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The Art of Everything

The Bay View Arts Guild strives to integrate art into the lives of those in the Bay View area. Through a dynamic interaction between artists and the community, BVAG provides a resource for artists while increasing appreciation and support for all the arts through education, entertainment and community involvement. Visit our web site for more information.


I just got back from a trip I took to Memphis with my mom.  She’s 81, banks on-line, spoils her grandchildren, and gets around quite well for someone with a knee replacement.  My mother carries traces of her English accent and colloquial mannerisms.  The English will sometimes add the pronoun “our” prior to the first name of a close family member or friend.  It’s endearing and identifying.  Such as “our Amy’ or “our Mike.  Well anyway “our cousin Mike” passed in 2006 and we went to see his wife, “our Evelyn,” who retired and moved to Memphis Tennessee to be closer to her daughter. So my mother and I, after months of saying we would visit her, booked our calendars, pulled out the maps and set off. 

As driver, I initially felt dutiful.  I prepared myself for the potential irks which may occur between companions while traveling together in prolonged close confinement.  I maintained composure despite repeating everything twice to my mother who’s hard of hearing.  I vowed to leave work at work.  I resolved myself to remain socially open and flexible to any situations that may present themselves.  I left in a positive state and once the wheels got rolling a funny thing happened. I realized I was no longer a considerate visitor, I was on an adventure.  After all, I was going to Graceland.

 A boss of mine once said “don’t hide your eyes, plagiarize.” I do this but with scruples.  I plagiarize ideas to find creative thought.  While driving, I was surrounded in landscape and immersed in horizons.   I found myself conscious of the colors, shapes and structures I was seeing.  Fields, pastures, hills, rivers, and bridges rolled by.  Farms, churches, homes and merchants stood there for me to witness.  Mother Nature or manmade, it was all there, ideas ripe for the picking. It was a fabulous four days in Memphis.  I met new friends and bonded with family.  We played tourist, sampled southern cooking, and enjoyed some sunshine.  I found Memphis a distressed city.  It’s said to compete for first with Detroit in urban plagues.  High unemployment, prevalent crime, and miserable educational networks just to name a few, but the city it does have unique history.    We visited the Lorraine Hotel, the sight of Dr, Martin Luther King’s assassination.  The hotel has been converted, and is now The Civil Rights Museum.  The museum is well done, and captures Dr. King, the man, the march, the moment and mankind.  I applaud the many wonderful museums whose curators, design directors and skilled craftsman so magically capture time and document information and ideas with superb artistry.  

I was born to rock and roll, so visiting Sun Record Studio, where it all began, for me was trip to Mecca.   It’s just little hole-in-the-wall converted store space, but it’s the story, not the store that had a whole lot of shakin' goin' on. Memphis is also home to the blues, and Beale Street is a must for any art lover who likes music.   

Letting the good times roll, we took the Graceland V.I.P. Tour. The place is a perpetual commercial moneymaker, keeping vigil that will immortalize Elvis well into the next century.  Regardless, the sun was shining, the grounds were blooming and the crowd was down.  Critics will sight the mansion as showy and tasteless, but I’ve seen shades of fads like his at several DaDa exhibits.  What a beautiful and handsome young man he was.  Elvis loved to dress and the King’s clothes and costumes are in a league of their own.  But come on, who doesn’t have a little kitsch in their closet?  Whatever the opinions, one can’t discredit his laurels and his art.  He sold over one billion records worldwide, 131 certified gold albums and singles, stared in 33 films, and appeared in 1,100 concerts before dying at the age of 43.     Having extended our stay a day longer than planned, we said our tearful good-byes and departed.  Our drive home was rainy and gloomy. We covered 600 miles in one day and drove I-94 right through Downtown Chicago.  What can I say, it was surreal.   I’m home sweet home now, with lots of ideas, and experiences from my adventure to draw from. “Don’t hide your eyes, plagiarize.”   I’m excited for it to get green.  I’ve rearranged a few things around the house and wore added accessories to work.  Most fun of all, I’m practicing “Don’t Step On My Blue Suede Shoes.”  


By Victoria Schaefer

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