Trolley Tour recap

I headed out to Trolley Tour about 6 yesterday, starting at the northernmost stop, Shelton Clothiers on the Main Street Mall. I’m not a suit-and-tie person but they still had plenty of stuff I would wear – trendy club shirts, casual linen shirts. They also had some wallets and money clips I liked – may go back and buy one next week. Still dealing with the Costanza wallet.

After that I hit the art auction pre-party at the Orpheum, which was PACKED. So packed that I gave up trying to view the artwork and left, after saying hello to fellow blogger Amy W and to blog readers Mendi and Meredith. Meredith had a tube dress on. I forgot to take a pic though.

Walked down to South Main, and for the first time in almost a year I managed to hit every gallery on the tour. Usually I get caught up talking to people and miss half of them. Saw some pieces in Jay Etkin’s gallery that I would have loved to take home, but they were four grand apiece, so no art purchases for me this month.

At 9 I moved on to Earnestine & Hazel’s for Crash Kole and the BlueSouls, which proved to be the high point of my evening. Here are a couple of pics:

I had planned to only stay for a few minutes, but extended my stay at E&H when the band turned out to be FANTASTIC. Their name describes their music well – bluesy, soulful rock. They played “Who Do You Love,” some Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile,” lots of other good stuff. It was loud and rough and perfect for the venue – the music blended in with the smell of soul burgers, the grimy walls full of pictures of celebrities. I stayed over an hour and when they went on break, I walked up the street and recruited a friend to come back and see them.

Attn Sleep Out Louie’s refugees: The next time Crash Kole and the BlueSouls play E&H, I am DRAGGING your asses out. They are that damn good.

So I walked back into E&H with my friend Chuck, and since the band was still on break I showed him the upstairs, which he had never seen. I told him about the building’s history as a brothel. “So you mean, 60 years ago, this is where gentlemen came to pay for some quality time with a lady?” he asked.

“60? More like 20,” I responded. E&H was still a brothel into the 1990s.

While upstairs at E&H, a fellow Downtowner offered us a tour of his condo above the Recording Academy on South Main. I snapped this pic of the South Main District from his roof:

Afterward, I got a ride back up to the Saucer, but it was just stupid packed so I didn’t stay. I headed to EP Delta Kitchen, equally packed. Hung out with some friends on the patio, but after they left I started to tire out… went downstairs, where regular blog reader L told me there was “good dancing tonight” and I really wanted to stay, but I was hitting the point of exhaustion. So I wandered home. Good thing I did too, because one of my consulting clients had an emergency that I had to troubleshoot at 8 in the morning.

Heading out… the tentative plan for today is 1) Flying Saucer; 2) Barton Flats rooftop; 3) my own rooftop; 4) walk down to Main and Jefferson to view Lantana Projects’ exhibit; 5) probably back to my own rooftop (maybe Barton Flats) to view fireworks; 6), 7), 8) and beyond… who knows. Most likely I’ll end up at EP’s again.

Don’t forget, today’s the last day of Tube Top Month. Not that I discourage the wearing of tube tops after today, but this is really a good occasion to send the month out with style. And what says “style” more than a tube top!

Outta here… maybe I’ll see you out tonight.

THIS IS A MUST-SEE: Sauce Boss @ Blues City Cafe July 18-21

One of the most unique musical acts I’ve ever seen is coming back to Memphis – the Sauce Boss, at Blues City Cafe Wednesday, July 18 – Saturday, July 21. Slide guitarist The Sauce Boss sings songs about gumbo while he cooks gumbo on stage. At the end of the show, the gumbo is ready and everyone eats.

I saw this guy at Sunset Symphony 2001 – he stole the show. Put this one on your calendar now. He has CDs, recipes and hot sauce on his website.

Sunset Symphony 2001 – if I remember correctly, that’s the year that those one-shoulder tops were a big deal, a precursor to tube tops making a comeback the following year.

Friday update: Maramalade, yard sale, farmers’ market, Grill Room, October arts fest and more

– If you’re going to the South Main Trolley Tour tonight and are looking for some post-tour live music, here’s one more option for you: The Prime Cut Band at the Marmalade Lounge, half a block up the street on G.E. Patterson. They gave me this flyer (click the images to view them in a larger size):

Prime Cut plays from 9 PM to 12:01 AM and cover is $8. There are also plenty of other options for tonight that I’ve mentioned – here’s a quick review:

Orpheum pre-art and antique auction party – 6-7 PM
Crash Kole and the BlueSouls – Earnestine & Hazel’s 7 PM
Casablanca at the Orpheum – 7:15
Post-Casablanca party at the Westin

It looks like the Westin will have a post-party for the Orpheum movie series every Friday of the summer. This week they’ll have “Humphrey Bogart” and gin drinks. On deck for the movie series: Raiders of the Lost Ark Friday, July 6; Rocky Horror Picture Show Friday, July 13.

– There’s been some talk of Downtowners getting together and having a giant yard sale sometime this summer, possibly in the vacant lot next door to Earnestine & Hazel’s. All proceeds from the sale would be donated to WEVL. If you have anything you want to get rid of, e-mail me and I’ll put you in touch with the guy coordinating the sale.

– The Memphis Farmers Market will be open this Saturday, as they are every Saturday through October, from 7 AM (ughhhhh) to 1 PM. The theme this week is “Red, White and Blueberries” – it will be the one and only time this summer fresh Mississippi blueberries are available for sale. There will be an Independence Day celebration for the kids, with clowns all morning and a patriotic parade at 10:30. Check the website for full details.

– The CA had a review this morning of The Grill Room, the steakhouse next door to the Daily Grill in the Westin. Normally I’m not a big fan of Koeppel’s reviews, but this is the first I’ve heard about the Grill Room and there’s a lot of useful information. Although steak is their calling card, that lobster martini looks really good.

– The River Arts Fest coming to South Main the last weekend in October now has a website. I’ve been told there may be more info about the festival at Trolley Tour tonight.

– If you go out this weekend, don’t forget that tonight and tomorrow are the last days of Tube Top Month, so be sure to show your support.

I’ll be on South Main tonight – if you read my blog and haven’t met me before, say hello! Looking forward to a fine, fun weekend.

Thursday update

– The last few Thursdays I’ve been going to EP’s around 9:00 for their weekly rooftop party, but this week I’m going to miss it, because THE DEMPSEYS are playing the Saucer! They take the stage at 9:30.

– Other Thursday night events Downtown:
The Super 5 on the Peabody rooftop
Gary Johns on the Madison rooftop
Garry Goin and G3 with Q107.5 at EP Delta Kitchen
Eric Church with Luke Bryan at KIX 106 Country on Beale

And, of course, the Grizzlies will have a big NBA Draft party tonight at the FedExForum.

Whatever you end up doing tonight, remember that there are only 3 days left in Tube Top Month! Be sure to put on a tube top and show your support! (Unless you’re a guy, in which case, please DON’T put on a tube top.)

– If you’re down on South Main for the Trolley Tour tomorrow night, be sure to stop in Earnestine & Hazel’s for some good music. Crash Kole and the BlueSouls take the stage at 7 PM. Crash has played the Russwood Park Grill and Sleep Out Louie’s many times and always puts on a good show.

– The Majestic Grille wants everyone to know that they’ll be open for business July 4 and all of next week. Many Downtown restaurants close the week of the 4th and take their annual vacation… but the Majestic will be open for business as usual every day, serving up tasty food.

That’ll do it for now… back to work.

Cool stuff I found surfing other blogs – iPhone sucks, RSVP, free business book, Westin Casablanca party

Otto reports that the iPhone officially sucks. He has a long list of features left off the $499 iPhone – many of which can be found on phones that are essentially free with service contract. Kind of reminds me how the iPod is the most expensive MP3 player on the market and yet doesn’t come with a voice recorder, FM tuner, etc. … but taken to a whole new level with the iPhone. If you’re thinking about getting one, you should definitely read Otto’s post first.

– One of my favorite things to do every month is pick up an issue of RSVP magazine and make fun of the people pictured therein, at their high-falutin’ society parties. Well, this month I get to make fun of people I actually know – Ptolemy Kat and O-Boy made the July issue.

Hugh Hollowell reports that one of the entrepreneurial world’s most famous authors, Seth Godin, has made one of his books, The Bootstrapper’s Bible, available for free download in PDF format. I’ve bookmarked it and plan on adding the book to my growing to-read list.

I’ve been reading Hugh for a couple of weeks now, and his blog has gone straight to the top of my bookmarks list. All kinds of good advice and websites to check out. Although, I’m a bit disappointed that my blog didn’t make his list of “blogs that make you think” – sure, those blogs may have great self-improvement tips and business advice, but do any of them have “Tube Top Month”?

Midtown Ryan and Rachel report that the Westin will have a post-Casablanca party (the Orpheum will show the movie Casablanca) Friday night, June 29, with Casablanca-themed drinks, party favors and music. The party will be held in the Westin’s lobby. Should be a good time, and something to do after Trolley Tour ends at 9. The Westin has only been open 2 months and is already getting a reputation for throwing great parties.

– Been at the Second Street branch office three hours and I’ve only managed to put away 2 Blue Moons. I drink slowly when I work, I guess (and I wouldn’t want to get drunk while I’m working anyway). Gotta go home and call a client, so it looks like the trip to Blues City Pastry will have to wait until later in the week.

"Canada Day" with drink specials Sunday at Big Foot Lodge

Big Foot Lodge will celebrate “Canada Day” all day long Sunday, July 1 – 11 AM to midnight. There will be $2 Canadian drink specials – Sleeman and Molson Canadian bottled beer, and Forty Creek whiskey drinks.

Their ad in this week’s Flyer encourages customers to wear Canadian colors on Sunday. The Canadian flag is a red maple leaf on a white background, so ladies, let me suggest a red tube top, or a white tube top, or a red and white striped tube top, or a white tube top with a red maple leaf on it. Yes, Tube Top Month will officially be over by Sunday, but don’t let that stop you – tube tops are always in fashion.

Sunday brunch crew – we may have to make this an additional stop on the tour.

Wednesday update: Lantana Projects, smoking ban, and more

Lantana Projects, the nonprofit that offers artists from all over the world residencies in Memphis, will unveil their new outdoor exhibit Saturday, June 30 from 7 to 10 PM. Artist Eric Knoote’s work consisting of mirror “flowers” will be on display at the vacant lot at the corner of Main and Jefferson in Downtown Memphis.

If you drive down to view the exhibit, please keep in mind that Downtown will be quite busy indeed, because the annual fireworks celebration at Tom Lee Park will be happening the same day. My suggestion – to help you avoid getting snarled in traffic when you leave – is to park as far away from Tom Lee as possible. If you’re coming to the art exhibit, I’d recommend parking to the east on Jefferson, Adams or Court in the metered spaces (which are free on Saturdays). When you leave, avoid Second Street and Union Avenue at all costs, as those are the main thoroughfares the cruisers use.

Saturday looks to be a full day for me… in addition to Lantana, I’ve been invited to view the fireworks at parties at Barton Flats and on my own rooftop. I’ll try to get to all three, with “where are the hot women” being the deciding factor whether to stay or move. Then again, maybe I’m missing out by not going to the park itself… the last time I viewed fireworks from a Downtown roof I missed a chance to see my favorite blogger in a tube top.

– There’s been a lot of talk in recent days about the ban on smoking in most public places (including most restaurants and bars) that passed the Tennessee Legislature. It’s scheduled to become law July 1, but a little research reveals that it won’t be enforced until October 1. What I’ve been told is that smoking will be allowed on outdoor patios, but won’t be allowed anywhere in restaurants or bars that are enclosed. It’s unclear whether it will be allowed at places like the Saucer’s outdoor patio when the windows are up; I had one person (who is in the restaurant biz) tell me that would count as a patio, but I had another person tell me it’s just a room with great big windows and wouldn’t be exempt.

Mixed feelings about this… on a personal level, I’m thrilled about the ban. I think cigarettes are disgusting and I hate having to come home every night with my hair and clothes smelling like smoke. On the other hand, about 80% of my friends smoke and I know how much this is going to disrupt their lives. I guess they have 3 months to figure out how to deal with it.

– My trivia team The Rapscallions finished slightly out of the money last night. Sample question – how do you spell “hemorrhoid”? Team member Skippy, an expert on the subject, managed to spell the word correctly and score us some points. One of our other team member cut the straps off her strapless top, turning it into a tube top in honor of Tube Top Month. Will post a pic as soon as I download it from the camera.

That’s all for now… time to get some work done. My tentative plan is to work from the Second Street branch office from about 11 to 2, and Blues City Pastry from 2 to 5. Have a good Wednesday everyone.

For lunch today

Today’s lunch: A “Texas-sized” spud topped with beef and cheddar cheese from McAlister’s Deli. First time I’ve eaten there since the place opened. They gave me lots of sour cream and butter to go on it too.

And just to keep in compliance with this month’s theme, here’s a tube top pic:

Taken last night at the Saucer… as I snapped the pic she said, “Paul!!! How many times have I been in your blog this month? People are going to think I own nothing but tube tops!” What would be wrong with that?

About to log back on to the server and get back to work… gotta turn the TV on too, CNN is about to have a news conference about the circumstances of Chris Benoit’s death.