Tue update: Water taxi, Grizz pre-season, SOB birthday, Bleu Restaurant Week, National Night Out, 13 year old to perform at Double J, Jose Feliciano, tattoo artist helps the community and more

Memphis has landed a grant for water taxis on the Mississippi. The $800,000 federal grant would provide for a taxi service between Mud Island and the Harbor Town Marina, with a dock at Bass Pro and possibly other docks to be added later. However, the service may not ever happen. The city has to match 20% of the grant, or $160,000, and the City Council may not be willing to spend the money.

It’s been announced that the Grizzlies’ 2012 pre-season home games will be against Real Madrid (Spain), the Atlanta Hawks, the Toronto Raptors, and the Orlando Magic. The MBJ has details.

Happy birthday to South of Beale, which turns 3 today. They will have birthday specials this weekend.

Bleu Restaurant & Lounge is doing “Restaurant Week” from the 13th to the 18th of this month. They’ll have a 3-course prix fixe dinner for only $25. Check out the menu and make reservations here.

Don’t forget that Downtown’s National Night Out party is at the Memphis Farmers Market tonight from 6 to 8. Live music, food trucks, meet Downtown cops and get safety tips. If you get down there early, you might want to stroll over to the Double J, where 13-year-old Simon Ertzinger from Iowa will perform a special solo acoustic set from 4 to 7.

This morning I got a press release asking me to blog that Jose Feliciano will perform at Spin Street at Poplar and Highland Wednesday, August 15 at 6 PM. Normally I don’t blog non-Downtown events, but then I thought, “Jose Feliciano… where have I heard that name before?”

“Muchacho… things will get better… Oh yes, they will for Chico and the Man… Oh yes they will for Chico and the Man.”

Feliciano sang the theme song to one of my favorite 1970s TV shows, and even guest-starred a couple of times as Chico’s cousin. Anyway, he’ll be at Spin Street performing songs from his new album, which is a tribute to Elvis. If you buy the album you can get Jose to sign it for you.

Also not Downtown, but cool enough to deserve a mention: Students at Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary received free backpacks full of all the supplies they need when they arrived yesterday for the first day of school. The backpacks were largely paid for by a program called “Backpacks for Tatts,” in which tattoo shop House of Ink traded free tattoos in exchange for donations of school supplies. What a great gesture to make sure the kids have everything they need to do their school work and homework.

If you’re doing the Elvis pub crawl this Saturday, good news – you won’t melt in your Elvis suit this year. Fall-like weather is predicted, with a high of only 85 on Saturday. Where to get Elvis gear at this late date?

  • Party City may have some costumes. That’s where I got mine 3 years ago.
  • You can rent a costume from a costume shop like Mr. Lincoln’s in Midtown
  • Blues City General Store on Beale has Elvis glasses and sideburns

Just a few more hours and my 5-day weekend will begin. Plans for tonight: Hear the words “last call” somewhere.

Come dress up as Elvis or Priscilla and stumble around Downtown with us Saturday night

Meet at the Flying Saucer at 7, with nonperishable food or cash donation for the Mid-South Food Bank. Then Bluefin, Blind Bear, Silky’s, Purple Haze, and back to the Saucer. Here’s a link to the event listing on Facebook. I was undecided about doing the pub crawl this year, but based on what I heard last night, I have reason to believe an “all-star cast” will be coming out for this.

Above is the 2010 pub crawl, when I dyed my hair black for the event. I won’t be making that mistake again.

Mon update: Anthony Bourdain @ Orpheum, Elvis week events including pub crawl, Kerry visits Aldo’s, possible Victorian Village B&B, Gibson Guitars settles with the gov’t, fashion makeover

No lunchtime post today due to a lack of news. Fortunately enough stuff came in for an after-work post…

Anthony Bourdain will bring his “Guts & Glory” tour to the Orpheum Friday, November 2. He’ll share open, candid insights about his career and travels, and there will be a Q&A with the audience. More details here. Food-related event? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will try to score a free ticket.

Elvis Week 2012 kicks off Friday, August 10, commemorating the 35th anniversary of Elvis’ death. Here is a list of events.

One more event which is not an “official” event, but which is a lot of fun, is the annual Elvis pub crawl Downtown. It’s a charity pub crawl that benefits the Mid-South Food Bank. Wear your Elvis or Priscilla gear and bring cash or a non-perishable food donation to the Flying Saucer at 7 PM Saturday, August 11. Participants will stumble to Blue Fin, Blind Bear, Silky’s, Purple Haze, and then back to the Saucer. If you don’t feel like going to the grocery store to get canned goods to bring, that’s fine – the Food Bank can turn each dollar you donate into nearly $4 worth of food.

Kerry from the I Love Memphis Blog visited Aldo’s Pizza Pies with a friend and tried several dishes that I haven’t had yet. Read her review here. Thanks to Kerry, the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and stuffed peppers are now high on my list of things to try.

The Daily News has lots of Downtown news today. Pending a City Council vote, the James Lee House at 690 Adams could be converted into a luxury bed-and-breakfast. This could be the start, it is said, of the transformation of Victorian Village into a walking neighborhood with many entertainment options like Cooper-Young or Overton Square. I would love to see that! Read the article here.

Also in the Daily News, Gibson Guitar has settled its case with the feds. The guitar maker got in trouble with the government for using illegally imported wood from Madagascar.

The Daily News also reports that the owner of Backbeat Tours will get a televised fashion makeover on TLC’s “What Not to Wear” Tuesday at 9 PM.

I need to start a new social network/iPhone app that sends location-based notifications when your friends nearby are wearing tube tops. Sunday morning I got a text from someone saying I should have gone to the Blind Bear the night before, because she had a tube top on. That does me no good at all.

My friend Karen posted a bunch of photos from last night’s Sunday karaoke at the Double J. I have to admit it looked like fun and they drew a good crowd. Much better than the photos I used to see from the since-discontinued Saturday karaoke night at the Monkey, which looked about as exciting as watching paint dry. Perhaps I need to give it a chance sometime (just listening, not singing). I haven’t seen any pics of Robo there, which must be a huge relief to the eardrums of South Main.

Programming note: I’m off Wednesday-Friday, so posts will appear on a “whenever I feel like it” schedule rather than “when I have time.” There will be plenty of content though. I don’t take vacations from the blog.

Tonight’s my only evening this week which is followed by another workday, and I can’t think of a better place to spend it than Pint Nite at the Flying Saucer. Almost all draft beers $3 a pint.

Perfect

1) Live music by The Eric Hughes Band

2) Catering by Central BBQ

3) Open bar

4) Limo picks us up and takes us to Paula & Raiford’s Disco

My friends should write a book on how to throw a wedding reception.

Sat update: Big Brother, soccer watch party, National Night Out, DJ lineup @ Bleu, Olympic sex party, alcoholic Dippin’ Dots and more

If you’re a Big Brother fan, Sid Vicious will be back on MemphiSport Live on AM 560 this morning at 11:30. Former pro wrestler “Sycho” Sid is the father of Frank on Big Brother, and has been providing analysis of the show. If you’re not in town, you can listen via the TuneIn Radio website, or the TuneIn iOS or Android app.

Kooky Canuck is having a watch party for the Canada vs. USA soccer match Monday at 1:45 PM. During the first half, the beer special will be $2.50 Molson Canadian. During the second half, the special will be $2.50 Bud and Bud Light.

Downtown’s National Night Out party, which is happening Tuesday 6-8 at the Memphis Farmers Market pavilion, has added some entertainment. World-famous Mr. Roy Hughes of Roy Hughes Entertainment will supply a DJ from 7-8. I heard something about a keg of Ghost River beer too. National Night Out is a chance to meet and thank the police officers who keep Downtown the safest precinct in Memphis.

Bleu will have popular Memphis DJs spinning during the months of August, September, and October. It kicks off with DJ Superman on August 22. No cover. View the full lineup here. Bleu is located in the Westin Hotel, across the street from the FedExForum.

For years I’ve heard that the Olympic Village is a big sex party. In this Daily Beast article a former Olympian spills the beans about sex and about other things that go on. I need to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics so I can hook up with some Romanian gymnasts.

┬áThe alcoholic version of Dippin’ Dots. Yes, please.

Last night I drank lots of beer. That’s not unusual, except it was free beer. Congratulations to my friend Bob on his 13th plate, and to my friend Joe on his 6th plate at the Flying Saucer. 1 plate = 200 different beers consumed, known as a trip around the Ring of Honor. You get a $100 party tab when you complete a plate, but the amount goes up when you complete multiples. Joe had $150 for his 6th plate, and Bob had $200 for his 13th. The party was almost my plate party too, which would have been my 6th, bringing the tab to $500 total; but in the end, we had to agree to disagree on the guest list. (Well, you know…) My party will happen soon, although we’ll have to figure out what to do since the big screen – with the Olympics on – covers my plate. I’m already 55 beers toward my 7th plate, and I haven’t even had my 6th party yet.

Really looking forward to tonight. Two of my friends got married in a small, private ceremony on Christmas Eve. Since most of their friends had gone out of town to be with family, they delayed their wedding reception for today. It will be held at a Downtown venue and there will be an OPEN BAR!!!!!!!!! Wednesday night at trivia, the groom asked me where the best place was to buy PBR in bulk, so they definitely have their guests in mind. Between the double plate party and the reception, I’m drinking for cheap this weekend.

I had said I was going to pre-game for the reception at 4:30 at the Saucer, but scratch that. I hate to be inconsistent but I feel I have to, because I’ve come up with a better plan. The new plan is to pre-game for the reception at 4:00 at the Saucer. That sounds much better, don’t you think?

Fri update: Sales tax holiday, Wizard of Oz, watermelon fun @ MFM, Paulette’s wine dinner, poker news, and maybe I should open a Chick-Fil-A (hear me out on this one)

Today is the first day of a tax-free weekend in Tennessee. Clothes and school supplies under $100 are sales tax-free through the 5th, as are computers costing less than $1500. Keep in mind that this applies not only at big-box retailers like Target, but at locally owned shops like Lansky at the Peabody. They have plenty of shirts under $100, and you don’t have to pay sales tax on them this weekend. Although the tax holiday was designed to help students get what they need to start the school year, you don’t have to prove you’re a student or buying for a student to get the savings. Action News 5 has more details.

I’d like to point out that tube tops are clothing items, and nearly always under $100. Why not take advantage of the tax-free weekend to stock your wardrobe for Tube Top Month 2013? It’s only 8 months and 21 days away.

You can be off to see the Wizard tonight at the Orpheum – the wonderful Wizard of Oz. The classic 1939 family fantasy film will be shown on the big screen tonight at 7:15.

The theme for the Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow is Seed Spittin’ Good. There will be a watermelon roll for kids at 9 AM, with two age brackets (2-5 and 6-8) competing to see who can roll a watermelon the fastest. At 10:15 Cathy Faust from the Shelby County Extension Service will demonstrate how to make watermelon rind pickles. A Downtown bike ride will depart from the Farmers Market at 9. There will be life music by Jo Jo Jeffries (8-10) and Steve Smith (11-1).

Speaking of the Farmers Market, if you’re a fan of farmers’ markets and food trucks, you’ll probably enjoy this episode of WKNO’s Local Color. The Majestic Grille’s Deni Reilly co-hosts.

Paulette’s will have a wine dinner Tuesday, August 7. It will be hosted by wine expert Marne Anderson of Victor L. Robilio Co. and Gary Burhop of Great Wines & Spirits. The wines featured at the dinner will be wines that were rated between 90 and 92 by Wine Spectator. Courses will include Maytag Blue Cheese Souffle, Creole Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Pan Seared Quail, Tandoori Dry Aged Beef Tenderloin, and Peach Raspberry Champagne Sabayon Gratinee. $59 per person, plus tax and service charge. More details/reservation link here.

Last night a buddy of mine was at the Saucer, and he commented on my blog post yesterday about Chick-Fil-A. I’d written how the buzz they generated this week was a marketing coup on par with New Coke. He knows some of the top people at Chick-Fil-A, and told me, “What they were doing was not marketing. They really believe that and aren’t ashamed to admit it. If you apply to purchase a Chick-Fil-A franchise, they check you out to make sure you believe what they believe. They do a complete background check. They check around and see who your family and friends are. They’ll want to talk to your pastor.”

Hmmm… makes me think… Downtown doesn’t have a Chick-Fil-A. Think I should apply to be a franchisee? “I don’t go to church on Sunday, so I don’t have a pastor for you to talk to,” I could tell them. “But you can talk to Lisa from the Majestic, Christina from the Saucer, and Jeannette from the Bear. They’re my regular Sunday Fun Day bartenders. By the way, that’s why I’m really excited about opening your franchise, as opposed to, say, Starbucks or Burger King. Since your stores are closed on Sunday, it won’t interrupt my day of drinking. Oh also, about the people I hang out with on Sunday Fun Day? Yeah, some of them are gay. I hope that’s not a problem for you.” I’m sure my application will sail right through the approval process! Check back soon for details when and where the Downtown Chick-Fil-A will be opening.

If you had money deposited with Full Tilt Poker when the government shut down that site for U.S. players, here’s a site to bookmark. The Poker Players’ Alliance has a Players Repayment Resource Center which will keep you informed of the latest news on how to reclaim your funds.

Almost the weekend… Not sure what I’ll be doing tonight. Need to rest up for the big wedding reception I’m attending tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll get out for a little while. There’s more news to come, so check back this evening. There may be another post.

Thur update: Marketing coup, new riverfront cleanup group/meetup, Breakaway Bardog 5K, Romanian gymnasts, Thursday events, Barton signs endorsement deal

Before I start with the news, I want to say something about the Chick-Fil-A controversy that happened yesterday. I think this is the most brilliant marketing campaign since Coca-Cola introduced New Coke in 1985. True, they alienated 50% of the public, but the other 50% came out and supported them like never before, and also put the company name all over social media. Even those who who vehemently opposed Chick-Fil-A were putting the company name out there. I’d estimate one in about every seven tweets I saw yesterday was about the company. You can’t buy exposure like that for any price.

I’m not saying I agree with Chick-Fil-A’s stance, by the way. I think their food is mediocre and I support gay marriage. From a publicity and marketing standpoint, however, what they did was remarkable.

A new group called the Mississippi River Chapter of the Surfrider foundation will hold its first event tomorrow, Friday, August 3. It will be a meet & greet and riverfront cleanup at 6 PM, with the statue in Tom Lee Park as the gathering spot. This group got its start when several people were walking around Tom Lee Park during BBQ Fest and noticed the amount of trash accumulating on our waterfront. They were saddened that the trash detracted from Memphis’ beauty during an event that draws so many tourists to town. Later they also noticed the trash on the cobblestones, and trash that accumulates on the waterfront after rain storms. They decided to take action. Several of the group are from San Diego, and having seen the success of the grassroots Surfrider Foundation there, they decided to start a Memphis chapter. At the meet & greet/cleanup tomorrow, they’ll have all the needed equipment, plus refreshments and good times.

The Breakaway Bardog 5K is only 17 days away, but there’s still time to register. The run through historic Downtown Memphis will start at Bardog at 9 AM Sunday, August 19, and money raised will benefit St. Jude. First 350 to register get T-shirts and beer mugs. After the race, stick around for Bardog’s 4th birthday party.

Time Magazine posted a list of twenty gymnasts to watch during the women’s individual events this week. Note that three of the gymnasts are from Romania.

Time for Thursday night outdoor party roundup. Kid Ego plays the Peabody rooftop tonight, with sepcial guest DJ Hollywood Raiford. 6-11 PM, ladies free before 7, $10 cover includes your first drink. This is the third-to-last rooftop party of the season.

One of the last authentic juke-joint bands, the Daddy Mack Blues Band, will bring a down-home feel to the Madison rooftop tonight. 7-11 PM, $7 cover, cash bar and small plates available.

Parmalee plays the Rebel on Beale country concert series tonight at Handy Park, corner of Third and Beale. All ages, free to get in, starts at 7:30.

In other Thursday events, the Orpheum is showing Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid as part of its Summer Movie Series tonight at 7:15. $7 adults, $6 kids.

It’s National IPA Day. Several IPAs on Fire Sale at the Flying Saucer. Also, 8 Green Flash beers will be on tap today.

Sports trivia with Kevin Cerrito starts at 8 at the Green Beetle. They’ll have a special on buckets of 16-ounce Miller Lite punch-top cans.

Former Memphis Tiger Will Barton has signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Under Armour. Barton was the Tigers’ star last season and entered the NBA draft as a sophomore. He will play for the Portland Trail Blazers this year. Way to make that money Will! You deserve it!

Programming note for this weekend… I’m going to skip my usual Saturday noon appointment at Panda’s bar at Bardog. The reason for this is that I have a wedding reception to go to at 6 that evening, and out of respect for my friends I’d prefer not to show up absolutely trashed. (On the other hand, I don’t see the point in showing up absolutely sober either, so I’ll probably pre-game at the Saucer around 4:30. After all, it’s on the way to the reception.)

Last night I couldn’t decide whether to go to bingo at Brass Door or trivia at Blind Bear… so I went to the Saucer, where I could drink beer until I made up my mind. I finished my 50th beer toward my 7th plate. That means when I swipe my card at the UFO computer tonight, there will be a $5 bar tab waiting for me as a milestone prize. After giving it some thought, I decided trivia at the Bear was the way to go. We had our largest team to date, and won the first-place prize of $50 in Bear Bucks.

It’s election day and I’m casting my vote for more tube tops! I’ll be out enjoying discount IPAs after work.

Wed update: iPad beverage menus, Hollywood Raiford at the Peabody tomorrow, Downtown Dining Week, South of Beale/Liver Foundation, MATA cutting Grizzlies service

The Memphis Daily News reports that customers at Downtown restaurants Mesquite Chop House and Spindini are being handed an iPad-based digital wine menu and beverage application when they sit down at the table. Diners can view product descriptions, tasting notes, and recommended food and beverage pairings. That’s really cool. In 2012 a wine list no longer has to be a static, paper-based document. View the Daily News article here.

I’ll post my usual summary of Thursday parties tomorrow, but I just want to remind everyone that Hollywood Raiford will be the special guest DJ at the Peabody rooftop party tomorrow. Let’s get some atmosphere up in here! He’s going to need more on the dance floor, so come on out and see him. He’ll make you feel more than welcome!

The Downtown Memphis Commission has announced that Downtown Dining Week will happen again this year, from November 11-17. Over 25 restaurants will offer 3-course dinners for the low price of only $20.12. In the past, some of Downtown’s finest restaurants have participated in the week, giving diners an incredible deal. Over/under on how many dinners the Nuh-Uh Girl will eat that week is 12.

South of Beale has announced a new nonprofit of the month for August. For the entire month, there will be a line on your check where you can write in a donation for SOB’s adopted nonprofit. This month donations go to the Memphis Chapter of the American Liver Foundation. Please donate! I may need their help someday!

MATA is cutting its service to Grizzlies games. It had a route that picked up riders from 7 stops in the Memphis area and took them to the FedExForum for $8. Fox 13 has more details.

Plans for tonight: Completely undecided, as I’ve been recently in the past on Wednesdays. Options: 1) Brass Door Bingo at 7:30. I feel bad about not getting out to see Diamond Dave sooner, and I’m curious about the British take on the game. 2) Trivia at the Blind Bear, 8 PM. It’s been a lot of fun to have people from the old team back together recently, and I hate to miss a week. 3) Just stay at the Saucer and work on beers for my plate. I’ll pass the 50-beer threshold toward my 7th plate tonight. 4) The new option, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, where I can get $3 cans of 16 oz. PBR.

At any rate, it’s good to have so many options in Downtown Memphis. Out for a quick lunch now, then back for a fun afternoon doing stuff with mod_rewrite.

Tue update #2: Great Gatsby party date, Rizzo’s on TV, new BBQ pizzas at Double J, more National IPA Day news, Grizzlies Prep Academy needs volunteers, more info on Full Tilt Poker refunds, Memphis in May jobs

(Edit: Tuesday 7:10 AM: Once again I forgot to hit Publish after typing the post last night after work… sorry…)

Once again, enough news to justify a second post…

Earlier this week I posted there would be a Great Gatsby party at the Blind Bear within a month, but I couldn’t remember the date. Today they posted the date to Foursquare – Thursday, August 23. More details to come.

The episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that was taped at Rizzo’s Diner back in May is scheduled to air Monday, August 20 at 9 PM. “Party details to follow,” the diner posted to Facebook.

Double J Smokehouse and Saloon has added three new BBQ pizzas to their menu: Pork, chicken, and kielbasa sausage. Pizzas are 12″ in diameter and sell for $10.

I’ve learned more info about what the Flying Saucer will do for National IPA Day this Thursday, August 2. In addition to multiple IPAs on Fire Sale for $3, there will be an 8-tap takeover by Green Flash beers on the Saucer’s draft wall. May I suggest the Abita Turbo Dog tap as one that could be taken over by a Green Flash beer for the day (or better yet, forever)?

Yesterday was the first day of school for Grizzlies Prep Academy. 75 sixth-grade boys have committed to the rules of this prep school, with the goal of 100% of them to become college-ready. The school is partly funded by the Grizzlies. They are looking for volunteers to come at lunch time and tell the students about their job, or to lead a Tuesday evening reading group. This WREG story has more info about the school and how to volunteer.

This L.A. Times article has more info on Full Tilt Poker refunding the money of U.S. players. Most likely, players will have to apply to the Justice Department to retrieve their money. The good news is that PokerStars, which has acquired Full Tilt and which paid back its U.S. players promptly, has settled with the government in full without admitting fault. This means PokerStars will be eligible to apply to offer online poker once again when the U.S. makes it legal. PokerStars is prohibited from hiring top Full Tilt execs who have been named in criminal indictments or civil laundering cases. These names include well-known poker pros “The Poker Professor” Howard Lederer and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.

Memphis in May has posted two full-time positions that are available: Program Assistant and Receptionist. View the openings here.

Beer time at Saucer. Undecided whether I’ll play poker at Blind Bear at 8. First 10 people to check in for poker on Foursquare get an extra point toward the final table.