2014: The Year of Festivals, Arts Remixes, and Possibilities (Part Two)
As I said before, I got really excited when I was writing previews of Memphis in 2014, and it turned into a monster post. Yesterday I posted part one about big things to look forward to and restaurants opening this year; here's part two.
A "tent" at Barbecue Fest.
Memphis in May: It will be here before we know it, so now's the time to start befriending people on barbecue teams. Traditionally we get the Beale Street Music Festival lineup in February or March, so there's that to look forward to. Will Kei$ha make a triumphant, glitter-filled return? We'll have to wait and see. Will it rain? Yes. This year's honored country is Panama.
The Classics: It looks like all of our favorite Memphis annual festivals are back. The International Blues Challenge is at the end of January. Several crawfish festivals, Hot Wing Fest, and Memphis Craft Beer Week are all in April. The Germantown Horse Show is in June. Greek Fest and Italian Fest are in May. Elvis Week is in August. Cooper Young Fest, Cooper Young Regional Beer Fest, Goat Days, the Mid-South Fair, and Goner Fest are all in September. I swear if one more person says there's nothing to do in Memphis…I'll show them this list.
Hot Wing Fest samplings.
New Festivals: So far I've heard about two new festivals this year. The Latin Food and Tequila Fest is scheduled for April 12 at Memories Banquet Hall. You'll be able to vote on your favorite Latin beers, tequilas, margaritas, and of course, food. The Memphis Outdoor Festival is scheduled for October 18 and 19 at Shelby Farms. The Facebook page lists mountain biking, trail running, dock dogs competition, disc golf, kids' activities, and a relaunch of the Tour de Wolf mountain bike race.
This is only a smidgeon of what Memphis has to offer in 2014.
Theatre: Wicked is my favorite musical ever. What other Broadway show has songs with lyrics about the "unadulterated loathing" of one's roommate? Wicked will be at the Orpheum Jan. 29 – Feb. 16. This spring/summer, Orpheum will also host Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, War Horse, and the likely-to-sell-out The Book of Mormon. You can read more here.
In the first half of 2014, Playhouse on the Square's main theatre is hosting Spamalot, Diary of Anne Frank, Gypsy, and Hairspray. Hattiloo Theatre will open their shiny new facility in Overton Square in late spring, completing midtown's theatre district.
Dance: Ballet Memphis has two shows left in its 2013-2014 season, World Wonders in February and Peter Pan in mid-April. New Ballet Ensemble will showcase a remixed version of the classic Coppelia ballet in April at their Spring Loaded performance. Collage Dance Collective's winter concert, Rise, is in early February. If you've ever wanted to join the hoopers you see at Levitt Shell concerts, Co-Motion Studio in Crosstown just opened and is beginning classes in hooping, world dance, yoga, and more.
Hoopers in LED.
Art: The Dixon's upcoming exhibitions include Wait Watchers, Color!, and more. This year The Brooks' will have exhibits on Native American artists, the Marisol: Sculptures and Works on Paper, and more. I heard a rumor that the Internet Cat Video Festival will return to the Brooks for a second year, again on Valentine's Day. Cross your fingers.
Opera/Symphny: Opera Memphis is performing Mikado from January 14 – 17, but in this version, the traditional Japanese production will be infused with Japanese pop culture like Hello Kitty, Pokemon, anime, and monster movies. The Memphis Symphony Orchestra is doing a ton of classics and not-your-usual-symphony shows including a performance at the New Daisy (what?!) with Jody Stephens, last surviving member of Big Star, on Jan. 31.
Mikado will be at Opera Memphis in mid-January.
Random other stuff to look forward to.
Grocery Stores: Fresh Market is supposed to open in midtown in the Ike's/Walgreens location maybe by the end of the year. Whole Foods on Poplar is reopening on Jan. 14; another location in Germantown might begin construction this year. I'm not sure what midtown did to deserve the "unique charm" of the Union Avenue Kroger, but we must have paid for our sins finally because renovations are schedule to begin this year, hallelujah, amen.
The Question Marks:
French Quarter hotel in Overton Square: What will it be? Will anything happen to it this year? Can it please be a giant laser tag maze?
Memphis basketball: How much playoff action, if any, will Hoop City see?
Prince Mongo's house. What's going to happen to Ashlar Hall, aka the Castle in Central Gardens? The Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention wants to build a Center for the Arts. Another guy says the house is his. It's all a bit confusing, but what can you expect from the King of Zambodia? We don't have to wait long for the answer. The hearing to decide the home's ownership is Monday, January 13.
Cooper-Young: Will the iconic corner of Cooper and Young get something that lasts? (Y'all cared a lot about this! See your ideas here.) Toad Hall on the corner of Cooper and Central is closing. What will go there?
Again, what are you looking forward to in 2014? Feel free to leave your additions in the comments since these are just the highlights.
Important: What do you want to see on this blog in 2014? You can let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or by email.