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Stories Written by Sheena Barnett
By Sheena Barnett
AMORY – The Old Armory will rock again this weekend, just like it did nearly 60 years ago.
Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins performed at the Old Armory in 1955 and 1956, to packed crowds of excited teens. This weekend, Perkins’ son Stan and T. Tone & the City Spice will entertain at the Old Armory at Crusin’ Flashback, an old-school sock hop and classic car display.
“It’s not just that those three played here,” said Danny Sanders, who’s on the city’s Old Armory committee. “It was a gathering place for the entire community. It was the only gathering place.”
The Old Armory was built in the early 1940s and was used by the National Guard until the 1980s, when a newer armory was constructed.
“In the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, this building had events of every sort you can imagine,” Sanders said, like concerts, wrestling matches and home and food shows.
Then it sat, empty and neglected, until 2013, when Martha Dowd Dalrymple had the historic building preserved.
The building was in “terrible shape,” Sanders said, but the renovation preserved the original building as much as possible. The floor and most of the doors are original, as is the stage that Elvis, Cash and Perkins once performed on.
Now the Old Armory is in the hands of the city, and a committee of volunteers, including Sanders and Devy Ferguson, is overseeing the building’s care and creating events to keep the building busy.
They’ve already improved the building’s acoustics and hope to one day install a top-of-the-line light and sound system.
“There have been hundreds of hours of volunteer help, and there’ll be hundreds more to put in. The potential for this building is unlimited,” Sanders said.
Sock hop fun
Crusin’ Flashback starts with a classic car show at 5 p.m. Saturday, and the music starts at 7 p.m.
Stan Perkins is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and he’ll perform with T. Tone and the City Spice. Most of the music will be rockabilly, but later in the night T. Tone will play more contemporary hits, too.
Poodle skirts and other ‘50s attire is encouraged. There will be a costume contest, as well as a table decorating contest, Ferguson said.
There will be food vendors, too.
Upcoming events at the Old Armory include a bluegrass show and chili cook-off – complete with a $25,000 grand prize – in October and a USO show in November.
Ferguson and Sanders hope to see the entire community turn out for these events, just like they did years ago.
“It’s going to be a blast, it really is,” Ferguson said. “It’s a chance for your whole family to get together in a top-notch venue and enjoy top-notch entertainment. There will be something for everybody: classic cars, music, dancing. You can dance your shoes off.”
CHECK IT OUT
• What: Cruisin’ Flashback, a car show and sock hop, with Stan Perkins, T. Tone & the City Spice
• When: Saturday. Car display at 5 p.m., and music at 7 p.m.
• Where: Old Armory, Amory
• Cost: $15/adults, $5/12 and under
• Info: (662) 256-4673
By Sheena Barnett
NEW ALBANY – Rush of Fools practices what it preaches.
The Alabama-based Christian pop/worship band is on the road promoting its latest album, “Carry Us Now,” but on Sunday mornings you’ll find the band members at their churches, leading worship and helping others connect with God.
Between Christ City Church in Birmingham, Catalyst Community Church in Montgomery and the band’s work, the guys in Rush of Fools are busy.
“Where we really get fed is in our community and in our home churches. Whether we sell one CD or 10 million, they’ll treat us like family, because we are,” said the band’s guitarist and keyboardist, Kevin Huguley, in an interview with the Daily Journal. “The Lord lets us do a lot of traveling and go to a lot of places, but we love coming home to sweet home Alabama.”
Rush of Fools has had plenty of success with its previous records, but “Carry Us Now” is special, Huguley said. Rush of Fools returned to their roots as a worship band, and that shines through on the album.
“This album feels different,” he said. “Stylistically, we are finally making the sounds we’ve always wanted to make.”
That same feeling will reflect in the band’s shows. Huguley said the band can’t wait to perform at Adios Summer, a free Christian music festival in New Albany on Saturday.
“We love to serve a community. We’re going to ask the community, ‘How can we really serve well tonight?’” he said. “It’s a pretty high-energy show. You’re gonna see lyrics on a screen. We’re gonna open up the word of God together, because we believe that’s where we find out ultimate truth. We write three-minute mini-sermons that are poppy, catchy tunes.”
He invites everyone out to the show on Saturday, and not just for the music.
“There’s a bigger picture written than the band Rush of Fools,” he said. “If you’ve never experienced Jesus, we want to be a part of watching God show himself up in people’s lives. We’d love to see that happen Saturday night. We would be humbled and honored and grateful.”
• What: Adios Summer, featuring Rush of Fools, Matthew Clark, Matt King and Barton Ramsey
• When: 6 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Magnolia Civic Center, New Albany
• Cost: Free
• Info: (662) 507-5658
It’s been eight years since I was a student, but back-to-school season still excites me.
My nerdy side loves the fresh packs of pencils and packs of paper waiting to be filled with class notes.
I’m also a little jealous of kids who get to take a Guardians of the Galaxy lunchbox to school, although I guess there’s nothing stopping me from bringing one to the Journal.
But there’s more to back-to- school than accessories and supplies.
It’s about being prepared, mentally.
You have to study and learn, whether you’re in first grade, a high school freshman or a senior in college. But any kind of school requires you to be social, and that’s not always easy for a lot of us.
In grade school, you’re definitely more on the defense than you are in college.
Of course, there are bullies everywhere, even in college (and, trust me, in the workplace, too), but bullying is just worse when you’re younger. Basically your world fits inside the walls of those hallways and classrooms, and there’s an unfortunate hierarchy.
Especially in middle and high school, you barely understand yourself, much less anyone else, and for some, the only way to feel better is to make others feel bad. It’s messed up, but you don’t have to take it. And you certainly don’t have to dish it out in return.
If you can survive those years – and trust me, you can – you can survive most anything.
Bullying can continue into college, but the world is bigger, and hopefully your fellow classmates are a little more mature.
It’s easy to find your own group of friends, so long as you try.
College towns have a lot of distractions: parties, bars, parties, games, concerts, parties, shopping, parties … you get the idea. Those are great, and take advantage of the cool stuff (when you’re of age, of course). But don’t overdo it.
Chances are you’re paying for your education (and if you aren’t now, you’ll have a student loan ready to suck up your paycheck after you graduate), so make the most of it. Every university offers free lectures, awesome museum exhibits and more. Soak it all up.
No matter what, always be yourself.
If someone else doesn’t like it, that’s their problem. If bullying gets bad, tell someone. You aren’t alone.
Show some kindness to your classmates. You don’t know what they’re going through.
Study, learn, grow. It’s cool to be smart. Trust me.
And if you don’t understand something, ask. Everyone’s brains work differently, so what comes easily to you may not come as easily to others, and vice versa. That doesn’t make anyone stupid; it just makes us all different.
And – this goes back to the whole “being yourself” thing – carry a Guardians of the Galaxy lunchbox, or whatever kind of lunchbox you want.
It’s a great way to make new friends, and we can always use more of those.
Sheena Barnett writes about entertainment and news for theDaily Journal. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – The Tupelo Furniture Market had only a few problems this time, and they were good problems to have.
There were so many people at the market, they ran out of food and directories.
“It’s been the best market we’ve had in quite a while,” said Kevin Seddon, the market’s president. “The economy’s getting better, and we’ve been far more aggressive in targeting buyers.”
The market has added in more electronic media and Web marketing, and has partnered with area manufacturers to spread the word about the market.
Visitors from as far away as Florida and Texas came this weekend, he said.
Thanks to a better economy, folks are looking to upgrade their homes – which was a good thing for Joe Elkourie with USA Premium Leather Furniture.
“We are very pleased,” he said. “We have a lot of new accounts. They want nicer products; they’re tired of bonded leather.”
This was the leather furniture business’ third market in Tupelo and was the best so far, he said.
At Okolona-based J Henry, colorful patterns and diverse fabric options drove sales.
Accent chairs were an especially big seller, said Virgil Henry, one of the business’ three owners.
“It has been an extremely good market. We have projects to work on with major retailers,” he said. “We have been very blessed.”
Meanwhile, Seddon and his team are already planning the next Furniture Market, set for Feb. 5-8.
“We are very pleased with everything new we tried,” he said, “and we’ll have new tricks up our sleeves for next time.”
BY SHEENA BARNETT
TUPELO – Joe Mac Hudspeth Jr. can’t ask his subjects to stand still and say “cheese” for a photo.
Tonight at the Elvis Presley Birthplace, the wildlife photographer will talk about how he captures images of birds, alligators, snakes, deer and other creatures, and sign copies of his latest book, “My Southern Wild.”
The Southern Light Photography group is hosting the event.
“I’m going to be there talking and giving a presentation, and basically I tell people how I got started, the mistakes I made, how I got close to my subjects with blinds in my boat,” Hudspeth said. “I don’t teach photography. Everybody’s at a different level.”
Hudspeth is a self-taught photographer.
For 30 years, he worked full time in the trucking industry while working on his photography skills. He became a full-time photographer last year.
For a time, he fashioned his own blinds, so animals couldn’t spot him while he took pictures.
“Contrary to what a lot of educated people believe, you can’t just walk up to a wild animal because you have a camera and not a gun,” he said. “I spend an awful lot of time scouting and trying to put together a set-up that the ducks would accept or the deer would accept.”
Hudspeth’s photographs have been featured the state of Mississippi Duck Stamps and Sportsman’s Licenses.
He’s released two other photography books, “In the Southern Wild” and “Return to the Southern Wild.”
Check it out
What: Joe Mac Hudspeth Jr. presentation and book signing
When: 6 p.m. today
Where: Elvis Presley Birthplace
Information: (662) 841-1245
BY SHEENA BARNETT
TUPELO – The kids in Homemade Jamz aren’t really kids anymore.
The Perry siblings started playing music long before the eldest member could even drive; now the youngest is about to get behind the wheel. Taya, Kyle and Ryan Perry have grown up with the blues, releasing four albums and traveling all over the world.
The band will play a hometown gig tonight at Down on Main, opening up for Bobby Rush.
There are a few other big shows coming up this year, and next year the band hopes to record its fifth album.
Get to know each of the Perry siblings in Homemade Jamz.
Ryan Perry, 22, guitar and vocals
Kyle Perry, 20, bass guitar
Taya Perry, 15, drums
What other instruments do you play, or do you hope to play?
R: I would love to play the piano and lap steel guitar. They both are so expressive.
K: Guitar, a little bit of drums, slight piano.
T: The drums is the main instrument I play, but I do fiddle around on the piano and ukulele doing covers. I do wish to master the piano and the bass guitar one day, so hopefully I’ll be able to implement those into our shows.
What’s been the coolesT thing you’ve accomplished so far? What’s something you’d like to see the band accomplish in the future?
R: Being in the running for a Grammy nomination has been the greatest accomplishment in my opinion. We have been performing together for almost a decade, and to be so close to the highest award you could get in your field of work is an amazing feeling.
Next goal: To get that Grammy nomination next time around, and hopefully the win.
K: Getting to do shows out of the country.
T: For me personally, one of the coolest things I have accomplished in the band is being endorsed by Sabian Cymbals and Los Cabos Drum Sticks. I have also had the opportunity to be in the Sticks and Skins drum magazine. One thing I would like to see Homemade Jamz accomplish in the future is to be nominated for a Blues Music Award/Grammy and actually win an award.
What are both the easiest/most difficult and most and least interesting aspects of being in Homemade Jamz?
R: Playing the guitar is the easiest thing I know how to do. To make a career out of it is a dream cone true. The hardest thing would probably be making a last minute set list when you see the crowd demographic. The most interesting thing would be to travel the world. It is truly an education in itself to experience different cultures, people and places. I’m infatuated with it. The least interesting thing would be the long waits at the airport.
K: The easiest part is riding in the van for hours. The difficult part is moving of all our equipment. The most interesting part is being on stage. The least interesting is enduring the long van rides.
T: Without a doubt, traveling from show to show is the hardest part about being in the band. The easiest part for me being in the band is being able to get on stage and do what I love the most.
What are some goals you have for yourself, not related to the band?
R: I would love to get into real estate investing, and open up a great restaurant/blues joint in Tupelo. We need more music in town, but we have some amazing people coming together (like Shawn Brevard, Melanie Deas and the Link Centre) to help make that happen.
K: My future goals include college.
T: If the band for some reason doesn’t work out in the future, I would like to go to college or go into the military.
What are you into outside of the band?
R: I love gear (knives, flashlights, firearms, etc.) and like to go target shooting often. I also love restoring cars. My current project is a 1978 Ford Bronco, and I hope to get her on the road soon.
K: Outside the band, I’m into fishing, hunting and working on cars and trucks.
T: My favorite thing to do when we have some down time is work on old school muscle cars with my dad. I’m currently restoring my 69 Mach 1 Mustang with my dad.
What are you listening to right now? What album or artist are you really into right now?
R: I am really into Gary Clark Jr. Right now. He received a Grammy award for best contemporary blues album. He is a beast on the guitar. Fitz and the Tantrums, as well as Iggy Azalea are also on my list, along with EDM/house/trap/dubstep music.
K: MichaeL “Iron Man” Burks
T: I actually listen to a lot of hip-hop, R & B and top 40 music. I don’t have a favorite artist because there are so many good ones.
Your next show is Down on Main. Why should folks come out and see this show?
R: They should come out because it is going to be a great time. We have been itching to play in town again for a while, so the band is really excited to play for all of our family, friends and fans here. Also, it’s free. Who doesn’t love free?
K: Because we’re gonna tear the stage up.
T: People should come out to just enjoy themselves and support live music. It’s a great opportunity to see us and Bobby Rush for free.
What: Down on Main featuring Bobby Rush and Homemade Jamz Blues Band
When: 6:30 tonight
Where: Fairpark, Tupelo
Info: (662) 841-6598
BY SHEENA BARNETT
TUPELO – If you know what time of the year it’s appropriate to wear white shoes, chances are you’re a Southern belle.
Even if you don’t, if you grew up in the South and are a woman, or know a woman, you’ll find something you recognize in “A Southern Belle Primer: Or Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.”
TCT Off Broadway is presenting the comedy, which focuses on a Southern grandmother, mother and daughter and their devotion to tradition, Junior League and Kappa Kappa Gamma.
“It’s the marshmallow creme of the dramatic menu,” said director Lynn Nelson. “It’s one of those light, frothy things that leaves you laughing.”
All three of the belles in this family are representing – or breaking – the Southern tradition. Grandmother Davis Carlyle Sotheby (Sherrie Black) is giving a tour of her antebellum home; her daughter, Martha Anne (Erin Beall), is scandalized by who’s been admitted to the Junior League; and Davis’ granddaughter, Sister (Layla Taylor), is a freshman in college with zero interest in joining a sorority.
It has non-stop laughs, but a big dose of heart, too.
Black is having fun playing the family matriarch.
“She’s crazy – in a good way,” she said. “She’s Southern crazy. There’s a difference. She’s hilarious.”
Beall’s mother was a Kappa Kappa Gamma, so she’s drawing from her to play Martha Anne.
“It’s very, very true. It’s funny because it’s true,” she said of the comedy. “It’s about the strength of the steel magnolia.”
Taylor will start college this fall, so she can easily relate to Sister.
“I spend a lot of time laughing at myself,” she said.
Fellow Southerners will find a lot to laugh with and love in “A Southern Belle Primer.”
“You will recognize yourself in this if you’re from the South,” Black said. “You’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s me, that’s my mom, that’s my aunt, that’s my sister.’”
Dim the lights
What: TCT Off Broadway presents “A Southern Belle Primer”
When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21-23
Where: TCT Off Broadway, 213 East Franklin St.
Cost: $20/adults, $10/students
Info: (662) 844-1935
One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time is the new Marvel superhero flick, “The Guardians of the Galaxy.”
It’s easy to fall for the charming human of the bunch, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, but the other underdog superheroes are lovable in their own ways.
The sweet tree creature Groot is maybe my favorite, but Rocket the raccoon and the avenging Drax had their appealing moments, too. As a woman, I love a female superhero, and I loved the take-no-prisoners attitude of Gamora.
I’m 31, but I argue you’re never too old to buy superhero merchandise or action figures. And in my search for cool “Guardians of the Galaxy” stuff, I notice Gamora is often included on the packaging, but not on the product itself.
Last time I checked, Gamora is a guardian of the galaxy.
But she’s not, what, good enough to be included on a T-shirt featuring the other four Guardians?
Or is it because she’s not a guy?
The same thing happened with Black Widow when “The Avengers” hit the screen. She was included on lots of merch, sure, but it seemed like if it was specifically aimed at boys – and a lot of it was, because for some reason marketing folks think only boys like superheroes – she was nowhere to be found.
I get that a lot of little boys who watch “Guardians” or “Avengers” may have a favorite male superhero, whether it’s the Hulk or Drax or Rocket or Captain America. But there are female superheroes in both films, and I know plenty of girls and women who saw and loved both movies, and they appreciate the woman who can tear up as many bad guys as any of the male heroes.
I like that Black Widow and Gamora are included in a lot of merchandise, but I don’t understand why they’re left off a few things.
When you include all of the other Guardians or Avengers, but leave off the one female character, you’re telling your consumer that that character – that woman – doesn’t matter.
You’re telling that little boy that yes, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and Iron Man are all Avengers, but Black Widow isn’t.
You’re telling him that StarLord, Drax, Rocket and Groot are all heroes, but Gamora isn’t – even though she held her own and protected her fellow Guardians.
It’s a small thing, but it matters.
It’s a simple matter of equality.
And equality is a heroic thing to strive for.
The Guardians and Avengers never question why a woman is part of their team, but their marketing agencies do, apparently.
Guess I’ll spend my money on things that include all heroes, not just a few.
SHEENA BARNETT writes for the Daily Journal. Contact her at email@example.com.
By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Mississippi filmmakers are hosting a fundraiser and celebration of life for one of their own this weekend.
Filmmaker Casey Spradling, 31, of Mantachie, died July 18. He collapsed while working on the film “The Hollars” in Jackson.
The Casey Spradling Memorial Fundraiser and celebration of life is set for 1 until 4 p.m. Sunday in the Link Centre’s reception hall and Black Box Theatre.
“Casey died doing what he loved, and the film and artistic community of Mississippi plans to celebrate his contribution to the state and raise funds to help support future filmmakers like Casey,” said organizer Melanie Addington, a filmmaker based in Oxford.
The event includes a live auction which will include all kinds of items, including a signed Jimbo Mathus CD, a light set valued at $500 and movie tickets for Malco.
Spradling was a photographer, too, and his prints of his photographs will be raffled and auctioned off at the event.
A slideshow of Spradling’s films, YouTube videos and more will be on display in the Black Box throughout the event.
Following the live auction at 2 p.m., friends and family can share memories of Spradling at 3 p.m.
Food will be provided by local restaurants like Fairpark Grill, Bar-B-Q by Jim, Cafe 212, Romie’s Grocery and more.
All proceeds from the event will go toward the Casey Spradling Memorial Endowment Fund, which will provide awards and grants for filmmakers, and the Casey Spradling Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide for scholarships for filmmakers.
Contributions to either fund should be written to the CREATE Foundation Inc., at P.O. Box 1053, Tupelo, MS 38802, and should be specifically noted to go to either the scholarship or endowment fund.
The event is free and open to the public.
“The whole point is to celebrate him, and if you didn’t know him to see his work,” Addington said. “It’s really for people to celebrate him, and get to know him, too.”
For information, call (662) 801-6007.
By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Amanda Angle is out to prove she can shake it with the best of them.
As a CPA, she’s all business. But she’s stepping out of her comfort zone and onto the dance floor for Dance Like the Stars, a ballroom dance competition that benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi.
“When I was 4 years old, I took a week of dance lessons, and at parents’ night, all of the parents laughed at me,” she said. “This is the one thing in life I want to prove I can do.”
She’s performing a Viennese Waltz routine with Robbie Greenwood, an instructor at The Dance Studio. The studio’s instructors have paired with all of the area celebrity dancers, who are Angle, Lori Pitts Anger, Jenea Britton, Jason Harms, Kara James, Taylor Kitchens, Alyssa Martin, Felicia Pollard, Torrie Robertson, Stephanie West and Judd Wilson.
Children at the Boys & Girls Clubs will perform, as will Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Angle and the other stars have been practicing for hours a day for weeks now to prepare for the show. She may have not been much of a dancer before, but now she has the confidence to put on her dancing shoes.
“I think the most surprising thing is, I feel like I can do it. I always sat at the table when everyone else danced,” she said. “(The instructors) really go above and beyond to help you when you really don’t have a clue.”
The stars are also campaigning to raise the most money.
“Even though we had the tornado this year, people have been willing to give, above and beyond,” Angle said.
She’s already raised $20,000 and hopes to raise more. Last year, Dance Like the Stars raised $246,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs.
Angle hopes folks will turn out for an evening of dancing and doing something for a good cause.
“It’s a cocktail event, so you get to dress up, and it’s a great way to see people in Tupelo,” she said. “It’s a great, fun event.”
CHECK IT OUT
• What: Dance Like the Stars
• When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16
• Where: BancorpSouth Arena
• Cost: $20/general admission
• Info: (662) 841-6504