Anyone want a cat?

Fellow blogger Ptolemy Kat has a 3-year-old male cat she’s looking to give away. He’s a white cat with black markings named Baylor. If anyone wants to adopt a cat you can contact her through her blog.

Note to PK: You’d probably have an easier time getting rid of him if you didn’t refer to him as “the crazy-ass cat” in your post

Blues City Pastry site

I found the website of Blues City Pastry, the pastry and coffee shop coming to the corner of Main Street and Peabody Place, this morning. There’s not a whole lot there right now but it says they hope to have the place open by Memphis in May.

NewVo Blues and Blue Worm report

Tonight I attended the first “Dinner Blues” dance lesson, dinner and dance at the Blue Worm on Airways. Here’s a report, and I’m going to break this down into two sections, reporting on NewVo Blues and the club separately.

NewVo Blues: The lesson started a little after 7. We all warmed up by learning the basics – in particular “the frame,” which consists of keeping your elbows forward, your chin up, and your shoulders rolled back. We also learned some basic steps. Then we began to partner up, and we learned how to lead and basic partner steps. They had us rotate around the room so that every guy got to dance with every girl several times – I found that to be a good thing, because everyone knew everyone by the end of the lesson.

I’m a big fan of reading the energy that people give off, and found that dancing was a great way to get a sense of people’s energy. My favorite partners were the ones who gave off an “it’s really nice to meet you” energy, or a “maybe I don’t know all the steps, but I’m going to have fun anyway” energy. You could just kind of tell where each person was coming from within about 5 seconds, if you were open to it. We were told that a big part of the dance is finding that connection with your partner, so I guess I succeeded at least on that part of it. I felt like I did most of the moves competently but was by no means the best in the room.

I think about half the attendees had formal dance training, some from the Red Hot Lindy Hop or Argentine Tango groups or others, and the rest were newbies like me. People would ask if I had previous dance experience, and I pondered for a minute whether “grinding with random drunk sorority girls at Raiford’s” counted as dance experience, then said “no.” It was good to get advice from partners who had danced before on how to improve, how to lead more strongly, etc.

I kept up until the last 10 minutes, when they showed us a complete routine and added so many additional moves at the end that I got lost. Still, it was a lot of fun, and I feel like I learned some moves I’ll retain for the future. Living downtown, I think it could be advantageous to have some training in blues dance, so I can show off for the tourists who visit Beale Street. I commented that the only visitors to Beale who seem to know how to dance to the street bands are the homeless. Maybe NewVo can help change that.

Instructors were very kind and knew how to correct us in the right way… they encouraged us to get to know one another and think of ourselves as a “family” for the evening. I’d definitely take classes from them again.

After the lesson we sat down to a chicken dinner (more on that in a minute) and an informal discussion of blues dancing. The instructors and some of the more advanced attendees put on a show out on the dance floor while we ate.

Their next event is a class and road trip on April 14. The class will be at Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street – 9:30 AM registration, 10 AM to noon class. Class is $15, or $12 for members. Afterward there will be lunch at Rum Boogie from noon to 1. After that the group will head to Clarksdale, MS, 90 miles to the south for the annual Juke Joint Festival. A $10 wristband (purchased on-site) gets you in all the clubs. You can pick and choose whichever of the class, lunch and festival you’d like to attend, but they say you’ll have the most fun if you attend all three.

For more info you can visit NewVo’s website. Thanks S and C for a great evening… if you want to write up a little somethin’ about the 14th, I’ll be happy to post it.

Now on to the club itself, The Blue Worm. It’s at 1405 Airways, on the right side of the street if you’re heading south toward the airport, left side if you’re heading north toward Midtown. It’s located between Park and Lamar. There is no signage on the street so you have to remember to look for the numbers getting close to 1405 – it’s in a complex with several other businesses and is in the back right corner. A flyer I took with me says it’s just behind the Save-A-Lot grocery store. I know some people will get all frightened about driving to a club in Orange Mound at night, but they have a big, well-lit parking lot with security and I felt pretty safe.

It’s a $5 cover to get in most nights. Relatively large space with tables, a dance floor, two pool tables, a DJ booth and a stage for the band. They sell Cokes and other soft drinks at the bar (in cans), as well as bottled water. They have a selection of beer ($2-3) or you can BYOB. You can also buy a ticket for $5 for a plate of home cooking, which on this particular night was chicken, rice, peas, and a brownie. The cook told me that on other nights, she makes a chili with 3 different meats and serves it over nachos. The cook and all the Blue Worm staff I talked to were just super-friendly (even went out of their way to introduce themselves) and made me feel right at home.

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling all that hot (I learned earlier this week why you should never order a burger less than medium well, and am still dealing with the effects) so I left before the dancing really got going. I want to come back though. I like this place. The DJ was playing some great music – I remember a lot of BB King – and although I left before the band came on, I had heard nothing but good things about them. This place seems to play the REAL blues, and maybe if I meet people on Beale who really seem to “get it” about music, I’ll invite them to take a ride with me out to the Worm.

(Attn J: If the Romanians come back for ’07, we should take them to the Worm one night)

The flyer I picked up says the Blue Worm is having a special “Diva-Bash” next Saturday, March 31, with Queen Ernestine “the Diva-Stine.” They told me there would be a food buffet, and there will also be drawings, surprises, and of course great music, all for a $10 cover. Music by The Fieldstones, The Universal Players, and Country Girl Band. The flyer also says, “Oh! Rumor has it that Queen Ernestine is doing a set… you don’t want to miss this!” Might want to check it out if you’re looking for something different and fun to do next Saturday.

One note about the Worm: Dress comfortably. You WILL work up a sweat on the dance floor, doubly so if you take a NewVo class. I made the mistake of wearing my embroidered guayabera shirt – wanted to look nice and make a good first impression – but the shirt was made of polyester and I was a sweaty mess by 9:00. There were plenty of people in T-shirts and jeans. The club wasn’t hot to the point of being uncomfortable, but it didn’t feel like they had the A/C on and it was a little warm.

All in all, thumbs up to the Blue Worm, I think it’s one of those places to hear real, authentic blues that hasn’t been “discovered” by the fraternity/Germantown crowd the way Wild Bill’s has. Thumbs up also to NewVo Blues, awesome first event, well organized. An evening well spent, and I wish I had had the energy to stay longer.

Whew… gonna get a few things done around the apartment then go to bed. An advantage of driving to an event in another part of town is that I’m completely sober (not a big fan of drinking and driving), and so I should get a great night’s sleep, especially after all the exercise I got dancing.

Anyone know of an errand service downtown?

A reader who lives in the Claridge House e-mailed me and posed the question below:

Do you know of anyone who will run errands and pick up/deliver stuff in the Downtown area? I’m thinking stuff like dry cleaning, prescription refills, booze, stuff from Schnuck’s, and so on.

Surely some enterprising soul has found that need and filled it by now………?

I saw flyers for such a service around six months ago, but they’ve long since disappeared. If anyone knows of such a service, please e-mail me and I’ll pass along the info and post it to my blog.

What a weekend we have coming up… according to my computer’s WeatherBug, we’re looking at highs of 85 and lows of 62 Saturday and Sunday, sunny both days, no mention of rain. For those of you not familiar with Memphis weather, that’s more typical for the end of May than the end of March.

Due to the great weather, I’ve decided to go into “nomad mode” Saturday and Sunday. I’m not committing to be in any particular place at any particular time, and I probably won’t stay in one place more than an hour or two. I’m placing the word “tentative” in front of any plans I do make, so I’m free to go outside and roam around.

I’m sure I’ll roam someplace about 3:40 tomorrow to see (1) Ohio State vs. (2) Memphis, winner goes to the Final Four. Go Tigers! I’m sitting here at High Point Coffee on Union typing this post, and Channel 5 is in here shooting video of their “Go Tigers” posters, so it’s possible I may show up on the news tonight.

Got some good news of a personal/professional nature yesterday; I’ll save it for a future post.

Back to work for a thrilling afternoon of cubicle sitting, then off to the Blue Worm for NewVo Blues‘ event tonight at 7.

Field report: Wed night 25-cent beer at Pat O’Brien’s

About 7:00 last night I hit 25-cent beer night at Pat O’Brien’s, and it was pretty fun. Beer was served at the small bar (they call it the locals’ bar) to the left when you first walk in, and you can either drink it there or take it to the piano room (where they had 2 players) or the fountain room. Kennedy and Q107.5 were there promoting. Crowd was about 50 people and was pretty diverse, I’d estimate 1/3 Downtowners, 1/3 from other parts of the city, and 1/3 tourists. The college crowd didn’t seem to have a lot of representation – guess that’s too early for them to go out.

The draft beer was Bud Light. They were very efficient handing it out – unless they were in the process of changing a keg, it usually took no more than 1 minute to get a fresh beer. Like most bars, they set their clock ahead so that their 8:00 (and the end of cheap beer) came at what appeared to be 7:50 to everyone else.

Before hitting Pat O’s I stopped at the Saucer, and asked one of the waitresses for advice on tipping on 25-cent beer: Is it enough to hand the bartender a dollar and say, “Keep the change”? Her reply: “I’d still be pissed.” She advised tipping on the full price of the beer rather than the discounted price. Hmmm. Guessing that Bud Light draft is probably around 3 bucks at regular prices, 75 cents is still a 25% tip, not bad. She thought I should tip $2 on each 25-cent beer. That seems a little excessive. I get the feeling her advice really had little to do with tipping at Pat O’s, and was actually a hint that I should tip her more than the 30% I’ve been leaving her at the Saucer.

Anyway, I ran into some of the Sleep Out Louie’s refugees and we worked out a system. One guy stood at the bar, and left a generous tip (I didn’t see it but I think it was $10) on the first round. Because of that tip we were guaranteed prompt service the rest of the time. He continued to stand at the bar, and we’d stand behind him in our group, near the bar but not at it. Every few minutes he’d buy a new 25-cent beer and then use it to refill our cups.

I hear that they’re doing this to try and build a regular crowd during the week – the place is busy weekends but has been pretty dead Sunday-Thursday. They’re hoping people stick around after 8 (or, really, 7:50) and order full-price drinks and food. I get the feeling this promotion will continue for the short term but won’t be permanent.

Fun night. Even if Pat O’s is not normally your place, it’s worth getting a posse together and showing up on a future Wednesday.

It’s true: 25-cent draft at Pat O’s tonight 6-8, and Tuesday specials as well

Thanks to regular blog reader Mendi for the info… there is indeed 25-cent draft at Pat O’Brien’s tonight, from 6 to 8. She also informed me that there are specials on Tuesdays as well, 2 for 1 beers until midnight and select drinks until 10.

What do you tip on a 25-cent beer? Even a 100% tip is still lousy – that’s only a quarter, and since I’ve become friends with so many service industry people downtown, I have a firm belief in tipping well. I guess I’ll give them a dollar for each beer and tell them to keep the change… that’s a 300% tip, pretty good, but still, I don’t think I’ve tipped less than a dollar a beer since I moved downtown (except for the infamous “47 and change” incident last October, but that was a unique set of circumstances).

Eh. I’ll just start tipping them 75 cents on 25 and see what everyone else does. Heading out now… gonna walk around and enjoy the sunshine a bit, then Frenchie’s bar, then possibly a trip to the Saucer to see if I can recruit any other regulars there to take a field trip to Pat O’s. Should be at Pat O’s no later than 7.

You can be famous! Your picture on this blog!

Here’s an opportunity for you to make yourself famous. Every June I do a special feature called Tube Top Month right here in this blog, designed to promote the buying and wearing of the tube top, in my opinion the greatest fashion item ever made. For the entire month every post will mention tube tops in some way, and/or will include pictures of people wearing tube tops.

Of course, that means I need to start collecting tube top pics, and now that the weather is getting warm (as I mentioned in the previous post, forecast highs of 78 or higher in Memphis for the next week), now is the time. So, if you’d like to be famous, with your pic in one of the city’s most well-read blogs, here’s your chance. All you have to do is either

1) If you see me out around town, and you have a tube top on, stop me and ask me to take your picture. I always carry my digital camera on me, except when I’m at work. Or,

2) Snap a pic of yourself in a tube top and send it to me.

I won’t include your name with the tube top pic when I post it, unless you specifically request it, since most people prefer to remain anonymous. Also, keep in mind that although I’m starting to collect the pics now, I don’t plan on posting them until June.

I’d also be interested in talking to any clothing store who would be interested in offering my readers discounts on tube tops for the month of June, in exchange for some free advertising on this blog.

Help make Memphis beautiful! Let’s see those tube tops!

Plans for the rest of this week

The week’s half over! Let’s see what’s going on for the remainder:

– Tonight: Someone told me that they thought Pat O’Brien’s had 25 cent beer on Wednesdays. Can anyone confirm this, and tell me the hours? I may have to walk down there and check this out for myself – worst case scenario, it’s not true and I’m forced to drink a Hurricane instead. Oh darn.

Actually, that may NOT be the worst case scenario. Worst case scenario, the 25 cent beer rumor IS true but I have to deal with a room full of frat guys in fluorescent-colored polo shirts with the collar turned up, khakis, brown belts and brown loafers yelling “Wooooooooooo!” (the mating call of the North American frat guy) while I drink my cheap beer.

I haven’t been to see Frenchie at the Russwood Park Grill/Holiday Inn Select in over a week, so I’ll try to get by there tonight as well.

– Tomorrow: Looks like the gang is convening at Hooters to watch the (2) Memphis vs. (3) Texas A&M game and then (1) Ohio State vs. (5) Tennessee. They decided on Hooters because Hooters has the NCAA package, so they can also watch the other two games at the same time, which are (?) Team I Don’t Care About vs. (?) Team I Don’t Care About and (?) Team I Don’t Care About vs. (?) Team I Don’t Care About. Meh. I may skip this one. Last time I went to Hooters the prices were high and some of the staff looked like they should have been in a kennel rather than a restaurant.

By the way… last night I stopped by the Majestic to say hello to Tifaney with one “f” and an “e” (her parents apparently thought, “let’s give her a name that no one will EVER spell correctly”), and they had ESPN sports commentary on one of the TVs. They said that the regional final in the South looks to be good, with Ohio State vs. Texas A&M likely to be a good game. Um. We’re the 2 seed. A&M is the 3. Isn’t it a BIT presumptuous to just assume that A&M will beat us and go on to the regional championship game? Typical of the lack of respect the U of M gets in the national media.

– Friday I’ll be going to the Blue Worm on Airways for NewVo Blues’ first event. I blogged about this one on Monday – a blues dance lesson at 7, a home-cooked dinner and informal discussion at 9, and dancing with a live band and DJ at 10:30. I’ve never been to the Worm but one of the group organizers tells me it’s a lot of fun – I suspect that I may be about to stumble upon one of the hidden gems of the Memphis club scene.

– Saturday I’m getting together with some friends for a private beer tasting in the early evening. After that, don’t know. One option is the Memphis International Film Festival awards party at The Warehouse (36 G.E. Patterson), open to the public, $10 cover (free for festival attendees) includes beverages and munchies. Warehouse parties are always a lot of fun, and might be a good chance to meet a new group of people.

The Mpact Memphis party of the year will also be happening that night, out at the Botanic Gardens. $40 cover, James Bond theme (the official title is “Casino Royale”), cash bar, casino games. Just curious, who all is going to this? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the effort to drive out east (which means I’d have to go real light at the beer tasting) and dress up in Bond attire. Mpact does have a history of throwing kick-ass parties of the year though. Personally undecided on this one, but people who like the kind of socialite/young-professional parties that Ptolemy Kat writes about on her blog should definitely consider putting this on their social calendar.

Hey, Mpact finally updated their website! It’s about time. Looks good.

– Sunday: Brunch, served by bartender Tifaney with one “f” and an “e” at the Majestic. Afternoon remains undecided – I usually go see my waitresses at the Saucer after I get done with brunch, but with the awesome forecast (supposed to be in the low 80s Sunday, and no high below 78 anytime in the next week) I’d kind of like to be outside.

However, Sunday evening I’ll be inside – at DOWNTOWN HUEY’S where THE DEMPSEYS will be playing!!!!!!!!!! Best band downtown, best place downtown to see them. Band starts at 8:30 but I recommend getting there no later than 8 to get good seats.

– There’s also an ad for Sauces in the new Memphis Flyer that came out today: “Attention Sleep Out Louie’s crowd! Sauces is looking for you! Visit us soon for great Happy Hour specials!” So it looks like we can add Sauces to the list of Downtown hangouts (which already includes the Majestic Grille, Big Foot Lodge, and Russwood Park Grill/Holiday Inn Select) which have taken very good care of us since we lost our home.

All right, that’s enough for now… got a second post – a warm-weather related post – that I’m gonna try to squeeze into this lunch hour, so be on the lookout for more.

The Midtown version of me

My Midtown Memphis by Ryan Jones.

Looks like he’s going to do for Midtown what I do for Downtown… news on all the bars, restaurants, and art openings in the area. It’s been going for less than a month but he appears to be off to a good start. If you enjoy my posts I think you’ll enjoy Ryan’s. This one’s going in my bookmarks.

Thanks to Mark Richens who writes the Scene blog for the CA for leading me to Ryan. Richens is another one to keep in your bookmarks and check frequently.

The parking garage rant

I pay to park in a garage across the alley from my apartment building. It’s a small garage with tight corners, and recently I’ve had several near head-on collisions as I pulled in and out of the garage. This is my rant to my fellow parkers.

1) The garage is not your personal race track. 35 mph is not an acceptable speed. Not even if you’re late for work. Not even if you’ve had a lousy day at work and you just want to get out of there as fast as possible. Not even if you’re on your way to a booty call. SLOW DOWN. And stay on the right side of the lane as much as possible.

2) Would it really kill you to wait until AFTER you’ve driven out of the garage to start talking on your cell phone?

3) Turn on your lights when you enter the garage. Even if it’s daylight outside. Being able to see the reflection of your headlights as you round a corner lets other people know you’re coming.

4) If you see someone get in their car and they’re within SECONDS of backing out, it’s acceptable to wait on them so you can get their space. It’s *** NOT *** acceptable to sit there and wait three minutes for someone to back out, when there are 5 cars behind you waiting for you to move. Yeah, people do it on the Target parking lot the day after Christmas, but those are hardly the kind of people you look to as role models for good driving manners.

5) If you drive one of those mammoth SUVs, don’t park in the spaces nearest to corners. When you park there, it creates a huge blind spot and people can’t see if another car is coming ’round the corner in the opposite direction. My closest calls have usually been the result of a Yukon or Expedition blocking my view.

6) The garage floor is not your personal trash can. If you’re done with your beer bottle or restaurant to-go cup when you get out of your car, take it with you and throw it away in a proper receptacle. Don’t just leave it sitting there on the ground next to your vehicle.

… And that’s all I can think of. Whew, that’s one I’ve been meaning to type up for a while. Other news:

– Tonight I’ll be at the Saucer for Trivia Night. With Clay’s team tired out after a long New Orleans trip, this may be just the right time for the Rapscallions to open up a can of ass whoopin’.

– There’s also a Grizzlies game tonight. For those of you looking for a pre- or post-game beer, keep in mind that it’s Pint Nite at the Tap Room on Beale – $2.50 for a pint of your choice of about 20 different draft beers. Unlike the Saucer, Stella Artois is available for Pint Nite prices at the Tap Room.

– (2) Memphis vs. (3) Texas A&M, 6:27 PM Thursday. After that game is over (1) Ohio State will play (5) Tennessee. If the Tigers win their game, I’ll be pulling for Tennessee – since the winner of that game will play us next, I’d rather play the lower seed. If the Tigers lose, I’ll have an attitude of “don’t care” – while I usually pull for a school if I have friends who are alumni there, this is a case where I have friends who are alumni of both schools.

– Last night a friend of mine told me that there’s a Romanian girl in this month’s issue of Playboy. He said she’s the hottest girl in the entire magazine. Not surprised. I don’t normally read Playboy – well, no one reads Playboy – I don’t normally look at Playboy, but I guess I’ll have to pick up this month’s issue.

… And that’s all the crap that’s fit to print. Back to work.