The Brooks Museum's opera and ballet cinema series carves a screen-size window into Europe's most venerable cultural institutions with high-def digital projections of recent world-class performances. Banned for decades in Russia by Stalin's order, Dmitri Shostakovich's The Bright Stream finds zany, lighthearted comedy on a collectivist farm under the Soviet regime. Renowned choreographer Alexei Ratmansky leads Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet through a culture clash between a troupe of citified dancers and the rustic workers they set out to entertain. Jealous lovers, bumbling retirees, and cross-dressing deception weave through the plot to ravishing dances and a score inspired by Russian folk music.
For roughly a decade, the museum has been inviting curious rockers and the occasional roller to take a stroll through a musically guided journey through time. What started as an exhibit at the Smithsonian quickly took on a life of its own, developing into an independent museum commemorating the hoots and hollers of a genre. The historical galleries begin at the literal grassroots of the movement, chronicling the field music sung by rural agricultural workers. The galleries continue through the seventies, where a great deal of soul came into the mix and things really started to take off. In between, learn about the iconic label Sun Records, tips on growing a gnarly rock-n-soul beard, and how the music influenced an entire generation during the civil rights revolution.
Founded by Jack Belz (chairman and CEO of Belz Enterprises and Marilyn Belz, the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art has displayed its collection of paintings, sculptures, textiles, and more from Asian and Judaic artisans since 1998, when it was originally called the Peabody Place Museum. Old-school art lovers can spend hours perusing Belz's collection of pieces from the Chinese Qing and other dynasties, including a 19th-century scene intricately carved in ivory tusk, or studying elaborate pottery from the Han dynasty. In addition to the four admissions, the deal also includes four collection catalogs ($6 each), so exhibition scrutinizers can study up on the museum's collections.
Cedar Hill Farm Paintball Park arms its guests with a gun, an air tank, a face mask, a 200-round hopper, and 500 rounds of splattering ammunition to defend humanity against the sinister forces of boredom. Sporting seven separate courses over 14 acres of park, Cedar Hill can accommodate large-scale battles and special-forces strikes in the Woods, Ambush, or Bunker Hill courses, and anyone looking for high-frequency action can test their trigger fingers on one of the farm’s speedball courses. Because war has no rules, except for a few necessary ones for safety, battle pacing and game types are left up to the players themselves, though Cedar Hill estimates that players can clean out their clips in two or three hours and are happy to suggest favorite scenarios for squads who’ve come up short.
Treat ears to the rollicking melodies pervading the 2011 International Rockabilly Music Festival, which congregates riff-slinging luminaries from two continents and four countries. Swedish tune makers The Cadillac Band arrive from the Norse country to perform hits from the '50s, '60s, and 1570s. Tap toes to the rockabilly stylings of Jackson's own Red, Hot and Blue Band, or nod in rhythm to the country beats of Canada's Judy Kanyo. Check the website for more information.
The interactive exhibits and programs compiled by the Pink Palace Family of Museums reinforce a mission that has stayed constant for 80 years: to "inspire people to learn how history, science, technology, and nature shape the Mid-South." Attached to Clarence Saunders' mansion built in the 1920s, the museum's permanent exhibits take an eclectic approach to chronicling the past, revealing everything from ancient fossils to contemporary southern history. Inside, visitors can chart the history of Memphis from the early Spanish explorers through the Civil War or walk through a replica of Saunders' original Piggly Wiggly—the country’s first self-service grocery store, and even see a shrunken head. Global adventures are chronicled on a four-story screen at the CTI-IMAX theater, and the Sharpe Planetarium explores the cosmos from the comfort of a 130-seat theater.
Traveling to east Memphis, one can discern the natural side of the Pink Palace Family of Museums. Lichterman Nature Center encompasses 65 acres of lush gardens filled with native wildflowers, trees, and wildlife. The center combines self-guided nature walks with plant sales and educational activities to expose visitors to the natural world.