Tue update: Ministry, volunteer opportunity, sports news and a lot more

Ministry plays the New Daisy tonight, with opening bands Carpenter Brut and Allen Weaponry. Tickets are $38-50 with doors opening at 7:00 and the show starting at 8:00.

Got a tremendous volunteer opportunity to tell you about. The Memphis River Parks Partnership is seeking ambassadors to help spread the good news about the transformation of our riverfront. Applications will be taken today through the end of the year, with volunteers selected in January. Man oh man… if my legs were totally healed from the problems I had last month (they’re much better by the way) I would absolutely sign up for this.

I’m watching Price Is Right as I type this. Just saw a man, the first of three to spin the Big Wheel, hit a 75 on his first spin and he spun again and went over a dollar. Spinning again on a 75 seems like a really bad mathematical move. I would think if you’re first to spin, you spin again on a 65 and stay on a 70. If you’re second to spin and the first person went over, you spin again on a 50 and stay on a 55. (Technically, spin/stay on 50 would be even money if all you care about is getting to the Showcase, but because you have a chance to hit another 50 and win $1000 and a bonus spin, the math tilts in favor of spinning again on 50.) Fellow math people, do you agree? Anything I’m missing in my logic here?

Hozier has been announced for the Orpheum for March 26.

South Main Book Juggler has announced the January meeting of their book club for Thursday, January 17 6 to 8 PM. The book will be Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westower. Books can be purchased at the Juggler.

The Memphis Redbirds have announced that Cardinals Caravan will return to AutoZone Park on Friday, January 18. Meet team members and coaches of the Redbirds’ major league affiliate the St. Louis Cardinals and learn about their plans for 2019. More information will be coming soon.

Memphis Tigers running back Darrell Henderson has been named a first-team All-American. Here’s the complete list.

More good news for Tiger football fans: Coach Norvell has indicated he isn’t leaving for greener pastures at the end of the season, that he really likes Memphis and intends to stick around. There was interest in the head coach of the Tigers from several Power 5 schools.

Saturday is another doubleheader day at FedExForum, with the Tigers hosting Tennessee at 11 and the Grizzlies hosting the Houston Rockets at 7. If you’re attending the Tigers-Tennessee game and want to make Christmas better for a child, bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Tiger Toy Drive. Toys will be distributed to local children.

As for the Grizzlies game, be one of the first 5000 there to receive a special “Winter Slam” holiday card to celebrate the second of several Wrestling Nights throughout the season. The cards are made by Mercury Printing. There will also be a Wingsday Special where you can get two Terrace IV tickets and two 5-piece boneless wings from Wing Guru.

Even more local sports news: The University of Memphis will be offered an even bigger piece of the American Athletic Conference’s TV deal if they and other top schools commit to staying in the conference through the end of the deal.

Okay, let’s see if we can find some non-sports news to talk about… the Orpheum has a few holiday shows this week and weekend. Tomorrow night (Wednesday) Harry Connick Jr. will toast the city and sing a selection of holiday favorites. Saturday there will be three performances of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at 11, 3, and 7. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis, a holiday tradition for many years, rolls into the Orpheum on Sunday.

Downtown’s Visible Music College has a radio station that broadcasts all Memphis music, all the time. Check it out at 100.3 FM. Broadcast range is pretty limited but covers Downtown, Midtown, and areas inside the 240 loop.

There’s a GoFundMe for medical expenses for Benny Elbows, a local comedian who was injured in a carjacking this past week. Ben performs as part of the Bluff City Liars and recently brought Kids in the Hall co-founder Kevin McDonald to Downtown Memphis. Cerrito Trivia and Bingo tweeted yesterday that Ben is also one of their hosts.

I found a good new Memphis wrestling blog and wanted to pass it along for my readers into pro wrestling. The first post covers the end of 1973. Those of you who started watching Memphis wrestling around the time I did remember Jerry Lawler as a good guy fighting Jeff Jarrett and Eddie Gilbert. In 1973, though, Lawler was a heel/bad guy fighting Jeff’s dad Jerry Jarrett and Eddie’s dad Tommy Gilbert.

Whew! Finally to the end of the massive amount of news I had to cover today. Time to spend some time investigating portable Linux installations to revive a dead computer, then after that I’ll get out and about. Back tomorrow with more news.


Monday update

There will be a celebration of the life of Chef Gary Williams tomorrow at Growlers, 1911 Poplar, from 6 PM until midnight. Come share the things Gary enjoyed – food, art, music, friends and family. Donations to the family will be accepted at the door, and 50% of proceeds from food and drink will go to the family as well.

Hockey and whiskey fans: Jack Daniel’s rye specials and Jack and Preds giveaways at Kooky Canuck Thursday evening.

Friday night at Walking Pants Curiosities on G.E. Patterson, there will be a puzzle party from 6 to 9. In addition to puzzles, there will be S’mores and eggnog slushies from Max’s Sports Bar.

Evelyn & Olive, the Caribbean restaurant out in The Edge, is hiring a full-time cook.

Save the date: The Rendezvous is going to be on TV again.

Accused Russian spy Maria Butina appears to have reached a plea deal. This is a news story that’s flown under the radar but may turn out to be a bigger deal than the Mueller filings on Flynn, Cohen, and Manafort last week.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sat update: Troll recruits another BBQ member and lots of news

This year, I had koozies ordered with our BBQ team name and logo on them, hoping they’d be a conversation piece. I bring them out with me every day and use them on my PBR cans. I hoped people would ask about them and then say, “Hey, can I join your BBQ team?” However, in six months (granted, it’s the offseason) that hasn’t happened a whole lot, and has not led to any new members or sponsors.

So yesterday, I took my troll out for her 2nd birthday. For those of you who don’t know, the troll serves as deputy director of public relations for the BBQ team.

We went to the Blind Bear and then the Silly Goose, with the troll standing on the bar by my beer. And I’ll be damned if she didn’t recruit a new member.

“Can I be on the team next year?” I was asked by the person to my left, a former member of a team that was disbanded after 2015. Officially I don’t have the power to say yes, because we’ve got to give our existing team members the chance to renew and then vet people for remaining spots. This is someone I would vet though, if there’s room.

I just continue to be amazed at what this little troll brings to the table. You know, I have a meeting with team president John D this morning at Bardog, and I am going to recommend she be promoted to Senior Deputy Director of Public Relations. She’s earned it.

I mistakenly thought 99 Cent Soul Food on South Main was closed, because I saw an ad on Facebook that the building was to be auctioned. I have now been told the restaurant has been open as recently as this week.

The Streetdog Foundation event at Carolina Watershed, Sippin’ with Santa Paws where your dog can get a photo with Santa, has been postponed from today until tomorrow due to weather. Silent auction, adoptable pups, and Memphis Made special-release “Pawliday Plaid” beer.

Early opening time for the Grizzlies vs. L.A. Lakers at FedExForum tonight: MVP and Premium 5:00, general admission 5:30. Everyone wants to see LeBron I guess.

I noticed a premium giveaway for the game next Friday: A Mike Conley Elf on the Shelf. Normally I hate Elf on the Shelf but for that one I’d make an exception.

The Redbirds are offering free dugout tickets when you spend money in their online store:

Memphis Made Brewing Co. will have four vendors on site Sunday afternoon for Handmade with Memphis Made. Note that they will be closing the taproom early at 5 on Sunday for their annual holiday party.

I just got back from my morning trip to Walgreens where I saw HotHands disposable hand warmers on the bottom shelf beneath the cash register. I read recently that these are a useful and inexpensive gift to give the homeless during these cold winter months. They’re only about 50-60 cents apiece. The hand warmers, I’ve been told, are something the homeless wouldn’t think of buying for themselves, but they sure do appreciate them when given to them.

The annual Liberty Bowl parade has been announced for Beale Street the afternoon of Sunday, December 30. Although this parade is more corporate than the locally-produced parades (St. Pat’s/Christmas), the fun is in mingling with the fans in town for the game – in this case Missouri and Oklahoma State. Both of those schools travel well and it should be a festive day.

Death Cab for Cutie will play an Orpheum show on April 7.

The application period is open for Urban Fellows working as interns for the City of Memphis. These are for college students or recent graduates, and interns work part-time on challenging projects in areas of the city they are interested in. This is a way to get a first-hand look at how city government works and make some valuable connections that can be useful as you advance your career.

I haven’t read the Mueller memos on Cohen and Manafort yet but I am about to. The headlines (except Fox News) are all like “This is bad, bad news for Trump,” so I have an idea what to expect from the memos.

Off to Bardog for that meeting with John D. Back tomorrow with more news.

The Terrible Twos and Friday news

Top o’ the mornin’ to you, everyone! I have lots of interesting Downtown news to share with you, but first, we have a very important birthday to celebrate.

My little green-haired sidekick Perjorie T. Roll turns two years old today. Trying to figure out what to do for her birthday… don’t two-year-olds like going to Chuck E. Cheese? I guess I should invite some other trolls too, although I’m not exactly sure where to find other trolls on such short notice.

All right, let’s get on to the news. Yesterday I was chatting with some friends about different meats, and one of them opined that bison is the best meat of all. Then he mentioned a reason to go to Flight, the restaurant at Main and Monroe that recently made TripAdvisor’s top fine dining restaurants: They have bison on the menu. As a matter of fact, their current dinner menu includes a flight consisting of boursin stuffed filet, elk tenderloin, and bison ribeye. Pair it with a Big Bad Cab wine flight and you’ve got a meat lover’s dream.

VIPit passes for BBQ Fest 2019 are now on sale on the Memphis in May website. These give you a backstage look (and taste) of what it’s like to be on some of the best BBQ teams in Tom Lee Park. Question for my readers: Has anyone purchased one of these in past years, and how did you like it? Email me at paul@paulryburn.com if you have feedback.

It looks like the One Beale project will finally be getting under way. New permits and renderings have been filed. The MBJ has a photo gallery.

If you want to shop local for the holidays, go by the Center for Southern Folklore this Saturday or the next between 11 and 5. My neighbor and BBQ teammate Mary Ann and a few others will have pop-up shops at the Center, selling jewelry, journals, hand painted ornaments, hand painted angels, and funky bird paintings. The Center also has unique Memphis music, art, and gifts. It’s on the Main Street Mall just north of the Majestic and Bluefin.

Another excellent place to get some holiday shopping done is the Memphis Farmers Market’s holiday market, which will happen under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson tomorrow from 9 AM to 1 PM. The vendors will be there to stuff your stocking with lots of goodies and crafts.

Yesterday I saw the worst parking job ever outside of 100 Peabody Place:

Maybe – MAYBE – 2% of the SUV is in the space. I have to wonder if the driver just didn’t understand parking on Peabody Place, or perhaps they just didn’t care.

If you don’t feel like cooking for the holidays, Cordelia’s Market can do it for you. Scroll down a bit on the home page to see their menu. They’ve got turkey, ham, pork tenderloin, brisket, sides, and desserts. Orders need to be in by December 17.

Get a look at plans for the future Wiseacre Downtown brewery in this Memphis Business Journal photo gallery.

This is very, very cool: A Memphis teacher created a website, Positive Physics, to make learning physics more accessible to his students, especially students who were not reading at grade level. Now the website is being used by teachers and students around the world.

The SEC commissioner had the nerve to say UCF should look inward and fix its strength of schedule issues if it wants to be considered for a playoff spot in future years. I’m sure the folks in UCF athletics would love to do just that, but how can they? The top three schools in Florida (including the University of Florida, an SEC school) won’t schedule them. Not that the problem is unique to Florida… I love my Arkansas Razorbacks but I think it is ridiculous that they won’t schedule an intra-state rivalry game with the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Power 5 schools care more about holding on to their power than they do about fairness and equity.

The Woodruff-Fontaine House will have a Victorian Yuletide Open House tonight from 5 to 8. Come get a taste of Southern holiday traditions during the Victorian era.

That’s the news for now. Time for me to start rapidly refreshing Twitter in hopes of breaking news about the Mueller investigation. Happy Friday and I’ll be back tomorrow with more.


Thursday update

Sad news this morning about one of our Downtown community. The Krewe of DejaVu Facebook page reports that Chef Gary Williams has died. Williams came to Memphis after Hurricane Katrina and opened his restaurant on 936 Florida 10 years ago. In 2013 he opened a location on the Main Street Mall but it closed last year. Williams’ specialties were Cajun and Creole cuisine.

Flight has been named one of the top ten fine dining restaurants in the country by TripAdvisor. Flight is known for its “flights” where you can try three portions of different entrees. There are also dessert flights and wine flights. The restaurant is in the ground floor of the Broadnax Building at Main and Monroe.

Speaking of Flight, it appears that a movie was filmed there yesterday. Uncorked is a movie made for Netflix. Courtney B. Vance stars as the patriarch of a family that owns an iconic BBQ restaurant here in Memphis. The son of the family, however, was not feelin’ the whole BBQ thing, and chose to go in a different direction, becoming a wine sommelier.

I found out about the filming because my troll and I decided to walk over to Bardog to see what the lunch specials were yesterday. It was a good day, with a fried pork chop on the menu.

This was a huge, meaty pork chop that was so big I barely finished it. It came with a good-sized portion of mashed potatoes with gravy. My troll, who likes foods that are the some color as her hair, really liked the vegetable medley.

Going to the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball game Saturday? You’ll want to get there early.

The game is against UAB at 12 noon. Saturday is a doubleheader day at FedExForum, with the Grizzlies hosting LeBron and the Lakers at 7.

The City Council is still at a stalemate trying to fill the District 1 seat. They voted over 100 times two weeks ago but failed to reach the needed 7 votes for a candidate. They tried again Tuesday and failed, after which Council meetings were scheduled for every day until the seat was filled. Yesterday four members walked out, making a quorum impossible, and now there may be court action to compel those members to attend meetings. Even after they fill the District 1 seat, there are two more seats to fill. A local activist I’m friends with on Facebook referred to the body as “the City Clowncil,” and more and more I am beginning to think he has a point.

Locally made Delta Sunshine beer is now available in Memphis bars. They had it at Bardog yesterday when I was in there.

The Green Beetle is hiring a restaurant server.

Those of you with kids, fifth grade and up: CodeCrew has some very cool afterschool programs.

Wagner Place, the street that runs parallel to Riverside Drive between Union and Beale, is getting a look by the Memphis River Parks Partnership. Currently it is hardly the prettiest street in the city, and as a connector between the future Brooks Museum and Tom Lee Park, improvements are needed. In other news, a cafe will be coming to the new River Garden in Mississippi River Park.

Wiseacre is gearing up for the yearly release of Astronaut Status beer on December 21.

Burger King is trolling McDonald’s with a penny Whopper deal through the 12th.

All right, that’ll do it for this post. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

I know I have a lot of readers who are big fans of Nikki’s Hot Products – hot seasoning, Bloody Mary mix, kettle chips, and more. You’ll soon be able to get your Nikki’s Hot fix in another form: on wings. Yesterday the New Wing Order food truck folks announced a partnership with Nikki’s. You’ll soon be about to get their wings in hot, dry seasoned form with Nikki’s seasoning. Can’t wait to try those! May have to order an extra cup or two of blue cheese dressing to take the edge off the heat though.

Hotel Indigo, the new boutique hotel at B.B. King and Court, is now on Twitter at @MemphisIndigo.

The City Council is considering an earlier beer sale time on Sunday. If approved, beer sales on Sundays in Memphis would begin at 10 AM rather than noon.

The Grizzlies will have their annual food drive to benefit the Mid-South Food Bank this Saturday. Donate a non-perishable food item or money, and you will get a buy-one-get-one-free voucher for either the December 14 game against the Miami Heat or the December 15 game against the Houston Rockets.

Rain, a tribute to the Beatles, comes to the Orpheum Tuesday, June 25 of next year.

Paint & Get Lit returns to the Silly Goose on Thursday, December 13 at 6 PM. Artist David Yancy III will lead the activity. Only 15 seats are available, so be sure to RSVP.

Please share this link with every elderly person you love. If tech support calls about a problem with your PC, it’s probably a scam. My mom got scammed by these people a couple of times when she was alive.

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Yesterday was bowl invitation day, and the Memphis Tigers are heading to the Birmingham Bowl where they will play the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest on Saturday, December 22 at 11 AM. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Two days after the St. Jude Marathon, the hospital has received the largest donation it is history, $50 million. The donation will fund Family Commons, a new treatment-free floor in the hospital where families can get away from everything medical and just go be families.

MemphisWeather.net has its 2019 calendar on sale. This is a way to support a great local business.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen will have a Cajun Christmas buffet Saturday, December 15 at 7 PM. Cost is $35 for adults and includes ham, roast beef, Cornish hen, gumbo, yams, traditional New Orleans desserts and more.

The Blind Bear has its annual Repeal Day Party Wednesday, celebrating the 85th anniversary of the end of Prohibition.  Dress up in yout 1920s attire and enjoy $3 moonshine and $6 Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, American Mules, and Dark & Stormys. Trivia at 7:30, and live music by the Handy Band at 9.

Automatic Slim’s is looking for experienced bartenders, servers, and hostesses. Apply in person 2-4 Monday-Friday.

Aziz Ansari performs at the Cannon Center on April 17, but get this: You have to put yout phones and smart watches in something called a Yondr pouch which is locked for the duration of the show. In case of an emergency where you must have access to your phone, you take it to a Yondr unlocking station. Is this normal at comedy shows now? I mean, I get it that the artists don’t want their shows recorded, but this seems like a gigantic pain in the ass.

Okay. Rant time.

The Downtown inconvenience tax

This is not a monetary tax.

The first Friday of May, I have to ask if I can leave work early, because if I don’t get in my parking garage by 5:00 I worry I might not get a space. That night and the next two, I get woken up in the middle of the night by people screaming “WOOOOOOOO!” as they walk down Main Street. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though; I’d rather have those problems than not have Music Fest here.

On the weekdays, I like to get out and see my friends during happy hour, walking home about 9:30-10:30. Oftentimes I will stop at one of my favorite restaurants on the way and get a burger to take home. However, 40-something nights between October and April, I find it near impossible to get a seat at the bar of my favorite restaurants during that time frame. Inconvenient? Yes, but worth it to have the Grizzlies here. It’s so worth it that I root for the inconvenience to extend to 50-something nights and into May and even June.

Saturday there was about a 30-minute stretch when it was impossible to cross Monroe at Main Street. However, there was a good reason why: The street was jammed with St. Jude marathon and half-marathon runners. I’d rather wait to cross Monroe than not have an event here that raises $10 million to make children well.

When you move Downtown, you know these kinds of events are going to happen. You can’t always just walk out to the driveway and back your car out and be on your merry way as you could if you lived in Bartlett or Cordova or Olive Branch. However, paying the inconvenience tax is worth it to live in a neighborhood that doesn’t suck.


I don’t agree with people who reply “You obviously HATE sick children!!!” if anyone complains about the inconvenience they went through. I saw quite a bit of that on Facebook this weekend.

I have a friend who left her apartment on Mud Island at 8:30, thinking that would allow plenty of time to drive to her job in the Downtown core, where she was supposed to be at 9:30. Nope. After being redirected down street after street after street, she finally found a parking place nearly a mile from her job at 10:15 and got out and walked the rest of the way. I know several other people who had similar problems getting into and out of the neighborhood. The struggle for these people was very real. As much as I admire and respect all the runners and volunteers who raised money for the kids of St. Jude this weekend, that “you obviously hate sick kids if you complain” stuff needs to stop.

All right, rant over. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

We now have a date for that gift card sale at Rizzo’s. It will be Tuesday, December 11 during lunch, from 11 AM to 3 PM. During that time they’ll have $50 gift cards for $25. Come get you the purchasing power to buy twice as many Lobster Pronto Pups.

That’s all for now… heading to Blind Bear to watch Bowl Selection Sunday  Possibly down to Pontotoc Lounge for D-RANKS with B-RAD after that. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

President George H.W. Bush has passed away at age 94. Rest in peace Mr. President.

It’s the first Saturday in December, always one of the busiest days in Downtown Memphis. Going on today we have

  • The St. Jude Marathon and all the other races. Start times were pushed back due to weather, so expect street closures to last a little bit later than originally planned.
  • Les Miserables at the Orpheum, 2:00 and 8:00 performances
  • Various college football conference championships will be on TV today (see below), as will the Mermphis-Texas Tech men’s basketball game (broadcast from Miami, 1:30 PM, ESPNU/WatchESPN). Expect the local bars to be packed all day long.
  • The annual Stumbling Santa pub crawl, with 1200 Santas starting off at Second and Peabody Place (Flying Saucer) and stumbling to various bars to participate. Begins at 7 PM. Bring an unwrapped toy if you want to participate.

As for the football games what have a possible effect on the playoffs, they are

  • Big 12 championship, Texas vs. Oklahoma, 11 AM, ABC; Oklahoma has a good chance of playoff inclusion with a win
  • AAC championship, Memphis vs. UCF, 2:30 PM, ABC; of course we want Memphis to win this. UCF has a very tiny chance of playoff inclusion with a win
  • SEC championship, Alabama vs. Georgia, 3:00 PM, CBS; Bama a lock for the playoffs with a win, Georgia most likely in with a win; Bama possibly still in with a loss
  • ACC championship, Clemson vs. Pitt, 7:00 PM, ABC; Clemson a lock with a win, possibly still in with a loss
  • Big 10 championship, Northwestern vs. Ohio State, 7:00 PM, FOX; Ohio State has a good chance of playoff inclusion with a win

A couple of logistical notes: First of all, those of you with tickets to the afternoon Les Mis performance who are driving in from other parts of town need to allow extra time to get down here and park. Most but nor all of the runners will have finished.

Also, having the Tigers basketball game, Tigers football, and the SEC championship all on simultaneously is going to create headaches for bars that only have two TVs. I’ll say this: If you don’t have Tigers football on one of the TVs, you’re doin’ it wrong.

That’s it for now. Y’all have fun today, whatever you do.