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Visiting Artist John Harlan Norris to Present "Cons and Pros" Exhibition

Memphis College of Art (MCA) announces Visiting Artist John Harlan Norris, presenting his exhibition Cons and Pros, Oct. 7–Nov. 8 in the Rust Hall Main Gallery, 1930 Poplar Ave., Overton Park. A reception will take place Friday, Oct. 14 from 6–8 p.m., and Norris will present his Visiting Artist lecture on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 12–1 p.m. in Rust Hall’s Callicott Auditorium. Norris is a recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, and has participated in studio residencies in New York and Vermont.
Cons and Pros features works from Norris’ ongoing Occupants portrait series, in which his subjects’ identities are both defined and obscured by visual signifiers of their daily roles and practices. Through his paintings and mixed media works, Norris explores a contemporary perspective on occupational portraiture, which historically described its subjects through the lens of their daily working lives. Cons and Pros will also signal the debut of a new portrait series for Norris, titled Disintegrants—an exploration into the elusive and abstract interior structures that form the psyche and notions of self. Featured works include oil paintings, works on paper and mixed media works incorporating digital inkjet printing.
“We all experience moments in which the roles we play in our daily lives come to define us in powerful ways,” said Norris. “In the pursuit of survival, prosperity, leisure, social status, and personal meaning, we often assume identities that both define and fail to define us. My current body of work explores the possibilities and limitations of our daily occupations in an age where we frequently change jobs, balance multiple roles, and cannot easily delineate between private and public life.”  
Norris is an Associate Professor of Art at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in English and Studio Art from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky in 2000, and his Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing from Louisiana State University in 2005. Norris has exhibited extensively throughout the country at venues including Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, Plus Gallery in Denver, Colorado, the Contemporary Arts Center Las Vegas in Nevada, Florida State Museum of Fine Arts in Tallahassee, Florida and The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, among many others. A recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 2012, he has participated in studio residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, New York and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.
Featured works in Cons and Pros will be available for purchase. Proceeds support the artist directly, as well as MCA’s scholarship fund.
Norris’ exhibition and lecture are just two of many exhibitions, lectures and events that MCA hosts for the community throughout the year. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.,Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m., and Sunday noon–4 p.m. All MCA exhibitions, receptions and lectures are free and open to the public.
More information about upcoming exhibitions and events, including the Holiday Bazaar, can be found online at
Photo: John Harlan Norris, “Commenter,” oil on canvas, 56” x 42”, 2014
Repair Days 2016

The Metal Museum is pleased to announce Repair Days 2016, an annual fundraiser hosted by the Metal Museum where nearly 200 metalsmiths from across the country come to Memphis to make repairs on metal objects brought in by the community.

Join us for Family Fun Day on Saturday, September 24 from 10am to 4pm and watch as a blacksmith forges a bottle opener. Experience over 1,500 pounds of molten iron take shape as it is poured into molds. Try your hand at jewelry making. The Family Fun Tent allows metalsmiths of all skill levels and ages to develop their own metalworking skills.

There are many ways you can participate in Repair Days 2016. Consider becoming a "Friends of Repair Days," supporting Repair Days through a Corporate Sponsorship, donate artwork to the Repair Days Auction, buy tickets to our Dinner & Auction or simply bring us something to repair!

To purchase tickets for the Repair Days Dinner & Auction or to volunteer for this Repair Days 2016 please visit:

To learn more about Repair days 2016 please visit:

Here is the detailed schedule for Repair Days 2016:

THURSDAY 9/22 | 10 AM - 5 PM
Receive Repairs
Museum Open

FRIDAY 9/23 | 10 AM - 5 PM
Receive Repairs
Museum Open

SATURDAY 9/24 | 10 AM - 5 PM
Receive Repairs
Repair Pick Up Tent Open

10 AM - 4 PM
Museum Open
Family Fun Day with Hand-On Activites and Demos

2 PM - 7 PM
Silent Auction

5 PM
Gallery Talk and Reception with Hoss Haley

7 PM
Dinner and Live Auction

SUNDAY 9/25 | 12 PM - 5 PM
Repair Pick Up Tent Open (no repairs received)
Museum Open
Champagne Porch Jam at The Buccaneer
(image) Local singer Clay Otis will celebrate ten years of gigging with a Champagne Porch Jam this weekend at the Buccaneer. On Sunday, September 25th Clay Otis, Chickasaw Mound, James and the Ultrasounds, The Sheiks, Winchester and the Ammunition, Kelley Anderson, and Richard James and the Special riders will perform on the Buccaneer patio.
The show starts at 5 p.m. and there will be champagne specials and a food truck on site. Check out music from some of the bands playing, and get your fancy clothes ready for Sunday, just dont end up like the woman in the video below.  
Pass the Porcupine Meat
(image) New music from Bobby Rush, the Sheiks, and Clay Otis.

Bobby Rush — Porcupine Meat (Rounder)

Bobby Rush earned his first gold record in 1971 largely due to a hit called "Chicken Heads." Keeping that in mind, it comes as little surprise that over 40 years later, Rush released an album called Porcupine Meat, his first album for Rounder Records. Over the course of his 60-plus-year career, Rush has written over 300 songs and earned three Grammy nominations and a whopping 10 Blues Music Awards to go along with 41 nominations.

Working with two-time Grammy-winning producer Scott Billington for the first time, Porcupine Meat finds the old bluesman pulling new tricks in a New Orleans studio with Keb' Mo', Dave Alvin, and Joe Bonamassa all making guest appearances on the guitar. But while the list of guest appearances features an elite group of players, Rush is the real star here.

On "I Think Your Dress Is Too Short," Rush's voice is still silky smooth, and the title track "I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around" is an instant modern blues classic as Rush lists all the people whom he doesn't want bothering him day-to-day. But Porcupine Meat isn't all fun and games. The song "Got Me Accused" is just as socially relevant 40 years ago as it is today, as Rush sings about the racial discrimination he's experienced. Porcupine Meat is available everywhere this Friday.

The Sheiks — Please Pass the Fruit (Automatic Dope)

Taking a cue from Jack Oblivian — the ace guitarist and songwriter that the Sheiks back up — the power trio known as the Sheiks recently released Please Pass the Fruit, a career-spanning demo tape of sorts that covers 2011 through 2015. Limited to 100 copies, Please Pass the Fruit features recordings culled from sessions at the Burgundy Ballroom and High/Low studios in Memphis, in addition to some Austin, Texas, recording sessions done by Andrew McCalla.

Aside from a pretty amazing cover of Waylon Jennings' "Only Daddy," all 14 tracks on Please Pass the Fruit are from the Sheiks' ever-growing catalog. The Sheiks are currently on tour with Oblivian, but copies of the cassette should be available the next time the band performs locally — which, given the Sheiks' propensity to play as much as possible — should be sometime before the month is over.

Clay Otis — Addults (High/Low Recording)

Any day that Clay Otis informs me of a new project is a good one. Otis has been obsessed with writing pop songs about prescription speed (see his song "Adderall Girls" with Shadow Brother) for a while now, and it appears he enjoys the subject so much that he's decided to dedicate an entire album title to the wonder drug taken by children and adults alike. Much like all of Otis' projects, there is a playfulness found throughout Addults — from song titles like "Redneck Cousins" to the album art that features a crude rendering of Otis as some sort of disengaged, possibly stoned teacher. I know I'd sign up for that class.

But while there's always some humor present on a Clay Otis release, he calls Addults a departure from his earlier material in the sense that it is a much more personal album. The lyrics on Addults are some of Otis' best, possibly a product of this being his fifth album in as many years. There's a new side to the singer here, a side I'd dare call mature. Clay croons, laments, and lets his heart bleed all over Addults, and the result is some of his best work to date.

Favorite Track: "Guiletta and Jesus."

Keep a Blank Face
(image) A look at the transformative album as ScHool Boy Q’s New Daisy performance nears.

ScHoolboy Q seems like an unlikely rapper to be positioned as a commercial success. Born Quincy Matthew Hanley, Q's output details a frank portrayal of life as a Crip at 12 years old and a drug dealer by age 14. Juxtapose that with his stint as a promising college athlete, and you'll scratch the surface of Hanley's complexity. This year's Blank Face LP comes on the heels of 2014's platinum-selling Oxymoron. Q's latest release is the transformative result of growing into fatherhood while reflecting on the addiction, depression, inner-city survival, and pressures of success that have marked his life. Musically, it's his most dynamic — flowing between hazy meditations, unveiled lyricism, and funky, west-coast melodies and beats.

ScHoolboy Q and Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ bring the Blank Face Tour to the New Daisy on Saturday, September 24th. To prep, I looked at some of the album's highlights.

"Dope Dealer" feat. E-40

If ScHoolboy Q breathed new life into gangsta rap, he took notes from Three 6 Mafia to do so. "Dope Dealer," the ninth track on Blank Face, samples the Memphis rap collective's "Playa Hataz." Q talks about slinging cocaine and oxycontin ("I got them egg whites and them oxtails for the low / Got them hot wheels gotta push start and it go"), a reality he's experienced. His flow sounds celebratory, but it's a look at the world that shaped him. It's the same imagery that painted Three 6 Mafia's discography. Q's just carrying the torch.

"THat Part" feat. Kanye West

"Me no conversate with the fake," Q raps, opening the first verse of Blank Face's second single with one of the most memorable lines of the year. "THat Part" is a boast, a cheers to lavish success that's allowed Q to drop $250,000 on a McLaren 12C sports car. Q raps "bang this shit in the hood one time" during the hook, an homage to 51st and Figueroa Streets where he grew up in Southern Los Angeles.

Kanye West, the enigma he's become, comes out swinging in the second verse. Riffing on fame and fidelity, West notes that at the peak, people listen more to the echo-chamber of opinions about him and less about what he says. ("You was listening close though / You wouldn't listen to the flow though.")

"JoHn Muir"

ScHoolboy Q freestyled every lyric on "JoHn Muir," a track that borrows its name from Hanley's middle school. The stomping grounds where Q started carrying a gun at 13 years old and selling drugs by age 14, Blank Face's 10th track provides context on Hanley as a wide-eyed kid molding an identity. On the chorus, Q raps about "bellin'" through the street — a term coined by West-Coast rapper WC — while a chorus of voices and horns fill out the background. It's smooth, soulful, and an easy track to revisit.

"Black THougHts"

A phone recording from Trayvon Ray Cail, who was facing a first-degree murder charge at the time the song was written, leads the track: "Our experience to where we have parents in our lives that were showing us everything, like didn't nobody walk us ... show love like you do this and don't do that. It wasn't like that coming up in our community."

"Black THougHts" is an autobiographical depiction ("sharing food with roaches / poppa was a bitch / mom's slaving for the rent") of Q's initiation into gang-dom. Later, Q raps "Ain't nothing changed but the change / Let's put our brains away from gangs / Crips and Bloods the old and new slaves."

Here, Q condemns the lifestyle he props up on Dope Dealer. He puts his shame on the table, and it's one of the more memorable, genuine moments on the album.

The River Series in Harbortown Announces Fall Schedule
(image) The River Series at the Harbor Town Amphitheater will kick off their first Fall season this Saturday night. Steve Selvidge and Daniel Bachman will perform at the Harbor Town Amphitheater on Saturday, September 24th, followed by the African Jazz Ensemble on Sunday, October 23rd. The series will wrap with a performance from John Wesley Coleman and Will Courtney on Saturday, November 5th.
Now in it's third year, the River Series at the Harbor Town Amphitheater is a series of live music shows that benefit the Maria Montessori School. Founded by Goner Records co-owner Zac Ives, the River Series has showcased local talent like NOTS, Motel Mirrors, and the Reigning Sound in a great outdoor location overlooking the Mississippi River.

The River Series spring schedule will be announced later this year. Check out music from Daniel Bachman and John Wesley Coleman below. 
Guitar Wolf at Cooper Young Fest

This Saturday afternoon, Japanese rock-and-rollers Guitar Wolf will invade Cooper-Young Fest for a performance on the stage sponsored by Goner Records and the Grizzlies. Formed in Nagasaki in 1987, Guitar Wolf are the living embodiment of garage rock, complete with stage names (Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, Drum Wolf), blistering fuzzed-out rock riffs, and a whole lot of leather. The band is the only out-of-town act to perform at any of the stages during Cooper-Young Fest, but their ties to Memphis run deep, as Goner Records released Wolf Rock! way back in 1993. That record would be the first release for Goner, followed by the release of the Oblivians album Call the Shots. Not a bad start.

If there were a best-case scenario to see a band like Guitar Wolf, Cooper-Young Fest is probably it. The festival will no doubt be packed, and watching a band like Guitar Wolf blow the minds of innocent bystanders who only wanted to buy some artisan craft goods could and very well may be your best source of entertainment all month. After working with Goner, Guitar Wolf released records on Matador and even Sony before forming their own record label and releasing T-Rex from a Tiny Space Yojouhan earlier this year. The band is also playing at the Hi-Tone later that night with tour mates Hans Condor (another band pushing the limits of live rock-and-roll), but that show will cost you $12.

Other highlights at Cooper-Young Fest include Chickasaw Mound (also on the Goner Stage), the Dirty Streets (headlining the main stage), and Reverend John Wilkins (playing the Mulan Stage). Plan accordingly.

R. Kelly at FedEx Forum
R. Kelly returns to Memphis this Saturday night for a concert at the FedEx Forum. Performing in Memphis on the "Buffet Tour," the multi-platinum selling "King of RnB" will be accompanied by a live band, dancers, and a full production team as he performs all of the hits from his catalog.

With a career that spans over 25 years, R. Kelly has been at the forefront of rap and RnB for decades, and has sold over 40 million albums in addition to writing hits for the likes of Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, and Justin Beiber. 

Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations,, or at the FedExForum Box Office by phone at (800) 745-3000, or by clicking here. Check out some R. Kelly classics below. 

Leon Bridges at Minglewood Hall
Leon Bridges, one of the biggest breakout artists of last year, plays Minglewood Hall this Friday night. On the strength of his debut album Coming Home, Bridges instantly became one of the biggest voices in modern soul, but even after logging a ton of road miles since the album was released, this is the first time the singer will hit Memphis.

Leon Bridges has been heavily compared to soul greats like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, but there's something distinctly modern about the music he makes. He's made guest appearances on Macklemore songs and performed on Saturday Night Live, but at only 27 years old, it's easy to imagine that his best work is still ahead of him. Check out some of the best of Leon Bridges below, and then make plans to be at Minglewood Hall on Friday, September 16th at 8 p.m. The show is all ages, and will set you back $33.50.

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