Sunday, March 6, 2011

Memphis, The City

The Arcade Restaurant is featured in several films, most recently in Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law.

Well, on my first night in Memphis, I broke my camera.* I was devastated, but fortunately for me, I married a wonderful man who agreed with me that a trip to Memphis without a camera was unacceptable. So, I searched for camera repair places and retail shops in the downtown area. Unfortunately, the few that existed a year ago had gone out of business, but I also realized that any repairs would take days at best anyway. All we could do was go to the closest WalMart in West Memphis, Arkansas (an experience in itself) and buy a new camera. Problem solved, but I lost all the pictures I took on that first day walking around the city.

There's something a bit sad about Memphis, as though the prosperity of the eighties and nineties left the city untouched, which is in its own way both good and bad. The struggling arts district has posh galleries, discos (we call them dance clubs in the Midwest) and architectural offices punctuated by empty lots. But what Memphis has in spades, and what other cities yearn for, is a distinct and authentic reputation. It is not a city worth stopping in on your way to another; it is a destination in itself.

*If you happen to have an older Canon Rebel XT with the larger memory cards, look inside the card chamber and you will see several prongs. If you bend one of those prongs, your camera is done.

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