Several years back I was asked to conduct a guided tour of the WRVR studios to some out of town visitors. As I took the small group down hallways and into studios, showing them the different types of marvelous electronic tools we use to get our great programs on the air, they seemed fascinated by all the technology behind the scenes that one never thinks about when you turn on your radio and hear what comes out of it. Near the end of my impromptu presentation, I paused and said…"Ladies and gentlemen, I am now going to take you into a room where I will show you the most important piece of equipment in the entire WRVR broadcast operation. Because without this one machine, nothing else in the entire building can or will function properly" Thinking perhaps that I would now lead them down some dark catacomb and into a mysterious place where only the duly authorized were allowed to go, some of them seemed puzzled as I led them into the kitchen and stood before that consecrated shrine of the Holy beverage called…. The COFFEE MAKER!
A humorous deception you say? Oh NO dear listener, it is true! At radio stations, law firms, insurance offices, crime labs, banks, air traffic control towers and boardrooms across Memphis, NOTHING can function smoothly and properly without this magical elixir we know as coffee. The world over it is coffee that fuels the creative mind and motivates productivity in all areas of human endeavor. My relationship with coffee goes back to my childhood in south Louisiana when my father would get up before dawn to brew his morning pot, filling the house with the intoxicating aroma of Community Dark Roast with Chickory. I fondly remember my very first cup of Café au Lait at the Café Du Mond in the old French Quarter, served up with hot soft sugary beignets. Since then I have had almost every form of coffee there is on several different continents. It is a ritual that for me borders on the spiritual. As with all forms of spiritual sacrament, set and setting are as important to the experience as the level of caffeine one is partaking of. That understanding is what led to what we know as the coffee house. 50 years ago this was the crucible from which the world came to know the literary, musical and poetic genius of people like Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Bob Dylan. In today’s world, these coffee houses have been replaced by big corporate franchises that serve the magic beverage in much the same way big corporate burger chains serve up sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong, the coffee is great. But what I am looking for is soul. The kind of soul that cannot be reproduced in some cookie cutter formula fashion.
It is this kind of soul that I have discovered alive and well and living right here in the heart of Memphis in a place called Java Cabana. Tucked away in one of the last corners of authenticity left in the city, Cooper Young. Java Cabana is not just a place where you can have a cup of espresso or a latte in a comfortable setting, but truly one of the last places in America where you can have the authentic coffee house experience. Located at 2170 Young Avenue, Java Cabana is a little bohemian oasis in a world that seems to be striving for mass marketability and homogenization. You wont find any of that here. What you will find is a place that is both warm and inviting, and seriously artistic at the same time. It is a very popular place for not only neighborhood folks, but for anyone wishing to know what a real coffee house is. It’s a place where you can enjoy one of their signature coffees like the Jerry Lee Lewis, or the Lisa Marie, maybe a Funky Monkey, or Chocolate dream, or if you’re like me a double espresso or Chai, and hear the best in live local music by artists like Mark Allen, Valerie June, or Steve Lockwood. On Thursday nights from 7:30-10pm, Java Cabana is host to Poet Michael Joyner’s poetry readings. It’s open mic, so bring your own poetry or your favorites to share with others. Relaxing in Java Cabana’s comfortable living-room like atmosphere is like nothing else this city has to offer.
I sat down with Java Cabana owner Mary Burns, who, when she’s not holding court at Java Cabana, also teaches English at Rhodes College and CBU, to get some background on this unique Memphis treasure. Those who remember the Hoka in Oxford, or the Babylon Café in Memphis will have an idea of the inspiration behind Java Cabana. Mary frequented those places and also did poetry readings at The Deliberate Literate here in Midtown. She bought Java Cabana from original owner Tommy Foster, who opened the doors back in November of 1992, making Java Cabana one of the oldest and most authentic coffee houses in Memphis, predating Starbucks and OtherLands by years. Since then, Mary has worked her own personal magic on the place, and has been witness to all sorts of wonderful things that have happened within these walls, and told me that Java Cabana was once home to one of the few Elvis themed wedding Chapels in the world. It is also the only coffee house in Memphis to have been blessed by Tibetan monks. This I could believe, as just sitting there I seemed to be overwhelmed by a feeling of peace. Mary also showed me other goodies that are available at Java Cabana, like the wonderful sweets that you can get to compliment your favorite brew, and the Dandelion Organic products and herbal tea baths you can take with you to bring a little of that Java Cabana magic home. Java Cabana proudly serves Ugly Mug fair trade coffees.
As with anyplace as unique and wonderful, people from all over the world have made their way to Java Cabana including celebrities like Kate Moss, Orlando Bloom, Susan Sarandon, and legendary bluesman Robert "Wolfman" Belfour. Take my advice and pay a visit to Mary and my neighbors at Java Cabana soon. As a person who thrives on authenticity, I can tell you it’s the real deal.
Java Cabana is located at 2170 Young Avenue. They’re closed Mondays and open 8:30am-10pm Tuesday thru Friday, Saturdays 10am-Midnite, and Sundays noon to midnite.
Seems pretty intense for a mid-week movie, but we MIGHT be up for this!
Back in May, we were excited to hear that Titanic 3D (above) had been set for an April 6th, 2012 release date…just 4 days before the 100 year anniversary of the date when the ill-fated ship set sail on its maiden voyage.
Now, Paramount has announced that they'll be moving up the film's re-release date to Wednesday, April 4th, in an effort to get a head start against the competition, which includes Universal's American Reunion and Summit's The Cold Light Of Day.
What do U think? Will U be up for Titanic on a weeknight???
Wow! Can you believe what great weather we've been enjoying these last few days? I hear people talking about how we didn't have much of a winter this year, and to them I say...Yay!! I didn't miss winter's icy fingers stretching way into March at ALL! The Bannisters have been taking advantage of our early spring by getting out of the house and out into the beauty of it all. Last week I was talking about the Dinosaur exhibit at The Zoo, so we went to check it out Sunday morning and it was AWESOME! Savannah was a little unsure about the T-Rex, or the Gigantosaurus, but she really enjoyed the rest of them. We rode all the rides and the Zoo Train, and went to the 11 Oclock Giraffe feeding, which was the highlight of the day. Feedings are at 11am and 2pm each day, and what fun! I HIGHLY recommend a visit to the Zoo with your family SOON! This week I've got 4 packs of tickets to Sesame Street Live to give away each afternoon at 3:14, so listen to win 'em. Have a great week and enjoy the blessings of nature. :-) Bill
Ashton Kutcher is heading to space -- literally. Virgin CEO Richard Branson announced that the actor has signed up to be the 500th "astronaut customer" who will travel into outer space with Virgin Galactic.
Branson wrote, "I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him. He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself."
Hope you had a great weekend! They say March comes in like a lion, but this lion has brought the heat and humidity of it homeland along with it. We're due to hit 90 degrees for the first time this year by mid-week, and you know how that can turn out here in Memphis. So keep your umbrella handy and listen all week long for your afternoon ride home, cause I've got tickets to La Cage Aux Folles at The Orpheum Theatre each day! If you're making your weekend plans with the family I've got the PERFECT idea! The Dinosaur exhibit is open at out Memphis Zoo!And what kid doesn't love dinosaurs? Along with regular admission, it's just $4, and $3 for members. We plan on doing this, and I hope you will too. The last dinosaur exhibit was back in the mid 90s, and with technology today these guys will seem really real! Thanks for listening! Bill
The arrival of our first one syllable month has always signified for me the hope of renewal and the promise of spring. Misty childhood memories come rushing back to life on those first warm sunny days of the year, as the cold grey cloak of winter melts away like snow on a chimney. Running barefoot through the new clover, blowing on a dandelion and watching the feathery white seeds drift up and away on the breeze. Even the colorful flowers of the weeds seemed beautiful in the youth of their brief mostly detested life. I am truly blessed to be able to relive these things through the eyes of my young children whenever we spend time in the back yard together. It's amazing how many fascinating things they focus on as they explore the new world around them. Things that we scarcely notice in the haste and responsibility of our adult lives. A tiny ant crawling through the grass becomes someone to follow with intent curiosity as we watch it and imagine where it is going, maybe taking a little seed or bit of leaf home to it's little family. A broken piece of brick can be placed on the ground and vividly imagined as a mysterious tunnel through which bugs and spiders can pass on their way to do what they do. The grass is soft and the sky is blue, and in this world we do not see or understand cruelty, heartbreak or evil. I believe this is the world God wants for all of us, both the young and the old. It's the world we are born into and in innocence can only percieve the good, the beautiful and the wonderous. It still exists if you take the time to turn off the television, put down the paper, shut out the negativity, hatred and fear that seem to be all around us these days, and step into it. It's right outside your back door, and it will heal your soul. Bill