Saturday update

I made a trip to Max’s Sports Bar yesterday.

THANK YOU MAX for keeping the PBR prices affordable! It’s such a pleasure to be able to sit at the bar, enjoy myself, and order one more without worrying how high my tab is getting.

What happened in Chicago yesterday??? Cubs fans were in such a bad mood that they were doing shots of Malort.

It’s sales tax holiday weekend in Tennessee through 11:59 PM Sunday, August 1. Through then, you don’t have to pay sales tax on

  • Apparel priced at $100 or less per item
  • School and art supplies priced at $100 or less per item
  • Computers priced at $1500 or less
  • Most food (including food purchased at restaurants) through 11:59 PM Thursday; candy not included

By the way – in case you’re wondering, “Does this work with online purchases?”, in my experience the answer is YES. I ordered from Amazon and Zappos during the sales tax holiday last year and it worked like a charm on both sites.

Texas and Oklahoma have been approved to join the SEC. This is the beginning of a shakeup as schools will rush to fill the open Big 12 slots – or will that conference simply implode? I wonder if Texas A&M will attempt to jump back to the Big 12, since they left that conference a decade ago to get away from the Longhorns?

The eastbound I-40 bridge lanes will open earlier than expected – this evening, to be exact.

The Redbirds host Gwinnett tonight at 6:35 at AutoZone Park. Enjoy fireworks after the game.

There’s a benefit concert for Hospitality HUB this afternoon in Court Square. Musicians Tuune and Silvr chose to become homeless as they tour the country in support of their latest music. At each tour stop, they play a benefit concert for those who did not have such a choice in becoming homeless. Free food, vendors, and raffles. Vendors will donate a portion of their proceeds to the HUB.

I’ve mentioned the HUB on here before. They help those experiencing homelessness with all the things we don’t think about: A temporary mailing address, iPad stations so they can check their email, help getting birth certificates and state ID, and help getting transportation to job interviews or to get to other cities where they have relatives. If you want to truly help someone in need, donating to the HUB is a much better use of your money than giving it to a panhandler on the street.

Professional Bull Riders (the other PBR) comes to FedExForum tonight with its Pendleton Whisky Tour. Unlike a rodeo, PBR tour action is treated as a sport rather than a show. The bulls are considered athletes and are ranked just as the riders are.

Come support kid entrepreneurs at their 6th annual marketplace tomorrow at Butterific Bakery & Cafe, 488 S. Second, tomorrow noon to 4.

I reported a couple of weeks ago that AutoZone was planning a big street party on Front Street Monday afternoon to celebrate the opening of new space and the return of employees to its headquarters Store Support Center. Due to the rise of the Delta variant, the company has postponed bringing back employees until a later date.

Employees get a few more weeks free from cubicles and “Uniform Monday,” so for them, it’s probably good news (although they dare not publicly celebrate it as such). However, it’s terrible news for restaurants like Majestic, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Flying Saucer, and Bardog that are within walking distance of their office. Just think how many red and gray shirts we used to see on patios between 11 and 2 weekdays. If they’re not in the Downtown office, they’re not going to be out Downtown for lunch. Restaurants did not need one more setback, and this time it’s not due to stupid restrictions that go overboard – it’s due to people not getting vaccinated.

FiveThirtyEight had a good Pollapalooza piece yesterday that showed there are a variety of reasons so many Americans remain unvaccinated from COVID. It’s not just politics and/or people being staunchly anti-vacc. Other reasons include

  • Skepticism
  • Access to the vaccine – particularly, those without cars and those in rural areas are at a disadvantage
  • Age – Younger people have had less time to access the vaccine compared to those 65+
  • Access to information about where to get the vaccine – if you don’t have a  computer or smartphone, you can’t just pull up a list of sites anytime
  • Not enough time / worried about missing work the next day when the side effects kick in / can’t arrange child care
  • The history of inequities in the health system for people of color

City Councilman and COVID task force member Dr. Jeff Warren has tested positive for COVID.

A Memphis legend celebrates his retirement today. Mercy, daddy! After SIXTY years in the business, “The Boogie Woogie Man,” Handsome Jimmy Valiant, wrestles his final match tonight at the New River Fair in Dublin, Virginia.

Plans for today: I’m skipping my usual Saturday brunch so that I can be well-rested for Charvey Mac tonight! Great tunes by a great dude, and my first time at the Blind Bear since Wednesday so I plan to catch up on the PBRs I haven’t consumed since then! Hope to see you out at the show. He takes the stage at 9. Yeahhhh, man! Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Well. The Grizzlies certainly made some unexpected selections last night.

They did not move into the single-digit picks via trade, as had been rumored. At #10, two top-notch picks were still on the board: Arkansas shooting guard Moses Moody and UConn shooting guard James Bouknight. Both are considered NBA-ready, perhaps even in starting roles.

The Grizz, however, went with small forward Ziaire Williams at 10. He will provide shooting power on the wing, and let’s face it, that’s been a need since the team traded Rudy Gay a decade ago. The knocks against him are that he had an unimpressive season at Stanford and will be banged around by bruising NBA opponents. Bleacher Report graded the pick a D+. Yet the Memphis front office had their eye on Williams for over a year, reports the DM’s Drew Hill, and intel indicated he would not still be there to pick at 17.

Then the Grizz traded the #40 pick and two second-rounders to Utah for a chance to pick again in the first round at #30. They got Santi Aldama from Loyola (Maryland), a 6’11” power forward/center. Bleacher Report said he hasn’t faced high-level competition, might need to be stashed overseas, and might not have been drafted in the second round. They gave the pick a D. Aldama is from Spain, and the Grizzlies are known to have a great track record with Spanish players.

Mayor Harris said in yesterday’s COVID-19 task force press conference that the next health directive, to be issued Wednesday, August 4, will be updated to reflect the CDC’s latest guidance. The CDC now recommends masking, even among those fully vaccinated people, when you are in an indoor public space and don’t know the vaccination status of those around you. It also recommends masking when you’re around someone with a known immune system condition.

Therefore, the mayor said, the health directive will urge citizens of Shelby County to mask up under those circumstances. However, at this time, there will be no restoration of any mandates, including masking, nor any other form of COVID restrictions. The mayor did say that “nothing is off the table” if the numbers continue to get worse. Read the complete press conference recap on News Break

Personally, I would prefer to see the following two things happen instead of mask mandates:

  1. Employers adopt policies that employees who are not fully vaccinated get negative COVID tests every 72 hours; and
  2. Restaurants, bars, sporting venues, and concert halls require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test less than 72 hours old.

This would make it more of a pain in the ass to be unvaccinated than to go get vaccinated, which would drive vaccination rates way up. Also, note that the policies would be implemented by the private sector, not government, which is the way it should be.

Memphis Music Initiative hosts a Return to Music Community Block Party this afternoon at the intersection of the two Kings – Dr. MLK Ave. and B.B. Blvd. Live music by artists associated with MMI, kids’ activities, food trucks, and a performance by the Grizzline.

Tonight is South Main Trolley Night. The shops and galleries of the South Main Arts District stay open until 9 or later, and many of them put out appetizers and booze and some offer discounts or specials. This is a fabulous opportunity to get out and mingle with your neighbors. Despite the heat, I have little doubt Trolley Night will be packed tonight. People are eager to get out again!

While in the area for Trolley Night, be sure to check out Grape as they play Earnestine & Hazel’s at 9.

In other post-Trolley Night festivities, Slider Inn Downtown will have house music and dance music all night long for the LEO Birthday Bash. The event will feature The GOODLife DJs DJ Brandon and DJ RAWHOUSE, along with host ShangSilk.

Today is System Administrator Appreciation Day. Show some love to the people who keep your work computer safe from phishing, viruses, malware, and keystroke detectors.

Speaking of which… there’s a “Your mailbox is almost full” email scam making its way around the Internet. If you get a message like this, delete it without opening any attachments or clicking on any links in the email.

There’s a specialty ticket you can buy to tonight’s Redbirds game that gets you an all-you-can-eat buffet of ribs, hot dogs, potato salad, chips, and drinks (2 per person, water or soft drinks). The buffet runs for 2 hours following the opening of the gates at 6 PM. It’ll be on the 3rd Base Cove on the main concourse, near section 108.

Miami Rose hosts Drag Queen Bingo tonight at MOXY Memphis, 40 N. Front, from 7 to 9. Compete for an array of prizes, including a suite at the hotel. PRO TIP: I would venture a guess that your chances of winning a prize are better than normal this week, as many people who might otherwise play bingo are drawn away by South Main Trolley Night.

Artists’ and makers’ market Memphis Modern Market returns to Loflin Yard at 11 tomorrow.

Hope Clayburn’s Soul Scrimmage will perform at Carolina Watershed tonight at 7 for a free show.

It’s a Broke Tall Folk double feature this weekend at The Vault – they’ll play both Friday and Saturday evenings. Tonight’s show starts at 8 PM.

Paper & Clay at 525 S. Main is new to the arts district, but they’ll be celebrating their 8th birthday tonight at Trolley Night. They are promising treats, drinks, discounts, and a giveaway.

Richard Wilson plays soulful blues and jazz at the Blues Hall on Beale Street, 4:30 to 7:30 this evening.

I’m going to take it easy and get some writing done this morning and afternoon. Around 4:30 I’ll wander up to Max’s Sports Bar for a couple of beverages, then I’ll hit South Main Trolley Night at 6. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

A GoFundMe has been set up to attempt to save the historic Memphis Peanut Shoppe. The shop has been a Downtown staple since 1949, and the current owner, Rida, is one of those people who makes Downtown the one-of-a-kind community that it is. I first went in there around 2006 to buy my mom candy for Christmas, and every time after that he would ask, “How’s mother?” when he saw me. When she passed away in January 2017, Rida was the first person I went and told.

The building The Peanut Shoppe is in will be renovated into apartments in 2022, and Rida will not be able to renew his lease beyond its expiration this December. The money raised will be used to help Rida find a new location Downtown. If it turns out that the money cannot be used for this purpose, it will be donated to a worthy charity.

Celisse headlines this week’s Get Loud! concert tonight in Handy Park, B.B. King at Beale. The concert is free and family-friendly. Opening act Talibah Safiya gets things started at 6.

We have reopening dates confirmed for the I-40 bridge. Eastbound lanes will be open Monday, August 2 by 6 AM. Westbound lanes will be open Friday, August 6, at a time to be determined.

Charvey Mac returns to the Blind Bear this Saturday, with a show starting at 9 PM. I plan on being there! Most excited I have been about a show at the Bear since the pandemic restrictions were lifted!

The Memphis Grizzlies have announced their Summer League schedule in Las Vegas. The league is a first look at draftees and a tune-up for young, developing players. The games will be broadcast on national TV networks.

Voting in the Memphis Flyer’s 2021 Best of Memphis poll is underway.

Earlier this month I reported that River City Records would open at a not-yet-known South Main address. The address is now known, and they’re going to be on the best part of South Main: The part of it that’s on the Main Street Mall. The vinyl store will go in at 101 S. Main, in the old Bluff City soap location. The owner lives across the street from the new shop. How cool is that?

It’s National Chicken Wing Day, National Chili Dog Day, and National Lasagna Day. (Edited to add: The New Wing Order food truck is at Grind City Brewing tonight 5 to 8.)

DJ Alpha Whiskey plays a set at the MOXY Memphis hotel, 40 N. Front, tonight from 6 to 9. Free for the public to come out and boogie.

$2 beer and $1 hot dog throwback pricing happens tonight as the Redbirds host Gwinett. First pitch 7:10.

After-hours social event Whet Thursday happens tonight at the Metal Museum. Live music, food truck, metalworking demos, yard games.

It’s NBA draft night! I’ll be out with a PBR in my hand, eagerly anticipating the Grizzlies’ front office’s moves. Back tomorrow with analysis of draft night, any COVID-19 task force news that comes out today, and more.

Wednesday update

The CDC has reversed their previous advice on masking. They now recommend that in COVID hotspots (which would include Shelby County), all people, including those who are vaccinated, wear a face mask when in a public indoor space. New information indicates that fully vaccinated people are capable of spreading the Delta variant. The CDC guidance applies to schools as well.

No word yet on whether the Shelby County Health Department will reinstate the mask mandate. I’m assuming they’ll do a COVID-19 task force press conference tomorrow at noon and we’ll get an update then.

I have noticed considerably more people masked as I have walked down the Main Street Mall the past two days. I carry a mask in my pocket but have not been wearing it since I’m fully vaccinated. I guess I’ll start putting it on before entering Walgreens and DGX.

Starting tomorrow, those who want to enter one of the 300 bars that are members of the San Francisco Bar Alliance will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result within the past 72 hours. I think that makes far more sense than adopting incredibly stupid social distancing regulations like bar stools must be in groups of two, six feet apart. The Delta variant isn’t spreading because people are sitting too close together. The Delta variant is spreading because people are not getting vaccinated.

Atomic Rose, the nightclub on Second a block south of Beale, is now open for lunch 11 AM to 3 PM. They have meat-and-twos for $13, meat-and-threes for $15, plates of 4 veggies for $15, soups, salads, and sandwiches. They also have desserts from Butterific Bakery a half a mile down Second Street.

The Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns formally notified the SEC that they’d like to become members as of 2025. According to conference bylaws, 11 of the 14 current schools would need to approve their request. Missouri, Texas A&M, and Arkansas are probable “no” votes, but they’d need one more to keep the Longhorns and the Sooners out.

Overnight, the US men’s basketball team came back strong, beating Iran by 54.

Final renderings for the 20-story Grand Hyatt at One Beale have been revealed.

The Gwinnett Stripers brought the Memphis’ Redbirds win streak to an end at 15 last night. The two teams play again tonight at AutoZone Park.

Today is National Hamburger Day. There are a number of spots Downtown where you can get a great burger – Kooky Canuck, Huey’s, Majestic Grille, Rizzo’s, the legendary Soul Burger at Earnestine & Hazel’s. My number-one pick, though, would be the Double-Double at Dyer’s on Beale Street.

The Sip & Song Concert Series comes to Alcenia’s this evening. Bigg Smith performs on the patio 5:30-6:30. They have some of the best soul food you’ll find in this city, so come with an appetite.

Awesome Instagram account to follow: The BAM Bus. Three women all thought they were dating a guy – the same guy – exclusively until they found each other on social media. They arranged a Facetime session to dump him in the most embarrassing way possible. His dream, which he had shared with all three of his “exclusive” girlfriends, was to travel the U.S. living in an old bus. The three women are now living out his dream and having the time of their lives – and they didn’t invite him.

That’s it for this post. Probably going to take an entire day off from going out and focus on writing and related activities, then tomorrow I’ll get out to watch the NBA draft. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

I had heard for the past couple of days that a trade was a-brewin’ in the NBA. The Grizzlies, who held the No. 17 pick in this year’s NBA draft, wanted to move up to a lottery pick (top 14). Rumor had it that our 4th-year power forward/center/unicorn Jaren Jackson Jr. might be a trade piece.

So about 2:30 in the afternoon I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I saw this from the bartender at Max’s Sports Bar:

I miss Jonas already

NOOOOOO! Not the big guy! He was such a great fit for the program!

Here’s the trade, as reported by Bleacher Report:

Memphis Grizzlies get
Center Steven Adams
Point-guard Eric Bledsoe
Pelicans’ No. 10 pick in 2021 draft
Pelicans’ No. 40 pick in 2021 draft
First-round pick in 2022 draft (via L.A. Lakers)

New Orleans Pelicans get
Center Jonas Valanciunas
Grizzlies’ No. 17 pick in 2021 draft
Grizzlies’ No. 51 pick in 2021 draft

The Pels apparently think Jonas will work better in the frontcourt with Zion Williamson than Steven Adams did, and were willing to do first- and second-round pick swaps with the Grizz in the 2021 draft to get him. They were also willing to throw in the Lakers’ 2022 pick, which most likely will fall in the 15-30 (non-lottery) range. The pick is top 10-protected.

The Pelicans also dumped a fair amount of salary (both Adams and Bledsoe make about $18 million a year) in the trade. That will give them cap space to sign a free agent or match offers for restricted free agent Lonzo Ball, says ESPN’s Woj.

Bledsoe almost certainly won’t ever suit up for Memphis. He was brought onboard to be traded for young talent and future picks, as Dwight Howard and Andre Iguodala were last season.

From Bleacher Report: Biggest winners and losers of Pels-Grizz trade. Notable loser: Justise Winslow, who is now going to have his team option declined.

One player the Grizz are said to have their eye on in the draft is Tennessee guard/forward Keon Johnson. However, in Bleacher Report’s latest stock up/stock down, Johnson fell to No. 18 so the Grizz wouldn’t have needed to make a move to get him. Call me biased, but if I were Memphis’ front office I’d take a good long look at Arkansas’ Moses Moody.

Two random pieces of wisdom I overheard yesterday:

  1. If you have sex on a pool table, be sure to put a pillow under your knees. Otherwise the felt will give you rug burns.
  2. If you eat catfish out of the Mississippi River, there’s a 90% chance you’re eating dead people. Catfish are bottom-feeders.

RiverArtsFest comes back Downtown this year following a year off for COVID. This year’s event will be held at the Renasant Convention Center. The juried artists’ booths will be inside, safe from the elements. The performances will be outside. The event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24.

If you have Peacock and are willing to stay up a bit late: Olympic basketball, USA vs. Iran, comes on at 11:40 tonight.

It’s National Chicken Finger Day. There are dozens of places you can get those, but I’d recommend the ones at Bardog, fried and buffaloed.

The Shelby County Commission voted 13-0 yesterday to approve Dr. Michelle Taylor as the new head of the Health Department.

Tonight is Tasting Tuesday at Curfew. You can get on the Airtab app and enjoy social drinking with friends. Tonight’s cocktails: A”Maize”ing, Toasty & Tasty, Fly High Butterfly, Spike Your Juice.

The Redbirds host Gwinnett tonight at 7:10. It’s Nacho Average Tuesday, where every ticket includes a free order of Ballpark Nachos.

Getting back to the NBA draft – it’s Thursday night. Unless they change it up this year, the team with the #1 pick is on the clock at 6:30. Teams have 5 minutes to make first-round decisions and 2 minutes to make second-round decisions. That would put the Grizzlies at approximately 7:20 for the No. 10 pick and 9:20 for the No. 40.

The Daily Memphian’s Grizzlies coverage is so good that it alone is worth the price of a monthly subscription. Drew Hill cited a report by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor that the Grizzlies’ front office may not be done wheelin’ and dealin’ and there could be a move into the top 5 in the draft.

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

Monday update

Last week I reported there was a sign on the door of El-Basha Grill, the restaurant that never opened at 8 S. Main, advertising that a frozen drink chain called Fat Tuesday was hiring. This morning I walked past there on the way to Walgreens (which has Mountain Dew back in stock – YAAAYYY!) and saw that all the restaurant tables are chairs have been removed. That adds credence to the belief that 8 S. Main will indeed be the location of Fat Tuesday.

The inside dining/drinking area appears really small – about 500-600 square feet. Perhaps they will take advantage of to-go drink sales being legal at restaurants through 2023 (and probably forever).

WATCH: Downtown Memphis Carry-Out Concert with John Paul Keith from The Edge Motor Museum

St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral at 700 Poplar held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome people back to the sanctuary following a year-plus of streaming worship services on the computer.

It’s time for another Music Monday on the patio of Cordelia’s Market tonight 5-7. Grab you a bucket of beer inside before you head out there.

It’s World Tofu Day. Yeah I’ll take a pass on that holiday.

I mistakenly reported that the Redbirds lost a game last week. They did not and their winning streak now extends to 15. They’ll be back in town Tuesday for a 6-game homestand vs. the Gwinnett Stripers.

The Memphis Flyer has a Q&A with Shelby County Health Department Director appointee Dr. Michelle Taylor.

The blog answers the question: How long will it be so disgustingly hot and humid? The answer: For a while. Root for afternoon thunderstorms today as a means of cooling us down.

That’s it for today. Monday posts typically aren’t very newsy. Time to bang out a couple of articles on Medium and then I’ll decide what the rest of my day looks like. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

Today is National Wine and Cheese Day, and Loflin Yard will hold a special celebration 4 to 7 this afternoon. Wine & Dine specials will include

  • $5 glasses of wine
  • Half off bottles of wine
  • Large charcuterie board for the price of a small

Pam & Terry announced a time change for their Saturday & Sunday shows at the new Ghost River location on Beale. Both days they will play 3:30-6:30.

Memphis 901 FC beat Tulsa last night, picking up 3 points in league play.

Memphis Fire Department responded to a fire near Blues City Cafe on Beale Street yesterday morning. Their electrical box exploded.

Yesterday was the first day since February Shelby County reported more than 300 COVID cases in a single day.

There’s a class at the Broom Closet this afternoon entitled Healing Waters: An Introduction to Herbal Infusions. It’s taught by Erin Larrivee, who has been working with herbal infusions for 10 years. Participants will be able to sample the recipes made this afternoon, and they will get a couple of handcrafted herbal blends to make at home. Fee for the class is $10.

Jeff Hulett plays tonight’s edition of Sunset Sessions at Grind City Brewing 6-8 PM.

That’s it for today. Back tomorrow with more news, or maybe Tuesday since Mondays are often slow days.

Saturday update – PBR prices, dangerous man in South Main, more

I want to start off today’s post by stirring the pot a bit.

Yesterday I was sitting at the Silly Goose with a manager from B.B. King’s club on Beale. “Just curious,” I asked him. “What does a PBR cost over there?”

“$3.50,” he replied.

“For one of these?” I held up the 16-ounce can I was working on, and he said yes.

So here’s my question. B.B. King’s is on Beale, and has to deal with all the operating overhead that comes with being in an entertainment district. So how is it that neighborhood bars, that are many blocks removed from the entertainment district, can justify a price higher than $3.50 for a 16 ounce PBR?

I’m just gonna say there’s an opportunity here. Some neighborhood bars would be able to cut into my Goose and Bear time a good bit if their PBR prices were as reasonable as those places.

There’s news on Nextdoor of a man on a bike who has assaulted several people Downtown recently. He’s said to hang around Loflin Yard, Wayne’s Candy on Carolina Avenue, and South Main. Black male, military hat, military backpack.

More info on the Nextdoor comments: Believed to sleep in the area around Nettleton and Tennessee at night. Has pulled a knife on at least one area resident. Possibly the same man who screamed at groups of people on South Main near Butler and Huling. Capable of acting perfectly normal when approached by police. Seen on Carolina near B.B. King Blvd. and also on Georgia. Not always on a bike. Height estimated by one commenter to be 5’9″ to 5’10”.

Damn. I almost walked to Max’s Sports Bar (which, by the way, has 16 oz. PBR draft for $2.75) yesterday afternoon but decided against it because of rain in the area. Glad I didn’t now. It’s terrible that South Main is booming like never before in the 19 years I have lived Downtown, yet never before have I felt so unsafe walking to that neighborhood.

If you commute down South Front Street, you’ll want to make alternate arrangements for the afternoon of Monday, August 2. AutoZone will have Front blocked off between Union and Gayoso from 4 to 7 that afternoon. They will have a street party to celebrate the return of workers to their headquarters Store Support Center and the opening of new office space.

The Memphis Redbirds’ 12-game winning streak was broken by the Louisville Bats last night, 1-0.

The MBJ reports that Italian restaurant Spindini has closed. The space at 383-385 S. Main has been purchased by a group of investors who plan to open another restaurant there.

In world news: The UK’s The Guardian visited Methodist Hospital in Memphis to get a report on the Delta variant and vaccine resistance.

The DM reports that the I-40 bridge won’t open until early August.

Today is National Tequila Day.

It’s Local Heroes Day as Memphis 901 FC hosts Tulsa tonight. Starting at 4:30 there will be a pre-party at the new Ghost River location on Beale. $10 deal during the party gets you a Ghost River Gold and a chili cheese dog. My friends Pam & Terry will supply the live music. March to the stadium at 6:50, kickoff at 7:30. If you can’t make it live, the match will be broadcast locally on CW30.

Artist Ephraim Urevbu holds a preview exhibition for The Naked Truth: An American Story in Red, White, and Blue at his gallery Urevbu Contemporary, S. Main at Huling, today at 4:30. The exhibition will be on display in Nashville this fall.

Five O’Clock Shadow plays Slider Inn Downtown today at noon.

There’s a Back to School Skate Party this evening 7-9 on Riverside Drive between Court and Jefferson. Free skating, school supplies giveaways, food trucks.

Time to watch the USWNT, get a couple of hours of professional writing done, and then go drink some of that overpriced PBR. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Great news: The DMC announced in its weekly email newsletter that Food Truck Thursdays will return in August. About a dozen food trucks park in Court Square on Thursdays, offering additional dining options to those who are Downtown during the lunch hour. I am very excited to see the trucks make a comeback. It’s been too long since I had a pulled pork baked potato with Smurfey sauce.

The Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force resumed its weekly press conferences yesterday. They discontinued them last month but said they would bring them back if circumstances changed significantly. A report of over 200 new cases for the first day in months (259 to be exact) was enough to bring the conferences back. Read the full report on NewsBreak

I do want to emphasize one point from the press conference: County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph was asked if bringing restrictions back would be considered if the numbers got high enough. Dr. Randolph said it’s not an issue of another Safer at Home order or imposing restrictions on businesses. It’s an issue of too many people being unvaccinated. So it sounds like our bar stools and 3 AM closing times are not in danger.

It’s Full Moon Kayak night at Wolf River Harbor. There will be free 30 minute kayak rentals and a DJ on the harbor.

Over on Mud Island tonight, it will be the next installment of Soulin’ on the River, this one featuring Devin Crutcher. This is a free show and lawn chairs, coolers, blankets, and picnic baskets are welcome.

Josh McLane, formerly in the kitchen at the Hi-Tone, will operate a small sandwich shop inside the new South Point Grocery, the Memphis Flyer reports. The grocery is set to open this fall.

Seamus will open the Brass Door at 6:30 Saturday morning for a USWNT watch party. Come support the USA ladies in Olympic soccer.

The Memphis Flyer has video of the demolition of a small building in Tom Lee Park yesterday as construction got underway.

Interesting: Texas and Oklahoma are looking to get out of the Big 12, according to this report, and the SEC is a conference they have their eyes on. They would need the votes of 11 of the 14 current conference members to join the SEC. Former Big 12 members Texas A&M and Missouri are said to be “hard nos” and Arkansas is not fond of the idea of being in a conference with Texas once again. But who would be the fourth no?

The Memphis Flyer has a story on the New Wing Order-Old Dominick Distillery partnership that produced a Maple Bourbon wing sauce. Don’t forget, Downtowners, City Market is your place to pick up some of the sauce.

Jennifer Biggs of the DM has a look at Grind City Brewing Co. this morning. Go there, even if it is a bit out of the way. It is awesome. Biggs: “The view alone is enough to keep the seats full.”

The Redbirds, currently on the road in Louisville, have won 12 straight.

Moxy Memphis at 40 N. Front will have Drag Queen Bingo tonight from 7 to 9. Aubrey Ombre will call the numbers and will give away some fabulous prizes, including a chance to win a suite at the Moxy. This seems to be the Summer of Drag… the Moxy is the third Memphis business in a month to bring on either a drag show or drag bingo.

That’s it for this post. I’m going to write until about 1, 1:30 then get out for a while. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

A new record store is coming to the neighborhood. I don’t have an address for River City Records yet but a Nextdoor post says it will be in the heart of Downtown. They will carry music from the Stax, Royal, and Sun labels, R&B, hip-hop – Memphis music from the 1950s until today. They’ll have plenty of vinyl and in-store listening stations. They’ll have live, in-store events too. Grand opening plans will be announced soon. In the meantime, check out their Memphis to the Core Spotify playlist.

A third sport is coming to AutoZone Park. The Premier Rugby Sevens league championship game will be played at the park October 9. If you’ve never seen Rugby Sevens on TV, it is a lot of fun, considerably more fast-paced than traditional rugby. Matches are only 14 minutes long, so it’s a sport for people with short attention spans.

Downtown property owners: The CCDC now has grants available for sidewalk repair. They’ll match money you spend on repairs, up to $5000. This is great news. There are plenty of sidewalks Downtown that are cracked to the point of being safety hazards.

There’s controversy over Mayor Harris’ appointee to lead the Shelby County Health Department – but Dr. Michelle Taylor’s qualifications were not what I found to be disturbing in the article. The county expects to pay the director of the health department, a DOCTOR, $96,480. How do they expect to get anybody good when most doctors earn well into six figures?

In today’s Morning Brew newsletter, it was noted that beginning today in France, you have to show proof of vaccination to get into movie theaters, sports arenas, and large event venues. Starting in August, you’ll need to be vaccinated to eat in restaurants. Could such measures come to the U.S., and to Shelby County? I’d definitely favor France’s measures over reinstating masking and social distancing regulations. Punish the people who haven’t done the right thing. Don’t punish everyone!

The 2021 Summer Olympics opening ceremony will begin at 8 PM Tokyo time tomorrow. The U.S. Central time zone is 14 hours behind Tokyo, so set the alarm clock for 6 AM if you want to watch. Here’s a comprehensive schedule of Olympic events. There are plenty of events happening today.

From Local 24: Orpheum uses arts to help kids deal with pain of losing parents

Son Little performs live at Handy Park, Beale Street at B.B. King Blvd., in this week’s edition of the Get Loud! concert series. The Sensational Barnes Brothers open. The show begins at 6, and it’s free and family-friendly.

Andy Lyle Hall plays a free show at Carolina Watershed tonight at 6.

I took yesterday as an effective weekend day, but today it’s time to get back to business. Lately Thursday has been my “stay home and write, all day and all night” day, and I see no reason to alter those plans, especially since I have 9 articles in my “Ideas” queue. Back tomorrow with more news.