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VOL. 131 | NO. 64 | Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Encore In D, A Bus Every 10 Minutes and Marc Cohn in Memphis

By Bill Dries

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Encore in Nashville.
The state Senate’s state and local government committee meets again Wednesday to vote on the de-annexation bill it completed amending Tuesday.

This begins at 2:30 p.m. and we will be providing live Tweets of the action @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols. So join us.
Because there was so much debate and parliamentary swordplay Tuesday, the Wednesday session will probably be pretty matter of fact by comparison.
Here’s our account of how it went down with the committee upping the percentage of voters signatures it takes to get a deannexation call on the ballot. And those who do vote to deannex can add payments for benefits liability to what they would also pay as their share of capital debt. There is also reaction from Greater Memphis Chamber president Phil Trenary.
Trenary had some choice words for Chattanooga state Senator Todd Gardenhire who called out Memphis specifically for what he viewed as trying to make the deannexed pay twice for benefits of city workers.
The looming question is what will the reaction to this be in the House which passed a very different version of this.
The proponents of the bill in the House and Senate have fundamentally different views that appear to be the kind of differences that would take some time to reconcile.

Time is short with Wednesday’s committee session in the Senate being the last for the state and local government committee of the year.
Another indication that time is short in the Legislature is the legislation awaiting the signature of Gov. Bill Haslam. That includes a liquor store ownership cap bill.

Haslam’s budget proposal is the final piece of business of the session and it includes $12 million in state incentives to the production companies making two television series in the state. The split is $8 million for the TV series “Nashville” and $4 million for “Million Dollar Quartet,” the Memphis-based TV series based on Sun Records in its golden age.

Haslam is getting some persistent questions about another $30 million for an economic development project the state finance commissioner would only describe as “an exciting project” with a “very good payback” and a “strong return on investment.”

In recent years, we’ve written about what public transit experts call BRT – bus rapid transit – direct routes with a minimum of stops and a short time from one end to the other.
The Memphis Area Transit Authority’s first two tries at this each died an early and anonymous death. There was the Poplar Express which got next to no marketing from MATA and a Whitehaven Flyer on Elvis Presley Boulevard that was the same song, second verse.
Now there is Route 11 – a Downtown-University of Memphis route with a bus every 10 minutes.
It is the first attempt at BRT by MATA’s new administration.

The Indie Memphis film festival will include venues in East Memphis and Collierville as well as Downtown and Midtown when its 19th annual run gets underway in November. The expansion shows more support and also reflects some sell-out audiences at some features in past years.

One of the things musicians with a body of work are considering more these days in the concert business is performing their concept albums of old in their entirety. It’s a concept The Rolling Stones were practically begged to do when they re-released a deluxe version of their landmark Exile on Main Street album some years back. And ultimately they decided against a strict running order of the album because while it was a treasure to listen to, it’s pacing was too mellow for a show by the world’s greatest rock and roll band – the judgment expressed by Mick Jagger.
The idea has spread to other artists including Marc Cohn, who is marking 25 years since his debut album that included his biggest hit “Walking in Memphis.”
When Cohn plays the Buckman Performing Arts Center at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in October, he will play his debut album start to finish in the intimate 288-seat theater with some photos and other visual elements to go with it.
Here’s more from Cohn via his website on the show and his new projects.
As for the center, it is about turn 20 – a good age for a theater that usually comes with a few ghosts or at least a good story or two of past performances to add some tradition to what is there before the house lights go down.

More on the county commission’s debate about whether to wipe out county government term limits including their own just as every countywide elected office affected by the limits is held.

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