Week 13, Day 6: Adriene at Indie Memphis/Levitt Shell

The Levitt Shell has become a very popular place in Memphis again. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people flock there many weekends of the year to see free live concerts (50+ shows per year). I’ve been among the crowds many nights, and it’s always a pleasure to enjoy an evening with friends on the lawn, hula hooping to great tunes, and simply reveling in being outdoors. In 2011, the Shell decided to partner with Indie Memphis, adding a Summer Concert Film Series to their weekend lineup. Last night, I was able to see my first concert film as I volunteered for Indie Memphis’ showing of Paul McCartney & Wings: Rockshow.

It's dark out there, but you can see my bright green donation bucket (with Indie Memphis @ the Levitt Shell

It’s dark out there, but you can see my bright green donation bucket (with Indie Memphis @ the Levitt Shell)

 

The rain was falling off and on all day, and a heavy downpour right as I arrived for my volunteer meet up almost canceled the night. Thankfully it passed, and people slowly started to trickle in to set up their chairs on the grass. As soon as the crowd settled in, Cathy (a regular volunteer) and I took bright green buckets and wandered through the crowd to gather donations from attendees. Since these Shell events are free, they are made possible by community support – including donations by attendees of the shows. Almost everyone I asked donated, a few dollars or more. Most didn’t even need to be asked; these people already had their money in hand waiting for me to arrive. It was nice to see people’s generous spirits and support. When the film started, I got to enjoy watching the film with a few friends and also help at the Indie Memphis information and merchandise table.

 

 

The Levitt Shell is one of my favorite places in this city. Connecting with people at this amazing outdoor arts pavilion under sun and stars is always something special. Even further, it’s great to witness the partnerships with other nonprofits who support the arts like Indie Memphis. Indie Memphis offers year round programming to inspire and connect the Memphis community around independent film. Both organizations are doing something really positive to make Memphis even more awesome. By offering free entertainment like the Summer Concert Film Series, everyone in the community has an opportunity to be there, without monetary boundaries. For that, I’m grateful.

Me and Katie at the Levitt Shell for Indie Memphis' Summer Concert Film Series

Me and Katie at the Levitt Shell for Indie Memphis’ Summer Concert Film Series (Paul McCartney on the screen – look!)

Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job in community outreach, empowering people through movement and education. If you know of a great fit, please send it my way: AdrieneHoops@gmail.com

~Adriene

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Week 12, Day 6: Michael Garcia at Indie Memphis

Michael Garcia with the donation bucket for Indie Memphis at the Levitt Shell.

Today my volunteer assignment was to help Indie Memphis with their concert film series at the Levitt Shell. As with SRVS, I was back in familiar territory with this volunteer assignment. While I was living in Leeds, England, I volunteered for an independent art house cinema, the Hyde Park Picture House, which occasionally featured live music performances. My volunteer job there lead to a part-time job. In fact, almost all the paid staff there started off as volunteers. I loved working there and never really thought of it as a job, but saw it more as an opportunity to hang out with friends and talk about pop culture while putting on films for others. I think the other staff there saw it that way too. Indie Memphis reminded me of the Hyde Park Picture House, not only because of the combination of independent film and music, but because the other staff and volunteers also seemed to view what they do not so much as work, but rather providing good entertainment while you get to hang out with your friends.

Of course there was some work involved. Shortly before the film was scheduled to begin, I was asked to go through the crowd with a bucket, asking for donations to Indie Memphis. Brighid, the program manager for Indie Memphis, prepared me for this task by presenting an example of a short speech I could use to encourage audience members to donate, explaining that Indie Memphis likes to put on the concert film series and live music concerts for free and would like to continue doing so. Also, we would accept any donation no matter the amount. When I actually walked through the crowd, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the audience members did not need much encouragement to donate. I think more than half of the people I approached donated some money, and many of them didn’t even wait for me to ask but had their money ready by the time I got to them. Many of them were regular attendees of Indie Memphis events like the concert film series and were expecting someone to come around accepting donations. They were all happy to donate and quite a few chatted with me for a bit, speaking about how much they enjoyed coming to the Levitt Shell to watch the free concert films. Anyone who donated also received a raffle ticket for the chance of winning the DVD of the first film being screened tonight, the Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus. I stopped collecting donations once the film began. While the film was running, I sat at the Indie Memphis table at the back of the Levitt Shell selling Indie Memphis merchandise, like t-shirts and buttons. Once the film was over, I helped tidy up, and that was it.

The Concert Film series by Indie Memphis at the Levitt Shell.

The Concert Film series by Indie Memphis at the Levitt Shell.

Michael Garcia with the donation bucket for Indie Memphis at the Levitt Shell.

Michael Garcia with the donation bucket for Indie Memphis at the Levitt Shell.

 

At first glance, volunteering for Indie Memphis might seem the odd one out when compared to the rest of my week working with various non-profits in the Memphis area because most of the other organizations work directly with the poor and homeless. Having said that, the events that Indie Memphis organize have a positive impact on the same people that the other organizations are trying to help. For example, when I arrived at the Levitt Shell, I noticed one of the vendors for The Bridge, Joe, selling copies near the venue. The Indie Memphis event provided an opportunity for him to earn money. Furthermore, even though the homeless, jobless, and otherwise poor have the most urgent need for help, it’s important to remember that many others are also struggling financially and without things like Indie Memphis’ free concert film series, they might otherwise have no opportunity to enjoy cultural events.

Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job as an historical consultant, researcher or educator. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: jobleads@volunteerodyssey.com.

Cheers,
Michael

My profile pages:
LinkedIn
Academia.edu

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Week 11, Day 6: Ann-Katherine at Indie Memphis at the Levitt Shell

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Today’s volunteer experience was a little different than the rest.  I volunteered with Indie Memphis at the Levitt Shell movie concert series where they were sponsoring a documentary film called Big Easy Express.  The film is about the cross country train tour of Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show in April 2011.  My volunteer responsibility was to chat with people who came by the merchandise table and answer any questions they may have about purchasing t-shirts, obtaining an Indie Memphis membership, or sponsoring an event.  There was definitely an impressive number of people present for the film.  You would think that a concert film would not be as appealing to people as a live concert, but there certainly seemed to be a comparable number of people present to those who attended the summer concert series.  And the film was great!  All three bands are ones I am familiar with and actually enjoy, so I knew I would love the music played throughout the film.  I was able to enjoy the event with a group of friends who joined me once the film began.

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This picture is actually from a few months back because I completely forgot to take pictures while I was volunteering. Still a great picture from the Shell!

The Levitt Shell is one of those gems of Memphis that I love to share with visitors.  Not only is it wonderful because it’s free entertainment, but every event I’ve attended there has been fantastic.  There’s something about being with people from all over the city, sitting on blankets, enjoying the weather, and listening to some great tunes.  It’s a very unifying experience.  Better yet, every event is sponsored by individuals and businesses in the city which really emphasizes the community aspect of each event.  It’s rare you find fun things to do in a city that are free.  The Levitt Shell brings back opportunities for fun that were a common occurrence for my parents and grandparents.  With movies now at a whopping $10 a ticket, my husband and I rarely make the decision to go.  We’re always looking for unique, fun, and cheap things to do in Memphis with friends.  The Levitt Shell is, and will continue to be, one of those places we hope to enjoy for years to come.  I enjoyed this opportunity to give back to a place that has given me wonderful memories and fun times with friends.

The Levitt Shell would be nothing, though, without sponsors for each event.  Indie Memphis sponsored this event, so I have them to thank for a wonderful night of music.  Through this volunteer opportunity, I was able to learn a little more about what Indie Memphis does and the awesome events they have throughout the year.   They connect and inspire indie filmmakers and film-lovers through the all the unique opportunities they bring to the community.  Thank you Indie Memphis for sharing such a fun documentary with Memphis!

What I learned about myself today: I love being a Memphian.  The people, the environment, the enthusiasm:  all are aspects of Memphis that make it so unique.  I can truly say I’m proud to be a part of the Memphis community.

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