TSD Memphis

Fri04182014

We could use some new sounds of Xmas

What's happening Myron?
 
 Myron
Mays

Yep, it’s that time of year again. You know...lots of shopping, wishing for snow and – most of all – listening to all of that great holiday music. Every station on the radio is playing some sort of Christmas music, whether its 24/7 Christmas songs or just one per hour. Go to your favorite store or even your favorite restaurant. It’s everywhere, isn’t it? The sound of Christmas is in the air.

Here’s a Christmas wish. I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge, but I wish there were more modern-day, listening-worthy Christmas songs.

Really, we have spent years enjoying our favorites such as the Temptations’ versions of “Silent Night,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and others. We have also enjoyed such hits as Donnie Hathways’ “This Christmas” and The Jacksons’ “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

But what happens when the listener can no longer identify with those songs? Does Christmas become less meaningful? Will there ever be any new songs that have as much of an impact as those songs did?

The most recent “original” Christmas song that I can readily think of is Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight’s “Let It Snow.” And as a radio personality, I’m a witness that we have put some serious miles on that song. (lol)

But right off hand, can you think of a Christmas song that is more recent than “Let It Snow” – one that really makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside? I can’t and you probably can’t either.

While we consider the Christmas songs that we all know and love to be timeless, are they really as timeless as we think they are? Will my grand children look forward to hearing “This Christmas?” Will they wanna listen to Christmas music by the Jacksons when they grow up?

Here’s a challenge to today’s artists...get into the Holiday spirit. Go write a great song. Record and release it and create some new holiday standards. The future of Christmas could very well be in your hands!

Ok, maybe it’s not that serious, but you get my point, right?

Neo Soul & Jazz Jingle

El Mac and Strickly Jazz Entertainment presents Neo Soul & Jazz Jingle at the Westin at 170 Lt. George W. Lee Ave., across from the FedExForum. The event will be in the lobby and the Bleu restaurant beginning at 9 on Christmas night and going until 2 a.m. There will be drink specials and live music by Will Graves and Soul. For more information, you can hit El Mac up on Facebook.

‘If Scrooge Were A Brother’

If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the great plays at the Hattiloo Theatre, this is a great time to get by and check out “If Scrooge Were a Brother.” The musical is an “urban” spin of Charles Dickens’ Classic “A Christmas Carol.” It tells of sour and stingy Eb Scroo’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. It plays through Christmas Eve. For more details, just go to Hattlioo.org.

From Wrags to Ritches

Don’t forget to check out “Wrags to Ritches” at the Cannon Center on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. It’s a story of domestic violence, teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol, sexual abuse and dark family secrets, all of the ingredients for a compelling and intriguing stage play. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, call Sharon Coleman at 901-525-1645.

Soulful Christmas Celebration

Join Brown Baptist Church on Dec. 16 and Dec. 18 for a Soulful Christmas Celebration, featuring Kathy Taylor, Earnest Pugh and Angela Spivey.

The shows will be at the church at 980 Stateline Rd. in Southaven. The Dec. 16 show starts at 7 p.m. and the doors open at 6:30. The Dec. 18 show starts at 6 p.m. and the doors open at 5:30. For more information, visit the Brown Baptist Church website at brownbaptist.org.

PARTING SHOT: I’m finally gonna start my Christmas shopping soon. Wish me luck. I’ll be sure to share the details of my adventure. Until then, that’s what’s happening.

(If you have an event that you’d like for me to cover or attend, send me an email at Myron@whatshappening­myron.com!)

Herman Cain’s act is one for the road

What’s Happening Myron?
 
 Myron Mays

My ‘regulars’ know that I’m not one to stray too far away from entertainment when it comes to this column. I have never really talked about politics here, and I won’t start. But sometimes politics can be very entertaining.

And in the case of Herman Cain, it’s very entertaining. Just when I was beginning to think that there were gonna be two African-American candidates running against each other for” POTUS” – that’s President of the United States – one of them forgot that he had a checkered past when it came to females.

Cain, who was once considered a front-runner in the GOP race for the Republican Party nomination, stepped down this week amid allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity. I’ll admit, while I am a moderate Democrat when it comes to my political preference, I was actually starting to become sort of proud of the guy, even though I had no intentions of voting for him.

Why would I be proud? Well, he is an African-American man who has made such an impact that it was almost possible that the Republican Party could have made him their candidate. He was actually beginning to outshine his opponents in debates and he was really picking up momentum.

But then he sort of forgot that he carried on a 13-year affair (He says it ain’t so.). That was after he apparently forgot that there were allegations of sexual harassment against him…that he settled. Did he not think that all of those things would come back up? They always do, don’t they?

God forbid if I ever run for president. I’d never wanna have to explain anything and there are no lingering sexual harassment issues in my past. Maybe a few credit issues, a few bitter girlfriends and a couple of bad habits. (Lol) OK, let me officially announce now that I will never run for president.

Still, looking back on it all, wasn’t Cain funny? Wasn’t he entertaining? The guy really should look into doing comedy. He’d really be good. He’s already had a successfully comedy act run (read campaign). I mean, I’m not picking on the guy; He’s just really good for entertainment news.

Andre Turner Basketball Camp

The Andre Turner – Fundamentally Sound basketball camp with University of Memphis’s “Little General” and Coach “D” Davitria Harrell will be held Dec. 27-30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Collierville Community Center. The four-day camp for boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, will focus on basketball skills, strategy, sportsmanship and teamwork.

For more information, contact Brad Heacox at the Collierville Community Center, 901.457.2770 or Coach D at 817.404.2196.

With Jazz-A-F!re and Redd Velvet

You’re invited to hang out for a night with one of my greatest friends, Redd Velvet!  On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Memphis Black Arts Alliance/FireHouse Community Arts Center’s Jazz-A-F!RE Orchestra, featuring Redd Velvet, will perform in the Skyway Ballroom at The Peabody Hotel, 149 Union.

The MBAA’s first ever Jazz-A-F!RE Holiday Cabaret also will showcase vocalist Naomi Williams Moody, bassist Kent Suggs, trumpeter Nokie Taylor and other Last Sunday regulars. Co-hosted by WMUR U92 FM, the MBAA fundraiser begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and silent art auction followed by live entertainment from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Event tickets are $50 for non-members and $40 for MBAA members. To reserve tickets, call 901.948.9522 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Tickets also can be purchased online.

Stax remembers Rufus Thomas

Here’s the invitation: Please join the Stax Museum of American Soul Music on Thursday, Dec. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Stax Museum for a special event celebrating the life of the “World’s Oldest Teenager,” Rufus Thomas, on the 10th anniversary of his death. We’ll have a special short video, refreshments and more. Admission is free and the party promises to be funky!

(Got an event you’d like for me to cover of attend? Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

Hey, who’s driving the ‘Soul Train’

What's happening Myron?
 
 Myron Mays

Ok, now I’m gonna be the grouchy old man that I’m always joking about. Can someone tell me why these awards shows can never get the tribute portion right?

During the Soul Train awards I was looking forward to three tributes – one for Gladys Knight, another for Earth, Wind & Fire and the third was for the late great Heavy D.

Unfortunately, all three were disappointing.

As for the Gladys Knight tribute, I only have one question: “Tamar Braxton...really?”

I mean, Mary J. Blige and Jill Scott were in the audience. They were probably thinking to themselves, “Child, I really need to be up there.” It makes me wonder if they were at least asked to participate.

On to the Heavy D tribute...

All of my favorite rappers appear to be old men now. No one on stage seemed able to actually breathe and rap at the same time. And while it was good to see Big Daddy Kane, and even Kurtis Blow, why was the Goodie Mob there? Anyway, although that was not what I expected, I could not think of anyone else that I would have had up there instead. So there you have it. (lol)

The Earth Wind and Fire tribute was somewhat better. I enjoyed seeing Eric Benet and Joe and Robin Thicke performing together. Those guys could actually form a group and do very well.

One final question: Why did they have Earth, Wind & Fire performing during the closing credits?

That was just wrong.

Will Downing & Boney James

Trust me, Will Downing and Boney Jones will be put on a good show at the Cannon Center this Saturday night. I’ve seen them both in concert on two different occasions and enjoyed both shows immensely. I plan to enjoy this weekend’s show too. Call the Cannon Center Box Office to get your tickets. See you Saturday!

Starry Nights at Shelby Farms

Starry Nights has returned to Shelby Farms Park and will be there through Dec. 30.  It features dozens of enormous holiday displays illuminated with more than a million environmentally friendly LED lights. Prices are $20 per car, $50 for a minibus, limo, shuttle or oversized van, and $150 for tour buses. Cash only at the gate.

Visit starrynightsmemphis.org, become a fan of Starry Nights on Facebook, or call Jen Andrews at Shelby Farms Park at 901-767-PARK for more information.

John Witherspoon at the Funny Bone

The very funny John Witherspoon will be performing at The Funny Bone at Harrah’s Casino Tunica on December 1st through the 3rd. Showtimes are Thursdays at 8pm, Friday at 8pm and 10:30pm and Saturday at 7:00pm, 9:30pm and midnight. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of show. For tickets and more, please call (662) 357-4242 or purchase online at www.funnybone ­tunica.com. Special Offer! $5 off Thursday Nights Show! The Funny Bone is located at Harrah’s Casino Tunica on the 2nd Floor next to Paula Deens.

Hattiloo Theatre Presents “If Scrooge Was a Brother”

“If Scrooge was a Brother” is an urban spin of A Christmas Carol. It tells of sour and stingy Eb Scroo’s ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. This production runs from December 1st through the 24th at the Hattiloo Theatre located at 656 Marshall Avenue. For admission and other Box Office questions, please call (901) 525-0009 or visit them online at www.hattiloo.org.

Keia Johnson Video Premiere

Join us for the premiere of Keia’s new music video for the song “Movin’ On” from her debut CD “T.I.M.E.”! It’s all happening Sunday, December 4, 2011 at the Ice Bar 4202 Hacks Cross Road at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the cover is $7. Enjoy Ice Bar’s full menu and specialty cocktails and then a performance by Keia and the premiere screening of “Movin’ On” directed by the talented Isaiah Conyers.

As I am writing for this week, Dr. Conrad Murray has been sentenced for the death of Michael Jackson. I will most definitely talk about that one next week. Until then, that’s whats happening.

When ‘Annie’ meets Jay Z, and more

What's happening Myron?
 
 Myron
Mays

I decided to step out of my normal circle of activities and do something different last weekend, choosing to take my kids to see “Annie” at Playhouse on the Square. I know you remember the story of Annie, a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan.

I remember seeing the movie years ago, but the play was a lot of fun. My children are so funny. When it got to the part where the cast sings, “It’s A Hard Knock Life,” they both looked at me and said, “They’re singing Jay Z!”

I’m like, that’s where Jay Z got the song from.

Anyway, it’s a top quality play and I highly recommend you check it out. It will be playing through Dec. 23. Check out the website at www.playhouseonthesquare.org.

I’m pretty sure that over the next few days I will be forced to go see “Happy Feet.” I’ll be sure to share my experience.

Happy Thanksgiving

This year, I have made a vow not to consume any turkey products whatsoever.

Year after year, there seems to be more turkey than I can handle. I swear the more you eat the stuff the more it multiplies.

So no turkey and dressing, no turkey sandwiches, nor any turkey salad! That way I can be up and alert for Black Friday. I am planning to hit as many sales as I can. As a matter of fact, I will be up and ready to go at 3 a.m.! Perhaps I’ll see you out there.

Curtis Givens All Black Affair

CGI Entertainment & Crown Royal Black presents The 11th Annual Curtis Givens All Black Affair on Friday, Nov. 25 at the Esplanade 901 Cordova Station in cordova. Tickets are $40 in advance and can be purchased at Sammy’s on American Way or Big Bills on Elvis Presley. For more information or VIP booth reservations, call 901-233-8416.

Lalah Hathaway at the Hard Rock

Her name is legendary.  Her music is timeless. Her lyrics touch you at the core. Her voice possesses rich warmth that soothes your ears and holds you close. She is Grammy nominated artist, Lalah Hathaway and she is coming to Memphis in December.

Daughter to Soul Music Legend, Donny Hathaway, she is one of this generation’s greatest soul legends. She will be performing at the Hard Rock Café at 315 Beale Street on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. Get your tickets at www.soulloungeusa.com.

Musiq Soulchild & Chrisette Michelle

Do you like Musiq SoulChild? Of course you do. I know you love those hits such as “So Beautiful,” “Love,” “Yes” and “Anything.” Well, you will get a chance to hear those and much more when he blows into town on Dec. 30 at the Cannon Center.

Also on the show is songbird Chrisette Michelle. This show will be a great one to wrap up the year on, so get your tickets soon. They are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets and the Cannon Center Box Office.

Soul Train Music Awards

If you’re still stuffed with Thanksgiving dinner and too full to leave the house, be sure to check out the “Soul Train Music Awards” this coming Sunday (Nov. 27) at 8 p.m. on BET & Centric.

There will be performances by the Original 7ven, formerly Morris Day and the Time, and much more. There will also be a tribute to Gladys Knight and Earth, Wind and Fire. Expect surprise and a whole lot of fun.

I am excited about seeing the all-star tribute to Heavy D, with Whodini, Big Daddy Kane and Kurtis Blow.

Will Downing & Boney James

Just a reminder...Tickets are still available for the big show featuring Will Downing & Boney James at the Cannon Center on Dec. 3. Get yours now at www.mixandmingle.net.

(Got an event you’d like for me to cover or attend, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

No shame in Ledisi’s game

If you were anywhere other than the Cannon Center on Saturday night, shame, shame, shame.

 Ledisi
 Ledisi, who has been around for 10 years, has released five albums but is just now headlining her own tour. Photos by Warren Roseborough)
 
 Timothy Bloom amply filled the bill as the opening act.

How could you not wanna check out Ledisi in concert?

And to top it all off, the show was hosted by none other than the “What’s Happening Man” himself...ME!

New Orleans born Ledisi is a performer, and a good one at that. She’s so soulful that even Patti Labelle called her the new Patti Labelle. And according to Myron Mays, she’s one good looking woman too. (lol) There’s gotta be a reason why I have seen her in concert three times in 12 months.

Ledisi brought along Fairville, N. Car. native Timothy Bloom, who is very talented. His style? Well, if you put together a mixture of soul, rock and blues, you would probably get Bloom. Be on the lookout for some big things from this guy. In the meantime, you can catch his project – “The Budding Rose” – on Itunes.

After I got my mid-show announcements out of the way, I was ready to take my seat and get ready for the headliner. It’s amazing that Ledisi has actually been around for over 10 years, has released five albums and is just now headlining her own tour. But I guess everything happens at the right time.

And the right time it was. Ledisi was on top of her game and her band was right there with her. She has one of the baddest guitar players I have ever heard.

You most likely have heard her latest single, “Let’s Stay Together,” featuring Jahiem. She performed that song as well Saturday night, and while Jahiem wasn’t in town, Bloom returned to the stage doing pretty well was a substitute.

As the show neared the midway point, almost everyone was standing and singing along. The ladies seemed to love “Celebrate Life” and “Pieces of Me” even more. Yes, even I was singing along, but I was trying my best not to sing too loud though. You do know that’s a woman’s song, right? (lol)

Ledisi wrapped up the show with her hit song, “It’s Alright,” which led to a standing ovation. Trying not to be too choked up, she left us with a little story of how her mother gave her the idea for the song.

Here’s my account of the story:

Ledisi found herself sleeping on the floor at a friend’s house. She called her mother and explained to how she was ready to give up and call it quits. Her mother told her, “It’s alright,” adding that she should not give up.

A song was born.

Ledisi also stressed the importance of loving yourself, saying that then you can show others how you want to be loved.

Then she dropped one last gem:

“Never let just anyone in your personal circle.”