Monday, May 30, 2011


It's been a minute since I updated this blog. There are lots of reasons for that-- I was tied up with the American Values Project (and its New York Values iteration) for a while, then the Memphis Grizzlies were in the NBA playoffs, then end-of-the-semester grading was upon me, then graduation and curriculum seminars, etc-- so I'm posting today as an attempt at a smooth transition to a summer full of regular blog updates. Hope you're still here, readers.

If everything goes as plans, I hope to have a lot to report about the American Values Project in the coming weeks. My college has decided to provide me with a paid assistant next year, and I'm waiting to hear whether or not I will receive a grant for the project as well. (Fingers crossed!) Among other things, we'll be moving the AVP to its own website with its own domain name soon. And for those of you who still haven't contributed your own photos to the project, we're still taking images! (Send yours to me .) More on that to come.

In June, I'm planning to begin the 30 Day Song Challenge, which is a meme over on Facebook. For each day, there is a description of a song that you're supposed to post to your profile, e.g. "a song that reminds you of someone," a song you want played at your funeral," "a song that is a guilty pleasure," etc. I'm going to post my picks on my Facebook profile and Twitter feed for the thirty days in June, and I'll also post the songs here on the blog with a longer description of why I chose them. I'm hoping that can generate some conversation here among those of you who read this blog for the excellent music commentary. :-)

Speaking of music, I saw Mavis Staples perform here in Memphis last weekend and I can say, without reservation, that it was of the best concerts I've ever seen. If you don't know who Mavis Staples is (shame on you!), she began her career singing with her family The Staples Singers in the 50's, a family that ruled the gospel and R&B charts for decades and came to be known in the industry as "God's Greatest Hitmakers." The Staples Singers were also one of the cornerstones of the house that Stax built, so their sound is near and dear to the hearts of Memphians. I was right up front for her show last Friday, just a few feet from Mavis herself, and got to experience the old-school CHURCH that she conducted in its full-on spiritual intensity. She was amazing. One of my good friends, who is the keyboardist for the Bo-Keys and whose band opened for Mavis, managed to get me on the guest list for the show. So, I also got to MEET MAVIS IN PERSON backstage afterwards. There are just no words to describe how awesome the whole night was. As Mavis herself would say: Good god, y'all.

So, for now, I'll leave you with a little bit of Mavis. More to come soon.