Hunting and Waterfowl convention coming to Bass Pro, plus lots more news in this Thursday update #2

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Sep 032015

Bass Pro at the Pyramid is set to host the first World’s Hunting and Waterfowl Expo October 16-25. There will be a number of celebrities appearing at the event. Celebrities will include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Si Robertson from Duck Commander, and a host of other names I would recognize if I hunted or fished. The Big Cypress National Duck Calling Championship will be held there October 24. The Super Retriever Series will be October 17-18, with jumps performed by the top hunting dogs in the world.

With college football season starting up, Max’s Sports Bar will revert to its 11 AM opening time Saturday. It had been opening at 4:30 PM during the summer. In my opinion there is no better place to watch football Downtown. 10 TVs inside plus more in the back on Max’s Big Deck. It is in the Arcade Building, all the way to the eastern end on G.E. Patterson.

Join us, just for the grill of it is the theme of this week’s Memphis Farmers Market. It’s the last three-day weekend of the summer and a great opportunity to grill out. The Market has all the meats you need, everything from beef to lamb to seafood. I noticed that one of the vendors even sells BBQ tofu. (Can you grill tofu? I wouldn’t know.) Of course, the market has veggies you can put on the grill too. This week Opera Memphis brings “30 days of opera” to the Market with a performance at 10 AM. UT Extension Agent Sheryl Miller will give demos making Sheryl’s Apple Salad at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30. Live music by Davy Ray Bennett 8:30-10 and Adam Levin 11-12:30. 7 AM to 1 PM, under the pavilion at the corner of Front and G.E. Patterson, every Saturday through November 21.

Paul Morris who runs DMC has said that one of the organization’s main missions is to increase property values. He tweeted this graphic that shows how much property values have grown in Downtown’s districts since 2005. Look at South Main! 90.7%! My heart (and my address) will always be in the Downtown core, but man, I wish I had bought some South Main rental property in 2004!

Life is Good will have a tent sale during the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival this weekend, with many items on sale. They’re located on the first floor of the Peabody Place office tower facing Main Street.

From the MBJ: The Carlisle brothers share their vision after plans for One Beale are approved

Ugh… one of my least favorite Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia, will deliver the annual Constitution Day lecture at my alma mater Rhodes College on September 22. Despite being an alumnus I think I will skip this event. The speech will be titled, “Rights? If I Had My Way You Wouldn’t Have Any (Unless You’re a Corporation).” No I’m just kidding… the speech’s real title will be “Constitutional Interpretations.”

Home from work. Leading off at happy hour at Blind Bear to see my favorite pair of librarian glasses. After that, I will decide between Blind Bear poker and a Saucer visit. One more day until Labor Day weekend.

Every day is a festival

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Sep 032015

This morning I posted on Facebook that the forecast for Memphis Music & Heritage Festival this weekend is mid 90s both days with heat index probably near 100. I said I might have to take some “Bear Breaks” (trips to the Blind Bear, within the festival borders), to cool off. My friend Gary commented, “so every day is a festival for you!” I really like that as a philosophy on life. I think I will adopt it.

The South Main Association is bringing back its legendary Oktoberfest celebration. Sunday, September 27, from 3 to 7 Oktoberfest will be held at the Farmers Market pavilion at the corner of South Front and G.E. Patterson Avenue. Food, beer and wine will be served compliments of the SMA, and you will be able to dance to the music of Pam and Terry. There will be a silent auction featuring items from local businesses. The event will happen rain or shine. For SMA members tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For non-SMA members, $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Purchase tickets here.

Burlesque is coming to the Brass Door Saturday September 12 8-10 PM in a 21+ show. This is the only burlesque tribute personally approved by author George R. R. Martin himself, and it has sold out up and down the East Coast. It will star Bella LaBlanc, Bree MaDonna, Cherie Sweetbottom, Dante the Inferno, Lily Liqueur, Moxie LaBouche, Ray Bullock, and Xander Lovecraft, and will be hosted by Ego Von Hubris. Purchase tickets here Doors at 7, show at 8. No one will be seated during the harrowing Mountain vs Red Viper duel sequence.

Tonight is the regular season finale for the Memphis Redbirds. All who attend will receive a voucher for a 2016 season field box seat, for any date except fireworks dates. 2016 schedule magnets will be given away, and it will be a Fan Appreciation Night and fans will have the chance to win Redbirds merchandise every inning, including autographed memorabilia. Gates at 6, first pitch 7:05. The New Orleans Zephyrs are the opponent.

There’s a ton of college football on tonight. Here’s the schedule.

There will be a Community Open House for the newly completed Halloran Center for Performing Arts and Education, adjacent to the Orpheum on South Main, Saturday, September 12 from 10 AM to 6 PM. There will be self-guided tours and performances by Ballet Memphis, Collage Dance Collective, Hattiloo Theatre, Mömandpöp, Music for Aardvarks, New Ballet Ensemble, Opera Memphis, Theatre Memphis, and Voices of the South. Food trucks including Sin City Grillers, MEMPOPS, Parker’s Italian Ice, and Cariflavor will be there. The center will have classroom space, start-of-the-art 361-seat theatre, dance studio, cutting-edge audio/video lab, and a rehearsal hall to enhance education in the performing arts.

Memphis Magazine’s luncheon series, “A Summons to Memphis,” will continue Monday, September 14 at the Peabody’s Grand Ballroom, 11 AM to 1 PM. The speaker will be Mick Cornett, the first four-term mayor of Oklahoma City, named by Newsweek as one of the five most innovative mayors in the U.S. His progressive policies on downtown redevelopment, urban design, and health and wellness are a good model for Memphis city planners to study. Purchase tickets here. $50 individual/$450 table. Through tomorrow, use code ADVANCE for 20% off.

The Daily News has an article on planning what’s next for the soon-to-be former Memphis College of Art space at 477 S. Main.

That’ll do it for now. Check back about 6, because there may be a second post. I have Memphis Farmers Market news and we will see what else I find to talk about.

Diamond Dave Day update

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Sep 022015

Tonight is Diamond Dave Day at the Brass Door, to celebrate 10 years of Dave being here. There will be an alley party with kegs and beer pong, and then at 7:30 there will be Dave’s British Bingo with $4 house wine and Fireball and $100 in prizes to be given away.

Tickets are now on sale for the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest. This is my favorite beer festival of the year. It’s an opportunity to learn about beer and talk with the brewers. Date is Saturday, October 17. Definitely worth a Lyft to Cooper-Young.

Moody Ques vice-president Clay met with team workhorse “Mr. Load-in” last night at the Blind Bear, and there was some bad news: Both of the fall regional BBQ competitions the team had planned on entering, Al Chymia and The Art of Q, have been cancelled. Only Best Memphis Burger Fest remains on our calendar, and that’s not a practice cooking championship pork shoulder. It’s good in the sense that we’ll have extra money in our bank account, but not good because we won’t be able to get feedback from judges on our product. The closest BBQ competitions are in Chattanooga and an hour south of Macon in Georgia, and while the expense of traveling to those would not be prohibitive, it definitely would not be pleasant. We’d have gas costs for towing the cooker and hotel expenses on top of the entry fee. If any other BBQ teams have advice on how we can practice and get feedback, email me at and I will pass the info on to the team.

The CA has an article on this weekend’s Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. Center for Southern Folklore head Judy Peiser says there will be an additional emphasis on dance this year.

The company that handles concessions at FedExForum is holding a job fair Friday and Saturday. Come “dressed for success” with your resume. There will be a variety of concessions jobs for which to apply.

Elmwood Cemetery will have its 10th annual Costume Twilight Tour Saturday, October 24. Volunteers will bring this 163-year-old cemetery to life. This event is family-friendly, and children under 12 are admitted free. Adults pay $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Visit for more information.

If you have a jailbroken iPhone, bad news: You may have been hacked.

Possibly a second post, so check back. I will be out after work, but as of yet undecided which place.

Memphis Tigers schedule released and tons more news (Tue update #2)

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Sep 012015

The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball schedule for 2015-16 has been released. It kicks off with the Memphis Madness open practice October 24 and includes four teams that are expected to be nationally ranked: Oklahoma, SMU, Cincinnati, and UConn.

Radio personality @JohnMartin929 tweeted that the University will be featured as part of ESPN’s Thursday Night Showcase three times in conference play: At Cincinnati, 1/21, vs. UConn, 2/4, and vs. SMU, 2/25.

Radio personality @Jon_Roser tweeted that there will be three FedExForum doubleheaders this basketball season: 12/29 Tigers vs Tulane and Grizzlies vs Heat; 1/16 Tigers vs USF and Grizz vs Knicks; 2/6 Tigers vs Cincinnati and Grizz vs Mavs.

Bedrock Eats & Sweets, in the old Frank’s location at Main and Vance, has been open for several weeks. Now they are finally getting around to having a grand opening on Saturday, September 12 at 8:30 AM. They are calling it Wafflemania and there will be free mimosas, chocolate espresso and of course waffles. They will be rolling out their new menu and are proud in particular of the bacon, egg and cheese waffle.

Speaking of new menus: New Blind Bear chef Alex Switzer has tweaked the menu there. Don’t worry, the pepper jack mac & cheese is not going anywhere. Alex seems to be going for a lower price point, with almost all the menu items $12 or under. New to the menu is a Mexican pizza with spiced angus beef, house made salsa, shredded cheddar, triple layered on corn tortillas with fresh romaine and cilantro with sour cream and chili lime for $10.

As I reported earlier, Memphis College of Art is closing its location at 477 S. Main, previously home to its graduate studies programs. Artspace has been engaged to help determine some possible uses for this building, a large building that is one of the cornerstones of South Main. In September, Artspace is holding three public meetings at the building to get input and ideas on this unique property and opportunities for its future use. The meetings are September 15, 5:30 PM; September 16, 8:30 AM; and September 16, 12:30 PM.

The River Series, a concert series, returns to the amphitheater at Maria Montessori School on Mud Island this fall. Concert dates are the evenings of September 12, October 3, and October 24 and you can view the lineup here.

The Memphis Yahoos will be the featured entertainment this Thursday at Tacos & Tunes on the patio of Felicia Suzanne’s 7-10 PM. $2 tacos, $5 margaritas.

A City Council panel recommends spending $2.25 million for trolleys.

Memphis’ tallest building, 100 N. Main, has sold following years of delinquent taxes and late utility bills.

The Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic History is looking to hire someone part-time. Email if interested. The museum is located in the basement of Pembroke Square.

Memphis Music & Heritage Festival this weekend, plus more Tuesday news

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Sep 012015

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival happens Saturday and Sunday on the Main Street Mall between Union and Peabody Place. This is one of my favorite festivals of the year, with regional music from just about every genre that exists being performed on multiple stages. It is presented by the Center for Southern Folklore and there is more than just music. There is food, from food trucks and also from the Folklore Hall kitchen (recommendation: Ella Kizzie’s greens and hot water cornbread). Crafts vendors, storytelling, kids’ activities, dance, and drum lines are some of the other reasons to go. The activity starts around noon and keeps going until about 11 at night both days.

Needless to say, I will be at the festival both days, even foregoing the first Saturday of college football to be outside. Of course, one of my “Big Five,” the Blind Bear, is on the festival route, so there just may be a few stops.

Oh who am I kidding with that “may” comment. Of course there will be stops.

Memphis Oktoberfest returns October 3 and this year it will be at Station 3, the firehouse at Third and Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue. The event is presented by High Cotton Brewing Company. There will be Bavarian fare by Central BBQ and High Cotton beer. Live music will be provided by the Dead Soldiers.

I would really like to go to Oktoberfest, but regretfully I am going to have to miss it. That is the same day as Best Memphis Burger Fest at Tiger Lane, and the Moody Ques are first-year participants. I’ve been told by team leaders that the presence of “Mr. Load-in” is pretty much required.

Wine on the River is a new event coming to the Mud Island River Park Saturday, October 10 from 5 to 9 PM. There will be national and international vineyards. The international section will have an “Around the World” theme spotlighting the food and wine of cultural regions. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 day-of, with proceeds benefitting Youth Villages. Live musicby Well Strung, Eric Hughes Band and Circle Music Player Piano, and lots of other fun. You get a souvenir beverage glass to keep. 21 and up with a valid ID, and children are not allowed.

City Market is not done expanding. The owners of the market say that Downtown and Cooper-Young are tight-knit communities, and they are looking for more such communities in which to expand. They listed High Point and the University of Memphis areas as neighborhoods they considered before choosing Cooper-Young.

Singer CharveyMac makes another rare Downtown appearance tonight. He will be at the Silly Goose from 10 to 1.

This is another of those “too much news to fit in a lunchtime post” days. Back about 5:30 with a second post.

Breakway-Bardog 5K results and more Monday news

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Aug 312015

The results of the Breakaway-Bardog 5K can be found here. 1217 people are listed as having run (or walked, wheeled, whatever). Given the amount of the entry fee, that should put Bardog well north of the $30K line without even counting the other fundraising components.

This year’s head-shaving victim, Lauren Dunn, did not manage to hit her goal of raising more money that last year’s victim Amanda “Panda” Parks. That’s to be expected; Panda was a bartender at the time she did it. Bartenders tend to have more regular customers than servers. Also, Panda had been there since the day Bardog opened. Lauren raised over $6000, last I heard, an incredible number. Massive respect to The Ninja for making the sacrifice this year.

This past weekend, new manager Bjarni told me that live music will be brought back to the Flying Saucer Friday and Saturday nights beginning next month. That is good to hear. A lot of people pre-game at the Saucer and then go other places. Live music will give them a reason to stay past 9 PM.

The first residents have started to move in at the Chisca. Residents are moving into the old motor lodge in the back, the newer of the two buildings and the easier to renovate. The building is said to have many different price points for its dwellings, which should attract a diverse array of residents.

The MBJ reports that MATA is rolling out more rubber-wheeled trolleys. I guess I won’t be able to use the term “South Main Green Bus Night” on here anymore.

The MBJ released its first podcast today. Listen here.

The University of Memphis has announced player suspensions that are a result of the post-game brawl at the Miami Beach Bowl. Players who participated will receive suspensions ranging from half a game to one and a half games.

Congratulations to Dave Brown on his retirement, and thanks for many great years. The blog has a post about Dave that is worth a read. Congratulations also to Ron Childers on being named Chief Meterologist at Action News 5. He’s had many years to learn from the best.

Home from work. Time for a couple of PBRs at Melissa Monday at Bardog, then over to Blind Bear to hang out at Mary’s bar and then Jeannette’s bar. Four more days until a three-day weekend.

Monroe Avenue Fest (but it will always be the Bardog alley party to me) 2015

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Aug 312015

Bardog Tavern celebrated its 7th birthday in style, throwing a huge block-long party in conjunction with a few of its neighbors, the celebration renamed Monroe Fest.


My friends at Gossett Porsche stepped up and sponsored.


VIP area with tastings from area restaurants including Felicia Suzanne’s.


Pete and John D


You never know what you’ll find at the alley party… er, block party… er, Monroe Fest. I am never going to get used to calling it that.


Dunk a hot dog, 4 balls for $3.


One of the prizes in the raffle


The band


Lauren raising money for the head shaving


Some people walked out of Monroe Fest with a new pet


Chef Gary Williams of DeJaVu






Members of the Downtown crew


DJ Lil’ Egg Roll


Backey has his war paint on for the meatball eating contest.


We finally figured out a way to make Marc be quiet: Feed him meatballs.


Brad Pee has a great shirt on.


Uncle Ray


Aldo conducting the raffle




Lauren and her lovely assistant raising money for St. Jude


Crazy Joe and Charles the poker/trivia guy


People hide from me.




“Shave the Ninja” begins. I believe this is the first time a head-shaving victim has cut their own hair.


Previous head-shaving victims have cried. Lauren, on the other hand, smiled all the way through.







What a fabulous party. Thank you Aldo for giving us such a wonderful place to hang out the past 7 years. I have had happy times, weird times, sad times, hilarious times at Bardog but I am so grateful that the places is there. It is one of my homes away from home. Thank you to all who raised money for St. Jude yesterday. Complete photo album here.

Breakaway-Bardog 5K

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Aug 302015

I got up unusually early for a Sunday this morning, so I decided to walk over to Front Street and get some photos of the Breakaway-Bardog 5K runners as they took off.

Click a photo to view it full-size.

























The runners have finished the race (unless they’re really really slow) and are now at the after-party. That will turn into Monroe Fest aka Bardog Alley Party at noon. I will be there. Congratulations to all the runners for raising tens of thousands of dollars for the kids of St. Jude.

Cut me some slack, I’m new to the pack

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Aug 302015

Yesterday about 7 I decided to pay a visit to the Flying Saucer. The Saucer has been the most neglected of my “Big Five” (Bardog, Blind Bear, Saucer, Goose, Max’s) lately and new manager Bjarni has talked me into making a comeback. They had a trainee behind the bar, and someone in Saucer corporate had a very good idea:

2015-08-29 19.04.04

They have the trainees wear T-shirts that say, “Cut me some slack, I’m new to the pack” with the #SaucerWolfpack hashtag on the back. This seems like a very good idea to me. The Saucer trains employees pretty extensively before putting them on the floor or behind the bar, but still, there are 200 different beers. Even if an employee learns about all the different beers, it’s hard to know where the tap handles are located, or which of the coolers a bottle is in.

Right after I wrapped up my coursework for my Master’s degree, I worked in the Computer Services department at the University of Memphis. In my early days there, I would get phone calls about products like SAS that I did not know much about. “I don’t know much about SAS, but if I can get your name and number, I will find someone who can help you,” I would tell them.

“You don’t know about SAS? YOU WORK HERE. WHY DON’T YOU KNOW?????”

Ugh. Regardless of the industry, I HATE that comment. The Saucer’s “cut me some slack” shirt does a fine job insulating new servers and bartenders from that kind of remark. Well done.

On a side note, now and then I get asked about things Downtown that I don’t know much about, like the horse carriages or the riverfront cobblestones. I will tell them I don’t know, and occasionally I will get back the response, “You don’t know? You’re the Downtown blogger. You’re supposed to know everything.” If you want to really piss me off, tell me that. I don’t get paid to write this blog. I write it out of a love for my neighborhood, my friends, and the places where I hang out. I can’t be expected to know everything.

Bardog alley party time! I’m up early, so I guess I will walk down to Monroe and watch the runners. D-RANKS with B-RAD at 11, then over to the alley party between 12 and 12:30.

Saturday update: Cigar festival, Rizzo’s serving liquor, and more

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Aug 292015

The first annual Beale Street Cigar Festival will be held Saturday, September 5. It will be at Havana Mix on Peabody Place and also in the surrounding streets and Handy Park. Many cigar manufacturers will be in attendance, as will sports celebrities. Premium cigars will be included in the ticket price, and there will be huge discounts on boxes of cigars. Beer, bourbon, and cognac tastings, a raffle, and more. VIP ticket holders will get to attend a dinner and after-party at Jerry Lee Lewis’ club on Beale Street that evening.

I heard that Rizzo’s Diner has finally acquired its liquor license. Good deal! I’m not planning any trips to the south side this weekend, but I hope to get in there soon.

September 19 at 8 PM, Hard Rock Cafe will host “Rocking for the Paws,” a fundraiser to benefit Blue Sky Dog Rescue. Rock and country artist Phil Vaught will perform. The event is free to attend, but donations are appreciated. Blue Sky is a dog rescue that saves homeless pets in North Mississippi. You can purchase a special pin in the gift store with $2 going to the rescue. Also, Blue Sky will have dogs onsite for adoption.

I made a slight change to the chicken fried steak rap I posted mid-week. I changed the word “pie” to “pizza” to make the second verse flow better.

I’ve come up with an interesting idea for the Bardog alley party tomorrow, a way I can make a bit of a personal sacrifice for the kids of St. Jude. There is going to be a $25 VIP beer garden where you can drink all the beer you want from 12 to 6. Needless to say, that kind of thing is right up my alley. However, you know what I have decided to do? I am going to forego the beer garden and drop $25 in the St. Jude bucket tomorrow instead. I will pre-game at D-RANKS with B-RAD at Blind Bear at 11, then walk over to the alley party 12-12:30ish. I will have the camera with me and I plan on being there all afternoon to get the usual photo album. For those of you who have never been to the Bardog party before, here’s a look back at 2014 and 2012 (Kelly in a tube top!!!) Not sure why 2013 doesn’t show up in my blog search results but there was a photo of Backey dry-humping a plastic unicorn.

Last night I stopped by Mary’s bar at Blind Bear for happy hour, and she made me one of her signature drinks: The Alien Sextini.

2015-08-28 18.11.33

I don’t normally drink cocktails but I have to admit, this one was really good. I tagged my friends Rahul and Tony when I posted this photo to Facebook. “Not enough fruit in it,” commented Tony.

“Hey Jude” came on while Mary was mixing the drink and she said, “This is a really good song.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. Come see Mary at Blind Bear brunch today 11-6. She is subbing for my favorite pair of librarian glasses.

By the way, here’s a Blind Bear tip – eat. The food was never bad there, of course, but new chef Alex Switzer is really kicking up things to a whole new level.

I mentioned a while back that my friends Robo and Shobo moved to New York City. Robo sent me a photo from the Big Apple:

Photo Aug 27, 7 15 21 PM

Looks like New Yorkers have pretty good taste. It’s probably $6 a can there though.

Norah Jones plays the Orpheum October 26. Tickets go on sale September 10. I’m a bit late to the party with that news, but I didn’t notice the announcement was starred in my inbox.

FreeWorld plays Downtown Central BBQ at noon today.

Bardog at 11 is the plan. No Farmers Market run this morning. Resting up for a big day Sunday.