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 coyoteuglysaloon.com. Not sure if the auditions are open to the public or not.

– Save Libertyland has a blog at savelibertyland.blogspot.com. 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.