Memphis Music & Heritage Festival this weekend, plus more Tuesday news

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Memphis Music & Heritage Festival this weekend, plus more Tuesday news
Sep 012015

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival happens Saturday and Sunday on the Main Street Mall between Union and Peabody Place. This is one of my favorite festivals of the year, with regional music from just about every genre that exists being performed on multiple stages. It is presented by the Center for Southern Folklore and there is more than just music. There is food, from food trucks and also from the Folklore Hall kitchen (recommendation: Ella Kizzie’s greens and hot water cornbread). Crafts vendors, storytelling, kids’ activities, dance, and drum lines are some of the other reasons to go. The activity starts around noon and keeps going until about 11 at night both days.

Needless to say, I will be at the festival both days, even foregoing the first Saturday of college football to be outside. Of course, one of my “Big Five,” the Blind Bear, is on the festival route, so there just may be a few stops.

Oh who am I kidding with that “may” comment. Of course there will be stops.

Memphis Oktoberfest returns October 3 and this year it will be at Station 3, the firehouse at Third and Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue. The event is presented by High Cotton Brewing Company. There will be Bavarian fare by Central BBQ and High Cotton beer. Live music will be provided by the Dead Soldiers.

I would really like to go to Oktoberfest, but regretfully I am going to have to miss it. That is the same day as Best Memphis Burger Fest at Tiger Lane, and the Moody Ques are first-year participants. I’ve been told by team leaders that the presence of “Mr. Load-in” is pretty much required.

Wine on the River is a new event coming to the Mud Island River Park Saturday, October 10 from 5 to 9 PM. There will be national and international vineyards. The international section will have an “Around the World” theme spotlighting the food and wine of cultural regions. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 day-of, with proceeds benefitting Youth Villages. Live musicby Well Strung, Eric Hughes Band and Circle Music Player Piano, and lots of other fun. You get a souvenir beverage glass to keep. 21 and up with a valid ID, and children are not allowed.

City Market is not done expanding. The owners of the market say that Downtown and Cooper-Young are tight-knit communities, and they are looking for more such communities in which to expand. They listed High Point and the University of Memphis areas as neighborhoods they considered before choosing Cooper-Young.

Singer CharveyMac makes another rare Downtown appearance tonight. He will be at the Silly Goose from 10 to 1.

This is another of those “too much news to fit in a lunchtime post” days. Back about 5:30 with a second post.

Breakway-Bardog 5K results and more Monday news

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Breakway-Bardog 5K results and more Monday news
Aug 312015

The results of the Breakaway-Bardog 5K can be found here. 1217 people are listed as having run (or walked, wheeled, whatever). Given the amount of the entry fee, that should put Bardog well north of the $30K line without even counting the other fundraising components.

This year’s head-shaving victim, Lauren Dunn, did not manage to hit her goal of raising more money that last year’s victim Amanda “Panda” Parks. That’s to be expected; Panda was a bartender at the time she did it. Bartenders tend to have more regular customers than servers. Also, Panda had been there since the day Bardog opened. Lauren raised over $6000, last I heard, an incredible number. Massive respect to The Ninja for making the sacrifice this year.

This past weekend, new manager Bjarni told me that live music will be brought back to the Flying Saucer Friday and Saturday nights beginning next month. That is good to hear. A lot of people pre-game at the Saucer and then go other places. Live music will give them a reason to stay past 9 PM.

The first residents have started to move in at the Chisca. Residents are moving into the old motor lodge in the back, the newer of the two buildings and the easier to renovate. The building is said to have many different price points for its dwellings, which should attract a diverse array of residents.

The MBJ reports that MATA is rolling out more rubber-wheeled trolleys. I guess I won’t be able to use the term “South Main Green Bus Night” on here anymore.

The MBJ released its first podcast today. Listen here.

The University of Memphis has announced player suspensions that are a result of the post-game brawl at the Miami Beach Bowl. Players who participated will receive suspensions ranging from half a game to one and a half games.

Congratulations to Dave Brown on his retirement, and thanks for many great years. The blog has a post about Dave that is worth a read. Congratulations also to Ron Childers on being named Chief Meterologist at Action News 5. He’s had many years to learn from the best.

Home from work. Time for a couple of PBRs at Melissa Monday at Bardog, then over to Blind Bear to hang out at Mary’s bar and then Jeannette’s bar. Four more days until a three-day weekend.

Monroe Avenue Fest (but it will always be the Bardog alley party to me) 2015

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Monroe Avenue Fest (but it will always be the Bardog alley party to me) 2015
Aug 312015

Bardog Tavern celebrated its 7th birthday in style, throwing a huge block-long party in conjunction with a few of its neighbors, the celebration renamed Monroe Fest.


My friends at Gossett Porsche stepped up and sponsored.


VIP area with tastings from area restaurants including Felicia Suzanne’s.


Pete and John D


You never know what you’ll find at the alley party… er, block party… er, Monroe Fest. I am never going to get used to calling it that.


Dunk a hot dog, 4 balls for $3.


One of the prizes in the raffle


The band


Lauren raising money for the head shaving


Some people walked out of Monroe Fest with a new pet


Chef Gary Williams of DeJaVu






Members of the Downtown crew


DJ Lil’ Egg Roll


Backey has his war paint on for the meatball eating contest.


We finally figured out a way to make Marc be quiet: Feed him meatballs.


Brad Pee has a great shirt on.


Uncle Ray


Aldo conducting the raffle




Lauren and her lovely assistant raising money for St. Jude


Crazy Joe and Charles the poker/trivia guy


People hide from me.




“Shave the Ninja” begins. I believe this is the first time a head-shaving victim has cut their own hair.


Previous head-shaving victims have cried. Lauren, on the other hand, smiled all the way through.







What a fabulous party. Thank you Aldo for giving us such a wonderful place to hang out the past 7 years. I have had happy times, weird times, sad times, hilarious times at Bardog but I am so grateful that the places is there. It is one of my homes away from home. Thank you to all who raised money for St. Jude yesterday. Complete photo album here.

Breakaway-Bardog 5K

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Breakaway-Bardog 5K
Aug 302015

I got up unusually early for a Sunday this morning, so I decided to walk over to Front Street and get some photos of the Breakaway-Bardog 5K runners as they took off.

Click a photo to view it full-size.

























The runners have finished the race (unless they’re really really slow) and are now at the after-party. That will turn into Monroe Fest aka Bardog Alley Party at noon. I will be there. Congratulations to all the runners for raising tens of thousands of dollars for the kids of St. Jude.

Cut me some slack, I’m new to the pack

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Cut me some slack, I’m new to the pack
Aug 302015

Yesterday about 7 I decided to pay a visit to the Flying Saucer. The Saucer has been the most neglected of my “Big Five” (Bardog, Blind Bear, Saucer, Goose, Max’s) lately and new manager Bjarni has talked me into making a comeback. They had a trainee behind the bar, and someone in Saucer corporate had a very good idea:

2015-08-29 19.04.04

They have the trainees wear T-shirts that say, “Cut me some slack, I’m new to the pack” with the #SaucerWolfpack hashtag on the back. This seems like a very good idea to me. The Saucer trains employees pretty extensively before putting them on the floor or behind the bar, but still, there are 200 different beers. Even if an employee learns about all the different beers, it’s hard to know where the tap handles are located, or which of the coolers a bottle is in.

Right after I wrapped up my coursework for my Master’s degree, I worked in the Computer Services department at the University of Memphis. In my early days there, I would get phone calls about products like SAS that I did not know much about. “I don’t know much about SAS, but if I can get your name and number, I will find someone who can help you,” I would tell them.

“You don’t know about SAS? YOU WORK HERE. WHY DON’T YOU KNOW?????”

Ugh. Regardless of the industry, I HATE that comment. The Saucer’s “cut me some slack” shirt does a fine job insulating new servers and bartenders from that kind of remark. Well done.

On a side note, now and then I get asked about things Downtown that I don’t know much about, like the horse carriages or the riverfront cobblestones. I will tell them I don’t know, and occasionally I will get back the response, “You don’t know? You’re the Downtown blogger. You’re supposed to know everything.” If you want to really piss me off, tell me that. I don’t get paid to write this blog. I write it out of a love for my neighborhood, my friends, and the places where I hang out. I can’t be expected to know everything.

Bardog alley party time! I’m up early, so I guess I will walk down to Monroe and watch the runners. D-RANKS with B-RAD at 11, then over to the alley party between 12 and 12:30.

Saturday update: Cigar festival, Rizzo’s serving liquor, and more

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Saturday update: Cigar festival, Rizzo’s serving liquor, and more
Aug 292015

The first annual Beale Street Cigar Festival will be held Saturday, September 5. It will be at Havana Mix on Peabody Place and also in the surrounding streets and Handy Park. Many cigar manufacturers will be in attendance, as will sports celebrities. Premium cigars will be included in the ticket price, and there will be huge discounts on boxes of cigars. Beer, bourbon, and cognac tastings, a raffle, and more. VIP ticket holders will get to attend a dinner and after-party at Jerry Lee Lewis’ club on Beale Street that evening.

I heard that Rizzo’s Diner has finally acquired its liquor license. Good deal! I’m not planning any trips to the south side this weekend, but I hope to get in there soon.

September 19 at 8 PM, Hard Rock Cafe will host “Rocking for the Paws,” a fundraiser to benefit Blue Sky Dog Rescue. Rock and country artist Phil Vaught will perform. The event is free to attend, but donations are appreciated. Blue Sky is a dog rescue that saves homeless pets in North Mississippi. You can purchase a special pin in the gift store with $2 going to the rescue. Also, Blue Sky will have dogs onsite for adoption.

I made a slight change to the chicken fried steak rap I posted mid-week. I changed the word “pie” to “pizza” to make the second verse flow better.

I’ve come up with an interesting idea for the Bardog alley party tomorrow, a way I can make a bit of a personal sacrifice for the kids of St. Jude. There is going to be a $25 VIP beer garden where you can drink all the beer you want from 12 to 6. Needless to say, that kind of thing is right up my alley. However, you know what I have decided to do? I am going to forego the beer garden and drop $25 in the St. Jude bucket tomorrow instead. I will pre-game at D-RANKS with B-RAD at Blind Bear at 11, then walk over to the alley party 12-12:30ish. I will have the camera with me and I plan on being there all afternoon to get the usual photo album. For those of you who have never been to the Bardog party before, here’s a look back at 2014 and 2012 (Kelly in a tube top!!!) Not sure why 2013 doesn’t show up in my blog search results but there was a photo of Backey dry-humping a plastic unicorn.

Last night I stopped by Mary’s bar at Blind Bear for happy hour, and she made me one of her signature drinks: The Alien Sextini.

2015-08-28 18.11.33

I don’t normally drink cocktails but I have to admit, this one was really good. I tagged my friends Rahul and Tony when I posted this photo to Facebook. “Not enough fruit in it,” commented Tony.

“Hey Jude” came on while Mary was mixing the drink and she said, “This is a really good song.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. Come see Mary at Blind Bear brunch today 11-6. She is subbing for my favorite pair of librarian glasses.

By the way, here’s a Blind Bear tip – eat. The food was never bad there, of course, but new chef Alex Switzer is really kicking up things to a whole new level.

I mentioned a while back that my friends Robo and Shobo moved to New York City. Robo sent me a photo from the Big Apple:

Photo Aug 27, 7 15 21 PM

Looks like New Yorkers have pretty good taste. It’s probably $6 a can there though.

Norah Jones plays the Orpheum October 26. Tickets go on sale September 10. I’m a bit late to the party with that news, but I didn’t notice the announcement was starred in my inbox.

FreeWorld plays Downtown Central BBQ at noon today.

Bardog at 11 is the plan. No Farmers Market run this morning. Resting up for a big day Sunday.

Book signing, PARLOR TRICKS, Farmers Market, festival fundraiser and more in this Friday update

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Book signing, PARLOR TRICKS, Farmers Market, festival fundraiser and more in this Friday update
Aug 282015

This evening at South Main Green Bus Night, there will be a book signing at South Main Book Juggler, in the Arcade building on South Main. Photographers Darrin Devault and Tom Graves will sign their book Graceland Too Revisited. Graceland Too was Paul McLeod’s shrine to Elvis, in his private home in Holly Springs, Mississippi, which was open to the public 24/7.

PARLOR TRICKS happens tonight and tomorrow night at the Brass Door, 8 PM, $10 cover. PARLOR TRICKS is an new show enthralling look at slight of hand mastery, incredible mind reading, and dexterous object manipulation, all in a intimate, cabaret-styled setting JUSTLARRY, the magician and circus star who performs the show, returns home to Memphis for two nights after four years on the road. According to the event listings, JUSTLARRY will take you back to what happened in 1880s velvet drawing rooms and 1960s Playboy clubs when cabaret was king.

“Let’s Hit the Sauce” is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market Saturday. Sauces enhance the taste of your food and help you stretch your food dollars. There will be demos of how to make yogurt peach parfait at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30. Certified personal trainer and instructor Lauren Phelps will lead a free INSANITY class at the top of the pet-sitting hill at 9:00 with cardio and pylometric drills. Bring a sweat towel and water if you want to participate. Live music by Bruce Barham 8:30-10, and Kim Hummel 11-12:30. 7 AM-1 PM, corner of Front and G.E. Patterson.

Are you a big fan of the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival that happens on the Main Street Mall every year on Labor Day weekend? You can support the festival this Sunday from 5 to 8 at “Booze, Blues & Brownies.” Come have some cold beverages, buy some goodies to eat and listen to authentic Memphis Blues music by Zeke Johnson, Barbara Jenice Lester & Moses Crouch at the Center for Southern Folklore Store, 119 S. Main St., Memphis, TN. All money raised helps support the Center for Southern Folklore and the upcoming 2015 Memphis Music & Heritage Festival, Sept 5-6.

From Thrillist: Millenials are drinking more whiskey and less vodka

From the CA: New Daisy readies official launch with slate of new concert bookings

I’m not out of news but I am out of time. The remainder will have to wait for the next post. Check back tonight or tomorrow morning.


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on FML
Aug 272015

Last night I stopped by the Blind Bear, and it was a rare case when all three happy hour bartenders were there at the same time. While sipping on a PBR I came up with the perfect nickname for this crew.

Photo Aug 26, 7 36 38 PM

FML: Feeny, Mary, Lacey.

I positively love these girls. And I love the Blind Bear.

The Flyer has an article about LYFE Kitchen. The article is about the one out east, but it’s worth a read for Downtowners because we will soon have a LYFE Kitchen in the Chisca. The concept of LYFE Kitchen is that customers can get healthy meals that are low on calories for fast-food prices.

Tweet from the Chisca about LYFE Kitchen:

The Chisca also tweeted a photo of a model apartment:

Video from WREG Live at 9: Chocolate tart recipe from the Peabody pastry chef

Looking for employment? I have leads on several jobs today. Are you a people person who loves storytelling? Backbeat Tours has a part-time guide position open to conduct tours including their Historic Downtown, Ghost, and Discovery tours. Email with your resume and say a little about yourself.

Chipotle will hire 4000 at its National Career Day – 60 at each store, including the Memphis-area stores.

The Downtown Doubletree seeks an overnight dishwasher.

Packet pick-up for the Breakaway-Bardog 5K starts tomorrow. Here are the locations and times:

August 28th, 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Breakaway Running (Germantown)
1223 S. Germantown Rd.
Germantown, TN 38107

August 29th, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Breakaway Running (Midtown)
2109 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38107

August 30th, 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM
Bardog Tavern (Downtown)
73 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103

Run at 9, post-race after-party until noon, and then the Monroe Avenue Festival (formerly Bardog alley party) is open to the public from noon to 6. Hmmm… any of the Sunday brunch crew want to pre-game down the street at D-RANKS with B-RAD at Blind Bear at 11 then head over? I will be taking lots and lots of photos, as I have done in previous years.

Worked from home this afternoon, so I am out early. Time to go visit the L of FML.

College of Art moves its graduate school, couple to climb Mt. Kilamanjaro for St. Jude, and more: Wed update #2

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on College of Art moves its graduate school, couple to climb Mt. Kilamanjaro for St. Jude, and more: Wed update #2
Aug 262015

The Memphis College of Art has decided to leave South Main, moving its graduate school back to its Overton Park location. The school wants all its students on one campus. While that may sound like bad news for South Main, it may not be. The school’s arrival here was preceded by $2.5 million in renovations, which will make the building attractive to other organizations.

Cool story: Former Memphians/frequent visitors Dennis and Mary Pat, now residing in Madison, Alabama, are going to climb Mt.Kilamanjaro for St. Jude. They’re hoping to raise $19,341, which is one dollar for each foot of elevation of the mountain. The Flying Saucer has donated $1160, which is $193.41 from each of the six Saucers where they have plates.

Here’s a reminder that tomorrow is the Kooky Canuck gift card sale, at both locations 11 to 9. Kooky Canuck will match every dollar you put on the cards. Purchases must be made in $10 increments.

Also tomorrow, Pam and Terry will play the Blind Bear from 10 to 1. I guess I’m staying up late then…

Want to work at the Memphis Airport? Want a hospitality job with very competitive pay and benefits? My friend Rodger has some very good positions at his company that you can view here. In particular he is looking to fill management positions at Starbucks and F&B, “or else I’ll be making coffees myself and no one wants that.” Rodger is the guy who told me about the difference between chicken fried steak and country fried steak.

(I mentioned chicken fried steak :mrgreen: )

Visible Music College wants to add a dormitory. View an architectural rendering here.

From Arts Technica: Facing possible ban, more and more Americans are buying new and used $900 flamethrowers

(I mentioned flamethrowers :mrgreen: )

That’ll do it. Two posts in a day again. Shall we go for three? Check back.

Chicken fried steak rap

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Chicken fried steak rap
Aug 262015

©2015 Paul Ryburn. All rights reserved.

I got to get me a chicken fried
With white peppered gravy, mashed potatoes on the side.
Black eyed peas and a roll to bake
I got to get me a chicken fried steak.

My heart beats fast, my legs turn to jelly
For a Styrofoam box in a gas station deli.
It’s not filled with tamales, or pizza or cake
All I need is a chicken fried steak.

After a day filled with drama and strife
There’s much needed solace in a fork and a knife.
Salt and pepper on my dinner break
It’s time to throw down on a chicken fried steak.