Tonight’s Thursday night, what’s going on?

Here’s what’s going on tonight.  I don’t have a Memphis Flyer handy (the bums sold them all before I could get to the box) so this may be a little less complete than usual:

  • Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster on the Peabody rooftop, 6-10 PM, $5 cover, ladies free until 8 PM.  Final rooftop party of the season for the Peabody.  Winners of their rooftop photo contest will be announced.
  • Charlie Wood Trio on the Madison rooftop, 5:30-10:30 PM, $7 cover.
  • Jazz & blues on the rooftop of the River Inn of Harbor Town, 6:30 PM.  Also Ladies’ Night in Tug’s with half-off drinks for ladies.
  • Patio party with the Mississippi Mudslingers and Q107.5 at EP Delta Kitchen
  • KIX 106 Country on Beale with Jake Owen and Ashton Shepherd, 7 PM, Pepsi Pavilion at Third and Beale.
  • Afterglow at the Flying Saucer, 9:30 PM, $3 cover.
  • Yes No Maybe at the Red Rooster
  • Eric Hughes Blues Band at Ground Zero, 8 PM.
  • ’80s for the Ladies Night at Hollywood Disco, formerly Raiford’s.  Mixed drinks and quarts of Bud Light and DJ spinning ’80s tunes.
  • People who suck night at Club Lame… I mean, Club Atlas
  • Trivia night at TJ Mulligan’s, 8 PM

I hate to not turn Charlie Wood green to indicate him as the recommendation for the evening, but he’s up against the last Peabody party of the year and I’ve just got to go with that one.  I’ll be at a private party from 5 to 7 (should get lots of pics of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating) and will then head to the Peabody.

Thur update: Restaurants I never mention, how I monetize my blog

Met a couple of regular blog readers at the Saucer last night, and had a great conversation with them.  One of the questions they asked was, “There are certain restaurants and bars Downtown you never mention.  Does that mean you don’t like them, or don’t recommend them, or have had bad experiences there?”

Maybe, maybe not.

There are some places that just aren’t on my radar.  I don’t have anything against them, I just never think to walk in.  As a matter of fact, most of what I’ve heard about these restaurants has been positive, I just mentally pass them by for some reason.  Three on this list would be Felicia Suzanne’s, Encore, and Automatic Slim’s.  I’ve been to Slim’s before, but not in a few years.  I’ve never been to the other two.  When Felicia’s first opened, I was a little put off by the “jackets preferred for gentlemen in the dining room” blurb in their initial ads, and didn’t go… but since then, almost all of what I’ve been told about the place has been positive.  Never heard a bad word about Encore.  So, I’m turning to my readers for recommendations… what would you recommend I try on my first visit to Encore and Felicia’s, and my first visit in a long time to Slim’s?

I was also asked why I never mention $2.50 Tuesday Pint Nite at the Tap Room.  I never mention it because I’m always at the Saucer playing trivia that night, so it’s off my radar.  Great deal though.  More than 10 beers on tap, including some like Stella that the Saucer doesn’t run on its Pint Nite.  If you have a Tap Room mug, you get Pint Nite in your mug and get an extra 6 ounces for the same price.

Then there are a few places I don’t mention because more than 50% of what I hear about them has been extremely negative… after careful consideration, I just deleted two paragraphs I typed about one of them as a favor to a friend who is trying to help the owner turn the place around.  Let’s just say there’s a lot of work that remains to be done, from what I’ve been told over the past month by blog readers who have been there.

The couple also asked, “Do some of these places pay you to mention them?”  The answer for that is absolutely NO.  If I mention a bar, restaurant, or club Downtown, it’s because I want to.  Even the new “what’s the fire sale?” feature is not being funded by the Saucer in any way.  It’s something my friends and I have been doing for a while anyway… first one to walk by the Saucer and see the Fire Sale texts it to everyone else.  I figured, I may as well use Twitter to take it to the next level.  It worked too… the couple was there last night because I listed Flying Dog Old Scratch as the Fire Sale, and the guy is a fan of that beer.

That said, I’ll admit there are some places that let me in without cover or occasionally send a free beer my way because of the blog.  I don’t turn those down when that happens, but on the other hand I don’t go around expecting freebies.  I will admit that a beer distributor whose beers will be carried at the Saucer starting August 1 stuck $10 in my account this morning so I could try their products.  No problem with that.

The way I monetize my blog is mainly through my online stores… Tube Top Boutique, Mid-South Alcoholic Supply and the others (and a new one which will be launched tomorrow).  It’s not so much that my readers buy from them (although they sometimes do), it’s that by linking to them, Google sees links coming to those stores from a blog with a PageRank of 5, which bumps the stores in search engine results.  Also, if I mention a book I read recently, I figure the link to the book may as well be an Amazon affiliate link, so I make a little commission if anyone buys it.

So there you have it… financial disclosure of sorts.  I’ll be back later today with my “it’s Thursday, what’s going on” post.

Behind a content filter at work? Here’s a way around it

Does your work have a content filter that blocks some of your favorite sites?  Here’s a possible way to do an end-run around the filter.  There’s a new service called WebToMail that will e-mail to you any web page you request.  Here’s how it works:

1) Send an e-mail to, with the URL of the site you want to see in the subject line.

2) Wait a few minutes, and the requested web page appears in your e-mail Inbox.

By the way, I found this service through LifeHacker, a site that’s definitely worth bookmarking.  The LifeHacker blog has tons of posts about sites and products to make your life more productive.  Worth checking frequently – it’s updated even more often than my blog is.  I checked it last night at 6:30 before going out, and when I checked it again this morning, there were 5 new posts.

(updated info) Downtown employees, be on alert for this individual

Update Fri 7/31:  The assault actually happened in the parking garage across the alley.  The woman was talking on her cell phone, so she was somewhat distracted and not paying attention to her surroundings.  The individual described below followed her into the garage and assaulted her as she was waiting for the elevator.

I’ve also learned that the suspect is middle-aged.  A reader saw him out this morning and thought “crackhead” until he saw the outfit described below, with the badge.  Everyone be on the lookout for this guy.

I was e-mailed a report today of a woman who was assaulted outside of the One Commerce Square building Downtown.  When she got off work, she walked out the alley entrance, followed by an African-American male, 5’10”, slim, short hair, in a white shirt, dark dress pants, with a badge clipped to his waist.  He then assaulted her in the alley.

This is the second time I have heard of someone fitting this description following/attempting to assault people as they were leaving work.  Also, I work in the Falls Building a couple of blocks away at Front and Court, and we had a woman quit last week because she thought someone was following her to her car.

If you work in the Downtown core, please use extra caution as you walk to your cars.  Take the extra time to avoid cutting through alleys.  The police have been notified of this individual and hopefully he will be caught soon.

Wed update: Trivia night, Lansky Bros. gets award

Posting on my lunch break from the Second Street Branch Office.

For those of you who miss Wednesday trivia nights at McGuinness, there’s a new place to play trivia right up the street. The Corner Bar at the Peabody (Second at Union) does trivia every Wednesday night starting at 8 PM. I’ve heard it’s pretty fun, and I’ve also heard it hasn’t been very well attended the past few weeks (partly my fault for forgetting to blog it), so you may have an opportunity to swoop in and claim some easy prizes. As opposed to playing trivia Tuesday nights at the Saucer, where you have to compete against 20-some-odd teams, the most formidable of which being the Rapscallions. The Rapscallions picked up another first-place win last night, bringing our total gift certificate stash to $410.

Congratulations to Lansky Bros., the clothier in the Peabody Hotel, which received an achievement award from MR Magazine, a New York fashion trade magazine, last week. The magazine’s Uptown/Downtown awards notes those fashion retailers who have shown innovation in their work. Lansky Bros. received the award because of the Downtown Memphis store’s influence on fashion around the world. More info in this Daily News article (you’ll have to scroll down, it’s the fifth story). In addition to their most famous client, Elvis, the store has clothed other music legends as well, including B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes, and Robert Plant.

Last night I heard that the Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale chains have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will close immediately. Wow… Steak and Ale… that’s a chain I thought would never close. I remember eating at the Little Rock Steak and Ale when I was about 3 years old. The MBJ reports that the Bennigan’s on Poplar will stay open, because it is a franchise store that is not owned by the corporation. No word on the Steak and Ale further down Poplar.

The MBJ also reports that Downtown condo sales have turned around, at the brisk pace of 21 units last month, on par with June 2007, and up from an abysmal 8 units sold in May.

Plans for the night: I’m going to meet up with some friends at Blues City to catch The Dempseys at 8:00. Apparently this is a weekly ritual of theirs. “We go watch the Dempseys and drink,” they told me, “and once we’re sufficiently drunk enough we walk down to EP’s and do karaoke.” Note that when we get to EP’s, I won’t be singing, just observing those who do.

Two days until I announce the BFF of the Month for August.  BFF candidates who want to make a last-minute case for themselves better do it quick.

Parking scammer arrested

Vincent Marshall, 39, was arrested today at the Central Parking lot at Main and Peabody Place, according to this My Eyewitness News story.  A couple told police that after they had parked at the lot, Marshall walked up and told them the machine that takes parking fees was broken, but that he’d take their $7.  After giving it to him, the couple called police, believing that they had been scammed.  MPD verified that Marshall did not work for Central Parking, and hauled him off to jail.

I did a search for Marshall on, and was not surprised by his arrest record, which includes:

  • 6 counts of criminal trespass
  • 6 counts of criminal impersonation
  • 4 counts of possession of drug paraphernalia
  • 4 counts of theft of property less than $500
  • 3 counts of disorderly conduct
  • 2 counts of burglary – motor vehicle
  • 2 counts of obstructing a highway or passageway
  • 1 count of panhandling
  • 1 count of failure to appear
  • 1 count of domestic assault – bodily harm

This is pretty typical of the arrest records of the panhandlers and scammers who beg as a profession in Downtown Memphis.  In fact, I hate to say it, but Marshall’s record is shorter than others I have seen.

Just think… the next time you park a car Downtown and someone approaches you for money, this could very well be the type of person you’re giving it to.  JUST SAY NO!  Give to organizations that support the homeless if you want to help.

Tuesday update

Last night I did Pint Nite at the Saucer, where my Hawaiian Shirt Paradise store received a testimonial from my friend Bicycle Bobby. “I bought a shirt from the store,” he told me, pictured below. “It is by far THE BEST Hawaiian shirt I have ever owned.” That is not faint praise by any means – Bicycle Bobby owns about 150 Hawaiian shirts.

He found it in the “Parrots” category (Hawaiian shirts with parrots on them). He says that authentic Hawaiian shirts that are made in Hawaii run on the small side, so it’s not a bad idea to order one size larger than you usually wear.

The Saucer started to get real crowded about 9:30 – for some reason it was a frat party in there early on – so I decided it was time for a change of venue. “I want to go someplace a lot quieter,” I thought. “Hmmm, Meghan’s the bartender at Big Foot tonight, so there won’t be anyone at the bar… I’ll go there.” Sure enough, all the bar seats were open when I arrived.

Meghan told me that the Travel Channel will be at Big Foot Friday afternoon, to film an episode of a new show, Man vs. Food. No doubt the show will focus on people’s attempts to down the 4 lb. Sasquatch burger (7 1/2 lb. with condiments) in one hour or less. There will also be a panel of scientists debating whether bartender Meghan is indeed a member of the bigfoot/sasquatch manimal species.

While there, I noticed that Matt from McGuinness (there were two Matts, this is the shorter one with the goatee) was training to be a bartender at Big Foot.  Great decision to put him behind the bar… that will bring a loyal Saucer regular/Saucer staff/former McGuinness regular crowd in.  I hope they give him some night shifts.

The Orpheum is having a costume parade for its Friday, August 1 showing of Gone with the Wind. It will be a hoop skirt parade, with ladies in Civil War-era outfits getting to parade across the stage before the start of the show.

There will be another costume event at the Orpheum later in August… details to come on that one, I have a reason for holding up the announcement for a few days.

The Orpheum Summer Movie Series, by the way, has been doing very well. The showing of “Steel Magnolias” drew 700 people, even though the movie was being shown on TV at the same time. I hear lots of ladies made it a Girls’ Night Out. They had $3 cosmos for sale. Another 800 showed up for “The Sound of Music” the following night. Those classic movies look great on a classic big screen. Entry is $5 each, and all movies start at 7:15, except “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on September 19 which will start at 8. Ticket packages of 10 tickets for $40 are available.

Time to get some stuff done on my next website, then grab some lunch.  Back later.

What’s the Fire Sale?

If you look at the upper left corner of this blog, you’ll see the newest feature, What’s the Fire Sale? Every day, the Flying Saucer puts one of their draft beers on “Fire Sale” for $2.75, except Monday, when it’s Pint Nite and most drafts are $2.75.  But which beer?  That’s the burning question.  Since I work Downtown – and a few other friends of mine do too – we will attempt to answer that question.  Every day I’ll walk by and see the Fire Sale posted on the chalkboard, or friends of mine will text it to me.  I’m set up to Twitter the Fire Sale to my blog, so as soon as I find it out I’ll provide the info.

I’ll try to have it up by mid-afternoon most days, often earlier.  Note that occasionally the Saucer runs out of Fire Sale beer and changes midday… most days you can depend on what you see on my blog being the Fire Sale, but don’t hold me to it.

Also, keep in mind this Fire Sale applies to the Downtown Memphis Flying Saucer only.  Each Saucer has the power to set its own Fire Sale, and I can’t cover them all.  For Downtown Memphians, though, hopefully this will be a valuable resource for one of the most important pieces of information to know on a daily basis.

National Night Out, Tuesday, August 5, 5:30-8:00

The police are throwing us a party!  Next Tuesday, August 5, MPD will hold their third annual National Night Out at the South Main Substation, at the corner of Main and GE Patterson.  There will be a live DJ, food, games and fun.  MPD Director Larry Godwin will provide opening remarks, and we will also hear from Deputy Director Janice Pilot, Deputy Chief Steve Cole, Colonel Johnny Currin and Lt. Colonel Voretta Mhoon.

This is the 25th anniversary of National Night Out around the country.  NNO is designed to generate support for crime prevention, heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, strengthen police/community relations and neighborhood spirit, and send criminals a message letting them know that neighborhoods are fighting back.  Across the US there will be block parties, police presentations, cookouts, and other neighborhood-organized events.

Everyone is encouraged to turn on their porch light on Tuesday, August 5 in support of National Night Out.

Let a thousand flowers bloom: Start your own blog

Now and then I’ll be going about my business around Downtown, and people will stop me and ask to talk to me for a few minutes.  Lately many of the conversations have gone like this:

“Downtown will never be a real neighborhood until we have a grocery store.  I think you should make that the main focus of your blog, lobbying to get a grocery store down here.”

“What’s your opinion on the push to open Main Street back up to traffic?  I think it’s a terrible idea, with all the cruisers on the weekends.  I think you should use your blog to fight to keep Main Street closed.”

All great ideas.  But the thing is, this is MY blog.  I have to decide what issues I’m going to push.  Up ’til now, the fight against panhandling has been my main one.  The work there is not done yet, although the situation has improved.  I have to decide for myself which topics to stress.

We need more voices Downtown.  Let a thousand flowers bloom!  If you feel passionately about an issue, maybe it’s time to start a blog of your own.  It’s not hard, and if you do and it’s relevant to Downtown, I’ll link to it.  To help you get started, this morning I skipped brunch and created a 4-part tutorial on starting a blog:

Hope that helps.  It’s time for everyone with a passion for Downtown to let their voice be heard about neighborhood issues.