Aug 312011
 

My favorite beer festival of the year, Cooper-Young Beerfest, is giving away free tickets today. Submit your entry for the “caption the photo” contest on their Facebook page by 5 PM today for a chance to win. Festival date is October 15, tickets will be on sale soon, and this is most definitely worth a cab ride from Downtown.

One of the few right-wingers I’d pay money to see, Ted Nugent, plays the New Daisy tonight at 7 PM. Tickets are $35.

Time’s running out for you to see a Redbirds game before the season ends. Tonight’s special is “Wet Your Whistle Wednesday.” For $10 you get an outfield seat, a 16-ounce PBR, and a PBR koozie. The ‘birds play the Albuquerque Isotopes at 7:05.

The Flying Saucer has announced their “new, improved trivia” beginning next Tuesday. There will be two games with separate sets of prizes, an early game and a late game. For details see the flyer below (click for a larger image, and I hope you have your glasses handy):

Apologies to my visually-impaired readers, but I would need a 9,140 character ALT tag to summarize everything said on that poster. The Saucer may have set the record for “most words on a bar flyer, ever” with that trivia announcement.

They’ve moved trivia to the Garden, which I guess is a good move because people passing by on the street will see it and come in. Prizes, according to the flyer, will go up to 50/35/15 next week. I guess they’re trying to offer a better deal than competition at the Silly Goose and Ferraro’s.

My team the Rapscallions never made it to the Goose last night. We pre-gamed with beers at the Saucer, and about 8:10, 10 minutes after Goose starting time, we kind of looked at each other and said, “Well, I guess we’re not going over then.”

Still looking for info about college football: Who will have specials this weekend? Who’s showing PPV games? Where are fans of particular schools congregating? Let me know at paul@paulryburn.com and I’ll do a post tomorrow.

Aug 302011
 

Yeah no lunchtime post today sorry… I didn’t get much news to report until late afternoon, and I was fighting with a software patch for our Google Mini at work.

Memphis Redbirds playoff tickets are now on sale. They have not yet clinched a spot, but with 7 games left in the regular season, they are 4 games back, so it is possible they will see the post-season. Tickets will be the same prices as regular-season games, starting as low as $8. Visit their website to get your playoff tickets. If they make the first round, they will host Game 3 on September 9, and if needed games 4 and 5 on September 10 and 11.

The season finale of the Madison rooftop Thursday night “Sunset atop the Madison” series is this Thursday, September 1, and the band is a name I recognize. A couple of Saturday nights ago I was sitting in the window at the Saucer, and this band called The Vynals took the stage. They were playing mostly ’60s and ’70s with some ’80s mixed in, and as they got a few songs into their set I noticed that they were very good. Then they played Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” That’s a song where it’s very easy to make a fool of yourself if you’re not a good musician. They nailed it perfectly. I felt sorry for my friends who were at their weekly karaoke night down south, that they were spending the evening listening to horrible singing and drunk drama, while I was enjoying this excellent band. I ended up staying through all three sets and their musicianship was impressive. You can see them at the Madison Thursday night. Doors open at 5:30 and the Vynals take the stage at 6. $7 cover, cash bar, tapas menu.

By the way: I have a suggestion for Saucer management since they read this blog… Ban “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” from set lists. Nearly every band who plays there does it (fortunately the Vynals didn’t), it’s an average song at best unless Tom Petty is playing it, and it is as stale at the Saucer as “Mustang Sally” is on Beale Street.

Very cool opportunity for Downtowners… enrollment is now taking place for the 9-week Citizens’ Police Academy. Classes will be held September 6-November 10 at Uptown Square. The academy, held twice a week for two and a half hours, is led by officer/instructors from different bureaus within the Department. Topics covered include: Gang Awareness, Communications, Vehicle Theft, Crisis Intervention, Sex Crimes/Juvenile Abuse, Patrol Procedures, and Crime Prevention. Once you graduate you’ll be eligible to be an Ambassador for the South Main Substation, and assist the Colonel in charge with several events every year. Contact the South Main Substation if you’re interested in participating.

It’s trivia night at several places Downtown. Saucer at 7, Silly Goose at 8, Ferraro’s at 8. I’ll be at the Goose. I hope Charles has learned his lesson… that all-movie-quote theme last week was a disaster, and totally defeats the purpose of having teammates with different areas of expertise. I’ll give it another chance though… will probably pre-game at the Saucer beforehand.

Aug 302011
 

I’ve received a couple of requests to do a “Who’s showing college football?” post, listing bars Downtown that will have the first well of college ball on. Need answers to a few questions:

  • Who will have the sound on, and for what games?
  • What bars will be showing this weekend’s pay-per-view games?
  • Are there bars where fans of a particular school (e.g. Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss. State, etc.) will congregate?
  • Any bars doing food or drink specials for the opening weekend of college football?

If you have answers to any of these shoot me an email at paul@paulryburn.com. Hopefully I’ll do a post listing my findings Wednesday or Thursday.

Aug 302011
 

Yesterday I ran across this site, which shows how the continents of the world have drifted apart and come together from pre-Cambrian times until now. It also has maps projecting what will happen in the future. 150 million years from now, it projects, the Atlantic Ocean will have widened to the size of the Pacific, while Africa will have collided with Europe. Going farther into the future, the continents will drift back together. The American continents will subduct the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (bad news for the Azores and Canary Islands), then all the continents will join back into one about 400 million years from now.

Cool site if you’re into geography or archaeology.

Aug 292011
 

We have a long Labor Day weekend coming up, and that means it will be time for the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival presented by the Center for Southern Folklore. It will be held Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 11 PM on the Main Street Mall between Peabody Place and Gayoso.

Although Memphis has several music festivals throughout the year, none captures the regional feel and the roots of the area’s music the way Memphis Music & Heritage Festival does. Everything from rock to classic country to blues to jazz to folk to Latin to rockabilly and many more genres will be represented.

The festival is more than just music, too. Every year there is a cooking stage. Throughout the day chefs explain how to prepare their signature dishes, with a tasting at the end of each demo. Free tastings? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

There will be dancers too: Hip-hop, Chinese, Mexican, belly dancers and many more styles. Arts and crafts vendors will be on hand as well: Paintings, jewelry, carvings, folk art, pottery and more.

Food will be available too. There will be the usual festival fare, but the item you don’t want to miss will be sold inside, at the Folklore Hall: Ella Kizzie’s greens and hot water cornbread. Plenty of good dining available at the restaurants within the festival’s boundaries too: Blue Fin, Bar None, Majestic Grille, Wang’s, Lenny’s, Maggie Moo’s.

It’s also a kid-friendly event. The mornings (10-noon) are the best time to take kids. There will be performances geared toward children, and there will be an arts area where kids can make their own masterpieces.

And, oh, yeah, the one thing that no festival can be without: BEER!

This festival has become one of my favorites of the entire year. The schedule has not been posted yet on their website, but should be within a few days.

Aug 272011
 

If you’re looking for things to do tonight, here are a few ideas.

In the mood to watch a little wrasslin’ sports entertainment tonight? WWE Raw on Tour comes to the FedExForum at 7:30 tonight. Main event will be John Cena vs. The Miz, and plenty of other WWE Superstars will be on hand, incuding Memphis’ own Jerry “The King” Lawler. Tickets start at $15. More info here.

Wonder what the wrestlers will do after the show, now that Platinum Plus is gone? Oh well, I guess it doesn’t matter as much, now that Flair is no longer with the company.

South Mainers: Need a break from drama and bad singing on Saturday night? You’re in for a treat: For the second week in a row, Max’s Sports Bar will have live music on the back deck. This week it will be Kyle Garriga. Music should be excellent, weather is looking good and there’s cold PBR on draft. Plus, you can come inside and watch sports or play Buzztime trivia or poker. If you want to do a little barhopping, walk up the street to the Green Beetle and catch live music there as well. Last night they had live music, and drew such a big crowd that they had to borrow beer from Club 152.

Over at the New Daisy, there will be a Michael Jackson tribute concert performed by Pam Caudle. It’s an all-ages show. Admission is $11, which includes a $1 restoration fee.

As I mentioned previously, Big Betsy will play the Brass Door at 10 PM. Irish songs and drinking songs in the Cavern, the Brass Door’s beautiful downstairs performance space.

These are just a few of the many things happening in Downtown Memphis this Saturday night. View a full list here.

Aug 272011
 

The last Friday of every month, the shops in the South Main district open their doors from 6 to 9 for Trolley Night. Many stores offer hors d’oeuvres and wine, and some have specials and discounts. Here are a few pics from this month’s Trolley Night.

Gloria, pictured at left, defeated Chef Michael Patrick in a cook-off. She was even able to make Spam taste good.

Suzy was the best dressed in this stylish black tube top. Memphis weather being what it is, we still have another 6-7 weeks of tube top wearing season.

There was a poker run, where you could stop by South Main shops and pick up a playing card at each. Best poker hand formed with the cards won a gift bag. Allison Moody made a straight to claim the prize.

In the prize bag was a gift certificate to Reel2Reel Photography.

The theme was “Blue Hawaii” and many people who attended had on Hawaiian shirts in honor of The King.

Many people vented their frustration that the lot next to the former Harry’s Detour, which had been used for cook-offs in the past, was blocked with yellow police tape by the owner. They were also sad to see that Harry’s deck had been torn down by the owner now that the restaurant had closed. I at first took part in the frustration and venting, but later in the evening I talked to someone involved with what will happen next to that property. He told me that the empty lot used to be the site of the former Arcade Hotel, and when it was torn down the ground was just filled in rather loosely, and although events have been successfully held there it is a legitimate hazard. He also told me that the deck was torn down because bigger, better things are envisioned.

After Trolley Night ended, I hung out at Max’s Sports Bar and consumed enough PBRs that Michele had to call me a cab to get home. “10 South M… um, nevermind, just take me to Bardog,” I told the driver. One more PBR there and I called it a night.

Next Trolley Night is Friday, September 30. If you’ve never been to one of these, you’re missing out on the fun.

Aug 262011
 

Relatively short post this Friday lunchtime…

Off work this afternoon and looking for something to do Downtown? Myla Smith will sing at the Brass Door from 3:00 to 4:30 PM today.

Flyer publisher Bruce VanWyngarden wrote an editorial about Bass Pro moving into the Pyramid. I agree 100% with what he wrote. This is not just some store that will draw a bunch of rednecks; it will be a huge tourist attraction that will draw millions of people a year to Memphis. It will lead to the revitalization of the Pinch district. It will also mean jobs, both in the renovation of the Pyramid, and people working at Bass Pro once it’s ready to open. I’ll admit, when I first heard about Bass Pro, I was extremely skeptical, but I’ve since become convinced that Bass Pro is good for Downtown and for Memphis. Give it a chance everyone!

Also in the Flyer: Big changes are coming to the French Fort neighborhood. That’s the neighborhood around the Metal Museum, just south of Crump. The roundabout to be built at I-55/Crump/Riverside will increase traffic into the neighborhood, as will opening the Harahan Bridge to pedestrian and bike traffic. Great news: There will be a connector trail underneath the I-55 bridge connecting the Harahan bridge to the French Fort neighborhood. That is huge. Previously, if I wanted to walk or bike to the Metal Museum from the Downtown core, I had to take Florida Street south a quarter-mile past Crump and turn on Wisconsin. The new path sounds like it will be a lot more direct and lot less scary after dark.

I’ll be at South Main Trolley Night tonight after work. Be sure to come to the empty lot next to the former Harry’s Detour… local resident Gloria Maloney will face Chef Michael Patrick in a cook-off. You can get samples and be the judge. Free samples? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Time to grab some lunch, finish the work week, and get ready for tonight.

Aug 252011
 

Live music will return to the Cavern, the underground music space inside The Brass Door, this Saturday. Local Irish band Big Betsy will take the stage around 9. This band has played the blessing of the kegs at Murphy’s for the past 15 years, playing mostly Irish songs with some drinking songs thrown in. Check out the Brass Door’s blog for more info. Do I spy a couple of Neighborhood Texture Jam alumni among the band members?

Also, the Green Beetle will have live music both Friday and Saturday nights.

There will be a poker run at South Main Trolley Night tomorrow night from 6 to 9. Visit the booth next to Earnestine & Hazel’s to sign up ($5). Then visit South Main businesses and pick up a card at each. Visit as many shops as you want, to get as many cards as you want, then hand in your best 5-card poker hand. Best hand submitted wins prizes. It will also be a Blue Hawaii-themed trolley night, extending the Elvis celebration. Chef cook-off, hula and fire dancers, live music and more.

There will be a big party at the Peabody next Thursday, September 1, for their afternoon duck march. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley will be inducted into the hotel’s Duck Walk of Fame. Grizz will be the honorary duckmaster, and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra will perform. The action starts around 4:45 PM.

There’s a PlayDate Memphis tomorrow at the Doubletree Hotel. All kinds of games, from poker to chess, Twister to Uno, Monopoly to Taboo, and more, along with food and cocktails. 9 PM to 2 AM, must be 21 to attend.

Douchebag/scumbag Bruce Pearl, having just received a 3-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA, made this comment today: “I believe I should have gotten more credit for coming forward and telling the truth.” You mean, coming forward and telling the truth only after it was OBVIOUS that you’d been caught? I would say that the man has finally overtaken Calipari as the biggest douche in college basketball, but that would be incorrect since Pearl is no longer part of the game. And I hope he never is again.

Time to head south to Max’s Sports Bar for poker. Most likely Saucer afterward.

Aug 252011
 

For years I’ve discouraged my readers from giving money to those who ask for it on Downtown streets. Most of the time, the people asking for it aren’t actually homeless, and your money will just enable a drug or alcohol problem. So, people have asked me, “I agree about not giving money, but what can I do that will truly help the homeless?” An opportunity to help is coming up next month.

The Community Alliance for the Homeless will host a huge, one-day event at the Cook Convention Center Downtown. Project Homeless Connect, to be held Friday, September 16, will target unsheltered homeless individuals in Memphis, and will attempt to provide all the resources and services they need to leave homelessness, all under one roof. Everything from medical/dental, to housing counseling, to employment opportunities, to Social Security and VA benefits and more will be provided. There will also be food, haircuts, and the opportunity to get ID and legal assistance.

An event this huge is going to need a lot of volunteers. There are tons of opportunities, so you can pick what appeals to you the most – street outreach, serving food, collecting data, pairing up one-on-one with a homeless individual. You can sign up here.

In other news: Foursquare has slain the 800-pound gorilla in the mobile checkin battle. Facebook announced yesterday that they are abandoning Places, their mobile checkin service. More and more businesses are getting on Foursquare and offering specials: In the last 24 hours, two of my favorite Downtown businesses, Shelton Clothiers and LUNCHBOXeats, have joined the party.

Facebook, besides abandoning Places, announced improved privacy settings in a blog post this week. Good for them. I think they’re seeing what Google+ has been doing really well and are learning from it. Now I wish FB would get around to improving its horribly slow and buggy iPhone app.

If you want to keep up with the path of Hurricane Irene, Intellicast does a good job. Wow this thing looks scary. Looks like New York City could take a direct hit. I hope my friends who live in the area stay safe.

Among things to do Downtown tonight, the biggest event will be Allison Krauss and Union Station. They play the Orpheum tonight at 8.

Over at the Madison Hotel, their weekly Sunset atop the Madison rooftop party features Elmo & the Shades. Doors open at 5:30, music at 6. It’s the second to last Madison rooftop party of the season.

Outta here… time to get gas and defend my Zaxby’s mayorship.