Books-A-Million rumored to be coming downtown

This past weekend I received a rumor, which I was told came from a fairly reliable media source, that Books-A-Million may take over the space in Peabody Place Mall formerly occupied by Tower Records.

There are currently no Memphis Books-A-Million stores (there’s one in Southaven) but I’ve been to the Little Rock location before. They typically have racks and racks of closeout books at deep discounts, and they also carry the current bestsellers. I’ve never known Books-A-Million to have in-store cafes in their locations, which is something I’d really like to see… but then again, with Starbucks right upstairs, an in-store cafe might be redundant at Peabody Place.

I hope this one is actually true… I’ve said for years that one of the key things downtown is missing is a large-scale book retailer that is open evenings and weekends. This is one of the remaining pieces of the puzzle involved in turning downtown into a real neighborhood.

Henry Turley to speak at Mpact Memphis wine & cheese party tomorrow night 3/14

Downtown developer Henry Turley will speak tomorrow night at a wine and cheese reception hosted by Mpact Memphis’ Toastmasters chapter, tomorrow night, March 14 at 6 PM, at the Emerge Memphis building (corner of Tennessee and G. E. Patterson). I’ve heard Henry Turley speak before, and was very impressed – despite his position of power in Downtown Memphis, he’s not afraid to speak candidly and tell it like it is.

This will also be a good chance to learn about Toastmasters. If you have a fear of public speaking, Toastmasters will help you get past it, as you give presentations and get support and constructive feedback from a group of your peers.

Should be a good event, and of course any time free wine is on the agenda there’s a good chance I’ll show up. Hope to see you there!

Has Beale Street really made an effort to eliminate the bums?

There was an article in the Commercial Appeal this morning about Beale Street cracking down on panhandling. Street leaders claimed a new, more aggressive crowd had moved in, and they were determined to take steps to stop them.

So, I decided to put it to a test. Tonight I walked down to Beale about 6:00, bought a dollar PBR at the Tap Room, and took it out to the street and sat on the concrete blocks in front of Silky’s. I was all by myself – a sitting duck – and with a Grizzlies game at 7, I expected to be swarmed by bums. Normally, if I sat there for an hour, I could expect to be hit up for money 4 to 6 times.

Tonight I got hit up ONCE. A guy in a Denny’s uniform swaggered up to me and sat down and say, “Hey, partner, hey bro, let me aks you for one small favor.” He asked for money for the bus home. But he didn’t strike me as a working man just trying to get home after a hard day… he struck me as a bum. He had the same walk, the same approach that they all do. It felt like he had done this at least 100 times before. I told him to go away. Then he hit up people sitting at the tables outside Silky’s front door and they gave him a couple of bucks.

Still, one bum in an hour alone on Beale is a vast improvement. Security down there must really be tightening up. Good job.

Afterward, I went to the Saucer to see my waitresses, then to the Majestic to see Tif(one f)any and eat dinner. Now I’m off to bed… I have many, many topics planned for posts this week so check back often.

It’s time for another Pimp & Ho Party

It’s hard out here for a pimp in Downtown Memphis. Especially since we haven’t had a Pimp & Ho party in over three years.

There used to be these great parties twice a year at Earnestine & Hazel’s, where everyone would dress up in their best pimp or ho costumes. I’d put on the baby blue leisure suit, feather boa around my neck, cheetah platform shoes on my feet, gold “$” medallion around my neck, fake gold teetheses in my mouth. There was great music and everyone would dance and drink and have a great time.

The thing is, though, the last Pimp & Ho party was in November 2003. From time to time I’d see Frank, the guy who organized them, around town. He’d tell me about grand plans for the next party – sponsorships, raising money for charities, multiple locations, perhaps a progressive Pimp & Ho party up and down the trolley line – and he’d always say, “there’ll be another one a few months from now.” But he’s been telling me that for more than three years.

The Sunday brunch crew was discussing it yesterday, and we have a lot of people who are ready for a Pimp & Ho party NOW, and who are ready to pitch in to make it happen. Seriously, it isn’t that hard – forget the big plans, forget about doing something on the trolley. Just go old-school with it and do it like we did back in the day – all we need to do is rent E&H for a night, promote the event among downtowners, maybe book a DJ.

Who’s in? I’d like to see this happen by the end of June, if not sooner. I’ll have to find some new ho’s, though, since both of my 2003 ho’s are now married with kids.

Be sure to check back frequently this week – got lots of good stuff to write about, although I need to download some pics from my camera first. I’ll be talking about a Peabody Place Mall rumor, where to find cheap beer before Grizzlies games, and who knows what else.

Crash Kole Saturday nights at the Russwood Park Bar and Grill (Holiday Inn Select)

Crash Kole, who played at Sleep Out Louie’s in recent months, now has a new gig at the Russwood Park Bar and Grill inside the Holiday Inn (aka Sleep Out’s East). He’ll be playing Saturday nights at 6 PM, starting this coming Saturday the 17th. Frenchie will be bartending, a lot of the old SOL crowd will be there, and it will be just like old times, so come on by. Here’s a flyer he sent me.

Saturday update: March Madness on Demand, Memphis Discount Dining adds new restaurants, new Better, Bigger Deal posts

– The NCAA will be offering 56 March Madness tournament games on demand for free online starting next Thursday. Sign up for a VIP pass now to get to the front of the line for viewing… once the VIP passes run out, you may be forced to wait in line for bandwidth to become available before you can view your game.

They’ve done this for several years now… it’s a good deal for people who have interest in out-of-area teams who might not be covered regionally, and for people who want to watch basketball at work Thursday and Friday. For those of you who have used the on-demand viewer in previous years, this year it has a larger screen, at 480 x 360.

– About a dozen new restaurants have been added to Memphis Discount Dining, where you can buy $25 gift certificates to those restaurants for $10. Those new restaurants include

  • Cafe Society
  • The original Gus’s Fried Chicken in Oakland, TN, as featured in GQ Magazine. Unfortunately the certificates aren’t valid at the Downtown location
  • Interim Restaurant and Bar
  • Jim’s Place Grille in Collierville
  • King Biscuit Diner in Cordova
  • McEwen’s on Monroe – great date place! Great wine selection!
  • River Oaks
  • Sawaddii – excellent Thai food
  • Smoky Mountain Cafe, Millington
  • Whittington’s Cafe, Bartlett
  • Yazoo’s, Bartlett

– I’ve made two new posts to my other blog, A Better, Bigger Deal. One is a DVD sale, with about 100 DVDs on sale for $6 each (I saw The Wedding Singer on the list, for example). The other is a $30 instant-savings promotion at Office Depot. (Edited to add: There’s also a new post about a 50″ plasma TV)

– I’m back in Memphis… arrived back in town about 9:30 last night. Didn’t go out though… my allergies kicked in, and I’m once again taking a Claritin-D clone (which I’ve named Krogeritin-D). So Crackhead Paul is back for the spring. My mother is home in Little Rock and recovering well from her illness.

It’s sunny and 70 outside… got a little business to take care of, but I’m going to get it done as quickly as possible and go outside. I bet Beale Street and the surrounding area will be fun this afternoon, since the Conference USA tournament crowd will be out by about 1:00. (Edited to add: Pam & Terry on the King’s Palace patio, 1-4 PM today)

Pam and Terry Fridays at the Holiday Inn Select (Russwood Park Grill)

Sleep Out Louie’s favorite band, Pam and Terry, has signed on to play Friday nights at the Holiday Inn Select, across the street from the Peabody, from 6 to 10 PM. Here’s what Pam and Terry have to say about the new gig.

Kudos to Holiday Inn management for going out of their way to make the Sleep Out’s regulars feel at home… first they hire Frenchie, and now Pam and Terry. Couple of other suggestions for the Holiday Inn:

1) Last summer, Sleep Out’s hired one of their best waitresses ever… and she was from Romania. You might want to look into hiring some Romanians.

2) NTN TRIVIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you get NTN I can pretty much guarantee that former Sleep Out’s regular Skippy will start coming in there. And the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up on Friday nights to play celebrity trivia.

I’d suggest a Sunday brunch too, but the Majestic Grille has done such a good job that I really don’t know what Holiday Inn could do to pull us out of there.

Holiday Inn will be honoring Sleep Out’s drink prices during Pam and Terry’s gig. Not sure if I’ll be back in town in time, but if I don’t see you this Friday night, I’ll see you the next.