Winnie the baby hippo plays with her mother Binti while on exhibit at the Memphis Zoo. Winnie was born in the spring of 2017 and as she has been one of the favorites at the Memphis Zoo. Winnie is growing fast from 70 lbs. to an anticipated 3,000 lbs. Her mother Binti stays close and is very protective of her big baby. The hippopotamus is among the most dangerous animals in the world as it is highly aggressive and unpredictable.
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AUG. 2018 ~~Women leave kisses on the wall of what was once the bedroom of Elvis Presley. This apartment, was home to Elvis Presley during his teenage years in Memphis. It is now open for tours.
Elvis fans can sleep in Elvis's bedroom, eat in the kitchen he ate in and sit in the halls where he played guitar because NOW they rent out the unit by the night for $250.00.
Presley lived in public housing with his family at Lauderdale Court before he reached stardom in 1956 as an entertainer. Regular tenants have occupied the income based apartment all theses years until what was Lauderdale Courts public housing underwent renovations. The units are now called Uptown Square apartments. Elvis lived there with his parents at 185 Winchester, apartment 328, from 1949 until 1953. The unit has been decorated to look like it would have during that time and then personalized with photos of Elvis and his family.
Uptown Square is just north of downtown Memphis.
Need you ask? Yes, I left a lip print of my own for the king.
© Karen Pulfer Focht
August 11, 2018-
Today Andy Childs, Joel Weinshanker (left) (managing owner of EPE), and Lisa Marie Presley took the stage at Elvis Presley's Memphis at Graceland on Saturday to discuss the release of the latest album Where No One Stands Alone. Lisa Marie became emotional. Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley sing a duet on 'new' Elvis gospel album. Lisa said about working on this album "this is the best experience I have ever had." Her business partner and the albums co-producer Joel Weinshanker said of Elvis "What he’d want more than anything in the world is for Lisa to have some peace.
Lisa Marie Presley opened up about how she has overcome her addiction to drugs this week in Memphis.
Aug 13- 2018
Elvis fans renewed their vows in the brand new Graceland Chapel in the Woods at Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee during the 2018 Elvis Week Celebrations.
We are so lucky! Meet Robert Moody, the new conductor in town for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in this months Memphis Magazine! Can't wait to see what Robert Moody does here in Memphis with the Memphis Symphony.
We had great fun on our photo shoot. He comes to Memphis with a lot of experience and inspiration. © Photos by Karen Pulfer Focht
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Miss Jubilee entertains diners at Evangeline's during a Sunday jazz brunch in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri. Valerie Kirchhoff, @ http://miss-jubilee.com/ the lead vocalist, sings from a great set list of music from the 1920s and 30s. Ethan Leinwand @ http://www.ethanleinwand.com/ is a St. Louis-based barrel-house blues pianist. GREAT FUN! GREAT BRUNCH!
Diana gets the whole pool rocking during her water workout class at the Cordova, Tennessee YMCA. This fun video clip says more than I ever could.
Luxurious Caribbean living can be enjoyed at Casa de Campo Resort and Villas in La Romana, Dominican Republic. This Dominican Republic Luxury Golf Resort, has 7,000-acre, lush, tropical grounds, pools and beach access. Casa de Campo Resort & Villas boasts some of the best polo in the world. The Dominican Republic is one of the top destinations for high handicap polo in the world they say, following England’s Queen’s Cup, the US Open in Palm Beach, and Sotogrande in Spain. The resort is also home to Teeth of the Dog golf course, the #1 ranked course in the Caribbean.
Each guest gets a golf cart to roam the grounds. The beach is lovely with chairs, towels, a handy restaurant and pool nearby. There is also another beautiful pool near the hotel. A fantastic fresh breakfast buffet overlooks the ocean and golf course. Breakfast includes some local specialties, fruit, breads, cheese, meats, cereals and made to order egg dishes. All of our meals were excellent and there are several places to choose from without even leaving the resort.
Its a nice way to wrap up the day watching polo. Horses are available to ride including an adorable miniature horse.
We visited at the end of May and it was not crowded at all. Off property we watched ladies with Tabacalera de Garcia hand-roll Vega Fina cigars at a small off-site facility in LaRomana in the Dominican Republic. In a lengthy and complex process, tobacco leaves are cut, dried, and aged, and categorized by taste and strength. The rollers then use a leaf binder to wrap the cigar's filler, then wrap with a solid leaf.
What we enjoyed most at this resort was the staffs desire to please their customers. I don't recall ever finding a staff that was so eager to please, so friendly, accommodating and helpful. This made the stay extra nice.
We got the all inclusive, which I think was a good idea. Our meals would have exceeded the cost each day and it was nice to just eat what we wanted and not worry about it. There were a few things that were not included so be sure to review the details before choosing a place to eat.
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
MUSIC SAMPLE ABOVE-
By Karen Pulfer Focht ©
They are sisters and they sing like angels. Four of their albums hit the top of the charts. Now, reluctantly, they are breaking up for God's sake!
Yes, for God's sake. They are the nuns of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, at the Catholic monastery in Gower, Mo.
“We are breaking up,” explains Sister Scholastica, assistant prioress. The angelic sound that has blessed them with 10 successful CDs--and four that reached #1 —may never be the same.
This makes their latest album, The Hearts of Jesus Mary and Joseph at Ephesus, even more special. It could be their last recording together as a relatively new religious order and musical group.
In this case, breaking up is an exciting thing. The order has grown so fast that they have outgrown their current monastery. They believe 30-40 sisters should be the maximum size. “I think more than that might start to feel like an anonymous crowd, where one might be among a circle of friends, but not necessarily a family” she explains.
This very traditional order of nuns started with two members in 1995. They currently have thirty-five women, ages 17-94--and more coming in every day. Ready to commit (or seeking admission) are five postulants. Nine have officially signed up for early October and 20 or so more are in consideration.
The monastery began to fill up. In the chapel, they moved from choir stalls to ordinary pews. Then, the new postulants started filling up the back pews normally reserved for guests. As more women came to join the order, Mother Cecilia, the prioress, realized they'd have to build again. They started this tenth recording adventure to help with the financing the project.
“It would be very nice to stay together, but it is very much like in family life: there is a time when the older children grow up, and must begin their own families and carry on the family line” says sister.
In an effort to branch out, they have begun a search for another place of peace and some holy ground to dig in to. “When the family grows large enough that we begin to lose sense of the family, it is time for some "repotting," transferring portions to new soil “ she says with a bit of a broken heart. “While the details are still pending, I can say it will be the most painful thing we have ever experienced as a community since we have such deep sisterly love for each other.”
They are actively looking at different properties and locations to begin a new house. They'll have several sisters go and start a new monastery. “We are still gathering all the information and praying about where God wants us” explains Sister Scholastica.
So, it's possible that the earthly gift of this temporal union of women vocalists may have an uncertain future. But surely there will be more music coming from this sacred homestead?
“We know our sound just won't be quite the same! “ says Sister, “recording again seems a great improbability since several sisters will be sent, but one never knows what God has up His sleeve!”
By Memphis Photojournalist Karen Pulfer Focht © All Rights Reserved
Their CDs can be purchased and donations can be made at http://benedictinesofmary.org
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"All hope was gone"
By Karen Pulfer Focht - Photojournalist
It has been an enlightening month leading up to the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, who was shot here in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
Civil Rights icons and historical memories were revisited by news organizations from all over the world.
Younger generations looked for ways to express themselves too.
The national and international media wanted to tell the story of the man, MLK, who led a peaceful movement for change--A movement that demanded fair treatment and dignity for blacks in the days of segregation.
Fifty years ago, this week, James Earl Ray sat in a window across the street from the Lorraine Motel, patiently waiting for the controversial minister to exit his motel room.
As MLK emerged with friends, a shot rang out, and a bullet hit MLK alone and killed him. Rev. Jessie Jackson was one of the people on the balcony nearby when King was shot.
Jackson made the comment that he was young then. “ I am old now, “ he said.
At 6:01 this week on April 4th, the same minute that King was shot in 1968, a bell rang, and the crowd settled down. We all stood at the site of the murder. Caught in the moment, a pensive and unusually silent Rev. Jackson paused as he placed a new wreath on that balcony, in front of thousands of people who came to be a part of the anniversary.
It was an emotional and somber moment.
Earlier in the week, I photographed Clayborn Temple, where the I Am A Man movement was organized.
I also photographed King’s children and grandchildren in Mason Temple where MLK gave his Mountain Top speech. The night was stormy, just like it was the night he gave the original speech.
I had the pleasure of photographing and videoing one of the original sanitation workers, Rev. Cleo Smith, who is still driving a truck today at age 78. I heard first-hand about the day sanitation workers were crushed in their truck, and about the origins of the “I Am A Man” quote. Cleo reflected on what it was like to be called “boy” by his superiors. He said one of the workers mustered the courage to correct a superior. “Sir, I am a man,” he said.
He told the story of how he came from the cotton fields and how he could not read nor write. Cleo could hardly speak of the moment he learned Martin Luther King was killed, his voiced cracked when he said, and “all hope was gone.” (Videos can be seen on the Religion News Service You Tube channel or follow the overall link below to see/read the entire package)
I photographed marches, rallies, and song and dance.
One of the most popular stories was that some young men walked from Mississippi in their “March to Memphis” in honor of MLK.
I loved having all eyes on Memphis. Memphis is such a soulful place; rich in history. Memphis is a gritty complex city, but that is also what makes it so special.
The New York Times quoted our mayor as saying Memphis is “a city whose originality and soul has changed the world.”
That complexity, grit and pain is much of what makes Memphis special. I compare it to a pearl. Pearls are made when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, gets stuck inside the oyster's body. Memphis has been through a lot. Memphis is a pearl.
Being a photojournalist in Memphis has given me a front row seat to so much history. In my years here I have heard first hand accounts about the strides made by the early civil rights movement icons.
A few years back my colleague Marc Perrusquia and I worked on a project for The Commercial Appeal. Marc discovered the famous black Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers was a spy for the FBI. He had been an informant, passing along information on the activities of the black community in Memphis. We interviewed many of them, many who also died before we published the story.
I knew Withers as a fellow photojournalist.
Marc’s book, 'A Spy in Canaan' was also released a few weeks ago, just in time for the 50th Anniversary. Here is the review from the Washington Post.
I could write for days about the people I have met, the stories I have heard, but for now, I will let others who came to town do that for me. I will share just a few of the links for the stories I photographed and videoed for them here:
The Christian Science Monitor wrote one of my favorites on Instagram. They used my photo of boys who walked from Mississippi:
“As we mark #mlk50, it’s worth considering this question: Can love be a strategy for social change and justice?
This group of teens from Pearl, Miss., who honored Dr. King by setting out Sunday on a three-day, 50-mile trek to Memphis, Tenn. That’s where King stood in support of striking black sanitation workers – and where he was fatally shot on April 4, 1968.
If you drove past them, you might have just seen six young men sweating in the spring humidity. But if you paid closer attention, as did Monitor correspondent Carmen K. Sisson, you’d have seen the love and action they inspired. The Pearl Police Department escorted them. The Memphis Police Department welcomed them. One teen who struggled to keep walking saw his peers rally around him. A roadside vendor offered oranges out of respect for the marchers and King.
The teens, who had never met, radiated a powerful message by uniting. It jibes with a comment Professor Murray made in an interview picked up today by Daily Good. She noted that her students most enjoyed their assignment to watch for people using love as a force for social justice: “[It] made them feel that love … could be learned, observed, and practiced.”
- @csmonitor managing editor Amelia Newcomb. Picture by @karenpulferfocht / @reuters #martinlutherking #marchtomemphis #pearlmississippi #memphistennessee #mlk50 #csmonitor #thechristiansciencemonitor
A group of teenagers from Pearl, Miss., walk along highway U.S.61 just south of Memphis, Tenn., Monday on their "March To Memphis" tribute to Martin Luther King., Jr. The students, both black and white, are walking 50 miles from Northern Mississippi to commemorate the 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. They will then participate in a rally and ceremonies at the National Civil Rights Museum, formerly the Lorraine Motel, where King was shot. © Reuters/Karen Pulfer Focht ///Pictures not for publication or reproduction.
Five of the participants -- JaQuon Ohara, Damonte' Steele, Cameron Allison, Davonta Pate and Raphael Williams -- are black. Benjamin Rutledge is white.
The Festival of Colors was celebrated at the India Cultural Center and Temple on Saturday in Memphis on March 24, 2018. Hundreds of participants playfully throw brightly colored powder on each other while shouting "Happy Holi". This Festival of Colors is to welcome spring in the mid-south. Photo By © Karen Pulfer Focht-
Winnie, the baby hippo born to Binti at the Memphis Zoo, turned one on March 23rd, 2018. Binti has been a great mother. In this video you can see underwater dance that goes on between them, you can see typical hippo behavior and watch for Winnie to start nursing her mother under water.
Follow along as I take you through Tuscany. This short video will give you a glimpse of Tuscany, one of the favored regions of Italy. This video includes Michael Angelo's statue of David, The Cathedral in Florence, The cities of Lucca, Montecatini Terme, San Gimignano and Pisa. This visual journal will wet your appetite.
A blues legend’s confessions carry decades of wisdom.
Jon Sparks and I partnered to put together this package together about Bobby Rush. Bobby is reflecting on his days on the Chitlin CIrcut, black history, civil rights, the music business and what he has learned from his friends over the years.
The Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob is a ukulele club in Memphis, Tennessee that meets on Tuesday evenings at Central BBQ on Summer Ave between 6-8. The leader of the club is a colorful Memphis character named Pete McCarty, AKA Petey Mack. Everyone is welcome. We have members as young as 5 and visitors as old as 92. On occasion people passing through town stop in and play and sing along.
On occasion we get out in to the community to play for children, the elderly and parades.
Please refer to our Facebook page for current status. We meet most every week, but on occasion, we miss one for a variety of reasons.
While our weekly play-a-longs are free, we ask for voluntary donations and put any money raised towards a ukulele festival we hope to host in 2019.