“What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.”Read More
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.
Aretha Franklins Birthplace in MemphisRead More
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.
Emmett Till Case ReopenedRead More
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!
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.
"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
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.
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.
As a photojournalist in Memphis, I have covered Jerry Lee Lewis many times over the years. I moved to Memphis in the late 80's and I have always enjoyed watching Jerry Lee Lewis perform. I consider myself a fan as well.
I was originally introduced to him by my fellow coworker Jim Kingsley, who has since passed away. Jim who was a stereotypical newsman, was also in the inner circle of Elvis Presley. Jerry was married to his sixth wife Kerry Lynn McCarver at the time. I remember Lee (Jerry Lee Lewis lll) as a toddler.
Lewis is passionate about his music and loyal to his fans.
I have photographed him in clubs, festivals, on Donald Trumps yacht and have been lucky enough to visit his ranch many times. I watched him get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I watched the IRS remove his piano from his home when he owed back taxes.
Jerry Lee has lived a turbulent life and he has a wild reputation. While I admit he is a bit of a flirt, I can say my personal experience with him has been that he has always been a kind man and a gentleman, each and every time I have interacted with him. It has always been my pleasure to photograph him.
I recently watched him bring in the new year once again at age 82, at his namesake club, Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe and Honky Tonk on Beale Street in Memphis. I realized what an honor it has been to cover him for 30 years. I still get a kick out of watching him and he still gets a kick out of playing for his fans who come from all over the world to see him. You can see in the video that he stills smiles at the end of Great Balls of Fire, his signature song that he must have sung thousands of times since it was a hit in the 50's.
I have decided to share a glimpse of my photo collection in this photo gallery (above) and share a current video in this blog space below.
©Karen Pulfer Focht- Photojournalist
Baby Giraffe hand raised at Memphis Zoo.Read More
Winnie the baby hippo at the Memphis Zoo.
The 87th Annual Terrapin Derby was held along Main Street in Lepanto, Arkansas on Saturday October 7th, 2017. The Terrapin Derby features fair food, music and entertainment but the festival’s main draws is the turtle race. The race features turtles racing down a 60-foot racetrack, all vying for the finish line while being cheered on by the locals. The Lepanto Terrapin Derby is a festival that has been held in Lepanto (Poinsett County) every year since 1930.
The animals showed only mild changes in behavior at the Memphis Zoo during the eclipse, on August 21st 2017---except for the alligators, which became very active. The cicadas were heard singing their evening song at the time of the eclipse, some of the animals acted a bit sleepy or like they were ready to go inside.
At 1:22 p.m., the moon was covering 94 percent of the sun.
Winnie the Hippo was said to have gotten out and played in the sand, during what normally would have been her nap time.
I have created a photo gallery and short video of what I observed while there.
The zoo provided a great backdrop as people waited for the eclipse to unfold. A fourth baby reticulated giraffe has been born at the Zoo; three giraffes have been born there in the last four months. The three that have been born since spring were all out on exhibit, Panya, ‘Bogey’ and Wakati. Angela Kate, Panya’s mother, was the first giraffe calf born at the Memphis Zoo for a decade when she was born in 2006. Wakati slept a great deal today, Panya stuck close to her mother and Bogey just played around. At the time of the eclipse, the giraffes started to head back into the barn.
In the past 15 years, the population of wild giraffes has decreased from 140,000 to 80,000.
Short Video Below
Lisa Marie Presley most graciously greeted her father’s fans at Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee on the 40th anniversary of his death. Fans lit their vigil candles as she thanked them for their devotion to her father. (Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters©)
Forty years ago, Aug. 16, 1977, the world became all shook up when news broke about the unexpected death of Rock and Roll star Elvis Presley, of Memphis, Tennessee. Since then, fans and pilgrims flock to Memphis from all over the world, every August, for what has become known as "Elvis Week." With this, the 40th anniversary of his death, Elvis Presley Enterprises will show off many changes and renovations that have taken place at Graceland, the Presley home, and the entertainment complex. The new Guest House at Graceland is also now open with 450 hotel rooms. Photo gallery below.
WATCH VIDEO HERE-
While visiting a whaling museum in New Bedford, Mass we saw this on the wall. "In the 1800s thousands of voyages with tens of thousands of men, killed hundreds of thousands of whales, by traveling millions of miles, for tens of millions of gallons of oil, for hundreds of millions in profits. Today whale watching is a multibillion dollar global industry"
While in Cape Cod we did a whale watching tour. We used a company called Dolphin Fleet in Province town.
Our tour exceeded expectations. We not only enjoyed the boat ride, had a drink during a beautiful sunset, but we were taught about whales and their migration patterns as we watched for the majestic creatures.
We were able to make reservation the same day, which we appreciated.
The boat was large, safe and uncrowded. The evening was perfect; the staff was knowledgeable and engaging. They helped us anticipate where the whale could be rising from the water each time.
We were awestruck as we witnessed the whale’s enormous size from up close. These mammals are simply amazing to watch. We did not hear any whale songs and they did not breach the water, however the acrobatic abilities were evident as they filled their mouths with sea creatures diving in and out of the water.
So glad we made the time.