We’re All Invited

July 10th, 2014

While so many of us long for a past that never truly existed or fear a future that can’t be truly known, we can miss the true joy of the moment.

We can miss the party.

As published in The Daily News, July 11, 2014, and The Memphis News, July 12-18, 2014

Levitt Shell


Following up last week’s column, this from a reader:

“We have no civic pride, half the population is intent on killing as many as they can and the other part lives behind walls or gates. There was a time in the fifties when you could leave your front door unlocked and keys in the car.” 

My church recently threw a party – beer, wine, barbecue and dancing priests – I love the Episcopal Church. The city came – a city made up of all kinds, colors, sizes and shapes. Brand-new babies to folks even older than me. Black and white. Straight and gay. Kids and dogs. Democrats and Republicans. All spread across a green hill as “Green Onions” rose from the stage, coaxed from the keys and strings of Stax Academy, students in the delivery room of the Memphis sound.

There are 50 parties like that every year at the Levitt Shell, and my church is just one of many who make them possible and make them free. Take a look, and take a minute to say thanks:

A2H, Adams Family Foundation, Archer Records, ArcSight, Ardent, ArtsMemphis, Askew Nixon Ferguson, Assisi Foundation, AutoZone, The Avenue, Baker Donelson, Banes Capital Management, Bank Tennessee, Ed Boseman, Boys & Girls Clubs, BPI, Brass Door, Breakaway, Buckeye, Burch, Porter, George & Bena Cates, Central Gardens Association, Central Gardeners’ Club, Charles Blatteis, Christ City Church, Church of the River, Church Health Center, Commercial Appeal, Commercial Bank & Trust, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Cricket Communications, Crossbeam Systems, Deloitte, Deupree Family Foundation, Duncan Williams, Farmhouse Studios, FedEx, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First Tennessee Foundation, Folk Alliance, Mary Lee & Peter Formanek, Forsythe Solutions, Grace-St. Luke’s, Gerber Taylor, GIVE 365, GoGreen, Goldsmith Foundation, Terry Graves, Grinder Taber Grinder, Harwood Foundation, Barry & Bonnie Hillyer, Hobson Realtors, Hope Church, Huey’s, Hyde Family Foundations, Langston Enterprises, Legacy Wealth Management, Lexus of Memphis, Lichterman-Loewenberg Foundation, Loeb Properties, Looney Ricks Kiss, McAfee, Mahaffey Tent & Party Rentals, Makowsky, Ringel & Greenberg, Memphis Dermatology Clinic, Memphis Flyer, Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Music Commission, Memphis Parent, Memphis Parks Services Summer Camp, Memphis & Shelby County, Menke Foundation, Mercer Capital, Mercury Investment Group, Microsoft, Mortimer F. Levitt Foundation, National Hispanic Professional Organization, Overton Park Conservancy, Oxford American, Park Friends, Pittco Management, Plough Foundation, Prodigi Arts, Bryson and Laretha Randolph, Bill & Lyn Reed, Rhodes College, Roadshow BMW/MINI, River Arts Fest, Running Pony, Schadt Foundation, Rudy & Honey Scheidt, Katie Smythe, Soul Classics, Sowell Realtors, Stax Music Academy, Temple Israel, Tennessee Arts Commission, Thompson Dunavant, TRANE, Tual Graves Dorkowski, Lynn & Henry Turley, United States Navy League, Urban Child Institute, Victory Bicycle Studio, Visible Music College, Whole Foods, Worldwide Packaging, Wunderlich Securities, Yarnell’s Ice Cream, YMCA.

I remember that reader’s mythical time from the fifties – figuratively, literally and separately in black and white. What I don’t remember from then are things as colorful, as hopeful, as representative of who we really are and what we can be as our time together on that hill.

I’m a Memphian, and, in this town, civic pride is a party.


I'm a Memphian by Dan Conaway

The book is available all over town – columns, comments and character references for a city filled with it and often absolutely full of it. Take a look.



Dan Hope: Thanks for the positive view of our great city and the Shell that serves us all. From those of us who fought the continual battle to keep the Shell from being torn down, to those who take care of it now and who put on these wonderful shows, it's great to see the Shell alive and full of people. This "melting pot" represents one of the many things that make our city great, diverse, colorful and a place for all to enjoy.

Mike Edmundson: Didn't want to post this on fb and I do not think I am overlooking it, but one sponsor you left out was C.B.Richard Ellis Memphis. I know you would want to give them credit if possible. My wife works there and they take great pride in what they do for the Levitt Shell. As always your friend Mike

Leave a comment