Friday update including lots of restaurant news

Last night I got to talk to Matt, one of the people opening Lisa’s Lunchbox at Front and Gayoso in the old Tuscan Italian Eatery space. Lisa’s Lunchbox will be open next week, he told me, with a soft opening Tuesday and a grand opening Wednesday. He told me about one thing he thinks is going to be a big hit Downtown: casseroles that you can take home and heat up. “For $9 you’ll get a lot more food than you would if you ordered to-go from a restaurant,” Matt told me. “The casseroles will be perfect for single people. You’ll get a good dinner and have enough left over for lunch for the next day or two. If you call ahead and tell us what time you’ll be picking it up, we’ll put it in the oven and have it hot and ready for you.”

He said that Lisa’s Lunchbox will eventually serve beer, and when they do they will extend their hours a bit. They do not plan to serve liquor or wine, because they don’t intend to compete with bars in the neighborhood.

Susan Ellis from the Memphis Flyer has news about three new restaurants planned for South Main Street, at the southeast corner of Pontotoc. An all-day breakfast bar will go in at 300 S. Main. It will offer pancakes, omelettes, waffles and more, as well as an extensive collection of mimosas. Also, I don’t know if I have any readers who are into juicing, but if I do, the new restaurant will offer juices for those who want a healthier choice.

The resurrected Evergreen Grill, formerly on Overton Park Avenue in Midtown, will open in the former Dr. Ray’z space at 302 S. Main. The lobster burger will be back and some inventive takes on desserts will be promised.

At 304 S. Main there will be a wine loft offering 15 different self-service wines and a light menu.

The operator of these three restaurants also operates Cajun Grill in the old DejaVu space at 959 Florida just south of Downtown.

If you haven’t checked out Belle Tavern yet, here’s a reason:

Best Memphis Burger Fest is making a change this year. Instead of holding the festival the last Sunday in August, this year it will be Saturday, October 7. That means it (probably) won’t be sweltering hot this year. More importantly for Downtowners, the date change means that the burger fest won’t be the same day as the Bardog alley party! Great news.

The CA has a good article on Chris Hill who has played venues all over Downtown. For my West Memphis readers, check him out at the Double J on Saturday.

Trolleys should return by the end of the year, MATA officials said.

Mayor Strickland released an update on the average 911 call response time for January – due to a flaw in the data, it was not 8.6 seconds as earlier reported, but instead 13.2 seconds. That’s still very good though, with under 20 seconds being the goal most large cities aim for.

Round 2 of the Memphis Beer Bracket is happening now. Damn, one of the local breweries got completely wiped out in the first round! Don’t forget that you can order flights of the competing beers at the Downtown Aldo’s location.

That’s it for now. Looks like a rainy drive home this afternoon.

Help wanted identifying hit-and-run driver and more Thursday news

If anyone saw a silver Ford Mustang that looked like it could have been in an accident last night, please call 901-545-COPS and tell them what you saw. A pedestrian was hit around 9:00 PM yesterday in the 2000 block of Madison near Overton Square. The victim was taken to the hospital where he died. I didn’t know the victim but he was someone many of my friends cared about. My prayers are with all who knew him, and particularly with my two friends who rushed out of the Blind Bear to go be by his side.

I just saw an update: One witness is not sure it was a Mustang. Could be a silver or white sedan. It would have had broken glass. It was seen going east from the scene of the accident. Any information you can provide the police would be helpful.

Volunteer Odyssey has released a great new tool, Volunteer Compass, to help you find your perfect volunteer opportunity in Memphis. Put in a zip code and you will be taken to a map of volunteer opportunities near you. Are you part of an organization that needs volunteers? You can fill out a form to get your pin placed on the map.

CMT’s new series Sun Studios, filmed here in Memphis, has its premiere tonight. Hard Rock Cafe is hosting a CMT Sun Studios Watch Party tonight starting at 6:30. There will be live music by Savanna Long and food and drink specials all night. At 9:00 the premiere will be shown on Hard Rock’s big screen. There will be prizes by Hard Rock Cafe and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. This event is all ages, there’s no cover charge, and valet parking is available.

Service industry folks: The Majestic Grille tweeted that they are hiring. Just about no one treats their employees better than Patrick and Deni. Apply in person at the restaurant between 2 and 4 PM Monday through Thursday.

A Canadian TV show is filming at Kooky Canuck today from 3-5 and they have some empty seats if anyone would like to make a cameo appearance.

Knowing that I’m a huge fan of fresh produce and farmers markets, I have had people ask me, what is going on with the Memphis Farmers Market this year? Its space is all cluttered up with construction. Will it have to move to 2017? Yesterday the Market sent out an email answering that question. The clutter will be gone on opening day April 1, and the Market will remain under the Central Station pavilion at Front and GE Patterson for the season. The Market will happen 7 AM to 1 PM every Saturday from April 1 to October 28. I can’t wait to be back at the Market eating lunch from the tandoori truck, and I can’t wait to sit at Clarence’s bar at Earnestine & Hazel’s post-Market! I already have songs picked out for the jukebox!

The city of Memphis plans to build an “I AM A MAN” plaza in front of Clayborn Temple, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech as part of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, to be completed in time for the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death.

You can now order a Donald Trump troll doll and it’s anatomically correct. This needed to happen.

South Main Trolley Night happens this Friday, with the shops and galleries of South Main staying opening late and many offering appetizers, beer, wine, or discounts. Songwriter Night #49 will happen at 550 S. Main as part of the festivities. Also, as we get ready for International Women’s Month in March, Art Village Gallery at 410 S. Main will host an exhibit called “Breaking Barriers” with an all-female art show.

The Flying Saucer is holding a Mardi Gras party Tuesday, February 28 from 7 to midnight. There will be Nitro Draft Hurricanes, Cherry Bomb Shots, Hand Grenades, and King Cake.

Snoop Dogg and Widespread Panic both play Friday night of Beale Street Music Fest? Man… that’s going to be a profitable night for weed dealers.

New apartments are being planned for the northwest corner of Madison and Manassas.

That’s all for now. I’ve got more good stuff in the pipeline, so check back. I’ll be out at Silly Goose happy hour as is usual for a Thursday.

Wed update #2

Do I have any readers who have social media experience, or who would like to gain social media experience to put on their resume? A local project to improve the community could use some help. A team of volunteers is working to bring recycling back to South Main. They are looking for someone to help administer their website and their Facebook page. The goal is to raise both money and awareness. If you would be interested in helping, email angela@copelandcoaching.com. Please send a resume, LinkedIn profile, or something that can be shared with the team.

Clarification – South Side Supper Club will not be at Belle Tavern every Tuesday, although they played last night and hope to be there again soon. I stayed for the first two sets and really enjoyed the music played with a violin, accordion, banjo, bass and clarinet. I have never heard Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” played as an instrumental before. Also, it was the first cover of “Hey Ya” I have heard that was good. Q had us well taken care of with drinks, and Perjorie T. Roll got to meet Q for the first time.

The lineup for Memphis in May’s Beale Street Music Fest has been announced. I doubt I’ll go (Music Fest is kind of a speed bump on the road to BBQ Fest for me) but I think the lineup is pretty good. Snoop Dogg, Ziggy Marley, Soundgarden, Midnight Oil… those are some bands and artists I would be interested in hearing live.

The Memphis Beer Bracket Challenge is underway on the Memphis Flyer website. Not familiar with the beers? Try them in special flights at Aldo’s Pizza Pies Downtown.

From Lifehacker: The science of why food tastes so damn good when you’re drunk. The CEO of Krystal should print this article out, frame it, and hang it on his wall.

Downtown Yoga will host a Spring Detox Workshop with Stephanie Congo on Sunday, March 5. There will be simple exercises and yoga poses to help integrate Spring into the body. Learn about different energies and exercises that can be integrated to keep the body healthy and vibrant. YOGA!

For my fellow wrestling fans: Cerrito Live has announced a new partnership with the Rec Room to bring wrestling pay-per-view events beginning with WWE Fastlane on March 5. Kevin Owens will defend the WWE Universal Championship against Goldberg. Yes, THAT Goldberg who dominated WCW in the late 1990s.

That’s it for now. Out at Silly Goose happy hour after work probably.

Wednesday morning update

Looking to pick up some temp work? Fourth Bluff is hiring a Data Entry Operator that would be about 80 hours total.

Zoey Goto is a London-based fashion writer and author of a new book, Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits. She will be coming to Memphis Wednesday, April 12 to host a book launch event at Lansky at the Peabody from 5 to 6 PM. The full-color book will highlight not only his musical influence, but his influence in contemporary design culture. Elvis signed his first contract with RCA at the Peabody, and Bernard Lansky was the clothier who dressed the King. Hal Lansky, Bernard’s son, wrote the foreword to the book.

Jack Pirtle’s is collecting children’s books at all locations. They will be donated to Books from Birth, a program that gets books in the hands of children 1-5 for free. Pirtle’s already has 1500 books but needs more. A book in a child’s hands provides the promise of a better future. As someone who learned to read at age 3 because my grandmother sat me in her lap and made sure I could see the words as she read, I can see lots of value in this program. I remember having a big advantage in elementary school because I learned to read early.

Starting Friday at 9 AM and lasting for three days, Poplar will be closed between Front and Second, so plan accordingly. The closure is to allow setup of a cooling tower at 170 N. Main.

As of January, the average time for a 911 call to be answered in Memphis is down to 8.6 seconds. Congratulations to Mayor Strickland and his team on this badly needed improvement to city services!

The MemphisWeather.net blog tackles the question, is winter over? For Memphis, probably it is. Except for Saturday, we are looking at highs above 60 for the rest of February. The first half of March’s outlook is for above normal temps. The latter half of March may see temps slightly below normal, but a high of 60 is slightly below normal at that point in the year. This was close to a perfect winter – we got a snow day on a Friday, where it snowed overnight so drivers weren’t already at work, and then it was warm most of the rest of the season. I love it!

How did Old Dominick Distillery find room to put in grain silos that would store up to 100,000 pounds? Find out here.

I will probably be back at lunchtime with a second post. Off to work for now.

Tuesday update #2

The Orpheum has announced its 2017-18 Broadway schedule. Season subscription includes The King and I, An American in Paris, Finding Neverland, The Color Purple, and Something Rotten. Season options include return engagements of The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. You can call 901-525-3000 or visit the Orpheum’s website to order season tickets.

In addition, one offering for the 2018-19 season, Hamilton, has already been announced. This is the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and the first Secretary of the Treasury. Subscribers for 2017-18 will be first in line to get tickets for Hamilton the following season.

Good editorial in the CA: Memphis should set high goals for public transportation.

Songwriter Night #49 at South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, happens 7-9 PM this Friday. Rebecca Almond, Brett Ross, Katharine Hedlund, and Brandon McGovern will perform.

Tin Roof hosts “Locals, Vocals, & Brews” this Sunday, February 26, starting at 5 PM. Local Memphis musicians will perform, and local Memphis clothing lines IWWD and Sache will be featured. There will be $4 Ghost River, Memphis Made, High Cotton, and Wiseacre beers. They’ll have a Creole shrimp stir fry for $14, and a pulled poutry sammy for $10.

High Cotton has made the official announcement for its Cookies on Tap event on Thursday, March 23. This event benefits Girl Scouts Heart of the South. Four High Cotton beers are expertly chosen to bring out the flavor of the Girl Scout cookies with which they are paired. This event sold out in 2016, so if you want to go, purchase tickets in advance. New to this year is a growler paired with a box of cookies for $20, for those who want to enjoy the pairing at home over the weekend.

Miss Cordelia’s is seeking a full-time prep cook. They offer a stress-free environment, flexible hours, vacation and health insurance. They are looking for someone with a ton of energy and commitment. Apply at the store.

The University of Washington is offering a new course which is badly needed in this age we live in: How to sniff out, and refute, “bullshit.” The classes filled up within minutes of being offered, but for those who want to check them out, the syllabus is online and the 12 class sessions will be recorded and the videos posted for the public to see.

That’s it for now. Tonight I am headed to Belle Tavern to catch South Side Supper Club. They take the stage at 7. Join me, won’t you?

Tue morning update: Mix-Odyssey, crawfish and more

Details have been announced for Mix-Odyssey, where you can sample some of the best cocktails in Memphis while supporting Volunteer Odyssey. It will happen Saturday, March 4 from 7 to 10 PM at BRIDGES. Seven of the city’s top mixologists will compete to see who makes the best cocktails. Each ticket ($65 regular, $100 VIP) comes with a token to vote for which cocktail you liked best.

There will be more than just cocktails at the event, though. There will be hors d’oeuvres, Wiseacre beer, and a selfie station. Fortune tellers will predict where you will volunteer. DJ Justin Baker of the Memphis Grizzlies will supply the tunes. VIPs will have their own area with servers. Early bird tickets are on sale now for $55. This event always sells out and tickets will not be available at the door.

Two Saturdays ago, Max’s Sports Bar held a crawfish boil that was a smashing success. The weather was beautiful, the crawfish spicy, the beer cold. The only thing wrong with it was that SO damn many people showed up. When I finished a beer while outside with friends, I knew I would have to push my way through the crowd to get to the bar, and then it would take 10 minutes to get another beer. Also, although it was supposed to be an all-afternoon event, the crawfish were in such demand that they were sold out not long after 2 PM.

Well, the crawfish are back at Max’s this Saturday, and Max is taking steps to address the issues that came up at the last boil. This time he’s ordering twice as much food, which should extend the sale of crawfish later into the afternoon and give people who are really hungry time to go back for seconds. In addition, they will have a cash bar on the patio, so if you’re taking in the nice weather you won’t have to go back inside to get another beer. Awesome plan to keep your customers happy, Max!

How much are the crawfish, you ask? You get a styrofoam box holding about 2.5 to 3 pounds for $10. Each box also comes with smoked sausage, taters, and corn. Sorry, troll not included in the purchase price.

The Memphis Flyer and Aldo’s Pizza Pies will do a Memphis Beer Bracket starting this Wednesday, February 22, through next Tuesday, August 28. Vote for your favorite Ghost River, High Cotton, Memphis Made, and Wiseacre beers. More details to come.

High Cotton is adding something new to its lineup of events: A monthly book club. It’s open to everyone who enjoys a brew and a good book. The first book, to be discussed Sunday, March 12, is Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. They are asking those who are interested to email taproom@highcottonbrewing.com to RSVP and to get more information. Here’s the Facebook listing for the March 12 book event.

Good article: Why Memphis is every music nerd’s dream

Cynthia Daniels, founder of Memphis Black Restaurant Week, has a guest post on High Ground News on five ways to support black-owned businesses.

That’s it for now. I’ll probably be back at lunchtime with another post.

Monday update

Happy Presidents Day! Every eight years, historians rank all the former presidents from first to last. For the first time, Barack Obama was eligible to be ranked. He was rated 12th best out of the 43 former presidents, behind Woodrow Wilson but ahead of James Monroe. Not suprisingly, Lincoln topped the list, followed by George Washington. James Buchanan was ranked last, but fear not, Buchanan fans; the next time the rankings are done I have a feeling we will have somebody new at the list’s bottom.

There will be a celebration of Johnny Cash’s 85th birthday at Memphis Made Brewing Co. this coming Sunday, February 26. Jack O and The Sheiks will perform. Doors will open at 3, with music beginning at 4. Donations will be accepted toward a Johnny Cash statue for Memphis.

The Memphis Redbirds and Major League Baseball have made donations totaling $25,000 to Memphis area public schools. The donations will give 460 students baseball and softball equipment so they can get on the field, benefiting 24 baseball and softball teams at 16 schools.

Memphis in May will announce the lineup for Beale Street Music Fest on Wednesday. The event happens the first weekend of May every year. If you’re enjoying the May weather we’re having in February today, be aware that February weather usually shows up in May for Music Fest.

Want a little extra energy to get through afternoons at work? Downtown Yoga offers lunchtime classes from noon to 1 every weekday.

I had fun visiting my friend Hannah at the bar at Aldo’s Pizza Pies Midtown yesterday. Go see her on Sundays if you live in the area. She’ll take good care of you. I have yummy meatball pizza in my fridge that will last me the next two days.

The zoo is having a seasonal job fair Wednesday, February 22, from 3 to 5 PM. Applicants are encouraged to fill out an online application in advance.

That’s it for now. I will be out at one of my usual spots after work but haven’t decided which one yet.

Moody Ques news: Troll recruits new members, margarita machine, spring regionals and more

The Moody Ques’ Deputy Director of Public Relations had a big day yesterday.

I led off at Bardog yesterday, informing Bloom that it would be a very short stay because I had a BBQ team board meeting at noon. The guy two seats down from me asked, “Paul, where’s your troll?” She was still in my coat pocket at that point and I got her out. We started talking and I mentioned I was about to go to the meeting. “Do you have any open spots?” he asked. “My wife and I were thinking about joining a team this year.”

“We do and we’d love to have you,” I replied. An hour later he showed up at the Silly Goose with $500 cash for a couples’ membership. And the whole conversation started because of my troll. Congratulations to Deputy Director Perjorie T. Roll on her outstanding recruitment effort yesterday!

New member Jeremy (on the right) talking with Pitmaster Frank. Jeremy had some cooking ideas to share. Welcome Jeremy and Jeana to the Moody Ques!

We convened the meeting a little after 12 and got down to business.

We slightly reconfigured the board of directors this year, bringing on John D as vice president. That will allow Erik to focus on things in the kitchen without having to worry about front of house too. Here’s the list of directors for this year:

President – Clay Thompson
Vice President – John Denman
Pitmaster – Frank Howell
Treasurer – Misty Roberson
Director of Engineering – Brent Long
Director of Communications – Win Bonner
Kitchen Manager – Erik Karlsson
Bar Manager – Chad Rodgers
Director of Public Relations – Paul Ryburn

Although, as president Clay pointed out, these are just titles. We all help each other out.

Adding Chad as bar manager is a huge plus for the team. Chad will be entirely in charge of the bar. He will order liquor, he will have the power to hire bartenders, whatever he feels he needs to do. His leadership frees up the rest of the team to focus on other aspects of BBQ Fest. Of course, he can count on all of us if he asks for help.

We are going to have a margarita machine behind the bar this year. Thanks to John D for making that acquisition.

We are pleased to have Holliday Flowers back with us for 2017. Their creativity and their resources have been key to our past finishes in Best Booth.

We are still looking at doing Atoka BBQ Fest March 31-April 1 and Southaven Springfest April 28-29. We discussed doing the Southern Hot Wing Festival instead of Southaven, but that isn’t a BBQ competition and the cover charge for the public is ridiculously high.

A third festival, Esperanza Bonanza in Marion, Arkansas, was discussed. However, the dates listed on the website are load-in weekend for BBQ Fest. Not quite sure how that will work.

We still plan on wrapping up the BBQ season at the Tate County Fair June 3 and 4.

Sarah Dalesandro, the artist whose ideas led to our 2014 Best Booth victory, is back to contribute her creativity to the team this year. She, Brent from Holliday Flowers, and president Clay are forming a subcommittee that will talk regularly about booth design ideas. Several ideas were presented yesterday to honor this year’s Memphis in May country, Colombia.

We need to have a full team meeting in March or April. This is important because we need ideas from as many people as possible. Also, it is nice for team members, especially new ones, to get to know to each other prior to BBQ Fest, when everyone is running around working on various things. This date is not set in stone yet, so watch for updates, but I suggested to Brent that we do it at the Holliday Flowers warehouse in The Edge on Saturday, March 25. There will be a jalapeno popper festival next door at High Cotton that day. Admission is free. I can see several advantages to that date and location for a full team meeting:

  1. The popper festival is organized by Seth who does Best Memphis Burger Fest. Since we are participants in Burger Fest, it would be nice for us to come out and support Seth’s new event, even if we are not participating as a cook team.
  2. The presence of the popper fest next door might draw more people to the meeting than would otherwise come. Kill two birds with one stone – have the meeting, then go try some jalapeno poppers. Or vice versa, depending on what time we have the meeting.
  3. The popper fest could be a fertile recruiting ground for new team members. “Oh, this is your first time at a cooking competition? Have you ever thought about being on a BBQ team?”
  4. It’s never bad to hold a BBQ team meeting next door to a brewery.

Again, this not set in stone. Brent has to check his calendar to see if he has events at the warehouse that day. By the way, not many people know it, but the Holliday Flowers warehouse on Monroe has a beautiful event area that is great for business events, wedding receptions, etc. Check them out if you are looking to plan an event.

My troll asked if there was a Best Troll competition and suggested we enter it. I told her there was no such thing and, given who some of the other BBQ teams hang out with, I’m not sure we would win anyway. Then my troll complained that she didn’t like her Deputy Director of Public Relations title because she thought people might confuse her with Barney Fife.

At that point I decided the troll would spend the rest of the meeting in my coat pocket.

After the meeting I wandered down to my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar, then caught an Uber back to the Blind Bear. I had their famous chili mac.

It’s the Blind Bear’s pepper jack mac & cheese combined with Colin’s award-winning three-bean turkey chili, topped with shredded cheese, onions, and sour cream. If I ever wind up on death row I may order this as my last meal.

I don’t have a lot of news to report this Sunday, but if you’re looking for something fun to do and don’t mind driving out east, check out the Tennessee Equality Project gumbo contest at the Hilton this afternoon. Taste some of the best gumbos in the city while supporting equality for all regardless of sexual orientation or identification.

It is going to be a beautiful April-in-February kind of day outside. I am headed out to D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear for Sunday brunch. After that, I will see where the day takes me. Back tomorrow with more news.

 

Saturday update

Every Saturday Ghost River does Small Shop Saturday in its taproom from noon to 4, allowing people to discover the works of a local vendor while enjoying locally made craft beer. This week’s vendor is Michelle Duckworth, an illustrator who does children’s illustrations and anything else requiring a whimsical and slightly peculiar slant. Today you can expect to find wood paintings, colorful pieces, cute paintings, and more.

I was in Belle Tavern a couple of evenings ago and noticed they have added a new thing on Tuesday nights: live music by South Side Supper Club. Very happy to see this talented band getting a gig in the Downtown core. I have heard them several times and they are well worth checking out. If you’re not familiar with the tavern, the entrance is in the alley between Main and Second, half a block south of Union.

Beer and history, who can beat that? One month from today, Saturday, March 18, Elmwood Cemetery will host Suds & Stories. Meet in the chapel at 1 PM for stories about the men and women of the Emerald Coast who rest at Elmwood. Cost is $15 and advance registration is required.

Don’t miss this High Ground News story about South Main Book Juggler. In an era when many bookstores are closing, Jean and Clayton are bringing the works of local and regional authors to South Main. They are wonderful people. If you are a reader, go see them. I am sure they can make a recommendation if you are looking for a particular genre.

I don’t know if I have any readers who are vegetarians and who love dogs, but on the off-chance that I do, Zaka Bowl out in East Memphis will donate 20% of the proceeds from sales this weekend to Streetdog Foundation, an organization that fosters and adopts dogs.

In other dog related news… I don’t know if I have any readers who love dogs and who work at a brewery, but on the off-chance that I do, you might be interested in this story of a brewery in Scotland that offers puppy paternity leave. If you adopt a puppy, you get a week off work to play with your new puppy and bond with it.

Trolley Stop Market is currently hiring part-time employees.

This is awesome:

Where else but Paul Ryburn’s Journal are you going to go to learn important scientific facts. Take this one, for example:

I’m going to lead off at Bardog today at 11. I hope I don’t encounter proof that the statement above is true.

It will be a short stay at Bardog, though, because at noon I will be at the Silly Goose for the Moody Ques board meeting. The Public Relations Committee – Director Paul, Deputy Director Perjorie, Buddha, and Ian – met Sunday 1/29 and I plan on giving the board a full report. Some have asked if I will hand the team website over to my troll, now that she’s Deputy Director. Having seen her guest posts, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I fear we’d get a bunch of selfies and minimal team news. I’m also concerned she would use the website to recruit other trolls to the team, and really, one is more than enough.

Team members, feel free to stop by if you want. I went to board meetings all the time before I actually became a board member. I am going to push for us to have a full team meeting sometime in March.

All right, that’s the news for now. I’m going to watch the rat video about 20 more times and then do a bunch of laundry, now that “Squeaky,” my dryer, has been replaced. Back tomorrow with more news. Look for a Moody Ques website update (by me) sometime next week.

Friday update

Yesterday I was very excited to post that a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge with an entrance on November 6th Street was being planned. The entrance would be just steps from my back door. Today, however, plans for that project may be in doubt. The project’s developer is being accused of bribery in Palm Springs, California. The same developer is also working to redevelop buildings at 477 S. Main (former MCA building) and a former bank building on Madison into boutique hotels. I hope those projects still happen.

Meritan, Inc. is an organization that provides compassionate assistance to those suffering from the effects of aging, injury, illness, developmental or intellectual disability, or critical family situations. They promote well-being and independence. Tonight they will host Meritan Celebrates Mardi Gras at the High Cotton taproom from 6 to 9. Your suggested donation of $10 gets you a High Cotton on tap-beer, king cake, a pint glass, a koozie, and beads. The Southern Delight food truck will be on site and it is trivia night as well.

A pop-up park is being planned for Riverside Drive, the summer equivalent of the Fourth Bluff Ice Rink that operated this winter. It would be in the area of Riverside and Jefferson and would have basketball courts and food trucks. It’s being planned by the Riverfront Development Corporation. Yeah, they were such able stewards of the taxpayers’ money on the Beale Street Landing project, why not throw some more money at RDC? By the way, work on the park could temporarily close that part of Riverside.

Here’s a full transcript with video of President Nutcake’s press conference yesterday. NOTE: You may think you’re on The Onion’s website as you read this. You’re not.

At the time of the Garth Brooks concert a couple of weeks ago, people asked me if I was going to any of the shows. I replied, “Nah, as far as country goes, the classic stuff is great. Johnny Cash and George Jones and Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard. Jerry Reed’s stuff in the ’70s was good. East Bound and Down and tunes like that. Country was even good when 9 to 5 came out in 1981. But sometime in the early ’80s, country started to suck and it has been that way ever since. You can’t hear good country music in concert anymore.”

Well, maybe I was wrong about that. The Malpass Brothers play the Halloran Centre Friday, March 17. Their music is steeped in the tradition of the legends I mentioned above. “If you like cornbread & hushpuppies, you’re going to love the Malpass Brothers,” it is written on the Orpheum/Halloran Centre website.

You don’t have to wait until 3/17 for country music at the Halloran Centre though… there’s country music on 2/17, tonight, at 7:30. Kathy Mattea, the Acoustic Living Room featuring Bill Cooley will be on stage at the Halloran Centre. She’s in the music hall of fame in good ole West Virginny and she has had 16 songs in the Top 10.

Big Don’s Three Piece Chicken and a Biscuit Blues Band plays King’s Palace Cafe next Tuesday, February 21, at 8 PM. I have no idea if they’re any good but based on their name alone, I felt the need to mention them.

Happy travels, YOGA! The Madison Hotel has introduced in-room yoga for its guests. Certified local instructors lead the sessions, which can be 30 or 60 minutes long. Sessions must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

I have withdrawn my application to be a judge for 901 Jalapeno Popper Throwdown. Last night friends of mine on one of the other BBQ teams said they will be competing, and I want to be free to hang out with them all day long without the appearance of a conflict of interest. I don’t want people calling me Paul “Rex Tillerson” Ryburn, after all. Looking forward to a full seven hours of jalapeno poppers and great craft beer! It’ll be weird drinking something other than PBR on a Saturday afternoon.

Sad to hear about the passing of George “The Animal” Steele, the turnbuckle-eating monster who wrestled in the WWF in the 1970s and 1980s. In real life he was a schoolteacher with a Master’s degree who wrestled during the summer months when the kids were out on vacation. In his early days in the ring he wrestled under a mask as The Student so that his identity would not be revealed to his students.

A very happy birthday to one of my very favorite bartenders, Jessica! Come see her at the Silly Goose for happy hour tonight (and TIP HER well). I plan on being there and so does my troll. Come hang out with us!