Thursday update

Third place and best team name in trivia last night!

Despite not knowing much about fairy tales, team “Dos Equis keeps it interesante, but Corona takes it viral” made it into the gift card payout.

51 S. Main, most recently the home of the late Chef Gary Williams’ restaurant DeJaVu, will once again be a Cajun restaurant. Tony Westmoreland and his restaurant group will open Ben-Yay’s in the spot in early March, the MBJ reports. They’re planning traditional dishes, a coffee bar, and a “scoop and serve” at lunch. I think the scoop and serve will do really well with former customers of the now-closed Court House Deli a block away. I will be a frequent customer.

The state says 201 Poplar needs to be repaired or replaced. Well that sounds expensive. Many parts of the building are said to be difficult to maintain or replace.

The Broom Closet will have a class on using technology to manifest Saturday from 2 to 4. Rev. Omma will discuss the ways we can use modern technology to further our magick. There is a $10 “energy exchange” for this event, to be held in the downstairs of the store.

The Downtown Memphis Commisson’s monthly Downtown Safety Meeting is tonight at the Moxy Hotel, to the west of Court Square, from 6 to 7 PM. If you have safety concerns, this is your chance to have them heard.

Tonight is the first night of the Memphis Songwriters Series, hosted by Mark Edgar Stuart, at the Halloran Centre. Tonight’s artists include Bailey Bigger, Chris Milam, and Abbye West Pates. Minimum $5 donation to get in. Show starts at 7 PM.

Candacy Taylor, author of Overground Railroad, an exploration of The Green Book that pointed black travelers to safe road stops back in the Jim Crow era, will speak at the National Civil Rights Museum tonight at 6. Read her interview with the Daily Memphian

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow.

Wednesday update

Well, the Tigers punched their ticket for the NIT for sure last night. If they want otherwise, they’re going to have to win the AAC tournament next month. There is no way they are going to be under consideration for an at-large bid.

Disney’s Aladdin starts a 16-show run at the Orpheum today. It will be here through Sunday, March 8.

Grecian Gourmet Taverna on South Main will host a Greek dance class on Sunday, March 22. Cost is $30 per person and it includes a meze buffet and beverage specials as well as the dance lesson. Participants will learn three dances, Syrto, Tsamiko and Hassapiko. Liz Ramage will be the instructor. To sign up, call 901-249-6626 or email greciangourmet@gmail.com.

Graber Gryass will bring the live music to Sunday brunch at Loflin Yard this Sunday, March 1, from 11 AM to 2 PM. I’ve heard the brunch there is excellent. They are advertising spring weather and indeed, it appears the temperature will jump into the 60s.

As your number-one source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to inform you of a new series coming to Boxlot, the shipping container-based shopping center on Monroe just east of the old Kudzu’s. Taste & See will introduce chefs to the Memphis community. The first Taste & See event, on Friday, March 6 from 5:30-8:00 PM, will feature samples and recipes from Chef Shanon. RSVP here.

ArchInc has moved into its new home in the Claridge House, the Daily Memphian reports. The principals did much of the renovation themselves, uncovering some hidden architectural features.

South Main Hemp is giving away a dinner for 6 at Pete & Sam’s. Purchase $30 or more at the CBD store to secure your entry. Winner will be drawn this Friday at Trolley Night.

Still on the road but making their way back to Memphis, the Grizzlies stop in Houston this evening for a game against the Rockets. Tip is 7 PM and you can catch it on Fox Sports Southeast.

Puck Food Hall will host a Passport to Oregon wine tasting tomorrow night with over 20 different Oregon wineries represented. Each winery will have representatives on hand to discuss their products and answer questions.

Here’s a link to  a transcript of last night’s Democratic debate from South Carolina. I have not had a chance to read it myself yet.

One of the presidential candidates is coming to Memphis. Mike Bloomberg will be at Minglewood Hall 8:15-9:50 AM Friday. (This is not an endorsement by the way. Just sharing information.)

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

Tuesday update

Dear readers, I owe you an apology. I have been derelict reporting important Downtown news and events. Last night I got to the Blind Bear about 7, and learned there had been a book signing there in the afternoon. It was a signing by Howard Hines III, author of

If you enjoy books that frequently employ the word “nut” as both a verb and a noun, you will like these literary delights. Mr. Hines was kind enough to leave samples of his work behind (to be clear, by samples I mean his writing, not his “nut”), much to the enjoyment of the Blind Bear’s staff and customers.

The Daily Memphian reports that the building at S. Front and MLK Ave., formerly cast as the law offices of Strait & Associates on NBC’s Bluff City Law, will see new life as a restaurant, sandwich shop, and speakeasy. The restaurant will be called The Paramount and Derk Meitzler, chef at The Vault, will be CEO and executive chef. The speakeasy will be small, seating only about 20, and it will only be open at night.

The winners of Soup Sunday have been announced. Holly Springs, MS-based Marshall Steakhouse brought their crawfish and crab bisque to score a win in Best Soup. Nothing Bundt Cakes took Best Dessert, and Ciao Bella took the Best Overall award.

Vendors and live music will be the highlight of 420 Reggae Fest at Loflin Yard Saturday, April 18. Chinese Connection Dub Embassy will headline. There will be CBD vendors on site, and for those who get the munchies, food and drink specials.

The Frito Pie which has been a weekend special at Longshot the past several weekends has been so well received that it is now on the regular menu. It comes with Berber chili, Fritos, Greek yogurt, chili oil, mint oil, and micro celery.

South Main Sounds Songwriter Night Season 6, Episode 3 will happen this Friday from 7 to 9 at 550 S. Main. There will be live music by Ellisa Sun, Ken Michienzi, Rose Ragsdale, Will Hilliard and Jon Dillard. Join them, won’t you?

Downtown Neighborhood Association members, here’s a reminder that tonight is the monthly DNA meeting, at which you’ll vote on a slate of proposed 2020 board members. The meeting will be at Comeback Coffee at 358 N. Main. The owners will speak on their journey to Memphis, and City Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas will speak as well. Meeting time is 6:00-7:30 PM.

If you don’t follow Edible Memphis on Facebook, you are missing a lot of valuable pointers on food you can get here in Memphis. Recently they talked to Chef Cole Jeanes of Comeback Coffee about his latest breakfast bowl, the Yogurt + Granola, with poached pear, maple, butternut caramel, cherry, streusel, sage, and chocolate bark.

The Memphis Tigers travel to Dallas tonight to play SMU in a game with an 8 PM tip. Broadcast will be on CBS Sports Network. A first-round bye in the AAC tournament could be on the line in tonight’s game.

I finally got around to early voting yesterday. About 2:30 I walked up to the Shelby County Election Commission. There was no line. They scanned my driver’s license, and then I asked for a Democratic ballot, signed the sign-in sheet, voted at the machine, in and out in 2 minutes. It could not have been easier. Today is the last day to early vote, and you can vote at any early voting location. If you wait until Super Tuesday, March 3, you have to vote at your assigned polling place.

And yes, I stuck with my choice of Elizabeth Warren. It’s true she is unlikely to win a majority or even a plurality of delegates, but in this year it’s still not a wasted vote. If there’s a contested convention, the more delegates she has, the more leverage she will have there.

Off to work. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

About 5:30 this morning I noticed the sound of tires squealing over and over again. I heard it over and over again for about ten minutes. I live near Madison and Main, and the sounds seemed to be coming from the south and possibly southeast, maybe 4 to 5 blocks away. Were people racing on Downtown’s streets in the early morning hours? I know that has happened on Riverside before, but the tire sounds didn’t seem to be coming from that direction.

I wondered if the squealing sounds would be followed by the sound of a crash or a police siren, but no. I wonder if they were racing on B.B. King Blvd. It would be a really bad move for them to cross the intersection of B.B. King and Beale, where there is often a police presence.

So here’s the deal. I couldn’t get back to sleep after that. As I type this it’s 6:42 and I don’t have much to do for the next four hours. Nor do I have enough news to occupy four hours worth of a post. So I will mix what news I do have with plenty of rambling about whatever I want to talk about.

What a joy to watch the Tigers pick up a Quadrant 1 win against a Top 25 opponent yesterday. The Tigers finally did the things Penny has been preaching all season. They were tenacious on defense. They fought for every rebound. They remembered that the shot clock has 30 seconds rather than 10 and didn’t jack up an attempted three as soon as they got down court (sometimes). They earned and deserved that win.

Does that win get the Tigers back in the NCAA conversation? Well, probably not yet, and probably they will need some help. If Memphis wins on the road at Houston on March 8, and then makes it to the AAC tournament final, and either wins the final or loses to one of the top two seeds, they’d probably be back on the bubble. Here’s what you can do to help Memphis, other than rooting for Memphis in its remaining games:

  • Root for Houston in any game not against Memphis, and root for them to not fall out of the Top 25 this week.
  • Root for NC State and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Tennessee, in hopes that Memphis’ victories over them move up a quadrant.
  • Keep an eye on Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology and root for the teams in Last Four Byes, Last Four In, Last Four Out, and Next Four Out to lose. Sadly, this means I have to root against Arkansas.
  • If you see me watching the Tigers at one of my favorite spots, check to see if the troll is out and remind me to get her out if not. She was standing on the bar the entire time the game was on yesterday. I’m convinced that her WART (Wins Above Replacement Troll) is pretty high.

Speaking of the troll, yesterday was National Margarita Day, and she celebrated with a margarita at Bardog Tavern.

I read her post yesterday, and I have to say, she’s as opinionated as she is self-absorbed. I think one post from her a year is about enough, although since the Trolls 2 movie comes out in late 2020 I’ll probably relent and let her do one for that, too.

I woke up to a Facebook notification that an event had been added that I may be interested in. The Facebook event page said it would happen at location (A) at date (X), said that a couple of tweaks would be added this year, then directed me to a signup page which said the event would happen at locations (B) and (C) at date (Y). I hope fixing their signup page is among the tweaks. PRO TIP I’ve learned from being on a BBQ team: It’s fine to have planning meetings while you’re drinking, but hold off on the action items until the next day when you’re sober.

Another PRO TIP: If one of the organizers of said event tells you, “Best bet is to go ahead and get your entry fee in now, the spots are filling up quick,” ask them exactly how many spots are available, and how many of those spots have been filled (as in, actually paid, not just said they will pay) so far. Keep asking until you get an answer that’s not vague.

Since this is a rambling post I’m not going to do politics last today. If you don’t want to read it, scroll down to (end political stuff).

I still haven’t early voted yet. Part of the reason why is that a whole bunch of random stuff came up this week, and the days it didn’t come up, the weather wasn’t suitable for a walk over to 157 Poplar. However, part of the reason was that I hadn’t made up my mind. I went from supporting Biden to Bloomberg back to Biden to Klobuchar in the space of six days. But now, I’ve come to the conclusion that “electability” should not be my top criterion. Who knows which of these candidates is most likely to beat Mr. Tangerine Man come November?

So, after thinking about which candidate’s positions most closely align with my own, which candidate has the ability to work with Congress to get stuff done, which candidate is strong enough to stand up to Putin, and having read the transcript of last week’s debate, I have come to a conclusion.

Elizabeth Warren.

Think how intellectually outmatched Trump would be in a debate with Elizabeth Warren. She would pick him apart. And then the next day all the media would say Trump lost to a woman in the debate (except Fox News, whose top headline will be about a pig that can roller skate). Think how much that would eat at our narcissist, sexist president.

By the way, if you are like me and have no idea who the General Sessions Court Clerk are, I got a recommendation from a friend who worked extensively with people in city government in his former job. He said there are more than one good choice, but he recommended Reginald Milton.

I knew it. I just knew it. Someone re-worded the popular Bob Dylan song into Hey! Mr. Tangerine Man. It needed to happen and it did.

(end political stuff)

This Wednesday, 117 Prime and Joe’s Liquors will team up to host a wine dinner featuring the wines of Oregon’s Illahe Vineyards. Diners will enjoy five courses by Chef Alex Switzer, each inspired by a wine from the vineyards. The dinner is Wednesday, February 26 at 117 Prime, 6:30 PM, and the price of $95.65 includes tax, tip, and online fees. There will be curbside valet service. Seating is limited.

Tickets are now on sale for individual 2020 Memphis Redbirds games. In addition, the team has announced promotions that will be ongoing throughout the season. These include

  • Nacho Average Tuesday: Free nachos with ticket purchase
  • Woof Wednesday: Bring your dog to the ball game
  • Throwback Thursday: $2 beers, $2 sodas, $1 Polk’s hot dogs
  • All-you-can-eat Friday: Specialty ticket to a different buffet each week
  • Fireworks Saturday: Fireworks after the game
  • Ice Cream Sunday: Free Prairie Farms ice cream to kids 12 and under, and kids run the bases after the game

There will be bonus fireworks shows on Independence Day and Labor Day, and special brunch tickets for Easter (April 12) and Mother’s Day (May 10).

I’d like to ask everyone to extend a warm welcome to our visitors who will be in town for the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show this week. They are super nice people and I hear they are generous tippers as well.

Primas Bakery + Boutique has a Willy Wonka Party today at 12:30, 523 S. Main. $25 ticket admits 2. You get to watch the movie, enjoy Wonka-inspired treats, decorate cupcakes, and color.

As your number-one source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to inform you there’s a Mardi Gras Comes to Memphis party at Nine01IIFive04 at 676 Marshall Tuesday at 6 PM. Being from New Orleans, the owners know a little something about Mardi Gras. They’ll have king cake as well as flash sales for men and women. Can’t be there on Tuesday? They’ll take their flash sales online on their website.

National Margarita Day made me wonder if there’s a list of national food and beverage holidays. Found one. Coming up, we have

  • Today: National Banana Bread Day
  • Tomorrow: National Tortilla Chip Day
  • Tuesday: National Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day (get them at The Peanut Shoppe) and National Clam Chowder Day
  • Wednesday: National Pistachio Day (The Peanut Shoppe can help you with those too)
  • Thursday: National Strawberry Day and National Kahlua Day
  • Friday: National Chocolate Souffle Day
  • Saturday: National Frog Legs Day (Flying Fish has them)

Has anyone ever learned a new skill while they dream? I’ve been able to float in my dreams, about six inches off the ground and I can even float down stairs, for about four months now. When I first had those dreams I could float for about 5 feet before touching the ground and going back up. A couple of months ago I could float for 10 feet. Now I can pretty much float as long as I want, although I still bump into objects from time to time and am still working on turning.

Organizers of Music Fest say that Young Dolph has pulled out of the festival. He had a schedule conflict. A replacement will be announced soon. I bet somewhere in Memphis this week, a trivia team names itself “Young Dolph pulls out, but I don’t,” a play on the common “My couch pulls out, but I don’t” team name.

Water Your Dreams has a launch party Saturday, February 29 at the Silly Goose from 2-4 PM.

Moody Ques 2019 members: You should have received an email where you can pay your dues online or by check for 2020 team membership. If you didn’t get it, let us know. We are giving 2019 members until the end of March to re-claim their spots, then open it up to new members in April. If anyone out there wants to be on Downtown’s best shoulder team, let me (or whichever Moody Que you know best) know and we’ll be sure to keep you in mind when spots open up.

To celebrate Soup Sunday, here’s a pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating soup from 2014.

I guess that’s enough random ramblings mixed with news for now. Time for D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Goose. Back tomorrow or Tuesday with more news.

A big, big, big weekend for Downtown Memphis

Special guest post
by Perjorie T. Roll

Greetings! I’m Perjorie, Paul’s troll. I requested to write today’s post for what is sure to be a historic weekend here in Memphis.

Selfie!

Do you like my new hairdo? Jessica at the Silly Goose did this. It’s very punk rock, don’t you think?

Okay, on to the news. As I said at the top of this post, this is a huge weekend in Memphis. I would dare say this is a bigger deal than when College GameDay came to Beale Street. It’s a bigger deal than Music Fest or BBQ Fest. It’s a bigger deal than when Washington crossed the Potomac, although the Potomac technically isn’t in Memphis.

This is the weekend when Trolls LIVE! comes to the Cannon Center. For the first time ever, Poppy, Branch, and all your favorite trolls will perform live on stage. The journey begins when the trolls’ Hug Time is unexpectedly interrupted. This should be one of the greatest stories ever told, attracting an audience from faraway places including Paragould, Arkansas; Truman, Arkansas; and Senatobia, Mississippi.

Here’s a video of Trolls LIVE! at the Chicago Bulls halftime show.

You can purchase tickets here. There are four shows:

  • Saturday (today), 10 AM and 2:30 PM
  • Sunday (tomorrow), 11 AM and 3 PM

Tickets range from $20 to $45 for regular admission. However, if there is one time in your life when you should treat yourself and go VIP, this would be it! $90 VIP tickets get you premium orchestra seating, a VIP meet-and-greet with Poppy and Branch, a souvenir LED lanyard, and singalongs and exclusive photo-ops. A meet-and-greet with Poppy and Branch! I think I’d rather meet them than the president!

Paul just commented, “I’d rather meet the bum who chugs mouthwash from Family Dollar to get drunk than the current president.” Don’t be a party pooper, Paul.

Follow the trolls on

Part of the deal I made with Paul when he allowed me to do this post is that I couldn’t just talk about myself and trolls the entire time. I had to report the rest of the Downtown news as well. So I will, although I really can’t understand why anyone would want to do anything else this weekend besides attend all four performances.

The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team hosts #22 Houston at FedExForum at 1 PM this afternoon. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2. Beating a ranked team would be a way the Tigers could climb back on to the NCAA bubble, especially if they beat the Cougars again on March 8.

All tight. I have an opinion and I will warn you, this is not gonna be popular. People are all over the place being armchair analysts, trying to explain why the Tigers fell out of the Top 25 and off the bubble this month. Some say it’s because James Wiseman left the program. Some say it’s because D. J. Jeffries got injured. I don’t think it’s either of those things. Take a look at the roster. Do you see what I see?

There is NOT ONE TROLL on this entire team! And people say Penny is this great recruiter. If he loaded up the roster with two or three trolls, I bet they’d be back in the Top 25 before you know it! Doesn’t the U of M have an office of diversity? They need to get all over Penny’s ass about recruiting some trolls.

Paul tells me the media reads his blog sometime. If any of you sports radio guys – Chris Vernon or Gary Parrish or whoever – want to get me on your show to discuss trolls in college basketball further, it would be my pleasure.

Paul asked me to repeat his usual advice for those going to Soup Sunday, benefiting Youth Villages, tomorrow at FedExForum. Get there early. The doors open at 11 and you want to be standing in line at 10:55. When you get inside, don’t go to the first soup table you see. Seek out the restaurants whose soups, breads, and desserts you want to try the most. By 11:20 or so the concourse will be packed with people and trolls standing in line for soup, and by noon some of the restaurants will start running out of their soups. Definitely use the holder that holds 4 cups of soup, and eat your cups of soup while standing in line for your next cups. If you wait until 12:30 you are going to be looking at slim pickins. (Not to be confused with the actor Slim Pickens. He won’t be at Soup Sunday on account of he’s dead.)

Paul mentioned yesterday that the Silly Goose will have a masquerade party to celebrate Mardi Gras tonight, and that Dylan was planning some special Cajun dishes, and that one of them would be red beans and rice. Paul and I were in there yesterday and Dylan told us it would be made with homemade alligator Andouille sausage. I also learned yesterday that you don’t cook alligators alive the way you do crawfish.

The Nevada caucuses are today. People sometimes ask me, “Perjorie, have you every thought of running for president?” There’s no doubt I’d do a great job, and I’d probably pick a human as my running mate to balance the ticket. However, there are two reasons I can’t run. For one thing, I was made in China, so I don’t meet the Constitutional residency requirement. Also, I need another 32 birthdays to hit the minimum age to be president. If I ran, though, I would be the nominee of the Green Party since that’s the color of my hair.

Puck Food Hall will have a Memphis as Puck dinner and beverage pairing Thursday, March 12. Courses will be prepared by City Block Salumeria, Wok’n in Memphis, and Sweet Magnolia Gelato. Bar 409 will pair those courses with beer by Crosstown Brewing Co. and Old Dominick cocktails. Tickets are $85. Cocktails at 7 PM with first course served at 7:30.

The Grizzlies lost to the Los Angeles Lakers last night, mainly due to the fact that Paul forgot to pull me out and stand me on the bar as he normally does during Grizzlies games. The team has two more on the road before returning home next Friday, February 28, when it will be Gospel Night. Grammy-nominated singer Kierra Sherard will perform after the Grizzlies vs. Kings game. If any of the Grizzlies’ office staff reads Paul’s blog, I have a promotional giveaway idea for next year: first 5000 fans get a troll. You could have a 7 PM tip and there would be a line of people snaked down B.B. King Blvd. all the way to Beale Street at 7 AM.

Paul thinks this is very cool: Elmwood Cemetery is opening up its massive data archives to the public. Information in more than 130,000 folders is being organized into an online database, which will be shared with the public. Paul is learning data science and he thinks this will be an interesting dataset. I started to tell him he should do a data-driven analysis to determine which troll is most popular, but what’s the point? We all know it’s me.

That’s the news. I’m off to see my peeps… I mean, my trolls. Paul will be back tomorrow with more news, unless he lets me do another post.

Friday update

Got news on several places hiring for some really neat positions. First of all, Madison Growler inside the Cash Saver on Madison in Midtown is looking to hire someone. They describe the job as a first step in your journey of beer, and could well lead to a career working for breweries or distributors. Ideally they are looking for full-time but for the right candidate would consider part-time. More details

That’s not the only beer-related job out there, though. Wiseacre Brewing Co. is now hiring taproom staff for its new Downtown location at B.B. King and Butler, as well as for its original location on Broad. They’re looking with people with a passion for beer. This job offers upward mobility as well, with people on Wiseacre’s sales staff and administrative staff who started in the taproom. If interested, visit the Careers section of the brewery’s website.

Texas de Brazil is hiring meat carver and server positions. Full-time and part-time are available. Apply at the restaurant between 2 and 4 in the afternoon Monday-Friday. Servers there are known to make very good money.

For pro wrestling fans: A new YouTube program, filmed at Rizzo’s, will discuss what’s going on in wrestling and will be posted around 2 PM every Thursday. Here’s the first episode:

The Daily Memphian has an article on reimagining the Cossitt Library and how its manager, Shamichael Hallman, found the perfect fit in Memphis. The library, when it reopens, is going to be such an important keystone of Downtown Memphis.

Chris Hill plays The Vault on G.E. Patterson tonight from 8:30 to 11:30.

A new hotel is planned for the area near FedExForum. With an address of 135 Vance, the Home2Suites by Hilton will have 110 rooms.

The Memphis Flyer’s 2020 beer bracket is online. You can vote for your favorite local beers.

Quench, the liquor and wine store on Second across from the Peabody, will host a Tennessee whiskey tasting today from 5 to 7.

Crosstown Brewing Co. celebrates its second birthday tomorrow.

The Silly Goose is planning some Creole dishes for its Mardi Gras masquerade party tomorrow night. Dylan in the kitchen told me he’s thinking about doing some red beans & rice and some crab & crawfish gumbo. Things get started around 9 PM tomorrow and the first 100 get decorative masks.

The city is installing speed cameras in school zones.

The Grizzlies play the L.A. Lakers on the road tonight. You can catch the game at 9:30 on Fox Sports Southeast.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow.

Thursday update

There are going to be road closures around the convention center next week for the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show. See this PDF for details.

The folks at Loflin Yard had so much fun at Galentine’s Day that they have decided to make it a weekly event. From now on Thursdays will be Ladies’ Nights from 7 to 10 PM with half-priced wine, half-priced cheese boards, and karaoke.

The Big 3 3-on-3 basketball league will tip off its season with a tournament here in Memphis. The league, created by Ice Cube, will make a stop at FedExForum June 20. Former NBA stars and elite college players who didn’t get drafted will make up much of the rosters.

The Memphis Flyer has an article on the new hot bar at Cordelia’s Market offering meals cooked from scratch on a daily basis.

Cerrito Trivia returns to South Main at Swanky’s on Tuesdays beginning in March. There will be 2-for-1 margaritas for people playing.

The next shuffleboard league at Longshot kicks off Wednesday, March 4. There are a few spots open, so stop by if you want to sign up.

The Grizzlies travel to Sacramento to play the Kings tonight at 9 PM. As always the game will be on Fox Sports Southeast. This is the first of a 4-game road trip.

Max’s Sports Bar will have another crawfish boil this Saturday, and it will be a Mardi Gras party, complete with beads and Purple Drank. The bar opens at 11 and the first batch comes off a little after noon. As always there will be corn, taters, and sausage in the boil.

If you missed the Democratic debate last night, here’s a full transcript. I haven’t early voted yet, mainly because I haven’t figured out who to vote for yet. I want to read this transcript before I make up my mind.

A WWE Diva has joined the long list of women claiming past inappropriate touching by Donald Trump. Eve Torres posed for a photo with Trump, along with some of the other Divas, in 2009. “I have taken pictures with thousands of men at military bases, at WWE events, and signings, and very few have grabbed me and pulled me in as forcefully as he did without knowing me.”

Out of time. Back tomorrow with more news.

 

Wed update – Great news for those in the Downtown core

CeCe’s Liquors, on Madison just east of Main, is a small liquor store that has been around a long time. It was in business well before I moved Downtown 18 years ago. The thing is, though, back when that place opened, there were almost no residents in the area, and way fewer hotels. The owner, however, still managed to establish a regular clientele – I’m not even talking a daily or weekly clientele, but a multiple-times-a-day clientele – by offering products that were

  • In the $3 and under range
  • In small bottles that could be easily concealed from the police and the Blue Suede Brigade

From seeing the trash he put out, Night Train wine, Dark Eyes vodka, and Taaka gin were all options favored among his regulars. To finance their purchases, many of the regulars would congregate around the intersection of Main and Madison, where there is plenty of pedestrian traffic because of the Walgreens and the trolley stops. There they would panhandle passersby with stories like, “hey man, lemme get about fifty-two cent so I can get me somethin’ to eat” and then when they collected enough money for their next purchase, to the liquor store they would go. Court Square was another popular location to put their panhandling talents to use.

As the day went on, as they got more and more drunk, the panhandlers would get aggressive, standing in people’s paths, following them, cussing at them. Several times I had to rescue female tourists from their unwanted advances. They would litter their empty bottles all over the area. The liquor store regulars became known to Downtown residents as “the bums.” They were a problem not only for the reasons I just described, but they made it harder for the legit homeless population in the area who really did need money to get food in their stomachs or a place to sleep.

The years went by and the surrounding neighborhood changed. Two hotels on Main facing Court Square opened. Number 10 Main was renovated into apartments. The Madison Hotel opened less than a block away. The Goodwyn Building was renovated into condos. The Washburn became apartments. The Lincoln-American Tower did too. Various 3- and 4- story buildings nearby had their upstairs converted into condos. The Wm. Len was renovated into a hotel.

Now there were lots of people in the area who would be interested in a liquor store selling upscale liquors and wines. There was an opportunity for CeCe’s to change their offerings, cultivate an entirely new customer base, and expand profits.

The owner didn’t see it that way, however. That obnoxious drunk guy stumbling in for his 7th airplane bottle of gin was the store’s bread and butter. The owner didn’t think he could lose his current clientele and gamble on creating a new one, even if the risk promised substantial reward.

A few Saturdays ago, I was having trouble waking up, so I walked over to Walgreens for some caffeine about 8:15. On the way over, I noticed at least 10 of CeCe’s regulars sitting outside, waiting for the liquor store to open. That’s the gauntlet us locals have to run every day. Every time I want to run to Walgreens, or the Brass Door, or Havana’s Pilon, or the bank, I have to risk being aggressively panhandled. It’s a nuisance to the neighborhood.

Yesterday I had to make another Walgreens run after work. It was raining lightly and I put my hoodie up to stay dry. On the way, I stopped to say hello to Carl Winfield, who owns Winfield’s shoe and clothing shop at 2 S. Main, as well as my buddy Josh who works there.

“Paul, do you still write your blog?” Carl asked.

“Yes, I do,” I replied.

“Well, can you put something in there for me?” Carl asked. “I’m taking over the liquor store next door. There are going to be some changes.”

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn’t even need to ask what the changes would be. Carl has owned a business next to that liquor store for 15 years. He knows what needs to be done.

I’d like to ask the following of my readers, if this news is music to your ears as much as it is to mine:

  • Go by Winfield’s at the southeast corner of Madison and Main, thank Carl, and if there are any products you’d like to see the liquor store carry, let him know. If you feel like doing a little shopping while you are in there, his line of men’s wear is top-notch.
  • If you’re on Facebook, give Winfield’s a follow.
  • After the change in management happens, shop at the liquor store. It’s time to stock up the bar for spring!
  • Tell tourists about the liquor store and encourage them to shop there.

As for the liquor store’s old clientele, I wonder where they’ll go? The other Downtown liquor stores – Quench, Pyramid, and Corkscrew – don’t carry their preferred products. They’ll either have to quit drinking or leave Downtown. Consulting Yellow Pages reveals that the next closest liquor stores that might sell their favorite products are at 798 Poplar, 677 Chelsea, and 815 Vance. That’s quite a lot of walking to do for a 50 milliliter bottle.

One of my neighbors commented, “Saint Carl!” after hearing the news yesterday. I agree. Thank you Carl for all you do to make our neighborhood a great place.

On to the news, and I have a lot more of it than yesterday, enough that I’m not sure I’ll get this post done before I leave for work. First of all, I have a rare out-of-Downtown entertainment suggestion, but one with a Downtown connection. Professional boxing returns to the Memphis Metro this Saturday, February 22, with Fight Night at the Tunica Arena. It’s presented by Tri-Star Boxing and Mid-South fighters on the card include Dedrick Bell, Macro Hall, Eric Draper, DeAngelo Leachman, and Joey Bryant. Traveling to the area to compete will be Jamal Woods, Wesley Bedwell, Tyi Edmonds, Julius Dyes, and Rydell Mayes.

The Downtown connection is that Dedrick Bell does security at Longshot, the new shuffleboard bar in the Arrive Hotel. By supporting this event, you’ll not only help bring pro boxing back to the Memphis area on a regular basis, but you’ll support a local athlete and businessman as well. “Like” Dedrick Bell Boxing on Facebook to keep up with the latest news.

The South Main Association has a cocktail hour tomorrow, Thursday, February 20, at Rizzo’s. There’s no agenda for these cocktail hours and feel free to bring friends; it’s a chance to meet your neighbors and explore the restaurants of South Main. 5:30-7:00 PM is the time.

Speaking of happy hours, the bar & grill inside Malco Powerhouse, the new theater on G.E. Patterson, has started up their happy hour, Monday-Thursday 4-6 PM. $5 well liquors, $5 draft, can, and bottled beers, $5 New Amsterdam vodka mules, and $5 glasses of ten select wines.

The monthly Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting will happen at Comeback Coffee, 358 N. Main, on Tuesday, February 25. The owners will talk about how they came to Memphis from out of state, found this historic building, and decided to renovate it and open a business. Also, newly-elected City Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas will be the guest speaker. She represents District 7 in which Comeback Coffee resides.

The Bleacher Report has an outstanding article: The Grizz Got Next, why the Memphis Grizzlies are the NBA’s new “it” team.

South Main Sounds is back with season 6, episode 2 of Songwriter Night, live at 550 S. Main this Friday, 7 to 9. This evening of music will feature Chris Hill, CJ Starnes, Camryn Clark, Wyatt Edmondson and Abby Frances.

Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers host ECU tonight at FedExForum at 6 PM in a Coaching for Literacy Game. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the game live.

Reba Russell Band plays The Lounge in the downstairs of 3rd and Court diner Saturday 9 to midnight.

Random discovery I made on social media yesterday: Mac & Cheesus. This comfort food has slogans “Good Lord, it’s Good!” and “Anoint Thy Pasta with Cheese.” The pasta comes in shapes of Jesus’ face, the fish, and the cross. Part of the proceeds of every sale are donated to food pantries. Their URL is jesusimhungry.com.

Rodrick Duran Band plays Loflin Yard Saturday 9 to midnight. From Facebook: “Rodrick Duran’s music incorporates the melody and innocence of golden oldies, the soul of Motown, the passion from Sunday morning church, and the groove of the rock band!” There’s a $5 cover for this show.

Elmwood Cemetery celebrates St. Patrick’s Day two days early with The Emerald Isle: The Irish (& Scots) of Elmwood on Sunday, March 15 from 3 to 4 PM. The event will start off with Irish-themed treats, beer and wine, followed by a 45-minute presentation on the fascinating lives of the Irish and Scots buried at the cemetery. Cost is $20 and advance registration is required.

Bayou Bar and Grill and RP Tracks are hosting watch parties for the Democratic debate tonight.

I plan to early vote after work. I have changed my mind about the presidential candidate I am voting for 5 times in the past week. As for General Sessions Court Clerk, I have never heard of any of the candidates running. I get the feeling “I need a job” is as much of a platform as some of them have. Unless I get new information between now and then, I’ll vote for someone with relevant experience in local government.

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

Monday update

Dylan took the Silly Goose wood-fired oven in a completely different direction yesterday: tacos.

Pork with 8 spices, a fabulous sauce, onions and some green stuff. They were selling the tacos for $2.50 each. They were quite generous with the meat. This taco’s flavor was on point and I would even say that it could give Maciel’s a challenge for the title of Downtown’s best tacos. Not sure if these will become a regular menu item or will remain a special attraction.

After a couple of PBRs at the Goose, I headed to my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar, which opened early at 1 yesterday for the Tigers-UConn game. On the way down there I noticed that progress is finally being made on One Beale:

Nice to see that construction is actually happening on this project that has been talked about for, what, 15 years now?

While at Max’s, I got a tip on something fun to do in Memphis from Bjarni. He said that Hernando’s Hideaway, a dive bar near Graceland, has Chickenshit Bingo every Sunday. What that means is, they put ping-pong balls with bingo numbers in a big cage, and a real, live chicken selects the balls. Downtown group, we need to go in on a Lyft or Uber and check this out. Sounds like fun!

I had to leave Max’s at halftime for a Moody Ques planning meeting up the street. Probably a good thing that I left, because I would not have enjoyed seeing the Tigers lose to a mediocre UConn team. Damn, we’re not even going to make the NIT, are we?

Moody Ques team members, you’ll get an email today or tomorrow, but here’s a quick summary:

  • Dues will be $430 individual/$640 couple this year
  • Payment options are in the works and we should have a way for you to pay by next week (if you got a CashApp notification, sorry, we didn’t mean to spam you; we’re looking into that for payment)
  • The honored country this year is Ghana
  • We’re looking for creative types who want to be involved in the ideas for the booth (which we enter into Best Booth) and T-shirts
  • We have T-shirts from past years for sale
  • If your guests had a good time in the booth last year, ask them if they’d like to join the team and be able to invite guests of their own

Okay. I have a couple of questions I hope my readership can help with. The application deadline for BBQ teams was last Friday. So my questions are:

First of all, did Weekend at Porky’s submit an application?

Word on the street is they were considering coming back this year. Weekend at Porky’s is the team that entered BBQ Fest 2015, threw a big party, and didn’t even try to turn in food. Later that year, they competed in Best Memphis Burger Fest, where they only turned in one of the three required burgers. The one they turned in was a veggie patty made by the mother of one of the team members, which they then cooked on a George Foreman Grill. I wonder if enough time has passed that Memphis in May will have forgotten who they are and let them back in for 2020. We like having Weekend at Porky’s in the competition because it practically guarantees we won’t finish in last place.

Then again, they may be too busy with their podcast to have time for BBQ. As much as I hate to admit it, their podcast is surprisingly good.

Secondly, did Squeal Street submit an application?

The last I heard (as of approximately February 6), they were undecided whether or not they were going to hand an application in. I have heard various things over the past 8 months – that 2019 was their last year, that they’re going to make one more go of it as a shoulder team in 2020, that they’re going to change their name and drop back down to Patio Porker division, where they enjoyed success (and trophies). Not sure what to believe. Part of the reason I went down to Max’s yesterday was to ask them, but they weren’t around.

Soccer supporters’ group Bluff City Mafia has announced the dates and locations for their preseason tour:

Wrestling comes to AutoZone Park on April 25:

The Broom Closet on South Main will have a Hoodoo Manifestation Workshop on Sunday, March 1. The class is for adults only and there is a $15 “energy exchange.”

All right. Time to start knocking items off my to-do list. Back tomorrow with more news.