Celebrate the Year of the Stax Museum in Memphis
I’m not just wishing you a happy new year. I’m wishing you a happy Year of the Stax Museum.
In a press conference happening today at America’s soul museum, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is officially proclaiming 2013 the “Year of the Stax Museum.”
It’s not enough that 2013 marks the museum’s 10th anniversary (look for the Tennessee Governor’s office to soon name May 2, the anniversary of the museum’s grand opening, as Stax Museum Day statewide). At the close of 2012, editors at National Geographic Traveler named Memphis one of the 20 “Best Trips” for 2013, citing Stax as one of their main sways.
We confirmed the lure of Stax a long time ago (read this for a refresher), but isn’t it nice to get a reminder from the national media – and a fresh take on an old favorite? Here’s what to look forward to in this Year of the Stax Museum:
1. See what’s so Staxtacular
Get a jumpstart on the party at this benefit for the Stax Music Academy, the middle/high school located adjacent to the museum where the curriculum, after-school and summer programs are infused with music and the legacy of Stax Records. Staxtacular will go down the evening of Jan. 26 at the museum – expect appearances by Memphis Grizzlies’ Tony Allen, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph; an open bar featuring tastings of Tennessee-made Prichard’s bourbon; an epic buffet where sushi and Southern tastes co-exist and – the main event – a live set by The Bo-Keys with Percy Wiggins, dedicated to the museum’s anniversary. Additional information and tickets available here.
2. Hear “The Sacred Side of Soulsville”
If you haven’t heard the Stax Music Academy students perform, resolve to Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m., they’ll be presenting an original musical production, “The Sacred Side of Soulsville,” in honor of Black History Month at downtown Memphis’ Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. The Rance Allen Group, Stax artists credited with early-infusing gospel music with contemporary sounds like R&B, will guest-star. Tickets available through the Cannon Center or Ticketmaster.
3. Tour Stax with a member of The Memphis Horns
If 2013 is a year to celebrate, 2012 was a year to say goodbye – to Stax Records and music legends Duck Dunn and Andrew Love. Just before Love’s death, he and his Memphis Horns co-founder, trumpeter Wayne Jackson, were honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Today, you can commission Jackson for a private, guided tour of the museum (email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange yours). I can’t imagine a better way to tour Stax than with one of the men behind the music. To prep for your tour, put “Soul Man,” “Try a Little Tenderness” and “Let’s Stay Together” at the top of your playlist.
4. Get down at Stax to the Max
Mark your calendar now for Stax’s annual street festival on Sat., April 27. We loved last year’s event for the food trucks, face painting, bounce houses and free museum admission (all set to live music, of course), but the 2013 fest promises even more thanks to a sponsorship by ArtsMemphis. Keep an eye on the academy’s home page for updates.
How will you be celebrating the Year of the Stax Museum? Comment below with your resolutions, and feel free to mention your favorite Stax song – tune in here for inspiration.