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The Daily Memphian | The Early Word
The Early Word: Live music returns and how we’re celebrating our vaccinations

Good morning, guys. Today is Thursday, April 8, and a situation that’s gotten a lot of attention — a proposed street closure on Mimosa Avenue at Highland Street — will be before the Land Use Control Board. The LUCB will also discuss an amendment to the area’s Unified Development Code that would affect oil pipelines

Opera Memphis is being totally square today (more on that in a minute) with lunchtime performances at Court Square, Overton Square and the Collierville Historic Town Square. And the Memphis Songwriters Association is scheduled to host its 2021 Annual Songwriting Competition tonight at 7 p.m. at the Halloran Centre.



U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen talks to national guard members working at the Pipkin Building. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

A mission mentality: “Armed” with military doctors, logistics experts and some 170 active military and Tennessee National Guard members, the vaccination operation at the Pipkin Building is bigger and — dare we say — better than ever before? Vaccinations are now happening 12 hours a day, more doses are available and the number of lanes for vehicles has doubled. Plus, due to a military-style reinforced tent, rain-day cancellations at the site should be a thing of the past.

Germantown schools still in play: The state bill that would give Germantown’s three namesake schools back to the municipal district failed in the Senate education committee yesterday. Which could have killed the measure, at least for the time being. A representative for Shelby County Schools argued that Germantown didn’t want to educate the students assigned to the three schools (some of them not living within the suburb) in perpetuity and questioned how one side in an agreement could ask the Legislature to undo a settlement. But after the bill stalled in committee, Sen. Brian Kelsey essentially added it as an amendment to another proposal — about communication from the state’s commissioner of education — he is sponsoring.


One of the winning designs for the new stained-glass windows to be installed at Clayborn Temple. (Courtesy: Design Review Board)

Vance askance: Design Review Board members voted unanimously yesterday to table action on 7 Vance, slated to stand where the Nylon Net Building once did, saying the new plans did not mesh well with the surrounding area’s architecture. In fact, one board member said she thought the building could just as easily be built in Cordova. (Insert eye-popping emoji here.) From that same link, above, the board also approved plans for The Walk, postponed a vote on a new building on South Main, and endorsed new stained glass windows for the historic Clayborn Temple.

Having a ball: Out of Shelby County Schools’ efforts to “right-size” the district comes a new elementary school in Alcy-Ball. The $29 million, new Alcy Elementary School draws students from three previous schools — Magnolia Elementary, Charjean Elementary and Alcy Elementary — and has been ready to open for a while but only saw its first students in-person last month. It is one of two new “21st century schools” recently constructed by the school system. 




Elizabeth King (Submitted photo)

Earlier this month, septuagenarian Elizabeth King released her latest album, “Living in the Last Days.” The sacred soul singer was born and raised in Charleston, Mississippi, but moved to Memphis in 1960. It was here she was involved in a life-altering car crash, after which she had to learn to walk again. “It brought me closer to God and made me focus on my music even more,” she says. Her newest album was released on Memphis-based Bible & Tire Recording.




Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2019. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP file)

Taking the stage: The North Mississippi Allstars, Amy LaVere & Will Sexton, and The Reigning Sound will all be performing live and in-person in Memphis within the next two months. The musicians are slated to perform as both the Levitt Shell in Overton Park and the River Series in Harbor Town return with new scheduled shows this spring. 

Now that you’re vaccinated, what are you going to do?!? For Geoff Calkins’ mom, the answer was, “I’m going to Disney World!” You may remember the Calkins clan went to Disney a few years ago, and none of them imagined they would be back. But as people become fully vaccinated, they’ve started resuming the activities they missed during the pandemic. Like seeing each other in person. And experiencing everyday magic. And that’s why people should get vaccinated, Calkins writes, and “the rush should be greater than any Disney ride.” But it does sound like they had another great trip. 


Jake Stamatis sings opera outside of Curb Market at Crosstown Concourse April 7, 2021. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphis)

You have to let it linger: Opera is popping back up in and around Memphis these days (and today specifically), as Opera Memphis’ “30 Days of Opera” returns. That means you might encounter singers on the dock of Crosstown Concourse, at El Mercadito in Southeast Memphis or somewhere in every single one of Memphis’ ZIP codes. It could be basically anywhere where listeners may loiter without gathering in a large group. 

Passports, pro and con: I’ve been super interested in the idea of a vaccination passport (mainly, I think, because I really want to use my real passport). But. That aside, two locals have weighed in on the issue this week. Arlington doctor Daniel Chatham compares vaccination passports to a bio-surveillance program and says, “George Orwell would like a word.” Bryce Ashby fires back with a fairly common example of a current vaccine passport and writes, “Vaccines and the protection they provide are not solely about protecting the individual who receives the vaccine. It is about eliminating as many potential hosts” as we can. 



The Grizzlies defeating the Hawks Wednesday after it appeared Tuesday that point guard Ja Morant was injured.


Maybe that worked. Because Morant turned out to be fine, and the team had “too many highlights to keep up” with Wednesday, including 30 points from Grayson Allen, 19 from Morant, efficiency from Dillon Brooks and another double-double from Jonas Valanciunas.


Hope your Thursday is just as much fire. Thanks for reading and join us back here tomorrow to end out the workweek!