Saturday update: Bazaar pazaarty update, Majestic, and more

So last night I hit the South Main Trolley Tour with the Most Annoying Woman On The Planet, and get this… she wasn’t annoying. She showed up on time, she didn’t bring her damn dog or some random doofus she met at a bar, and we actually had a really good time talking about what’s going on in our lives. I guess I’m going to have to give her a new nickname.

Trolley Tour tip: The places that put out the best free food and wine are not the art galleries. They’re the real estate offices that are trying to sell you a condo downtown. So go to those places first and fill up. And I have absolutely NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER pretending to be interested in a condo for 15 minutes while I pig out and down several glasses of wine. And if there’s a tip jar, I don’t leave a tip. Those condo people are making more than enough money off downtowners already.

After Trolley Tour, we walked to the Majestic to eat. I had the asian-spiced, tempura-fried onion rings with horseradish dip. They were ENORMOUS and I finished maybe a quarter of them. This would be a good appetizer for two or three people to share. My friend had the cornmeal-crusted, crispy calamari with red pepper basil aioli, and she liked it as well. Both appetizers were a value at $6 each.

More info about tonight’s party at the Butler Street Bazaar (scroll down to the previous blog entry if you haven’t read about it already)…

…for a $10 fee on top of the $10 party cover you can “scavenge.” This is the Bazaar’s swan song (Brett has sold the building) and he’s trying to get rid of everything inside – chairs, lamps, mattresses, carpet, cabinet, lockers, cabinets, desks, etc. For the $10 fee you’re welcome to take as much as you want home. Now that’s a deal! So if you’re looking for some inexpensive stuff for your home, I suggest your arrive right at 9 (before everything gets picked over) and bring a truck or van.

This is going to make for some interesting people-watching tonight as well. When you give Memphians the opportunity to get stuff for free or nearly-free, a very interesting cast of characters tend to show up. I can see people yelling, arguing with each other, playing tug-of-war with items they both want. The good news is, this will all be over by 9:30 when everything in the Bazaar is picked over, and then the party can really begin.

In addition to the Dempseys, the Gamble Brothers, juggling, and comedy, I found out they’ll also be showing the film Automusik Can Do No Wrong, starring the local avant-garde band Automusik. If you haven’t seen this film, you gotta… it is completely hilarious.

Now, I know that some people will have a schedule conflict tonight because a well-known semi-annual party is happening in Midtown. Here’s my take on it… if you want to be seen on the Memphis social circuit and maybe get your pic in RSVP magazine, go to Midtown. If you want to laugh and have fun and have a good time with a diverse group of wonderful people, go to the Bazaar tonight.

Don’t forget… crawfish and beer (and waitresses!) at the Saucer today at 2, and Grizzlies vs. Dallas at 4:30.

Put this one on the calendar for Saturday night – should be a GREAT event

There’s going to be a Scavengers’ Ball at the Butler Street Bazaar, Saturday night April 29 from 9:00 until 2:00. This is the first time I’ve heard about any event at the Bazaar in almost two years. If you’ve never been to a party at the Bazaar, you ought to check this out – they always draw a diverse, eclectic crowd and have a wide array of entertainment. $10 cover, and for $10 more you get all you can drink, so they’re speaking the language of downtowners. Furthermore, for another $10 you can scavenge. Not exactly sure what that means, but according to the announcement in the Center City Commission’s weekly bulletin they have a warehouse filled with furniture, books, clothing, building supplies, and kitchenware, and I’m guessing the scavenging might have something to do with that.

The great thing about parties at the Bazaar is the diversity in entertainment, and this one appears to be no exception. They’ll have comedy, juggling, film screenings, a silent auction, and bands. The bands are listed as the Gamble Brothers and the Dempseys, according to the CCC’s bulletin – but I checked the Dempseys’ website and this event is not listed, and they are listed as playing an event in Oxford at 5 pm that day. If anyone can confirm or deny that they’ll be there, let me know. This event, however, is worth going to, Dempseys or no Dempseys. It benefits Hope House, so it’s for a good cause as well. (Edited at 1:50 pm to add: Brad from the Dempseys just e-mailed me back. They WILL be at the show.)

The only thing that makes me sad about this event is that I won’t be able to walk down the street to the Monkey and pop in for a drink, like I was able to do for previous Bazaar events in 2003-2004. Earnestine & Hazel’s is still there though. Looks like I may be doing some sitting at Nate’s upstairs bar Saturday night. Whew… with the crawfish party at the Saucer in the early afternoon and the Grizzlies game in the late afternoon, Saturday is beginning to look like a very full day.

The Bazaar is at 11 W. Butler in the South Main district. To get to it, go south on Front Street. Turn right on the street just before the light at GE Patterson (where the Corkscrew is). Drive up that street like you’re heading toward the Lofts and the Tennessee Brewery, and you’ll see a warehouse on the right – that’s the Bazaar.

HIGHLY recommended event. I hope to see you there.

Prettiest waitress in Memphis

Leslie Kelly, one of my fellow bloggers on the Commercial Appeal’s website (feels kinda good to say that), is asking people who they think is the prettiest waitress in Memphis. Send her a photo of your choice for prettiest waitress, and she’ll post it on her blog.

Being a Flying Saucer regular who owns a digital camera, I’m tempted to participate… but if I pick one of the waitresses as the prettiest, I risk alienating all the others. Hmmm… maybe I’ll sit on the sidelines for this one.

Leslie also has a copy of the lunch menu for Meditrina, the new restaurant on Union that used to be Cafe Samovar, on her blog (scroll down to her April 21 entry). It’s only open for lunch right now; it will open for dinner next week.

I’m watching Game 2 of the Grizzlies/Dallas playoffs as I type this, and believe it or not, I’m not at a bar. To give you an idea of the excitement going on around here tonight, I just poured a bottle of Liquid Plum’r Foaming Pipe Snake down the bathtub drain.

Things’ll pick up soon though. Tomorrow is Peabody rooftop night… and then Friday is South Main Trolley Tour… Saturday is Mugs & Bugs Fest at the Saucer, and playoff game 3 will be on TV at 4:30… Sunday is Beale Street Wine Race. (yes, I’ll be stopping by Sleep Out’s for a couple of drinks before Wine Race)

Sigh… I’m tempted to go out to somewhere to drink a beer and watch the second half, but I’m supposed to wash the Foaming Pipe Snake away with hot tap water in an hour. So I guess I’m stuck at home tonight…

Crawfish + miniskirts = Good Thing

If you missed the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest downtown last weekend, you have another chance:

Flying Saucer 2006 Mugs & Bugs Fest – Featuring live music, Abita beer specials, and all the HEAD you want!” Saturday, April 29 at 2 pm.

I saw the notice above at the downtown Saucer. I neither know nor care if Mugs & Bugs Fest will be happening at the East Bumblefuck Saucer as well.

Speaking of which – my friend Chad and I left trivia night at the downtown Saucer about 9:00 (we didn’t win, so no clean sweep for April) and heard the tornado sirens. We got home without a drop of rain, to discover that tornadoes were moving through Frayser and East Bumblefuck at the time.

If anyone from the Saucer reads this blog: Hope you appreciate all the free publicity I give you. And WHEN YA GONNA HIRE SOME MORE ROMANIANS??? (for the downtown location)

37 days until we kick off Tube Top Month here in this blog. So, if you’re the kind of person who appreciates intelligent, thoughtful prose, you have until June 1 to find something else to read. Not that I expect this thing to win a Pulitzer between now and May 31, but I’m just saying…

I just voted. Have YOU voted yet?

Only 2 more days to early vote in the city and county primaries. You can vote at the Election Commission office at Second and Poplar, or at satellite locations elsewhere around town. Or you could wait until election day (May 2), but why would you want to stand in line when you don’t have to?

One last plug, if you’re voting in the Democratic Primary: Kevin Gallagher for Criminal Court Clerk. Even though I usually take liberal viewpoints, I voted for Kevin because I’m convinced he’ll tighten things up and save the taxpayers money, which sounds to me like I’m voting for him for conservative reasons.

I didn’t vote for a candidate in the Shelby County sheriff’s primary, because I was voting on the Democratic ballot, and I intend to support incumbent/Republican Mark Luttrell when the general election arrives. He’s done a great job cleaning up the jail during his current term. Some people have criticized him for focusing too much on the jail and not enough on crime, but this being Memphis we could elect Superman sheriff and not have both the jail and crime cleaned up in just one term. Give Luttrell some time, let him carry out his programs.

And, of course, I voted to give AC another term as county mayor.

As the Ophelia Ford mess proved, every vote counts. So please stop by the polls tonight, tomorrow, Thursday, or May 2.

Tuesday update: Venus Envy and Crawfish reviews, more new restaurants, Save Libertyland, Rhodes College on TV

– I went to the Venus Envy art show Saturday night, but only ended up staying for about 35 minutes, whereas I’ve stayed 2-3 hours or more at past VE shows. I just couldn’t get into Glasshouse 383 as the venue. In previous years, it seemed like the VE artists took a more or less empty, open space and transformed it into something unique… this year, it seemed like they had to make it fit inside the existing vibe of Glasshouse. I don’t think the long, rectangular shape of Glasshouse worked too well, especially with the objects d’art in the middle of the front room and the coffeehouse tables in the back room… I felt like no matter where I stood, I was constantly in other people’s way. Another thing was, in previous years there could be several different things going on at once… there might be a performance artist doing something in one part of the room, and a band in another, and a poet in another, all at the same time, and you could walk around and pick what you wanted to see/hear. But because of the way Glasshouse 383 is set up, there’s “the stage” and everyone’s attention was focused in that one place. I wanted more variety.

Nothing against Glasshouse 383, which is an awesome art gallery and coffee shop/bistro, and a place I always enjoy visiting on Friday trolley art tours. I just don’t think it worked for this particular exhibit.

Nothing against the VE artists and performers either – as usual, their work was excellent. When I arrived a belly dancer from Desert Rose Dance was on stage, and as she performed she had a HUGE smile on her face. You could tell she loved dancing, and she spread positive energy throughout the room. As for the artists, I especially liked the work of Autumn Parkey. She is a teacher, and used found materials from her classroom (pencil shavings, broken rulers) to create some very unique pieces.

– After the VE show I showed up at (and I’m sure this surprises no one) the Saucer. I was standing at the bar drinking a beer, and a guy comes up and says to the bartender, “Hey, toots, let me close my tab.” Who the HELL calls a woman “toots” in 2006? I don’t think I’ve heard that term in 10 years, unless maybe I was watching an old black-and-white movie.

– As expected, Crawfish Fest on Sunday was a great time. I enjoyed hanging out with everyone – the Hungarians (who are going on a trip to Transylvania this summer – how about bringing me back a Romanian girl as a souvenir?), Carolyn and the Nuh-Uh Girl (the Nuh-Uh Girl fussed at me for not psychically knowing she was at the festival when I had half a bucket of crawfish to give away), regular blog reader Susie who used to manage my building (enjoyed talking with you – keep in touch, shoot me an e-mail sometime), and the usual collection of neighbors and Sunday drunks. I took about 20 pictures, but I’m running into the usual problem of being too busy/tired to create a photo album. If anyone’s really dying to see it, e-mail me and nag me about it. Otherwise, it’ll be when I get around to it, which could mean next week or later.

– The old Elvis Presley’s Memphis building at Second and Beale, which has sat vacant for nearly three years, has a new owner. Local chef Jimmy Ishii will open it as “EP – Delta Kitchen and Bar.” Elvis Presley Enterprises won’t be involved in managing the restaurant, but there will be some cross-promotion to tie the restaurant’s theme in with the different genres of Memphis music. The menu, according to press releases, will consist of new interpretations of Southern cooking.

– Coyote Ugly Saloon is opening a location on Beale Street and will be holding auditions for bartenders this weekend. Bartenders will be trained to get up on the bar and sing and dance. More info at Not sure if the auditions are open to the public or not.

– Save Libertyland has a blog at The latest news is that the Mid-South Fair Board plans to auction off park equipment, including the Zippin’ Pippin roller coaster, in June. There are two offers on the table to preserve Libertyland and keep it open, but the Mid-South Fair Board seems to have closed its eyes, ears and mind to the whole thing. I’m wondering if there’s more to this than meets the eye – someone standing to gain personally from the demise of Libertyland who is on the board or who has influence with the board. I’d say that I’ll never go to the fair again in protest, but I’ve never once been to the fair in the 19 years I’ve lived in Memphis, so that’s not much of a threat.

– If you have Turner South on your cable channels, they will be featuring Rhodes College on their “Blue Ribbon College Campuses” show, Saturday, April 29 at 1 pm.

And that’s the news, time to go sit in a cubicle, blah blah blah. I’ll be at the Saucer tonight to administer an ass-kicking to the other trivia teams.

Sharp Dressed Bum

Just wondering if any other downtowners have had experiences with a panhandler who I refer to as Sharp Dressed Bum.

Here’s his description: Black male, about 35 years old, 5’9″, 150 lbs, goatee. Unlike most bums, he dresses very well, in neatly pressed casual shirts and slacks, and sometimes a stylish hat. If you see him on the street, you’ll probably be inclined to think he’s on his way out to a club for a night on the town – until you talk to him and realize he’s a bum! He usually covers a circuit on the Main Street Mall and Second Street betweeen Madison and Peabody Place, from about 4 pm to midnight. Very recently, he has started riding a bike, and he had one for a while last summer too. I think he may live in the Exchange Building but I’m not sure of that.

His modus operandi is to come up and ask you for money, often so he can buy a pack of cigarettes. If you refuse, he’ll make some comment like, “You better walk away, I’ll kick your ass, motherfucker” and he may even make a motion like he’s going to come at you. I honestly don’t think he actually would – he just gets a kick out of intimidating people a little. Most of the bums won’t mess with the downtown locals once they figure out who they are, but Sharp Dressed Bum continues to harass people who have said no to him 25, 50, 100 times.

He’s been doing his thing downtown for at least two years, and he seems to be gearing up for the 2006 summer season this month. I have absolutely HAD IT with him. It irritates me to walk out the front door in the evening and know that there is almost a 100% chance I will have to deal with him as I head to the Saucer, the Tap Room and my other downtown hangouts. He’s a nuisance and it’s time for him to go away.

Just wondering if anyone else has had dealings with this guy. Due to Memphis’ weak panhandling laws, the cops really can’t do much unless they catch him in the act. Is there anything else we can do to make his life downtown a little more unpleasant, so that perhaps he’ll find something else to do? E-mail me if you have comments or suggestions.

Couple more pics, and a digital camera alert

Here are a couple more pics I’ve snapped recently. Click on the pics for their full-size image. I didn’t downsize these at all, so the full-size pics are about a megabyte each.

Last weekend, the Budweiser Clydesdales were in town for the Redbirds’ opening weekend. This is a pic of them going down Second Street, taken from the window of the Flying Saucer.

This is a sunset pic, snapped last night from the rooftop of No. 10 Main.

Camera alert: My new web host has photo album software (Coppermine, for those of you who do web development) that I’m itching to try out, and I’ve been looking for an event where I can go out and snap a lot of pics. Looks like we’ve got three such events coming our way the next three weeks – Crawfish Fest, Wine Race, and Music Fest (although, as I’ve said previously, I won’t be going in the festival itself). So if you go to any of those, you’ll probably see me out taking pictures.

Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day outside. I may have to walk down to Beale Street at some point this afternoon for a slurpee, and then tonight I’ll be at the Venus Envy art show at Glasshouse 383.

The Majestic: Initial impressions

I just got back from eating at the Majestic, the new restaurant in the former Gordon Biersch location on Main Street. I had high expectations for the place, and it met and even exceeded them.

The place is very tastefully decorated, and they have a very long bar (20+ seats) so it’s very accomodating to people like me who prefer to sit at the bar. It will be open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

The bartender introduced himself (his name’s Jeff – tell him you read about him on my blog if you go up there) and was very friendly and helpful. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, just told him I was in the mood for a good after-work drink and he mixed up a couple of winners.

The food is very reasonably priced. Appetizers are $6-9, flatbread pizzas are $5-6, salads are $5-8, specialty dishes are $11-16, sandwiches and burgers are $5-9 and steaks are $17-28. I had a flatbread pizza with smoked sausage, roasted peppers and onions, and mozzarella ($6). A vegetarian friend of mine joined me, and he had a flatbread pizza with plum tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella for $5. One of those pizzas should be enough to fill you up unless you’re extremely hungry. A guy sitting down from us at the bar had an ENORMOUS salad with asparagus, cauliflower, and other vegetables, topped with salmon for $8.

Then Jeff the bartender asked me, “Are you ready for dessert?” he said, and I said sure, and asked to see a dessert menu. “I’ll do better than that,” he said, “I’ll bring dessert to you.” Here’s what came out:

Click on the pic for a larger image – you really need to see this one at full size. He brought out these five desserts, in glasses a little bit larger than votive candle holders, and told me that each was $1.95, and I was welcome to have as many as I want. Pictured from left to right above are wild berry crunch, chocolate mousse (which I chose as my dessert), creme sofia (similar to creme brulee), carrot cake, and strawberry shortcake. Dessert selections change daily, he told me.

That dessert rack is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen. They’re little glasses so you’re not going to bust your diet by having one dessert. They’re inexpensive, so you’re not going to run up your bill by having one. On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes to sample a lot of different options, you could try three desserts at the Majestic for what you’d pay for one dessert at most restaurants.

When my bill came, it was $19.08 for a flatbread pizza, a dessert, and two very stiff mixed drinks. My friend had a tab of $24 for a vegetarian pizza and 4 glasses of wine. Not bad at all.

The Majestic is owned by a husband and wife who have been part of the downtown restaurant scene for a long time. That’s another reason it’s worth supporting – it’s owned by real people, and isn’t part of a chain or run by a management group.

I want to go back and try some other selections from their menu, but based on what I saw tonight, thumbs WAY up. Definitely a place you need to check out if you live, work or play downtown.