Sad news

I am sad to report that the sucker fish in the tank at Sleep Out Louie’s passed away yesterday. For over a year he did an admirable job keeping the tank clean, consuming goldfish feces and other waste matter. We are currently in the process of planning a memorial service for the sucker fish and will keep you informed.

Art On Tap review ‘n’ other stuff

Last night I went to Art On Tap, the Dixon’s annual beer tasting/fundraiser, for the first time, and WOW! What a great event. I took a cab down there and got there about 6:10, ten minutes after the start time, and the place was already packed. I walked around and sampled beers, the best of which were homemade brews by the Bluff City Brewers club. It was a FUN crowd too – I must have known 50 people there, maybe more. Only problem was, I stopped to talk to so many people that I didn’t drink as much beer as I would have liked. Really good food too – jambalaya by Bluff City Bayou, burritos by Blue Coast Burrito, and BBQ sandwiches by (forgot the place’s name). The tasting was in a beautiful outdoor garden, and of course the Dempseys were excellent as always. This event is definitely going to be on my calendar for next year.

Thanks to Chad and the Nuh-Uh Girl for the ride back downtown, and to Mike and Paola for offering a ride as well. Once back home I headed to (you guessed it) The Flying Saucer. Said a brief hello to the girl who had been the most beautiful woman at the beer tasting (she had on a silver dress that just about made my eyes pop out of my head), then rolled on to Earnestine & Hazel’s and then Raiford’s. First time I’ve seen Raiford’s since the renovation – it’s not much different, they got rid of that stupid drum set and I think they may have moved the bar back a foot or so, not sure. They’ve raised the cover to $12 after midnight. Yikes. When they raised it to 10 I really thought they were approaching the upper limit of what people are willing to pay. We’ll see if it lasts. Got about 2 hours of quality dancing in, then headed home.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Something’s been wrong with my cable modem at home – sometimes it finds the Internet, sometimes not. I took the laptop to the Union Avenue branch office yesterday at lunch to type a post, but one of the waitresses borrowed my laptop to look at MySpace pages. Oh, also, the fluffy-haired Romanian who works there is a brunette now.

Speaking of lack of posts: Can’t resist pointing out that Charly has not made a new post in 16 days, and hasn’t made a post about anything other than redneck NASCAR crap in 32 days.

The Commercial Appeal had a review of my favorite new restaurant, Dawgie Style, yesterday. Check it out.

Foot in Mouth Dept: Greg Hisky, from Greg Hisky and his Dixie Whisky Flyers who I saw at the Center for Southern Folklore Festival last weekend, e-mailed me to thank me for the endorsement. However, he said, his band members are not in their 60s as I estimated in my post – they have one member in his 40s, one in his 30s, and two in their 50s. Oops! Sorry about that.

He told me that they will be playing at the P&H Cafe on Saturday, September 16 at 9 pm, for their Hank Williams (1923-1953) birthday party. That’s the day of Cooper-Young Fest, so that’s an option for some post-CY entertainment.

Oh, by the way, Greg also told me that they jumped around on stage like The Dempseys when they were younger, and still can in short spurts.

No plans for today… nothing going on that I know of except the Germantown Festival, and I have no interest in making the drive out to East Bumblefuck to check it out. Tomorrow I’ll be at Sleep Out Louie’s, of course. Outta here… have a good weekend!

Video: Lobster fight in the tank at Big Foot Lodge

I finally figured out how to use YouTube and uploaded a video that I took with my digital camera in mid-June, of two lobsters in the tank at Big Foot fighting.

However, I’m too lazy to figure out how to embed videos in my blog, so here’s a link. It’s a 3 minute, 24 second video. Be sure to watch it all the way through – the last 30 seconds are the best.

(Inside joke/comment dept.: I have a feeling that one of my regular readers is going to be VERY afraid, now that I’ve learned how to upload videos to YouTube. Welcome back to Memphis!)

I’m typing this lunchtime post from the Second Street branch office, again. Kristie is my waitress, again. Kristie rocks, again. The only difference from yesterday is that the Romanian isn’t working today. In case you’re interested, the lunch special is turkey on rye with chips and drink, and the Fire Sale is Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat.

Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis now has an online store

I’m pleased to announce that Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis, the organization I co-founded in June to help keep Downtown Memphis safe, now has an online store where you can order shirts and other RSDM apparel. It is set up through CafePress, and ordering is 100% secure with your credit card. All items are sold at cost, because the point is not to make a profit – the point is to get the word out about keeping downtown safe. All items have the organization name and website URL.

If you want to see what the clothes look like before you buy, I’ll be at the Court Square Concert Series tomorrow night (Wednesday, September 6; it will probably be tonight rather than tomorrow night by the time most of you read this) sporting my snazzy new RSDM yellow T-shirt. Most likely my co-founder Mike King will be there for a while too.

Here are a few of the eight items we have available (will add more as time permits):

So check out the store and let us know if there are any clothing items you’d like us to add – they have 90 products to choose from. Unfortunately they do not have a tube top option.

My trivia team The Rapscallions staged a comeback tonight and took a first-place victory at the Saucer, earning a $50 gift certificate to start our stash for the next party. Three more first-places and it’ll be time once again.

I’m home early for a change. Going to catch up on some e-mail and get a rare good night’s sleep.

Art on Tap this Friday at the Dixon, and other notes

The big event that everyone’s talking about this week is Art on Tap, at the Dixon Gallery, this Friday, September 8 from 6 to 9 pm. It’s the Dixon’s annual fundraiser/beer tasting and there will be over 150 beers to sample. Advance tickets are free for members of their Young at Art program, $15 for Dixon members and $20 for nonmembers, but advance sales end tomorrow afternoon, so if you’re sure you’re going to go, you better hurry. After that they’re $25 at the gate. Oh, I should mention the band that will be playing… The Dempseys!

Trying to decide if I’m going to go to this one… I want to but it’s out in East Memphis, and you better believe I ain’t driving the car to a beer tasting. Maybe I’ll hop a cab out there. Anyone know what cab fare approximately costs from downtown to the Dixon?

Follow-up note from the previous post:

– The Roy Harper who performed that the Center for Southern Folklore’s festival this weekend is not the one in the title of “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” by Led Zeppelin. Thanks to Otto for providing a link to the Wikipedia entry on Roy Harper (the one from the song).

Bleh. Not much news to report. It was a pretty boring Labor Day weekend, other than the festival. Sitting here at the Second Street branch office enjoying some chili-cheese dip. Kristie is my waitress. Yay! Kristie rocks. Also, I found out that if you come in on Tuesday you get double punches on their buy-7-lunches-get-1-free card.

Anyone know what’s up with the new place on Main between Union and Gayoso, called Sauces (our plate, your canvas)? It isn’t open yet – still under renovation. I’ve done web searches and have turned up empty-handed on info about this place. Perhaps I should ask the bums – believe it or not, they can sometimes be reliable sources of information, since they’re on the street 24/7.

Lunch is over, back to work. I’ll be back at the Second Street branch office for trivia tonight.

Sunday update: Cheap beer, festival update

Well, the Romanians found another ride to the mall, giving me the entire afternoon to enjoy the Center for Southern Folklore’s Memphis Music and Heritage Festival!

So for the rest of the day I bounced back and forth between the festival and the Flying Saucer. One of the pleasant surprises of the festival was Greg Hisky and his Dixie Whisky Flyers. When they took the stage I wasn’t expecting much – some men who looked to be in their 50s-60s playing classic country tunes. But they were REALLY good. They played a version of the Statler Brothers’ “Flowers on the Wall” which was every bit as good as the version The Dempseys play. Although, they didn’t jump around on stage as much as The Dempseys do. Nevertheless, I definitely plan on seeing them again when they play around town.

Speaking of the Dempseys… I ran into my favorite guitarist in the whole wide world, Mister Bradley D. Birkendahl, and his wife Anna Marie at the festival. He told me that today, he’ll be playing guitar for Jason D. Williams tonight at 10:00 on the Verizon Wireless stage. I’ll be there for that one for sure.

There was an older guy named Roy Harper playing old country music. Just wondering, is this the Roy Harper who Led Zeppelin paid tribute to on “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” on Led Zeppelin III? Anyone know?

My friend Marilyn asked me to write a glowing review of her friend Willie Firecracker, who performed last night, and to mention his site Unfortunately I was busy drinking and checking out waitresses at the Saucer around that time, and forgot to head back over to the festival in time to hear him. Sorry, Marilyn.

Today I’ll be splitting my time three ways between Sleep Out Louie’s, the Flying Saucer, and the festival. You know, it’s funny, but the act I’m most looking forward to seeing today is a puppeteer named Jimmy Crosthwait, who will be on the Trolley Stop stage at 2:30 today. Last year he had a song about a saber-toothed cat (with puppet) that was so silly that it was good. I’ve been looking forward to hearing that song again for an entire year.

All right… let’s talk about some cheap beer deals I discovered yesterday as I was walking Beale Street. Normally you can get a Big Ass Beer (28 oz. to 32 oz., depending on where you buy it) on Beale for $5. However, The Pig on Beale is the place to go for your value drinking option… Big Ass cups of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $4. PBR me ASAP!

I also saw a sign in Alfred’s window, saying that starting on the 13th they are going to have College Night every Wednesday – 5 cent pitchers of beer until 11 PM, and ladies get in free. Alfred’s has never been my favorite place to go on Beale Street, but for 5 cent pitchers and hot college girls, I may actually have to start hanging out there. I wonder if you have to show college ID to get the deal on the pitchers?

That’ll do it for now. It’s a beautiful day outside – my WeatherBug on my computer is reporting a temperature of 64 degrees. Perfect! Just warm enough to wear shorts. High 82, low 60. You just can’t ask for weather any better than that.

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.