Wine Race 2012: Debauchery at its finest

I took the MacBook to work and tried to post this at lunch, but our Internet connection was down until 3. Sorry. These are pics from the Beale Street Wine Race yesterday.

I got there about 30 minutes early and got a Call-a-Cab from Wet Willie’s before the line got long. Across the street, Cayla kicked things off with a jello shot.

The Double J team in the parade

Blind Bear team

Queen of the Vine winner Trish

Queen of the Vine contestants shaking their stuff. Did anyone else notice that the QotV contestants were a lot less skanky than last year?


Joe and Mark

Kyla and Amy working it

Jeremy, Brian and Gary relaxing after Queen of the Vine

Okay, I’m about to go on a rant here. First of all, though, I want to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the rightmost 50% of this photo. Beth is a tube top superstar and a fashion role model.

But, here’s what makes no sense to me. You’d think that the person who has spent the past week hounding me to get a 38103 tube top created would wear a tube top to Wine Race. But no. She goes and wears A BLACK T-SHIRT WITH A POCKET. What the f… a black T-shirt? Really? For each of the past seven years, I’ve spent an entire month educating the public about tube tops on my blog, and apparently it’s done no good at all. FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL.

Even worse: She asked me if she should go home and change, and I said yes. Did she? No. She wore that stupid black T-shirt all afternoon at Wine Race. Then she wore the T-shirt to BB King’s patio. Think how much more attention that patio would have attracted if she’d had a tube top on. Think of how many more people would have sat in our friend Terry’s section. Think of how much more tip money he’d have made. Think of all the nice things he could have bought his beautiful daughter with that money. But I guess some people don’t care about the children. Some people only care about wearing a black T-shirt. With a pocket.

Okay, rant over. Let’s get back to the debauchery.


With Wine Race and a late Grizzlies game on the same day, you have to take breaks. Here’s Mikey taking a nap.

Chad keeping the pimp hand strong

This is what 3 Call-a-Cabs looks like.

Lauren from the Majestic (on the right) looking hot as always at the Blind Bear

Full album here. Now, the next order of business is for BBQ Fest debauchery to exceed Wine Race debauchery. Last year I motorboated a GILF in our booth, so obviously the bar is set high.

Congratulations TRISH!!!

2012 Queen of the Vine! Blind Bear wins!

I’m taking the MacBook to work and will do a full Wine Race report in my lunch hour. Which means I won’t eat until 6 PM tonight, but, oh well.

Expect a rant. Some people have apparently learned nothing from this blog in eight years.

Sat update: Fireworks at Redbirds tonight, Blind Bear pedicab, Wine Race weather, Southern Edition @ Double J tonight

It’s a rather boring Saturday around here. Many of my friends are out of town on a canoe trip, so not much is going on. Also, many of the people who remain in town are treating today as “rest up for Wine Race tomorrow” day.

There’s a Redbirds game tonight, with fireworks to follow. First pitch is at 6:05. Opponent is the Omaha Storm Chasers.

The Blind Bear has sponsored one of the pedicabs Downtown. Check it out:

The pedicabs are free, but the drivers work for tips, so please take care of them. They’re really nice to have around when you’re 6 or 8 blocks from home and you don’t feel like the walk.

The forecast for Wine Race tomorrow looks spectacular. Sunny and 85. Ladies, tan lines will be an issue if you plan to be out in the sun all afternoon; wearing a tube top is an excellent way to avoid the tan line problem.

Someone asked me, “You’re obviously very excited about Tube Top Month; why don’t you just go ahead and start it early?” No, can’t do that. You don’t unwrap your presents on December 1 because you’re excited about Christmas. Tube Top Month will start as planned Friday, May 25 at 5 PM. Although, I have to admit I like the idea of “unwrapping presents” where Tube Top Month is concerned.

For next Friday, the first day of Music Fest, they’re predicting a high in the mid 80s, low in the upper 60s with a slight chance of thunderstorms. My prediction: By Thursday that forecast will degrade to high in the mid 60s, low in the upper 40s with 90% chance of storms and a chance of tornadoes.

Had a good time hanging out at the Double J last night. Southern Edition plays there at 9 tonight. Jeff seemed extremely excited about having them on the Front Porch stage. Here’s a link to their promo video.

All right, I’m going to publish this and head out. Too nice to spend the day inside. Unless “inside” has 70 beer taps on the wall.

Fri update: Grizzlies playoff schedule, Beale Street Wine Race, Charlie Wood, tomorrow’s Arsenal game, new coffee shop

The Grizzlies did it! We beat the Orlando Magic last night, securing home court advantage versus the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. Here’s the schedule for the first three games:

Game 1 – 8:30 PM Sunday April 29, TNT
Game 2 – 8:30 PM Wednesday May 2, TNT
Game 3 – 11:30 AM Saturday May 5, ESPN

Remaining game times and TV are still TBD. Sunday’s game will not overlap with Beale Street Wine Race. That’s a good thing because it will mean less traffic congestion Downtown. It’s a bad thing because it means it will be a LONG day for us Downtowners. Wine Race means consumption of Call-a-Cabs from Wet Willie’s is pretty much mandatory (unless you’re a wussy) in the hot sun, in the early afternoon. Then we have to stay up until nearly 11 PM to watch basketball.

For those of you not familiar with Beale Street Wine Race, here are the details. About 20 Memphis bars and restaurants compete in various events, starting around 1 PM. The first event is a parade, when the teams line up and file in to Handy Park, judged on best float/presentation.

Next up is Queen of the Vine, a beauty pageant for the ladies. Skimpy outfits are the norm – in fact, there was one year when Wine Race was banned due to “too much nudity” the year before. It’s been toned down since then but not terribly much. There’s also an interview portion of the competition which turns into a gigantic shitshow every year. They narrow it down to finalists and then the judges select the Queen, who is given flowers and a trophy.

Next event is a grape stomp. Bar and restaurant representatives stomp tubs full of grapes. Largest output of juice within the given time wins. Thank goodness this is not how they really make wine in Memphis restaurants.

The final event is the wine relay itself. Teams of 4 compete in a relay of about 50 yards. First team member starts out with a bottle of wine on his tray. It’s handed off to the second team member, who adds a second bottle of wine. Then a third bottle, then a fourth for the last two teammates. If you drop the bottles, your team is disqualified. There are many heats – 3 teams race at a time – and it takes an hour or two to determine the final winner. Some restaurant teams actually practice for this. Huey’s in particular is known to dominate this event.

I know I’ll be asked this question, so I’ll go ahead and address it: I’m bringing my kids down for the Grizzlies game. Should I come early and bring them to Wine Race too? Answer: It depends.

If you live out in the suburbs, and you take your kids to church every Sunday in an SUV with a “Baby on Board” decal, and you’re horrified at the thought of a unified city/county school district, and you try your best to shelter your kids from black people, Democrats, bloggers who dedicate an entire month to tube tops, and anyone else who you think might be a negative influence, no, you should not bring your kids to Wine Race.

On the other hand, if you’re cool parents, and your kids have seen Mommy and Daddy drink a beer before, and you’re comfortable bringing them into an adult environment, taking them to Wine Race is probably OK. I think I’d still keep them away from the Queen of the Vine contest though.

In other news: Longtime Downtowners will remember musician Charlie Wood. When I first joined the Sunday brunch crew in 2003, Charlie played every Sunday at Sleep Out Louie’s. He was also the house musician at King’s Palace Cafe for several years. Charlie has been living in London the past several years. Catch up on what he’s been doing in this Flyer article.

Soccer fans: The Brass Door will have the Arsenal game on tomorrow at 9 AM.

Just saw on Facebook that Qahwa, the new coffee shop at Main and Adams, is now open. Coffee, pastries, bagels.

Plans for tonight: Quick stop at the Saucer to defend my mayorship, then south for Trolley Tour. What to do after Trolley Tour is up in the air – maybe Max’s or Double J, maybe back to the core for one (or more) of the bars close to home.

Thur update #2: Food truck rodeo, C-Y Beerfest date, Trolley Tour, how to unfriend someone on Foursquare

A “food truck rodeo” is being planned for Court Square on Thursday, May 10. It will be similar to the one that happened the day the food truck ordinance was voted on last year, but on a larger scale. More info, including a food truck association that is being formed, in this Daily News article.

The date has been set for what is, in my opinion, Memphis’ best beer festival. The Cooper-Young Beerfest will be held Saturday, October 13. This beer festival is unique in that it has an education booth with presentations from brewmasters and others who are part of the brewing community. Many regional breweries have booths, and the brewmaster is often in the booth to answer questions. If you only go to one beer festival a year, make it this one. I’ll post a link when tickets go on sale. Worth a cab ride from Downtown for sure.

Tomorrow night, Friday, April 27, is the last Friday of the month, and that means it’s South Main Trolley Tour when many South Main shops and galleries open their doors from 6 to 9 PM. Here are a few recommendations I have for things to see:

– The new “pop-up shops” inside the Power House art gallery. This is a place for entrepreneurs to sell their stuff for up to three months for free. Sellers applied to the Downtown Memphis Commission for space. Stop by and see what they have. The Power House is next door to Central Station on G.E. Patterson Avenue.

– Grace Askew will play the Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon from 6 to 10 PM.

– Real 2 Reel Photography will have a photo booth set up in front of the store. $5 for instant 4×6 prints.

– There will be a vegan bake sale in front of Grawemeyer’s. Vegan cookies, cupcakes, and baked goods.

(Did I just recommend something vegan? Ugh… I feel so dirty. I’m going to have to drive through Wendy’s and get a Baconator tomorrow to remind myself who I am.)

– Spa event at 302 S. Main with wine, cheese, prizes, spa specials. Free cheese? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

– Don’t forget that Max’s Sports Bar has liquor now!

In other news, the About Foursquare site has a tutorial on how to unfriend someone on Foursquare. From time to time I hear people say, “don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against that person – I just don’t want them knowing where I am.” This tutorial will show you how to break the connection on that social network.

All right, on my way out. I don’t have Grizzlies tickets but will be cheering them on TV at one of the Downtown bars.

Thur update: American Queen, Jerry Lee pulls out of Music Fest, stuff going on tonight (great night to wear a tube top)

Today is a big day for the city of Memphis. The American Queen steamboat pulled into Beale Street Landing early this morning. Priscilla Presley will christen the boat tomorrow at 3, and it will embark on its first voyage tomorrow at 5. The steamboat has already brought hundreds of jobs to Memphis, and will bring many thousands in tourist dollars to the city in the weeks and months to come. If you’re Downtown, head over to Riverside Drive today and have a look at this majestic steamboat.

Memphis in May has announced that Jerry Lee Lewis will be unable to perform at Music Fest. Another rock’n’roll legend, Little Richard, will take his place.

Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster brings the ’70s and ’80s disco to the Peabody rooftop tonight for their weekly party. $10 admission includes your first drink and a food buffet. To go along with the band, this week’s buffet theme is ’70s. There will be pigs in a blanket, celery and carrot sticks with pimiento cheese for dipping, and cheese fondue on French bread. If you’re in the VIP section, there’s a second buffet for you with mac ‘n’ cheese casserole, deviled eggs, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, and chips with French onion dip. Ladies free til 7, VIP passes available for purchase at the front door.

The Peabody won’t be the only ’70s themed party tonight. Over at Bleu, the ’70s are the theme at their “Go Retro” party on the patio. 6-9 PM. Food and cocktails to match the theme.

Now, I know many of my readers weren’t even alive in the ’70s and are probably wondering what to wear. Look no further than this blog for fashion advice… TUBE TOPS were huge in the ’70s. No better way to go retro than in a tube top. With highs back in the 80s today, weather should be perfect for tube top wearing.

Joyce Cobb will headline tonight’s rooftop party at the Madison. Jazz, blues, and pop; cash bar; small plates prepare by chef Connor O’Neill. 7-11 PM, $7 cover.

It’s also the weekly Buzztime poker tournament at Max’s Sports Bar. I have a little insider information to share with you: Many of the regular players have a BBQ team meeting and won’t be there for tonight’s game. So, it would be a good week for someone new to slip in and win the bar tab. Game starts at 7, but you should probably get there a bit early to get a box. Maximum 10 players in the tournament.

Also tonight, the Redbirds are back in town for a 7:05 game. Tonight is social media night with Facebook and Twitter themed contests and prizes. Tomorrow’s game is a special afternoon game starting at 3:05 PM, with $2 Coors Light, a block party two hours before the first pitch, and a bluff blanked giveaway to the first 2000 fans.

And I guess that’s the news… OH WAIT! There is one other thing going on tonight… a little game of basketball at the FedExForum. The Grizzlies are playing the L.A. Clippers in the first round of the playoffs regardless of tonight’s outcome, but if we beat the Orlando Magic, we move into the #4 seed. That would give us home-court advantage, giving us the games in bold of the 2-2-1-1-1 series. According to the CA, the NBA has confirmed that Game 1 will be Sunday, regardless of who ends up being the #4 seed. If we win tonight, we could be looking at a playoff game happening the same time as Beale Street Wine Race on Sunday. That’ll be interesting to say the least.

All right, outta here for now. Not exactly sure what I’ll be doing tonight, but I’ll have the Tube Top Cam out with me, so come say hello if you want your photo taken for the blog.

Wed update: New craft brewery, BBQ Fest map, Robert Graham event @ Lansky, A Trip to the Moon restored, 38103 shirts for sale at Trolley Tour, and tube top news

Yesterday friend Karen baked me PBR cupcakes to celebrate winning the Blind Bear's final table two weeks ago. Thanks to Karen, and to her husband Dennis for bringing them to the Bear.

Big news for beer lovers in Downtown Memphis today. It looks like we’re going to get a second craft brewery. High Cotton Brewing Company has a contract on a building at 598 Monroe, which would be across the street from Kudzu’s, and they plan to turn the former auto repair shop into a brewery. There are five partners, one of whom is the owner of brewers’ supply shop Mid-South Malts. In addition to selling kegs, they hope to have a tap room with limited hours, although this would require a change to a city ordinance. Full details in the Fuzzy Brew blog.

Memphis in May has released the 2012 BBQ Fest booth map. Individual booths are not numbered, but if you know your team’s number you should be able to count to find your spot. Our booth is almost all the way to the southern end of the park. That’s booth good and not good. Good because it’s easy to give people directions to find us; not good because most of our guests will come in through the north entrance and have to walk the length of the park to get to us.

Lansky at the Peabody is having a big event Saturday from 11 to 5. They’re having a visit from Robert Stock, designer of my absolute favorite line of shirts in the world, Robert Graham. Here’s the event summary they sent me:

Robert will lead the ducks down the red carpet at 11a which will kick off our event. Lansky at the Peabody has turned into a Robert Graham shop for the weekend with a lot of new clothing offered by the brand and an exclusive opportunity to preview and special order the Fall Collection. Robert Stock rarely does guest appearances so we are lucky he chose Downtown Memphis’ very own Lansky at The Peabody. Live music in the shop by New York’s The Colour Sound. Gift with purchase of any Robert Graham (while supplies last). It’s going to be a fun party all day at Lansky’s. A trimmer fitting, denim-based sportshirt line by Robert Graham called Freshly Laundered will be featured in Lansky 126. The Robert Graham shirts have a following and collector’s like to come to the even to meet Robert and have their shirts autographed by him. Robert Graham connoisseur’s are welcome to bring their previously purchased RG gear for him to sign as well.

Not a Downtown event, but worth posting anyway: A few months ago I posted a YouTube video of A Trip to the Moon, a 1902 movie that was the first science-fiction film ever. On Thursday and Saturday, the Brooks is showing A Trip to the Moon. The film has been hand-painted in color, and is accompanied by a new soundtrack by the French band AIR. The 16-minute film is paired with an hour-long documentary about its restoration. Buy tickets here. $6 Brooks and Indie Memphis members, $8 non-members, free with VIP Film Pass.

If you like the 38103 shirt I’ve been wearing in recent weeks, Hoop City Memphis will be selling that shirt and the others in its line at South of Beale Friday night for Trolley Tour.

However, I’m still getting requests for 38103 tube tops, and Hoop City doesn’t seem to be getting on board. Since our BBQ team has a tube top option this year, I’m going to get with our designer and ask if he’d like to do a 38103 tube top. Stay tuned for details. I hope to talk with him about it this weekend.

Quick run to Target then back to work. Weather’s nice and I’ll be out somewhere tonight, not sure where yet.

Tue update: Canoe and kayak race, Dining out for Life, “Go Retro” patio parties at Bleu, Trolley Tour, and more

The canoe and kayak race is returning to Wolf River Harbor on June 16. In past years, it had to be canceled due to bad weather; organizers are hoping that moving it to June will help conditions improve for the race. The Memphis Flyer has details here.

This Thursday, April 26, is Dining Out for Life day, with many Memphis-area restaurants donating 25% of their proceeds for the day to Friends for Life. FFL is a local nonprofit dedicated to helping those with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers. Kerry has a complete list of restaurants. Among the Downtown restaurants: Felicia Suzanne’s, Grawemeyer’s, Green Beetle, McEwen’s, and Rizzo’s Diner.

There’s a new set of Thursday parties in addition to those thrown by the Peabody and Madison hotels: Bleu has a launched “Go Retro” Thursday night patio parties. Every week is a different retro theme. They kicked it off last Thursday with a Rat Pack-themed party. This Thursday it’s ’70s disco, and in the weeks ahead themes will include ’50s doo wop, ’60s Beatles, ’20s speakeasy, and ’40s swinging blues juke joint. Food and drinks are selected to match each week’s theme. Bleu is in the Westin Hotel across from the FedExForum on Third.

Friday night, April 27, is South Main Trolley Tour, with many South Main restaurants and galleries open 6 to 9 PM. With nice April weather out, a number of street performers have been booked. The list includes Michelle Bush, Emma Webb, Bean, Fire Tribe Memphis, Danza Azteca, Tiger Styles, Shufflegrit, Shelley Brown, The Dancing Fire, Mike Sweep, and AJAE.

My plans for tonight: Poker with Jamie at the Blind Bear at 8. Last week was a rough week, with Poker Jon from Goose/Bardog showing up to play and sitting to my left. A good player to act immediately after me, especially someone who has a good idea what hands I play, is not an ideal situation. Hopefully I’ll do better this week.

Other stuff going on: First birthday for trivia with Kevin Cerrito at Ferraro’s, 8 PM, with $1 PBR and Rolling Rock; trivia at the Flying Saucer, 7:30 and 10 PM; trivia at Silly Goose, 8 PM; $2.75 pint night at Bardog, 7 PM to 3 AM.

Mon update: Grizzlies tonight, Cerrito trivia birthday tomorrow, thrift shop demolished

The Grizzlies have a home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at 7. It’s the second-to-last regular season home game of the year. There will be a zumba performance at halftime, and $5 from each ticket goes to Go Red Por Tu Corazon.

Tomorrow is the 1st birthday of trivia with Kevin Cerrito at Ferraro’s Pizzeria and Pub. They’ll celebrate by moving trivia back to the party room for one night only. As always, there will be $1 Rolling Rock and PBR, prizes for first through third place, prize for the best team name. Trivia starts at 8 PM.

There will also be a rock-paper-scissors tournament at Ferraro’s tomorrow night. The event listing has it incorrectly listed as the first single-elimination rock-paper-scissors tournament ever in Memphis. I know that’s not true because I was in one about five years ago at the Saucer, and made it to the final round. Should be fun though, and you have a little over 24 hours to practice the fundamentals of the game.

The Daily News reported on Twitter today that the thirft shop at Adams and Danny Thomas is being demolished.

Plans for tonight: I’m going to miss the 7:30 poker game at the Silly Goose for the next few weeks, because I have work to do at the Saucer. I need 14 more beers to get my sixth plate done, and there are 12 beers left that I can drink on Pint Nite at the Saucer for $3. So I’ll knock out my three tonight and probably a Dos Equis Lager as well, then head over to the Blind Bear for their $4 sausage and cheese plate (special price 6-9 PM Mondays) sometime between 8 and 9. Depending on my state of mind, I may or may not play the 10:00 poker game at the Goose.

Mike’s f’n run because f’n Cal won – the full report

Last fall our friend Mike told everyone that if Kentucky won the NCAA title, he’d dress up in a Speedo and tiger head and run his way down Main Street sipping Thousand Island dressing. Today he paid the bet off. To his credit, he made it a fundraiser for Wounded Warriors to support our injured military.

Here’s a link to photos (about 60). Proud of Mike for fundraising for the Wounded Warriors, but, damn: Things you cant un-see.