Former ‘Bachelor’ Chris Soules Hosts Halloween Party with DJ Connor Cruise

Photography: Greg Campbell

This past weekend, Memphis’ New Daisy Theater launched its latest weekly installment AVALAND with a Halloween party hosted by former Bachelor Chris Soules and guest DJ Connor Cruise.

Recognized as the longest running nightclub concept in the United States, AVALAND was first created by Steve Adelman in 1997 and has since made its rounds across the globe, continually taking place in Boston, Singapore and Los Angeles over the last 18 years.

During its nightlife reign, AVALAND’s hosted legendary names in electronic like Frankie Knuckles, David Morales and Little Louie Vega, inviting in pop culture icons from Justin Timberlake to Britney Spears.

The opening night of AVALAND’s Memphis edition, co-presented by Disco Donnie Presents, featured the venue’s newest sound system and state of the art LED technology, as well as a “creative couture” costume contest worth $1,000 for the first place winner. See exclusive photos from the event, below, featuring a bloody zombie (because Halloween):

Chris Soules and Donald Hines (House DJ)

Conner Cruise and Chris Soules

Connor Cruise DJ Set 3

Connor Cruise DJ Set 1

ND Halloween Atmoshphere 1

First Look: Stunning New Posters for Tim Sutton’s ‘Memphis’ Premiering in Venice This Week

Set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival on August 31st, Tim Sutton’s stunning new film Memphis enters off the heat of praise from his debut feature Pavilion, which premiered last summer. With a filmmaking style that captures the ineffable beauty in the smallest of moments and the hypnotic power of melding image and sound, Memphis was developed through the Venice Biennale Cinema College over the past year.

Starring singer Willis Earl Beal, who wrote and recorded the soundtrack for the film, Memphis’ cast is comprised of cast of non-actors plucked by Sutton, in a film that follows Beal as a man “surrounded by beautiful women, legendary musicians, a stone-cold-hustler, a righteous preacher, and a wolfpack of kids” and who is  ”working less on his music and more on the state of his soul.” 
And after falling prey to the emotionally moving and visually arresting trailer last week, we’re proud to share with you the first posters for Memphis—shot and designed by Caspar Newbolt of Version Industries, who joined Sutton down in Memphis this past spring while shooting the film.
Speaking to his directorial affinity for creating a narrative that breathes as it develops and the process of collaboration, Sutton told us:
The thing that most defined the filmmaking process, even more so with Memphis than even Pavilion, was the idea of designed creative autonomy. I would set the day—scene by scene—which included a minimalist storyboard and often would leave plenty of room for the story to multiply or divide. Then the cast and crew would have a great deal of autonomy to inhabit and capture the spaces as they felt most natural—from Willis to Chris Dapkins (our DP) and also Bart Mangrum (production designer) and my other collaborators. Everyone was asked to take a certain amount of control, as long as it served the world we were creating.  This form of collaboration works even more so with Caspar, who really has carte blanche as far as how to approach typography, still image, and overall design for print, site, and titles/credits.  John Baker, our producer, and I asked that the first round of posters be focused on Willis within the mythic world of Memphis the film lives in.  Then Caspar does what Caspar does.
Of their work together, Caspar notes:
When we were first asked to work on Pavilion the film was basically done and Tim was already pretty keen on certain shots as being representative of the film. So I riffed off of those, really embedding into them a concept we’d agreed upon about Max, the main character, slowly disappearing in front of our eyes. The urgency of the bold, italic type treatment just felt right, as did the colour in terms of the vibrant, fearlessness of these kids.
What isn’t on the page however is the relationship that formed between Tim and us based on an understanding of why making the kinds of films he does is important. As with anything what’s most crucial is the discussions that go on as you’re doing the work. Not long after I’d started working on Pavilion did I find myself getting drunk with Tim in a Manhattan hotel bar. He had just bellowed as loudly as was perhaps still polite that he felt Gaspar Noé’s film Enter The Void was "the Citizen Kane of our generation!" Now Pavilion didn’t scream that message of course, but there’s a sense in its very modern blurring of the lines between narrative and documentary that it understands, like Enter The Void, what needs to happen next with films.
Fast forward to the Memphis shoot. I’d been invited to spend the last two weeks of the shoot on set. Stills camera in hand, I was invited to just be there and soak everything in. I didn’t know it yet but my candid photos were going to be the photos used in the posters for the film, not film stills or posed shots. What’s important about this is that my photos were often taken when the camera wasn’t rolling. I was there between takes, off book, capturing the actors just being in Memphis, dealing with the heat, figuring out the next scene and generally talking shit with the crew. This in and of itself once again blurs the line between what is the film and what is just reality in a way that’s true to everything Tim is trying to do as a filmmaker.
There are of course other stories to tell, but for now I hope everyone enjoys the deeper insight into the making of Memphis that these two posters allow.
See the posters below, as well as the film’s fantastic site (make sure to click “Think God” for a nice treat.)

Watch the Beautiful First Trailer for Tim Sutton’s ‘Memphis’

Last summer, we fell in love with filmmaker Tim Sutton’s hypnotic debut, Pavilion. In praising the feature, we said that the film , “puts a finger on the pulse of a feeling that is almost impossible to describe, and it makes us at once nostalgic for our days of hazy, adolescent ennui. In the style of Gus van Sant’s Elephant or Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, the film plays out almost silently as it tells the story of Max, who leaves his lakeside town to live with his father in suburban Arizona. The power of Pavilion is so subtle that you may not even be cognizant to the hypnotic state you’re falling into as it washes over you. The dialogue and world the characters live in may be raw and natural, but there’s something magical about looking from afar at the most mundane daily things in which one normally wouldn’t find beauty.”

And since, we’ve been anxiously awaiting Sutton’s next directorial turn, which is set to premiere later this month at the Venice Film Festival. Titled Memphis, the film stars musician Willis Earl Beal who spends his time, “surrounded by beautiful women, legendary musicians, a stone-cold-hustler, a righteous preacher, and a wolfpack of kids,’ while working less on his music and more on the state of his soul.”

Earlier today, The Dissolve premiered the first trailer for the film, which looks as stunning and soulful as it does raw and in line with Sutton’s subtly fascinating directorial sensibility. Take a look below and stay turned here for more on Memphis coming soon.


What You Need To Know About Broadway’s New ‘Pippin’ Revival

We all want to live an extraordinary life. It’s challenging when things like taxes, delayed subway trains, and burnt coffee exist, but we try. Starting March 23rd, Broadway’s 31st longest-running show Pippin is returning to Broadway since its 1977 close, and bringing with it a whole new surge of inspiration to live an extraordinary life – which means you’re totally not off the hook this year. Having just returned from the open press rehearsal, here are a couple of things to  know about the show ahead of time.

1. Since Stephen Schwartz (composer/lyricist of Wicked) is the man behind Pippin’s music, please do expect to walk in already knowing the show’s ‘70s pop anthem “Corner Of The Sky,” and/or singing it on your way out.

2. Pippin, played by Matthew James Thomas (former Spider-Man in Turn Off the Dark), resembles a bit of a 20-something, very attractive Peter Pan, which is slightly disconcerting, but somehow condoned when he sings and takes his shirt off.

3. The dance moves choreographed by the show’s original director/legend Bob Fosse are well-preserved and impeccably performed by the animated Patina Miller (starred in Sister Act), who’s the show’s "Leading Player" character.

4. Since the title character’s quest for an extraordinary life is told by a performance troupe, you will see lots of the following: dancers doing flips through hula hoops, human pyramids, Patina swaying across the stage mid-hula hooping, and impossibly-toned abs.

Previews begin March 23rd at the Music Box Theatre. Pippin opens April 25th.

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The ‘American Psycho’ Musical Is Happening Whether You Like It or Not

Duncan Sheik, the ’90s singer-songwriter ("Barely Breathing," in case you needed a reminder or, more likely, a name attached to that song), won two Tony Awards for his work on the sexy German schoolchildren musical Spring Awakening a few years ago. And he’s trying his hand at musical theater once again, this time with an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s modern classic, American Psycho. The musical will hit the London stage later this year, and hopefully will get a run on Broadway.

Gothamist talked to Sheik about his work on the show, which sounds a lot more promising than one might imagine:

The music is all electronic. You know, the conception of it, at least on my end… I kind of feel like, you have Broadway musicals, and you have the sound of the Broadway musicial—Les MisPhantom of the OperaCats—and then in some way there was a transition away from that. Spring Awakening [which Sheik scored and won a Tony for] happened, you had American IdiotNext To NormalMemphis… this whole set of things using more contemporary, guitar-oriented rock music. For me, I feel that’s a shark that’s been jumped. So the idea of doing a score that’s completely electronic, that’s exciting to me. You’re being progressive about the form, you know, rather than saying, ‘Well people like listening to rock music now in the theater.’ That’s not so interesting to me… it’s really important that you do new stuff. I want to attempt to do stuff that’s moving it forward. As opposed to repeating a successful formula.

At first, I thought, "Oh, no one should ever compare their musical theater ambitions to those who were responsible for Cats, Phantom, or Memphis, but I have to say: an electronic music-focused musical sounds pretty awesome, especially given the subject matter of the show. Oh, and don’t worry; Sheik promises a little Huey Lewis and Phil Collins in there, too. 

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