Motionless journey to Memphis, an American dream

By Claire Dhouailly

Posted today at 4:00 p.m.

Dinner in the fifties

Opened in 1919 by a Greek immigrant, Arcade, Memphis’s oldest restaurant, has seen many famous customers, including Elvis Presley, who had his appointed table. The place, frozen in the style of the 1950s, appears in several films, including Walk the Line, by James Mangold, Mystery Train, by Jim Jarmusch, or My Blueberry Nights, by Wong Kar-wai, which places a large part of its plot there. While waiting to get there, you can take inspiration from the Arcade menu and concoct a “Memphis thang” burger, with smoked turkey, brie, red onions, chili and Creole mustard. Or try the banana, peanut butter and bacon sandwich, the King’s favorite.

Review the colors of Egglestone

The color overflows in William Eggleston’s photos. Diners, cars, gas stations, supermarkets, parking lots, suburban pavilions… The photographer, born in 1939 in Memphis, twists the American myth to deliver an experience of the ordinary in his native South. Influenced by the documentary work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans, Eggleston distinguished himself, from the 1960s, by a saturated use of color and a non-hierarchical approach to subjects, which he called “Democratic camera”. It will take him a long time to establish himself as a major contemporary artist, his photographs being initially judged without interest at a time when color was associated with advertising.

@egglestonartfoundation on Instagram and

Reconnect with your dreams

On April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Martin Luther King collapsed on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel (now a museum), shot in the throat. Coming to this city marked by segregation to support the strike of black garbage collectors, the activist for racial equality and non-violence had delivered a sadly premonitory speech there the day before, entitled “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (“I went to the top of the mountain”), in which he envisioned his death. While racial issues remain at the heart of American news, it is interesting to rediscover this text in a collection that brings together the most famous speeches of the African-American activist, including the famous “I have a dream” (” I am making a dream ”), which gives its title to the work.

I am dreaming, Bayard editions, 2013, 262 p., € 12.

Visit the home of the “King”

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