Center for Southern Folklore music festival recommendations

Last night I was hanging out at the Tap Room, and I ran into my friend IQ, who is one of the main organizers at the Center for Southern Folklore’s festival. I had my schedule of events for the festival with me (if you don’t have one you can see the lineup here) and I asked him to recommend some good bands to see this evening. Here are the ones he highlighted:

FreeWorld, 6:00, Verizon Wireless stage
Renardo Ward and The Promise, 6:15, Folklore Store
Kavious, 7:45, Trolley Stop stage
Kattawar Brothers, 9:00, Verizon Wireless stage
Joyce Cobb, 9:00, Folklore Hall
Domingo Montez & Los Cantadores, 9:15, Trolley Stop stage
Nathaniel Kent & Exodus, 10:00, Verizon Wireless stage

I also recommend stopping by the Center and trying Ella Kizzie’s greens and hot water cornbread.

What I’ve been up to this week: Well, Wednesday night I went to the concert series at Court Square. Thursday morning it occurred to me that I only talked about Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis to one person, out of a park full of people. “If we had shirts, I bet lots of people would come up to us and want to talk,” I thought. So Thursday evening after work, my co-founder Mike King and I met at the Second Street branch office and managed to get two shirts, a white golf shirt and a yellow T-shirt, designed online in an hour and a half. We have them ordered and they should arrive by midweek next week.

Once we get the first shirts and verify that they look OK, we’re going to put up a storefront so other people can buy Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis shirts. We’re doing it through CafePress and we’re going to sell them at cost – we’re not looking to make a profit, we just want to get the word out.

There are 18,000 people in town to audition for American Idol. They had to be here early Friday morning to get wristbands, and the auditions are early Sunday morning. So there are a lot of extra people partying on Beale this weekend.

That’s all for now… I’m giving a Romanian a ride to the mall at noon, and after that I’ll be back downtown at the festival.

Oh. It’s. Been. Broughten. and other notes

Before we get to the main topic of this post, a couple of announcements:

Ken & Robyn Greene will be playing The Pig on Beale tomorrow night, Saturday, September 2, from 7 to 11 pm. If you haven’t heard them, you’ve just got to. I’ve written about them before – Ken’s vocal range is incredible, doing perfect renditions of Elvis, The Smiths, classic rock, ’80s pop, you name it. And Robyn can really play a violin. If you’re downtown for the Center for Southern Folklore’s festival, this is worth taking an hour and making a side trip to Beale Street to hear them.

– The Center City Commission’s Lee Warren, known as “That Downtown Guy,” (or, as some of my blog readers call him, “That Other Downtown Guy”), will have a new episode of his Definitely Downtown TV show on WMC channel 5 tomorrow at noon. He’ll be touring the penthouse of the Claridge House, and he’ll also take a look at new condos at 415 S. Front. Lee is definitely the man to keep you in touch with what’s going on downtown, so be sure to set your DVRs/VCRs/Tivo/etc.

All right. Let’s get down to business. Last night I went to the Flying Saucer to hear The Dempseys. While there, I ran into my friend Mendi. Hang on, let’s post a pic of Mendi.

There ya go. That’s Mendi on the right. The one who isn’t wearing a tube top. Now, on Mendi’s MySpace page, she says, “I am currently co-captain of the Sunday Drinking Team. We are undefeated.” So we were talking last night, and she started bragging about her Sunday drinking team. Finally I couldn’t take it any more.

“Mendi, I have great respect for you and your team,” I told her. “And that’s why I want to challenge you. I have a Sunday drinking team too. And when we beat your team, I’ll be able to say I’ve beaten the best.”

“Oh, you think you can beat us? How about we do 10 versus 10? I’ll bring Meredith (pictured above, in tube top) and Jessica (who asked to be mentioned in the blog, so there ya go) and…” She continued to name off team members. “There’s no way you’ll beat us. No way!”

“Mendi, do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” I responded. “One Sunday I drank three bottles of champagne and six duck farts, and went on to get number 1 in the nation on the NTN Trivia game at Sleep Out’s. I have a guy on my team who drank SIX large Call-a-Cabs at Wet Willie’s on his birthday, and then walked to another bar to drink some more. We’ll destroy you.”

“Bring it,” Mendi said.

Taking a page out of my friend Chad’s book, I told her, “Oh. It’s. Been. Broughten.”

We haven’t set a date for the challenge yet, but it’s going to happen. And it’s going to be an old-fashioned Tennessee ass-whoopin’ for Mendi and her crew. She really doesn’t understand what she’s walking into. I almost feel sorry for her a little.

(Edited to add: I posted the following comment to Mendi’s MySpace page: “I predict that September will be the month your Sunday drinking team’s undefeated streak comes to an end. Remember the 1992 Olympic basketball Dream Team with Jordan, Magic, Bird, etc.? Well, my team is like that, except we’re drunks instead of athletes.”)

USC vs. Arkansas, tomorrow night at 7:45 on ESPN. I’m sure Charly will be watching. Not sure what I’ll do since that conflicts with the Center for Southern Folklore’s fest and Ken & Robyn’s performance. Maybe a TV at The Pig will be tuned to the game.

Wed update: Hot Australians on tour, Walter Murphy, Center for Southern Folklore Festival

My trivia team The Rapscallions suffered another narrow loss at the Saucer last night. If we had known that Charlie Brown’s father was a barber, we would have finished in the money. It kills me that I missed that – when I was a kid I collected Peanuts comic books and must have had close to 100 of them by the late ’70s.

Met a very cool tour group last night – a group of about 25 people from 18-35 traveling across America. They started in Los Angeles, then went to Amarillo and visited the restaurant where you get a 72 oz. steak for free if you can eat it in one hour, then they went to Dallas to see a rodeo. They had been to Graceland yesterday and were chilling out at the Saucer, before leaving for N’awlins in the morning. They’ll wrap it up in New York on September 11. They were all partiers and most of them were international – quite a few Australian girls who were really hot, as well as some Japanese, a Swede and a couple of Americans. That sounds like a really fun tour. They told me the name of the company that runs it – Conaxis or Connexis or something like that. If anyone has the exact spelling or more info let me know. They got to choose between a Northern tour (which would have covered Yellowstone Park and stuff like that) or the Southern tour, which was the L.A. – Dallas – Memphis route.

We asked the Australians if it was hard to get enough time off work to go on the tour. They said, “Well, we get four weeks vacation a year. I mean, you don’t get it right after you start a job, but after you’ve been there a year or two, four weeks.” At the last company I worked as a full-time permanent employee, you had to be there FIFTEEN YEARS to get four weeks vacation. Corporate America sucks.

Later I was hanging out at the Tap Room with my buddies Chris and IQ. Maurice was bartending, which meant there was excellent TV on – “Family Guy” specifically. As the ending credits rolled, I noticed that the theme song was composed by Walter Murphy. Is that the same Walter Murphy who composed “A Fifth of Beethoven” from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack? That was one of my favorite disco songs of all time – I remember really tearing it up on the dance floor when Jive played it on Sunday nights at Six-1-Six back in the ’90s. I never get to dance to it anymore though – Raiford has never had it on his playlist.

It was good seeing The Most Annoying Woman On The Planet II last night at the Tap Room. The Most Annoying Woman On The Planet II had a tube top on.

Tonight the Sal Crocker Quintet will provide an evening of jazz at Court Square from 6 to 8 pm. I’ll probably catch the first 30 minutes or an hour, then go to the Saucer to see my waitresses. Tomorrow night is the last Peabody rooftop party, with entertainment by Rusty Lemon. I’ll be there from about 7:30 to 9:00, then head over to the Saucer to catch The Dempseys.

The Southern Folklore Fest, presented by the Center for Southern Folklore, will be held Saturday and Sunday on the Main Street Mall and inside the Center itself. Click the link and scroll down for a list of which bands will be on which stages at which times. I won’t be there Saturday afternoon because I promised a Romanian I’d take her to the mall, but I should be there for the rest of it. This is one of the few events that is allowed to interrupt my Sunday drinking schedule.

Also, if you like to see live bands, DingoFest on Beale Street this weekend might be worth checking out.

Item currently on my wish list: A DVD set of the week John Lennon and Yoko Ono hosted the Mike Douglas Show, June 14-18, 1972. They booked radical guests like activist Jerry Rubin, Black Panther Bobby Seale, and comedian George Carlin. John and Yoko also sang three songs on each show, including a performance of “Imagine” and a jam with Chuck Berry, one of John’s major influences. Amazon has it for $229 if anyone wants to buy me a Christmas gift. Actually, my birthday is November 18, so why wait for Christmas?

All right. Enough electronic panhandling. Time to publish this post, eat lunch, and get back to the cubicle.

Schools, rules, and ID badges

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I work at the city school board office in Midtown. Although, I don’t work FOR the city schools; I’m a third-party contractor through a staffing agency. I’ve been there almost five months now and it’s been a pretty good place to work. One of the things I always liked best about the job was that although the official hours were 8:00 to 4:45, they told me I had the option of coming in early and leaving early. So I could get there at 7:30 and be done at 4:15 and be at the Saucer visiting my waitresses by 4:35 or 4:40.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, that is. They cracked down on security at the school board office – REALLY cracked down. People who worked there found every door locked, and they had to scan their ID badges to get in. As a contractor, I had to get a letter from high-ups in my department saying that I needed access to the building from 8:00 to 4:45, and then take it to security and get a new badge made.

The following day, I got up for work. I was running fairly close to on-time and pulled into the parking lot at 7:57. I walked up to the door and scanned the badge.


I looked at the clock on my cell phone. I waited and waited. 7:58. 7:59. I tried again. Nothing.

Finally the clock turned to 8:00. I scanned the ID badge again, and the lock clicked open. I walked in.

So there’s no incentive for me to get there early anymore. Why would I want to stand outside a door and wait and wait and wait?

I e-mailed the supervisor and asked if my badge’s access hours could be reset to an earlier time. He typed up a letter asking them to let me in at 7:00, but when I took it to security it got awash in red tape.

You know, I do see the point. Kind of. If beefing up the security measures helps keep just one child safe, then it’s all worth it. But I also think it points out a flaw in school-system culture. At school, children are taught that there are rules and they are to be rigidly obeyed at all times. As adults, we learn that strict, stern rules don’t perfectly address every situation, and sometimes the system works better if rules are bent. If I show up at 7:30 or 7:45, I’m not there to kidnap children or overthrow the city schools. I just want to get done early so I can go see my waitresses.

Speaking of which, I’m at the Saucer seeing my waitresses right now, on my lunch break. The food here is especially good today. If you know what I mean.

In the news… Memphis didn’t make Forbes’ list of America’s 35 drunkest cities. Obviously they didn’t survey downtown when they were collecting info about Memphis.

I’ll be back up at the Saucer at 7 for team trivia. Right now, back to the rat race.

Monday update

Here’s a play-by-play look at what I did yesterday:

Drank a bottle of champagne at Sleep Out’s… posted Deal of the Week… played NTN Trivia and broke the 300K mark in Players Plus points… walked to the Flying Saucer… drank a fire sale… discovered the Frenchie pictures on my laptop… posted them… walked back to Sleep Out’s… drank a duck fart… ate homemade ice cream that Coffee John brought in… played NTN Poker… walked home to put my laptop away… walked down to Beale Street… stopped in the Tap Room to say hello to my friends Shane and Leigh who were playing pool… walked back down Beale, heading toward Second to go to Big Foot… stopped to give a Romanian a smooch on the cheek… had a 34 oz. beer and chicken wings at Big Foot… regular blog reader Mendi was there with her friend Calvit… it was Calvit’s birthday, so if you see him out, buy him a beer… walked back down to Blues City Cafe to hear FreeWorld… about midnight, went home, went to bed. Only about a 12 and a half hour day yesterday, which is actually a short day for me for a Sunday.

Plans for tonight: Beer. Waitresses. Beer. Waitresses. Beer. Waitresses. Unfortunately the aforementioned Romanian has told me she’s not working tonight, but still, that won’t stop me from enjoying several tasty Pint Nite beers.

The Dempseys play the Saucer this week – Thursday night at 9:30, to be exact.

Was digging through magazines at Tower this weekend and was sad to learn that Syd Barrett, who founded Pink Floyd in 1965 (back then they were called “The” Pink Floyd), died last month at age 60. He was kicked out of the band in 1968 and Pink Floyd went on to record classics like Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, but I always liked the Syd-era stuff the best. “Interstellar Overdrive” has always been my favorite Floyd song.

Mpact Memphis is having an After Hours at Hattiloo Theater tomorrow night. I probably won’t be able to go because of the trivia team, but I’d like to see the new theater sometime soon.

Lunch is over, back to work.

Six months late: Frenchie’s birthday party, February 2006

These were taken in February 2006, and then I got too busy to go through them, rotate them to the appropriate angle, sanitize the pics that are not fit to be shown on the web, lighten/darken them. But now I’m sitting here at the Union Avenue branch office and I have nothing but time on my hands. So here ya go. Here are a few featured pics. Link to the full album (a whopping 146 pics) is here.


Last night I did something that, for me, is practically unheard of – I drove my car on a weekend night. My bartender Emma from Sleep Out’s was having a party at her house out in the U of M area, and being a little bored with downtown lately, I decided to drive out there.

As I walked in, I noticed a kids’ swimming pool which had been turned into a makeshift home for nine puppies:

All through the evening I was encouraged to take a puppy home with me, but I didn’t. The mother was wandering through the house during the party, making sure everything was okay.

After the party, we stopped by Alex’s in Midtown. I haven’t been to Alex’s in something like eight years. However, we got there too early – it was only 2 in the morning – and we had the place to ourselves. “The crowd will be here soon,” explained my friend James, who has been a cook in just about every bar I’ve ever been to. So we sat down and had Rocky burgers and watched the big-screen TV.

We left about 3 – one of our entourage hadn’t taken it quite as easy on Emma’s lethal punch and needed to get home bad – but I remembered how much I like Alex’s and hope to go back soon for some real late-night partying.

I’m up early and feeling good, so I’ll be at Sleep Out’s by about 11:30 for the morning brunch shift. After I finish my bottle of champagne I’ll walk over the Saucer to see my waitresses, then about 4:00-4:30 I’ll head back to Sleep Out’s for Emma’s Sunday extravaganza. If I read the schedule correctly, there should be a Romanian working there this afternoon/evening. Yay!

Sleep Out’s and Saucer pics

Found a few random pics from Sleep Out’s and the Flying Saucer on my hard drive that I never posted. So here ya go.

Whatcha hiding from John?

Congratulations Mikey!

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a happy hour beer at the Saucer and they brought it to me in this glass. Perhaps one of the waitresses is trying to tell me that she wants to have my children?

Sleep Out Louie, chilling out after a tough day.

I can think of one person who will be very happy to see this pic on my blog.

And this one too.

Last night at the Saucer, the waitress took a LOOOOOOOONG time to notice that I was out of beer. I had to turn the bottle on its side to make my point.

My friend Bob had to do the same thing.

That’s all for now. Tonight is looking to be a late night so my Deal of the Week column probably won’t be up until around 3 or 4 tomorrow afternoon.