News Column

Go Out This Weekend: Moon River Music Festival, Bruno Mars, new comedy club

June 5, 2014

By Mark Richens, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

June 05--Here are some suggestions for getting out in Memphis this weekend. Check back on Monday for another installment to get you through the week. Before we get started, don't forget about the free CD release party for Timeless: Wendy Moten Sings Richard Whiting on Friday evening at the Stax Museum, the debut of the "Memphis Jams on Beale" free concert series with Chinese Connection Dub Embassy on Friday evening at Handy Park, and the free CD release show for Amy LaVere's Runaway's Diary on Sunday evening at the Levitt Shell.

Here we go, a selection of weekend events arbitrarily numbered 1-10:

1. Moon River Music Festival, Saturday: The Levitt Shell takes a break from its normal summer concert slate to host the first Moon River Music Festival, organized and presented by Memphis-bred, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Drew Holcomb and his band the Neighbors. Holcomb's bringing a deep roster of like-minded roots musicians for the all-day festival, including the road-tested Will Hoge, long familiar to local clubgoers; Holly Williams, granddaughter of Hank and daughter of Hank Jr., whose tough-edged, personal country-rock stands easily on its own; Knoxville roots-rockers the Dirty Guv'nahs and Memphis singer Myla Smith, among others. The festival is doubling as a benefit for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Soulsville Foundation and the Levitt Shell. Watch a video introduction by Holcomb below. -- Chris Herrington

11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.$25 general admission. See for more info.

2. Bruno Mars at FedExForum, Friday: Multiplatinum-selling pop singer-songwriter Bruno Mars stops in Memphis on his "Moonshine Jungle World Tour" for a concert at FedExForum. Mars, the Billboard magazine "Artist of the Year" for 2013, has continued his string of conquests in 2014 with a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album and an impressive performance during halftime at Super Bowl XLVIII that featured Mars' nimble backing band, The Hooligans, with Memphis native Kameron Whalum on trombone. Opening the bill is Aloe Blacc, a veteran of the neo-soul underground ("I Need a Dollar") who is emerging as a global star behind recent singles "The Man" and "Wake Me Up," a collaboration with electronic dance producer Avicii. -- Mark Richens

8 p.m. 191 Beale. Tickets $49.50-$85 plus taxes and fees, available at the FedExForum box office or via Ticketmaster.

3. Sinbad at Chuckles, Friday: Veteran standup comic Sinbad comes to the recently opened Chuckles Comedy House in Cordova. The "A Different World" alum and "Star Search" champion will do two shows on Friday and Saturday nights (at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.) and an 8 p.m. set on Sunday. -- Bob Mehr

1770 Dexter Springs Loop. Tickets: $35. Available online at or at the club's box office. For more information, call (901)421-5905.

4. 'Afro House' at 'Dance on Broad,' Saturday: The eight-week "Dance on Broad" series enters its second month with the theme "Afro House." This "community dance series" at the new Water Tower Pavilion in the Broad Avenue Arts District is a free, all-ages event with Afro-house music selected by DJ Funke and dance lessons provided. Adding to the block-party vibe are a full bar, an artist market and food trucks. -- CH

6-10 p.m. For more info, see

5. Larry Edwards: "The Unquiet Mind" opening, Friday: Evidence of the prolific nature of Larry Edwards is displayed in the posthumous exhibition "The Unquiet Mind," on display through June 27 at Gallery Fifty Six and honored with an opening reception Friday night. Edwards, who taught at the University of Memphis from 1978 to 1997, died last year at 82, and in every work that he produced revealed an inquiring, questioning, eccentric and, indeed, "unquiet" mind. -- Fredric Koeppel

5-8 p.m. 2256 Central. Call 901-276-1251, or visit

6. "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" at the Brooks, Sunday: According to the "critical concensus" compiled by the movie-review aggregate site, the documentary "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" is a "vanity-free portrait of its legendary subject" that is "brutally honest and utterly compelling." Best of the all, the film about the outspoken 89-year-old singer and actress -- a veteran of Broadway, London'sWest End, Woody Allen movies and such TV shows as "Law and Order" and "30 Rock" -- makes its regional public debut at at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. -- John Beifuss

2 p.m. Admission: $9, or $5 for museum members and students. Visit

7. "This Art Has Cooties" opening, Friday: Afraid of "feminine" art? Well, Jack, the onus is on you here, because "This Art Has Cooties" -- surely a candidate for Best Exhibition Title of the Year So Far -- features work by 15 primarily local women artists produced "without concern for demographic appeal." The venue is Marshall Arts, and there's an opening reception Friday night. Be there, or be a misogynist (Google it). -- FK

6-9 p.m. 639 Marshall. For information, e-mail

8. Art openings, Friday: Two galleries in East Memphis provide food for the eye and mind with opening receptions: David Lusk Gallery offers abstractions by Robert Rector ("Crossroads: Order & Chaos") and landscapes by Bruce Brainard ("Pilgrimage"), on view through June 28. L Ross Gallery opens its annual "Summer Exhibition" of gallery artists, on display through July 29. -- FK

Both receptions 6-8 p.m.David Lusk, 4540 Poplar in Laurelwood; call 901-767-3800, or visit L Ross, 5040 Sanderlin, Suite 104; call 901-767-2200, or visit

9. B.B. King at Gold Strike Casino, Friday: The unstoppable embodiment of the blues returns to the area where he got his start with a concert at Gold Strike Casino'sMillennium Theater. More on this show and other big events coming to the Tunica casinos right here. -- MR

9 p.m.1010 Casino Center Drive, Tunica Resorts, Miss. Tickets are $69.95, $79.95 and $89.95 plus tax and service charge, available at the gift shop and through Ticketmaster. For more information, call 662-357-1111, or visit

10. Memphis Punk Rock Fest, Friday-Saturday: Billing itself "the biggest all local festival for punk, metal and ska," the Memphis Punk Rock Fest features almost 20 bands at four venues over two days. On Friday, the party runs from 2 to 10 p.m. at the Altown DIY Skate Park at Evelyn and Trife, and an afterparty kicks off at 11 at Murphy's on Madison with more bands till closing time. Saturday's day venue (4 to 10 p.m.) is Black Lodge Video, and the afterparty begins at 11 at the P&H Cafe.

$7 cover for day shows, $5 for night shows, $20 weekend pass for all four venues. For more information about promotions and full listing of bands, see the festival's Facebook page.


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Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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