Picks for this weekend’s Memphis Music and Hertiage Festival

The Center for Southern Folklore’s Memphis Music and Heritage Festival is this weekend, on the Main Street Mall between Peabody Place and Gayoso. Below are some acts I personally recommend. Complete schedule here.


  • 12 noon – Jimmy Crosthwait, puppeteer, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage. This one’s for the kids but he cracks me up too. I look forward to hearing the saber-tooth cat puppet sing its song every year.
  • 1:45 PM – Michael Patrick, food demo, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage. Michael is the executive chef at EP’s. Don’t pass up a chance to try his food and pick up a few cooking tips!
  • 2:00 PM – Greg Hisky and his Dixie Whisky Flyers, country, Verizon Wireless stage. I remember these guys from last year and they were really good.
  • 3:00 PM – Ella Kizzie, food demo, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage. She’ll teach you how to make greens and hot water cornbread, which are usually available for purchase at the Center for Southern Folklore store.
  • 3:25 PM – Desert Rose, belly dancing, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage.
  • 5:15 PM – Charlie Wood, blues and jazz, Folklore Store. If you miss Charlie at the festival, you’ll be able to catch him at “Bands, Beer and Bums in Court Square” on September 5, and on the Madison rooftop September 13.
  • 5:30 PM – Alicja Trout and Mouserocket, rock, Gayoso Stage. Really looking forward to this one. I went to college with Alicja and always thought she was an awesome person, but have never heard her band. Have heard great things about Mouserocket from friends in Midtown.
  • 8:30 PM – Papa Top’s West Coast Turnaround, classic country, Gayoso Stage.
  • 10:00 PM – Nathaniel Kent and Exodus, reggae, Verizon Wireless Stage.


  • 12:00 PM – Jimmy Crosthwait, puppeteer, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage. Just in case you missed him Saturday.
  • 12:45 PM – Beauty from Western China, GMUCA dancers, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage. Chinese girls are hot. How come the great country of Romania is not represented in this year’s acts? Come on, we need some diversity here!
  • 3:25 PM – Pyramid Dance Company, belly dancing, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage.
  • 4:25 PM – Ella Kizzie, food demo, Peabody Place Trolley Stop stage. This time her peach cobbler will be featured.
  • 4:30 PM – FreeWorld, jam band funk, Gayoso Stage. If you miss them here, they’ll be playing Blues City at 10:30.
  • 7:00 PM – Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, rockabilly, Verizon Wireless Stage.
  • 8:30 PM – Barbara Blue, blues, Gayoso Stage. You can catch Barbara several days a week at Silky’s in the late afternoon. Glad they’ve got her on an outdoor stage this year, rather than inside the Folklore Store which only seats a handful of people.
  • 10:00 PM – Jason D. Williams, rockabilly/boogie, Verizon Wireless Stage. This is one you don’t want to miss – the insane genius of the rockabilly world. Last year his crew of backup musicians included Bradley D. Birkendahl of the Dempseys.
  • 10:15 PM – Blind Mississippi Morris and Brad Webb, blues, Center for Southern Folklore Store stage. Morris is one of the true legends of Memphis blues.

Latest weather forecast for the festival, according to the Weather Channel: Saturday, sunny, 92/68. Sunday, 30% chance of rain, 88/68. If that forecast turns out to be correct, it will be the first day since July 22 that we’ve had a high below 90.

I love September. The Memphis Music and Heritage Fest this weekend, Art on Tap next weekend, and Cooper-Young the weekend after that. Three of the best events of the year.

But, right now it’s time to build some websites so I’ll have money to spend at those events! Outta here for now!

Two upcoming events at Circa

Two friends of mine went to Circa Saturday night and were absolutely blown away by the experience they had there. They couldn’t stop complimenting everything about the place – the impeccable service was mentioned again and again. The wine list received big compliments as well. They said it was both classy and a friendly, fun place at the same time.

With that in mind, here are two upcoming events, opportunities for you to give Circa a try.

What Wines with Chocolate? – On Wednesday, August 29, at 7:00 PM Circa will hold its second wine event, led by General Manager, Randy Caparoso. Chef/Owner John Bragg has collaborated with Blues City Pastry Shop’s GM/Chocolatier Carol Whitmore (who also will be on hand to chat about chocolate making) to prepare five variations of truffles and European-style hand rolls to match five chocolate-friendly wines. The fare will be $30 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Call 522-1988 for reservations.

That’s TONIGHT, folks!

Sundays in September at Circa – Beginning September 2, and continuing through every Sunday in September, Circa will offer a five-course/five-wine tasting menu to highlight Chef John Bragg’s specialty dishes matched with the restaurant’s latest globally sourced wines. Complete for just $45/person (plus tax and gratuity). Visit www.circamemphis.com to see the complete menu.

I’ve been told that John Bragg designed Sundays in September particularly with Downtowners in mind.

Work has been busy this week – simultaneously developing three websites. One is a site for real estate investors, and another is a piece of a site I’m doing for a pool sales company, both projects through the firm that gives me most of my consulting work. Also doing a third site on the side, a site for an attorney who is a friend and neighbor of mine. Normally I don’t work this late at night (it’s a little after midnight as I type this), but I felt a burst of creative inspiration and took the laptop to the Flying Saucer. I figure if I work 3 hours tonight, then I’m entitled to get up at 11 rather than 8 in the morning. Closing time must be approaching, because the waitresses are leaning over the tables and collecting the food menus. I love it when they do that.

The girl at whom I always stick my tongue out is my waitress this evening. She has a trainee tonight, so I stuck my tongue out at the trainee and asked her to pass the message on. They should feel honored… I used to stick my tongue out at Ioana, the brunette Romanian who worked at the Saucer in ’05. To be in the same category as a Romanian is impressive indeed.

The “sketch artist” bum is at the window, charging some tourist $10 for a caricature. Of course he doesn’t have a city vendor’s license to be able to do that legally.

Cool. The manager saw him and chased him off. Dude didn’t get paid for his sketch either. Heh.

My online stores are doing better. The Tube Top Boutique is getting like 100 hits a day now from Google searches, and The Romania Store is averaging about in the teens. Between those and the Amazon box on my blog I’ve had 19 orders through the Amazon affiliate program this month. I’ll make 6% commission on each order, not bad.

The Rapscallions finished third at trivia. We seemed poised to win it after the first two rounds, but then Pete asked some of the most bizarre questions I’ve ever heard in the third round and we scored a miserable 24 out of 65 points. We’ve had some lousy performances in recent weeks, but this one can’t be attributed to the Yoko factor, as she wasn’t there last night.

Route South plays “Bands, Beer and Bums: The Court Square Concert Series” 5:30-8:30. Not sure if I’ll make it. Already looking ahead to next Wednesday, when Charlie Wood will be playing.

It’s been a very productive evening. Debating whether to go home, or continue on to McGuinness.

I-40 bridge closed

News for those of you who live in Memphis and work in Arkansas, or vice versa…

The I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River – aka the Hernando DeSoto Bridge or “new bridge” – has been closed to traffic after a pillar in a construction zone settled overnight. They’re not taking any chances after the tragedy in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. Looks like it may be closed for some time.

So, if you plan on crossing the river as you commute home, better get on I-55 as early in the commute as possible, and expect delays as that bridge will be forced to handle twice its normal volume.

Monday update: A smelly cat problem, Downtown Night at the Westin, smoking ordinance

– The Memphis City Council has passed possibly the most unenforceable ordinance ever. If your cat is caught defecating in someone else’s yard, you can be fined $50. Now, how in the world is this going to work? If cops have to witness panhandlers beg Downtown to write them citations, then I’m assuming that a cop would have to see the cat defecate to be able to cite the owner. But, even if the cop did see it, how would he know whether the cat is doing its business in its own yard, or someone else’s?

Here’s a video of a cat who is in compliance with the new city ordinance:

Hmmm… I can just imagine little old ladies getting out their video cameras, trying to get evidence of Fluffy from next door in violation of the ordinance. Seems to me that even if a citation were issued and the matter got to court, a judge would have a good laugh and dismiss it.

Perhaps the City of Memphis should begin a PR campaign to promote awareness of the new ordinance. They could contact the producers of Friends and see if they can license Phoebe’s song “Smelly Cat” to use in commercials here.

– It’s the last Monday of the month, which means it’s once again time for “Elevate Your Senses,” a night for Downtowners to get to know one another, enjoy complimentary appetizers, and listen to Di Anne Price tickle the ivories in the Westin’s lobby bar. In addition to the good food, drink and conversation, you can register to win a dinner for two at the Daily Grill. Don’t miss it – it’s happening right after work tonight, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

– This weekend I’ve been reading up about the new smoking law scheduled to go into enforcement October 1. There’s been a lot of discussion among my friends as to whether smoking will continue to be allowed at some of my favorite bars. After reading the information about the smoking law on the State of Tennessee’s website, it’s not looking good for my friends who smoke.

Restaurants and bars who only admit people over 21 are eligible for an exemption – but, they have to be 21 and over ALL THE TIME. They can’t switch to 21-up at some point in the evening to allow smokers to light up from then on. Most of my hangouts Downtown do allow kids during the day, up until 8 or 9 PM. They’re going to have a decision to make. This could benefit some of Downtown’s dive bars, like Earnestine & Hazel’s and the Black Diamond, which as far as I know never allow people under the legal drinking age.

Then, of course, there’s my favorite bar Downtown, which has big garage windows. There’s been a lot of speculation whether those windows would qualify them for an exemption. But, reading the ordinance, it doesn’t look like it – the ordinance mentions exemptions for garage type DOORS, when all said doors are open. People don’t enter the bar through the garage windows – there’s a separate door for that. It’s probably open to some interpretation but it doesn’t look good for people who want to smoke there.

Gonna be real interesting to see how the bar/restaurant landscape changes come October 1.

Sunday update: Music notes, a couple of good sites for teachers and journalists, the Nuh-Uh Party, and more

– Dr. Herman Green, the 77-year-old sax player for FreeWorld, got his musical note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame yesterday afternoon. Herman first played on Beale Street in 1945 and has been the inspiration behind FreeWorld’s success for the past 20 years.

– Downtown music legend Charlie Wood and his band The New Memphis Underground have a new CD out. Flyer writer Chris Herrington gave the album an A- and compared Wood to Lyle Lovett. “As a calling card for a live-band show, it totally convinces,” Herrington writes.

– Caught Aquanet at the Saucer last night and they were fantastic. ’80s hair band music, complete with the look and the attitude. If you live in Southaven, they’ll be playing your Huey’s tonight at 8:30.

– Couple of good sites I found on the Internet – the first one is for teachers: Teachers First, a website by teachers, for teachers. The site describes itself as a collection of lessons, units and web resources presented in classroom-ready format.

– And one for journalists: Tools for Print Journalists, by the Committee of Concerned Journalists. This looks like a great set of resources – just looking at the front page, I see tips for loosening lips during interviews, advice for dealing with requests for anonymity by sources, and steps to effective citizen journalism online, among other great articles.

– Picture from last night: The big announcement as The Nuh-Uh Girl (pictured below, at right, next to the pair of clapping hands) joined the Flying Saucer’s Ring of Honor.

The Nuh-Uh Girl had the Saucer put “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME” in big letters on her plate, because indeed, it is all about the Nuh-Uh Girl. Afterward, a group of us went to Sekisui for sushi – our original plan was to go to Bluefin, but they told us they COULDN’T POSSIBLY seat a table of nine without a reservation, despite only three or four tables in the whole place being occupied at the time. I guess their reputation as an exclusive place to dine is more important than several hundred dollars in food and beverage revenue. Luckily the people at Sekisui practically bent over backwards to accommodate us, and we appreciate it and will remember it. I had the crunchy eel roll, with the eel deep-fried in tempura, and it was outstanding. The Nuh-Uh Sister got a seaweed salad which looked good… gonna have to get one next time I go in. Sekisui and the Russwood Park Grill are connected, so I guess I could eat sushi while sitting at Frenchie’s bar.

– Looks like the Sunday brunch crew is extending the McGuinness field trip to week two… we had a great time there last week. It was good to sit at a bar tended by Amy again, and there were a number of items on the menu that the brunch crew wanted to come back and try. After that we’ll probably move to the Saucer as usual. I’m close to having my newest website ready to roll out – this one’s for college students – so I may wander back up there in the evening with my laptop and see if I can finish it.

Now that I think about it, McG is already open – they start serving at 9 AM – so I guess I’ll head on up there.

Be part of the mayoral debate audience and MPACT the vote

Mpact Memphis is looking for audience members for a September 10 debate it is sponsoring for the City of Memphis mayoral race. Major candidates Herman Morris, Carol Chumney, and John Willingham will be there, although so far King Willie has declined to participate.

For more info on the debate and how to apply to be an audience member, check out this article in today’s Commercial Appeal.

Prom in August?

A member of The Subteens lives in my building and posted this on the bulletin board, so I figured I’d pass along the info. The Subteens and DJ Piper Dandy tonight at the Gibson Lounge, $10 cover, prom attire requested but optional.

Pic: My favorite blogger/MILF

Several readers have e-mailed me asking the identity of my favorite blogger/MILF who I mention from time to time. Now, usually when I mention other bloggers I link to their blogs… but in this case I don’t. Why? Well, I still haven’t met my favorite blogger/MILF in person yet, and in case she turns out to be hot I don’t want to go introducing her to several hundred of my male blog readers.

But, OK, I’ll give into public demand and post a pic of her. But I’ll do even better than posting a current pic of her…. here’s an age-enhanced pic of how she’ll look in the year 2057.

A reader’s experience with Sharp Dressed Bum

Thursday when I gave my speech about panhandling to the Center City Commission, I mentioned Sharp Dressed Bum, whose real name is Tommie, in an illustrative example. Tommie is a well-known Downtown panhandler who cusses people out, makes obscene and lewd comments, and makes threatening physical gestures when people turn him down. One of my readers saw the post and e-mailed me the following story about him:

“I’m almost ashamed to admit, but Tommie was my “tour guide” to the
Rendezvous. I gave him $10 for taking me there, and he argued with me to
give him $20. I lectured him on how grateful he should be to get even $10,
and he stomped away.

He flirted with my wife and tried to hold both of our hands. Good grief.
Anything to gain your confidence.

It was obvious Tommie was telling so many lies he forgot which ones he told.
One, he told me was going to meet his girlfriend. Then he told me he didn’t
have a girlfriend. Two, he told me he worked at Rendezvous. Then he told
me worked elsewhere. Three, he told me he was a tourist and needed money to
stay at the Holiday Inn. Wait, I thought he worked at the Rendezvous.
Never mind. You get the picture.”

By the way, next Thursday, August 30 is Tommie’s 47th birthday. How do I know this? Well, about a month ago I found him in shelbywarrants.org with an outstanding warrant, and learned his full name and date of birth. Except, I checked yesterday and the warrant is no longer in the system, which may explain why Tommie hasn’t been seen on the streets in the past week – he’s possibly enjoying a stay at Hotel 201 right now. Anyway, if he’s out by the 30th and you see him, be sure to wish him a happy birthday.

Fantasy football

Last night I was in the Flying Saucer and I saw this flyer on the bar:

Personally, I’d rather fantasize about the waitresses, but, whatever floats your boat.

No, actually, I do think it’s pretty cool that they’re starting a fantasy football league at the Saucer. I probably won’t participate since I don’t follow the NFL close enough to know which players to draft.

Oh crap… I just realized that this promotion will draw even more GUYS to my favorite bar… like the Saucer isn’t enough of a sausage-fest already. Why can’t they run some promotions to get women to come there?

If you don’t get out to the Saucer enough to join their fantasy football league, it’s easy to find another league and play online – here’s a link to Yahoo’s fantasy league, just click the image to sign up.