Curtain Call for MSO president and CEO

Memphis Symphony Orchestra president and CEO Ryan Fleur – who’s had the position since 2003 – has been named executive vice president of orchestra advancement with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

The Philly orchestra, founded in 1900, is considered one of the “big five” symphonies in the nation. Fleur has responsibility for the orchestra, human resources, electronic media accounts, shared services and the strategic planning process.

An interim president and CEO will be named to the MSO in the next three weeks, and a national search will begin this spring.

During Fleur’s tenure in Memphis, the MSO hired current MSO music director Mei-Ann Chen. The MSO also grew ticket sales and saw the advent of the popular Opus One concert series.

Attorney arguing in Obamacare suit before Supreme Court will speak in Memphis next month

This month is a big one for the Obama administration.

Later this month the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a bitter legal challenge to the president’s health care reform legislation. And one of the attorneys arguing before the High Court about the bill’s supposed unconstitutionality – Gregory Katsas – will be in Memphis in early April to talk about what happened in front of the most famous nine jurists in the country.

Katsas is presenting “An overview of the oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in the Obamacare cases” Thurs., April 12, to the Memphis chapter of the Federalist Society. The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Madison Hotel, and the cost is $25 for society members and $30 for nonmembers. To register, contact Greg Grisham at 312-9413 or email at greg.grisham@leitnerfirm.com by April 10.

Analysis: Loss to Saint Louis Ends Tigers’ Dreams of Deep NCAA Run

Anything can happen in the NCAA Tournament. See No. 15 seed Norfolk State beating No. 2 seed Missouri. See No. 15 seed Lehigh beating No. 2 seed Duke.

In the same day.

So if you want to frame the Memphis Tigers’ 61-54 loss to Saint Louis University as unexpected, surprising, crazy, an upset, you can do that.

But you’d be kidding yourself.

On Friday, March 16, in Columbus, Ohio, the No. 8 seed Tigers were found out. The No. 9 seed Billikens were the better team. Better coached, more disciplined, the players individually and collectively more ready for the moment. And if you’d never heard of SLU guard Kwamain Mitchell before (game-high 22 points), you know about him now.

The loss ended the Tigers’ season at 26-9 and halted a seven-game winning streak. But none of the teams Memphis beat during that streak made the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers scored wins over three NCAA Tournament teams this season: Belmont, Southern Miss (the Tigers also lost to USM) and Xavier.

They lost seven games to tournament teams: Georgetown (twice), Michigan, Murray State, Louisville, and of course Southern Miss, and then Saint Louis in the tourney. Add it all up, they were 3-7 against the NCAA Tourney field.

They feasted, however, against mediocre competition. All year, Tigers coach Josh Pastner implored fans and media to believe that Conference USA was better than its national reputation. He played this card because, really, what other card could he play?

The Tigers won the regular season and tournament titles, and Pastner needed for those championships to have value. He said publicly the Tigers should be a 5 seed. Then against the Billikens, they get out-rebounded 31-26, shoot 38.9 percent from the floor, 13.3 percent from 3-point range (2-of-15) and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the free-throw line. They made a season-low four assists (all by Joe Jackson) and their 54 points were a season low as well.

Obvious conclusion: Not only were the Tigers over-hyped when they had a preseason ranking of No. 9 in the coaches poll and a No. 8 ranking in the Nov. 21 polls, they were over-hyped as an unranked team saying it had been disrespected by the NCAA Tournament Committee with an 8 seed. They boldly spoke of making a “deep run,” but deep runs start with winning the first game and they couldn’t do that.

What the Tigers did do was to find a nice rhythm during the seven-game winning streak and demolish teams with inferior talent. And it was fun. But as Pastner himself said going into the Saint Louis game, at this time of year, “you are who you are.”

So it was only fitting that forward Tarik Black played just 19 minutes, scored just four points and fouled out. It was only fitting that the Tigers flung shots from 3-point range and never found a way to consistently crack the Rick Majerus-coached half-court defense of SLU. Or to change the game’s tempo for more than a few minutes.

So, at the end, it was up to C-USA Player of the Year Will Barton (16 points) to try and put the team on his back and carry the Tigers to a miracle finish. They proved too heavy.

Just about every flaw that had been on display and caused concern before appeared again. Which is what happens against better teams.

You are who you are. Or in the Tigers’ case, not quite as good as you thought you were.

– Don Wade

‘No Camping’ Signs Up On Mall

 

Some new signs went up in the Civic Center Plaza recently, the part of the Main Street Mall that includes all of the government buildings.

The no camping signs went up around the part of the plaza that is directly in front of the County Administration Building as well as the state office building next to it. The area is just a few yards from the Occupy Memphis encampment.

The signs apply to the state building and are the result of a law passed by the Tennessee legislature earlier this month and promptly signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam.

But there are other reasons camping is unlikely on this specific section of the mall.

If you are in the area a lot, you know that this part of the plaza is almost perpetually under construction of some kind to remedy a persistent pavement problem. No matter how much government money is used, the surface is continually redone to remedy the problem of an uneven surface.

The latest solution is to, of course, resurface the area yet again and still retain a metal railing around part of the area that is apparently incurable.

 

 

Planner: Memphis in May Impacted by Beale Street Landing

This year’s Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest may be back at Tom Lee Park after last year’s hiatus at Tiger Lane, but that doesn’t mean the planners aren’t facing unique challenges.

Last year, that challenge was moving nearly 350 tents of teams, sponsors, stages and vendors to the Mid-South Fairgrounds in less than 48 hours, and reconfiguring all participants treating the Liberty Bowl Stadium as the Mississippi River.

“Normally, it’s very simple,” Architecture Inc. principal Joey Hagan told The Daily News last May. “We’ve got a map of Tom Lee Park and the mapping each year is really something like, ‘Move the Pronto Pup guy down 500 feet.’ Never anything like, ‘Move all 247 teams and the sponsors and the judges and everything to the fairgrounds.’”

This will be Architecture Inc.’s fifth year to complete the entire Memphis In May International Festival site plans pro-bono.

But this year, Hagan said with the new Beale Street Landing project under construction and taking up close to four acres, valuable space is pre-occupied. For Music Fest, the boat landing, dock and park at the foot of Beale Street is taking up part of the area where the Northern main stage would be. And for BBQ Fest, it’s making the quarters tighter than normal.

“We’ve had to regroup,” Hagan said. “That doesn’t sound like a lot of land until you go down to the BBQ Fest or the Music Fest because they use every square inch of dirt at Tom Lee Park. Particularly when you have 400 teams setting up booths, so the influx of the Beale Street Landing project really has been kind of a challenge to try to regain that space and reorganize everybody so that everybody has enough room and all that stuff. There’s no more land, so we’re just squeezing it up.”

Dansette

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