Daily Archives: January 31, 2011

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Memphis Museums – [Stax]

Can we say “spontaneous visit to Stax”?

I hope so, because that’s what we’re here to talk about today.

Two weeks ago, I got a message from Meredith, which stated: “We are going to the Stax Museum. You want to go? Free ticket!!!”

Yes, obviously!

It seems that Meredith’s fella, Kevin, had bought some tickets to Stax at a discounted price and I was asked to come along.

In tow that afternoon were Meredith, Kevin, and Kevin’s friend Ryan. And me, of course.

What you folks have to understand is: I am a soul music fanatic. It’s what I grew up on [what with having a gospel singer as a mother and all.] Otis Redding is my #1 favorite singer, with Sam Cooke coming in a close #2. The fact that I live in a city with a soul music museum which I hadn’t visited up until this point is ridiculous. It’s even redonkulous, if that word happens to be in your vocabulary.

That’s me, soul fan extroidinare!

So, when we were watching the introductory film/documentary at the museum, it was really difficult for me to not be up and singing and dancing throughout its running time.

The first exhibit we saw upon entering the museum was a 100 year old church which had been transplanted into the museum.

I enjoyed that each member of our party walked around the museum at their own pace – exploring things which interested us. Maybe Kevin, for instance, wanted to dwell on the section devoted one artist, while Ryan browsed another artist’s section.

Meredith, reading information about the recording equipment used in making many famous Stax albums

I, for instance, paid the most attention to things which involved Otis Redding. I remember some years ago, being told by my friend Adam, after he’d visited Stax: “Your idol is EVERYWHERE there.” He meant Otis. See the above Otis Redding display? I got really “Aaaaaahhhhhh!” about it, because I definitely recognized that jacket from photos I’d seen of the late, great Mr. Redding. Just as my sister, as someone who studied English for her degree,  was struck by the fact that I got to see a part of the Rosetta Stone when I visited London, I was struck by seeing Otis Redding’s favorite jacket.

Kevin, looking at the Otis Redding memorabilia

Ya’ll know how I like to document things, right? Photographically, this museum visit reminded me of a photo series I did in 2003, called “Memphis Museums.” It was before I had a blog  – before I’d even heard of a blog. I went to some museums with friends, took photos while we were there of both the exhibits and my friends, and posted the photos to the old version of the Shoot With Personality site.

Our visit to Stax reminded me very much of my old “Memphis Museums” series. Since it was so spur of the moment, I could only use the photo equipment I had on my person {or in my purse, as it happened} that day: my old Lomo LC-A and a couple of rolls of color-process black and white film. Which is much the way I would have been shooting the “Memphis Museums” in 2003.

Kevin, admiring artwork from some of the albums released by Stax

Meredith, and the interactive Stax music player, just before we slow-danced to the music in the headphones.

wonder if they’d stop us if you jumped up on these so I could take your picture sitting on them?”

Issac Hayes’ Cadillac – it is displayed on a rotating floor, with audio of Hayes saying things like “Don’t touch my ride!” playing.

Meredith, in the little photo gallery at Stax

In conclusion, I had a wonderful time at Stax with friends, and loved doing some photography that reminded me of the olden days of Shoot With Personality. And being inspired to perhaps begin a new “Memphis Museums” series…