggest. It’s been conducting research to allow medicines to be custom made for particular patients with cancer and other diseases based on their genome.
For about a year now, the company has been part of Compass Laboratory Services, which is also in Memphis.
And business is good enough for Compass/Genome that the company has moved to Nonconnah Park office complex and just recently hired 62 people from a diagnostics lab in Birmingham, Alabama with some of those workers relocating to Memphis.
A tally of the economic impact of the first Black Restaurant Week in Memphis shows there will likely be a second Black Restaurant Week. And it will probably include more black-owned restaurants in a city where food has always been an integral cultural element even if it has only been recognized as such in recent years.
Scroll down a bit further in digest and you will see items on: an inaugural Memphis Women’s Summit, Earth Day going to a full month of events in the city and Tulip Time in Collierville.
In other reading:
From Oprah – since we are in that time of the year – UT basketball coach Pat Summitt five years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Not long after his death in 1977, Elvis Presley began showing up as a fictional character in some movie and television storylines.
Sometimes it was someone who thought they were Elvis, other times it was Elvis in an alternate reality – usually an alternate reality in which things turned out better for him.
Although there was a notable exception in the revived Twilight Zone television series of the 1980s where a time-travelling Elvis fan goes back to Memphis in the 1950s and tries to put him on a better path, gets in an argument with him and in the melee plays a role in Elvis’s premature death.
The nature of the Twilight Zone is decidedly not happy endings. So we are left with an ending in which the time traveler takes the real Elvis’s place and heads for the inevitable end he was trying to steer the real Elvis away from.
All of that to say Elvis turned up on the most recent episode of “Vinyl” the television series about the music business in the 1970s, when we called it the "record business."
Rolling Stone runs down the nature of the Elvis plot line.
Like the best plot lines of this nature, it skims a corner of what might have really been happening behind the scenes.
There were rumors in the mid-1970s that Col. Tom Parker was preparing to sell his contract to manage Presley. And there are plenty of stories about attempts by Presley as well as his management to break the mold on his music selection once he was free of the movie years.
And it’s not that much of a leap to imagine Elvis enjoying a career renaissance in a carefully chosen part of the punk rebellion that emphasized its rockabilly roots.
But the plot lines, however intriguing, ignore Presley’s status as the first in rock 'n' roll and the uniqueness of his status as the first.
Everything he did became part of the rock 'n' roll fable no matter how mundane – buying his first house, what kind of cars he drove, what he ate.
And the longer this went on, the more calculated everything became and the more risk averse it all became.
It’s not easy being first. But it is more than a little interesting that almost 40 years after the end of the rock 'n' roll fable, people still want a happy ending for the real life person at the heart of the fable.
Fables, it turns out, are no way for a real person to live.