News in the Arts: Handy Awards honor Green for life's work

Dr. Herman Green

The Commercial Appeal files

Dr. Herman Green

Memphis jazz man Dr. Herman Green will be presented the Lifetime Music Achievement Award on Sunday at the 13th annual W.C. Handy Heritage Awards at the Holiday Inn Select near Memphis International Airport.

In addition, Emerson Able, former music director for the Isaac Hayes Movement and retired Manassas High School band director, will receive the Music Legacy Award.

Pioneering female disc jockey and onetime Stax Records staffer Novella Smith Arnold will get the Music Business Award. A number of performers, including Toni Green, Otis Clay and Spencer Wiggins, will also be recognized.

The event is timed to honor Handy, the "Father of the Blues," who would be celebrating his 136th birthday this year.

Proceeds from the awards ceremony go to support the W.C. Handy Memphis Home & Museum. Tickets for the event cost $50 and include dinner. For reservations, call 527-3427 or go to

-- Bob Mehr

Short and sweet

The first Li'l Film Fest, held in 2006, required competing filmmakers to include images of the then-recent implosion of Baptist Hospital on Union Avenue in their entries.

Now, the Li'l Film Fest organizers at Live From Memphis -- an arts Web site and production company -- return to that concept for "Li'l Film Fest 12: Free Footage," to be held Dec. 19 at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Filmmakers who wish to submit entries to the festival will be provided with three clips of less than a minute in length, which can be downloaded from At least 10 seconds of footage from each clip must be used in films submitted to the festival. As always, films in this "li'l" fest must be under 5 minutes in length.

The Li'l Film Fest is intended to encourage local filmmakers to be creative and to have fun. Anybody willing to make a short film is welcome -- no previous experience required.

Entries for Li'l Film Fest 12 will be accepted through Dec. 7. Prizes include a Grand Jury Award of $500 and a sometimes even more lucrative "Audience Choice" award of the cash collected at the door.

-- John Beifuss

'Open Road' on DVD

"The Open Road," a movie starring Justin Timberlake and Jeff Bridges that was partly shot in Memphis, arrives Tuesday on DVD on the Anchor Bay Entertainment label.

Timberlake portrays a minor-league ballplayer who tries to reconnect with his father, a legendary big-leaguer played by Bridges, during a road trip that includes a stop at The Peabody in Memphis. Kate Mara is Timberlake's girlfriend, while Mary Steenburgen plays his mother.

Timberlake, Bridges, Mara, cast member Lyle Lovett and writer-director Michael Meredith (son of football player and announcer "Dandy" Don Meredith) were in Memphis in March 2008, for a couple of days of shooting on the film. The movie received a token theatrical release in late August, opening in a mere 14 theaters before quickly heading to DVD.

The disc includes a commentary track with Meredith and Bridges, as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary.

-- John Beifuss

Cropper cops award

Stax records great Steve Cropper has added another award to his mantle.

The guitarist, songwriter and Booker T & the MGs member is already a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement honoree, and on Thursday he received the 2009 Founders Award from the Experience Music Project.

This is the third time the Seattle-based museum and learning center co-founded by Microsoft billionaire Paul G. Allen and his sister, Jody Allen Patton, has presented its annual awards.

The ceremony is designed to honor "artists who have made outstanding contributions to their respective fields."

Proceeds from the Founders Award Celebration will benefit the museum's youth education programs. Past winners have included Nancy Wilson of Heart and Robbie Robertson of The Band.

Cropper was at the event, which included a musical tribute to his historic catalog of songs, including such pivotal Stax and Southern soul classics as "Knock On Wood," "In The Midnight Hour," and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay."

-- Bob Mehr

'Girl' garners gold

Memphis filmmaker Mike McCarty's "Cigarette Girl," a dystopian near-future fantasy about a nightclub cigarette vendor turned ghetto vigilante (in other words, she replaces coffin nails with bullets and slow death with murder), won the Director's Choice Award this week at Tucson's second annual Arizona Underground Film Festival.

The festival celebrates "filmmakers with defiantly independent visions," according to its Web site, Among this year's selections were the ultragory "Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl," from Japan; the made-in-Texas "Doctor 'S' Battles the Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies: The Movie"; and a special screening of Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects" with actor William Forsythe.

-- John Beifuss

Stonehouse to speak

Wisconsin artist Fred Stonehouse, whose paintings are informed at once by folk art, surrealism and religious iconography, will give a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Meeman Journalism Auditorium on the campus of the University of Memphis.

Described by the artist as "transmuted portraits," his work has been featured in The New York Times, Art in America and Art News. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 678-4164.

-- Bill Ellis

From Sartre's view

In 1944, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre made his famous declaration: "Hell is other people."

And yet, even that hasn't deterred followers of the existentialist philosopher from coming together.

On Nov. 19-21, the North American Sartre Society holds it 25th anniversary conference in Memphis. The event begins Thursday with a free performance of Sartre's famous play "No Exit," at 7:30 p.m. at the Brooks Museum of Art. In the philosopher's vision of hell, three people with contrasting personalities are doomed to spend eternity together in the same room.

Conference panels on Nov. 20 take place from 9 a.m. to 5:25 p.m. in the Pan-Hellenic Building of the University of Memphis; a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and then a 6:45 p.m. panel discussion about Sartre's famous work "Critique de la raison dialectique."

The event continues 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Pan-Hellenic Building, and reconvenes at 5:15 p.m. at the National Civil Rights Museum where Sartre scholar Annie Cohen-Solal lectures on "Sartre's Representation of the United States Considered in Light of the Obama Era." Also, Robert JC Young will give a talk on "Sartre, Postcolonialism, and the Human."

All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit or call 678-3550.

-- Christopher Blank

'Music' makers

Tickets are on sale for the December party-and-premiere launch of "The Music Interviews," three short films featuring in-depth interviews with opera star Margueritte Piazza, bell-voiced folk-pop artist Sid Selvidge and the late producer-rocker Jim Dickinson.

The event takes place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Memphis College of Art in Overton Park. The documentaries will screen in the Callicott Auditorium. Music videos shot during the April 19 "Songs & Stories" event at Minglewood Hall will play in a side room. A wine tasting will take place in the main gallery.

The music documentaries represent the latest in an ongoing series of video interviews with significant local artists produced by Joanne Self Selvidge's True Story Pictures company. Previous films, available on DVD, have focused on such visual artists as Dolph Smith, Larry Edwards and the late Ernest Withers.

Tickets are $15 each, or two for $25, through Thanksgiving. After Nov. 26, prices go up to $20 and $35. To order, visit

The event is hosted by True Story Pictures and the Memphis chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

-- John Beifuss

© 2009 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 2

moon7332#213141 writes:

That's Fantastic. Herman has paid his dues many times over and it's about time he was recognized for all the enjoyment and entertaining he's done for Memphis for way over 50 years.

Glad you're still here to enjoy the honor Herman.


Pippin writes:

Congratulations, Herman, we love you and are so proud of you!

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