The Grind City Loves Hula Hoopers

On Sunday, May 28th, 2017, the second annual Grind City Meet took place at Handy Park on historic Beale Street in downtown Memphis, TN. This event was put together by Eric Janssen and Ally Perkins by bringing together local photographers, models, hula hoopers and Memphians with a passion for the Grind City. Bound by a shared passion, they came together to connect, network, and make some cool art in the meantime!

The idea of the event was to meet at Handy Park on Beale Street, and from there, everyone would walk from Beale to the Exchange Building, located only a few blocks away. In the process, the models and hula hoopers would have the opportunity to get unique, professional photographs taken in some really interesting places in downtown Memphis. I have lived in this beautiful city for 15 years and, being a hula hooper myself, this event was right up my ally.

photo by: @adarrylljacksonsr

I met up with the group on Main Street, and I was excited to see such a great turnout. So many beautiful models and flow artists came out to showcase their art and support their city, and so many creative and talented photographers came to document every magical moment.

From Main Street, we took a scenic route through the the buildings of down town Memphis, stopped to spin some fire for a while, and did a little bit of acro-yoga before arriving at the Exchange building. From there, all the models took turns going up to the roof to take some truly unbelievable photos. In the mean time, the hula hoopers were practicing for the finale of the event.


photo by: @_one901

Ellen Phillips, a dear friend of mine and one of the most talented hula hoopers I know, reached out to our local flow community a few weeks back after experiencing some negativity when trying to enter a local music festival with her hoop. Ellen and several other hula hoopers (myself included) were denied entrance to Beale Street Music Festival (as well as all other International Memphis in May festivals) because of our hula hoops. We were not given an explanation as to why, even after it was pointed out that hula hoops are NOT listed on the list of banned items. This was especially upsetting, considering BSMF has used photos and videos of Ellen and other hoopers to promote their festival on social media. After several attempts to to make contact with BSMF were ignored, Ellen came up with a way for our local flow community to come together and show the world what we can do. She planned for weeks, choreographed and organized the largest synchronized hula hoop drone video shoot ever taken…. And we did it on the roof of the Exchange Building! I’ve done a lot of cool things in my life, but this experience definitely takes the cake. Check out our video below!

List of IG handles in order of appearance:


















The 2nd Annual Grind City Meetup was sponsored by Co-Motion StudioLIVE A GREAT STORY, Faded Days Sunglasses, Brave Straps, City Tasting Tours, and The Exchange.  Thank you to our talented drone operator Ryan Goble.

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Nadia Nichols

I am a unicorn living in Memphis Tennessee with a hula hooping superpower and a passion for all things dance music!

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