The highlight of my day yesterday was definitely…

… playing in the inaugural poker night at the Brass Door. 6 PM every Sunday, run by Poker Jon, with points earned counting toward his poker league. Jon also runs games at the Silly Goose (Monday, 7:30 and 10) and Bardog (Wednesday, 7:30).

They held the game in the Brass Door’s upstairs, third-story level. It is a beautiful lounge area, intimate, with tones of rich wood and dark leather. I’ve been up there a couple of times before, but last night I thought to myself, if I were a businessman and I brought a client here, surely the client would be tremendously impressed. Of course it also helps that the food is good. Jon bought us a sausage and cheese plate as thanks for coming out the first week.

I’ve been having a run of bad luck lately, and it continued last night. Dealt K-K, the second best hand in Hold’em, I was quite happy to get all my chips in before the flop. My opponent turned over J-J, making me about a 4-to-1 favorite to win the hand. Sure enough, he flopped a Jack and eliminated me. That kind of thing has been happening to me a lot the past two weeks. It’s known as a “cooler” in poker terminology and I’m very glad it isn’t happening at a casino, with real money.

Poker isn’t the only game you can play at the Brass Door. There’s also bingo with Diamond Dave every Wednesday at 7.

Afterward, I went over to the Blind Bear, where I had a serving of banana pudding so big I probably could have gone for a swim in it.

Earlier in the day, I did some Music Fest people-watching at the Saucer and the Goose. I saw a festival goer at the Saucer with her phone tucked into her tube top. What a great idea and what a lucky phone.

Amazingly, I got a full night’s sleep. I woke up naturally at 5:30 this morning, not having been prematurely awakened by “WOOOOOOOOOOO! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” That may be the first post-Music Fest Monday morning that has happened since I moved Downtown 10 years ago.

Five more days until my much-needed vacation begins. If there’s news to report I’ll be back at lunchtime with a post.

Tip for today: Go by the MLGW stage on Beale – and tip

MLGW has set up a music stage on Beale in front of their headquarters, near the Elvis statue. The musicians playing there are accepting tips, and all tips go to Plus-1, the program that provides assistance paying the power bills of those in financial hardship. Zach Randolph gave $5000 to Plus-1 earlier this year; don’t you want to be like Zach? The stage is free and you don’t need a Music Fest ticket to enjoy it. It’s between Main and Second.

A particularly good time to check out the stage would be between 3:30 and 5 today, when my friends Pam and Terry will be playing.

The 6:23 AM reminder that it’s Music Fest weekend




Ah, the mating call of the American Douchebag in the wild. Most prominently heard the first week of May.

I started yesterday at the Saucer, where I got a Mexi-beer update: Dos Equis Lager will still be on tap throughout the weekend, then they’ll switch it out with Pacifico. Bartender Drew almost didn’t believe me when I told him about the planned switch – he didn’t think Pacifico was available in kegs. But he went to the back and looked, and sure enough, there it was.

In other Saucer news, a couple of regulars have offered to pay the entry fee if the Saucer will field a team for Wine Race next year. Oh my God please please please make this happen. It will be a shitshow the size of Mt. Everest. Well, the grape stomp, the wine relay and especially the parade will be shitshows. Queen of the Vine, however, they have a good shot at winning if they enter the contestant they told me they would.

I walked over to the Blind Bear to watch the Grizzlies game. Great place to watch, although I have to call douche on the entire right side of the bar for switching to the Ole Miss baseball game during commercials. Is that really necessary?

Unfortunately the Grizzlies lost, but the game ended in time for me to get to the Brass Door for their Derby Day special: A Kentucky brown.

It was very good, although it was a little different than the hot browns I had when I was in Lexington. I had to go there to teach several corporate classes at IBM. Other than the training facility itself, which positively sucked, I loved Lexington. I found a little diner near Downtown that served hot browns and had some of the cheapest drink specials in the city. I remember getting two gin and tonics for $1.75 total. Granted that was 13 years ago, but still, that’s dirt cheap even for 1999.

After that, I returned to the Saucer, where Amy asked me to take a photo of all the Hostess products the girls have stashed away.

Good Lord. Those girls had to be bouncing off the walls on a sugar high by the end of their shifts.

Around 9 I decided to go home and take a nap. I was getting real irritated with someone I’d been texting, someone who has the potential to be a tube top superstar but who won’t put one on because she’s “as white as Casper.” Here’s an idea: If you go out in the sun for a while, you won’t be white anymore. It’s not rocket science. Humans have been doing it for 2 million years. I even offered the use of my rooftop for suntanning, 16 stories up so hardly anyone would see her. “If I come over you have to wear sunglasses that will cover up how pasty I am,” she replied. Oh for heaven’s sake. I decided a nap would get me in a better frame of mind after arguing with her about tube tops. So I woke up about 11:30 and heard


and decided not to go back out.

One thing I didn’t do, that I usually do on Music Fest Saturday: Go down to Beale and mess with the religious freaks. Every year this ultra-evangelical church from Tulsa shows up with huge banners, handing out pocket comic books, getting on bullhorns saying we’re all going to hell because we drink and fornicate. I like to get a Call-a-Cab from Wet Willie’s and drink it in front of the leader of the group. I’ve been doing it since 2002 and I think he kind of looks for me every year. I need to get down there and see him today.

I just went on my morning Mountain Dew run to City Market, and I see that Los Bummies are already out in force. Please don’t give panhandlers money! Most of the ones who approach you are professionals who do this for a living, and who are not in need (except maybe for being in need of ’bout five dolla so they can score a crack rock). If you want to help those who truly need it, the Hospitality HUB would be a great place to make a donation.

Okay, now tube top argument girl has texted me a photo of herself in a tube top. I’m still not at all confident she’ll actually wear it out in public, though.

I’m up fairly early so I guess I’ll go to brunch at the Majestic at 11. I doubt we’ll see John D, namesake of John D’s breakfast, who will probably stay in Midtown and smartly avoid the Music Fest crowd. That’s okay, he has Slider Inn, an excellent place to spend a Sunday. I’m undecided whether the Saucer or the Goose will be my 12:00 stop. Normally the Saucer is my preference, but the Goose’s patio has a lot of appeal too. If I don’t go to the Saucer Christina will be tweeting “where’s @paulryburn” by 12:45. In any event, my goal for today is to get so wasted that I don’t notice all the “WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”ing that will be going on outside my window tonight.

Time to get this party started! Bars don’t open for another hour, so I guess I’ll pop open a PBR at home.

Brass Door adds poker night

The Brass Door has added a poker game to its weekly schedule. It will be Sundays at 6 PM. Game is free to play and run by Poker Jon who does the Goose and Bardog games. Great Irish food, great beer selection including PBR, so come play.

Music Fest, the speed bump between Wine Race and BBQ Fest

The patio at the Silly Goose is perfect for Music Fest people watching and tube top watching.

Music Fest weekend. Mainly I look at it as a speed bump between Wine Race and BBQ Fest, but it does offer some good people watching and tube top watching opportunities. As I’ve done in past years, I staked out a spot on the Silly Goose patio last night after work. It’s the first time I’ve been on the patio for an extended period of time since they installed the awning – I was there Thursday too but not for very long – and it makes all the difference in the world. With the heat index in the mid 90s, that patio would have been scorching without the awning. It also creates this other-worldly feeling, halfway between outside and inside. I like it and will probably be back tomorrow or Sunday.

Edit: I just learned the Goose will have $3 margaritas until midnight today to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

One of the things I’m on the lookout for on festival days is good T-shirts. I saw a great one at Wine Race last Sunday that I forgot to blog about. Jesus and three other players are sitting at a poker table, and the dealer tells Jesus, “Ante, Christ.” That’s awesome.

After the sunset I moved next door to the Flying Saucer. While there, the GM, Kirk, gave me some huge beer news: They’re changing out the Mexican lager. Goodbye Dos Equis Lager, hello Pacifico. I actually have no problem with that at all. Pacifico is an excellent beer. Trouble is, now all the trainees will have to be re-trained. Last night they learned that a “Ryburn” is a Dos Equis Lager with extra limes. Now it will be a Pacifico with extra limes.

The Grizzlies play the Clippers at 3:30 this afternoon in Los Angeles. Game will be on ESPN and I’ve got to figure out where to watch it. Options:

1) Home: No. Boring.

2) AutoZone Park: The official Grizzlies watch party should be a lot of fun, and I bet the game will look amazing on their new video board. Downsides: There will be a lot of kids there, and beer prices will be the most expensive of any of the options. I wonder if BBQ nachos will be on sale? That would be a huge plus.

3) Flying Saucer: Probably the place that’s best set up for game watching in the Downtown core. 7 TVs, two of them big screens, and I assume they’ll put sound on. I wonder if that keg of Pacifico that’s going in will land on the Fire Sale board? If so, that would just about sway me in the Saucer’s direction. Downside: Music Fest weekend is the third biggest Amateur Night of the year (after New Year’s Eve and St. Pat’s) and a lot of the amateurs will go to the Saucer.

4) Blind Bear: I have a history of watching games there, and $2.50 PBR is very tempting indeed. I missed a day there for the first time in three weeks yesterday, which will not help my quest to regain the mayorship. If not the game, I absolutely must get in there sometime today. Downside: Less opportunity for people watching than the other bars.

5) Hooters: Fuck no.

6) Silly Goose, assuming Dusty opens early: A good option, but the temptation to go out on the patio would be awfully distracting from the game.

7) Max’s Sports Bar: The best place in all of Downtown to watch games, but a little far to walk given everything else that’s going on.

I’ll figure it out this afternoon. It looks like it will come down to option 2, 3, or 4.

Stuff going on, if you’re not going to Music Fest: It’s Cinco de Mayo, which means Rio Loco will have specials. Great place to hang out on the 5th of May.

(By the way, next year I’m not checking Facebook or Twitter at all on May 4. That “May the Fourth be with you” stuff got old real fast. That pun is as played out as “Mustang Sally” is on Beale Street.)

The Majestic Grille has a calzone special today that sounds delicious: Ham, salami, sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan with spicy tomato sauce. Their patio is another prime spot for Music Fest people watching – I ranked it as the best Downtown for years, until Bluefin got couches and the Goose got an awning. It’s still a very close number three though.

If you want to hear live music without going to the festival, check out the outlaw country performed by the RT Scott Band at Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon from 9 to 1 tonight. Double J has liquor now, so hollar and swallar!

I forgot to snap a pic of the Goose’s patio, so I used a pic of a goose who hangs out by our pond at work. Here’s a typical agenda for a day in the life of this goose:

1) First I’m going to look over here.
2) Then I’m going to look over there.
3) Then I’m going to look over there.
4) Then I’m going to look over there.
5) Then I’m going to look over here.
6) Then I’m going to look over there.
7) Then I’m going to crap on the grass.
8) Then I’m going to look over there.
9) Then I’m going to look over there.
10) Then I’m going to look over there.
11) Then I’m going to look over here.
12) Then I’m going to look over there.
13) Then I’m going to look over here.
14) Then I’m going to look over there.
15) Then I’m going to look over there.
16) Then I’m going to eat some strands of the grass that I crapped on.
17) Then I’m going to look over here.
18) Then I’m going to look over there.

(Is there a WordPress plugin that prevents turning the number 8 and a parenthesis into a smiley?)

All right, it’s after 11, bars are open now, time to hit Publish and get outside. My agenda for the day, other than watching the game:

1) First I’m going to look at a tube top.
2) Then I’m going to look at another tube top.
3) Then I’m going to look at a black T-shirt with a pocket while hearing lame excuses.
4) Then I’m going to look at another tube top.
5) Then I’m going to look at another tube top.

Should be a glorious day. Time to get started!

Fri update: Double J has liquor, runaway horse carriage, what happened to Thursday Ladies’ Nights?, cooking with beer, Music Fest, SeedHatchery graduate gets funding, FA Cup Final

THIS JUST IN: Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon has received their liquor license, just in time for Music Fest. The saloon is in the old Beignet Cafe building on G.E. Patterson, across from the cheesecake shop and Max’s Sports Bar.

I got out a few minutes too late to miss some excitement yesterday afternoon. There was a runaway horse carriage in the Downtown core, with passengers but without a driver. The horse galloped down Peabody Place, then made a left turn north onto Second (which is one-way south). The passengers were screaming “Help us!” as the carriage passed the Saucer, and a patron jumped out of the garage window and chased after the horse along with another man. By Union they had caught up with the horse and grabbed its reins to stop it.

Later in the evening I got a text: “Where has ladies night specials?” I realized I didn’t know the answer. It’s weird – a few years ago it seemed like nearly every bar was doing Ladies’ Night on Thursday, to try to draw the rooftop crowd in. Now I don’t know of any that are. What happened to the ladies’ nights?

Cooking tip of the day, from Lifehacker: Cook rice in beer for a flavorful, non-lumpy dinner dish.

After years and years of Music Fest weekends when it was 54 degrees and pouring rain, it looks like we will finally catch a break this year. The forecast shows 89 today, 91 Saturday, low 90s Sunday, with lows in the 70s and only a slight chance of rain every day. In other words, perfect tube top weather.

One of my Facebook friends made a very good point today about social media panhandling the week of Music Fest. There are ticket panhandlers who will post something like, “Not sure if I’m going to Music Fest because tickets are expensive. I might go if anyone has an extra ticket. :-)” It’s so funny to watch these people come out of the woodwork.

Congratulations to a local startup that has pulled itself up from the bootstraps and earned a $300,000 round of funding. Work for Pie provides a way to measure a developer’s contributions to the open source community. It’s kind of like a Klout score for open source, and it has the potential to change the way potential employers measure applicants for dev jobs. The company was a graduate of Seed Hatchery, an intense 90-day program that takes entrepreneurs from “nothing but just an idea” to “ready to apply for venture capital.”

The Brass Door has announced that they will be showing the FA Cup Final tomorrow at 11 AM. They will also have $4 margaritas for Cinco de Mayo. Three TVs, full brunch menu.

Then at 5, the Brass Door will have a Kentucky Derby party. $8 Kentucky Brown sandwiches. Hmmm… even though I couldn’t care less about the horse race itself, I may have to stop by. I haven’t had a hot brown since I taught a couple of corporate classes in Lexington in 1999. They are delicious. Also, $1 off drinks if you dress in Derby attire, which means I will be paying full price for drinks.

Just a few more hours until one of the best people watching weekends of the year. Not going to Music Fest but I’ll be out Downtown.

Thur update: Game 5, watch party for Game 3, Orpheum summer movie series, Uncle Lou’s

The Grizzlies win last night ensures that there will be a Game 5 in the playoff series against the Clippers. It will be a home game next Wednesday. Time to be determined; Chris Herrington from the Flyer reports that it will be a 7:00 tip if the Heat and Spurs both sweep their series, and an 8:30 tip otherwise. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 4 at noon. Attendees get a free white T-shirt and a growl towel.

Game 3 will be Saturday at 3:30 in Los Angeles. The Grizzlies will host an Official Watch Party at AutoZone Park. Games and face painting for the kids, game on the 13-foot video screen. Appearances by Grizz, the Grizz Girls, and the Claw Crew. Admission is free for all Grizzlies fans, and food and beverages will be available.

The Orpheum has released its summer movie schedule. Here it is. Those listed with a * are presented in partnership with Indie Memphis.

May 25: This is Spinal Tap 7:15
June 1: Breakfast at Tiffany’s 7:15
*June 14: Donnie Darko 7:30
June 15: Grease (The Sing Along) 7:15
June 22: O Brother Where Art Thou? 7:15
*June 28: Pulp Fiction 7:30
June 29: Raiders of the Lost Ark 7:15
July 13: Casper (family matinee) 2:00
July 13: Psycho 7:15/The Shining 9:30
July 20: The Princess Bride 7:15
July 27: Blazing Saddles 7:15
Aug 3: The Wizard of Oz 7:15
*Aug 9: Almost Famous 7:30
Aug 10: Gone with the Wind 7:15
*Aug 16: Fargo 7:30
Aug 17: Godfather II 7:15
Aug 31: Casablanca 7:15
Sep 14: Rocky Horror Picture Show 8:15

Last month I reported on a rare opportunity to get Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken without having to leave Downtown, at Africa in April. Well, if you missed it then, you’ve got another chance. They’ll be a vendor at BBQ Fest, in the center food court section. Hmmm… even though I’m on a team, I may have to spend a little money on food at Uncle Lou’s this year.

Time for beer and tube top watching!

Who’s going to be a tube top superstar at Downtown’s Thursday night parties?

Warm, dry weather will make tonight a perfect night to be a tube top superstar at Downtown’s Thursday night parties. Let’s look at the list.

Party Planet will rock the Peabody rooftop tonight, along with special guest/Memphis in May artists Breathe Carolina. $10 cover includes your first drink ticket, and ladies get in free before 7 PM. 6-11 PM.

On the Madison rooftop, Deering and Down will be the featured entertainment. $7 cover, cash bar, small plates, 7-11 PM.

Over in the Westin Hotel, 1950s doo-wop will be the theme for the weekly “Go Retro” party at Bleu. It’s on the patio from 6-9 PM.

There will also be live music at A.Schwab’s on Beale Street tonight. Star & Micey, the Memphis Dawls, Amy Lavere, and Caroline Jones will perform. $15 cover, 7-11 PM.

I just posted an artist’s rendering of the front of the 2012 team booth, and a PDF of the booth layout, to the Moody Ques website. It is going to be phenomenal. Brent from Holliday Flowers has said he’s going for broke, or rather, “queing for broke” with the booth design this year. Can’t wait to be in it. If you need an event designed, Brent is the man to talk to.

I’ll be back this evening with a Thursday update news post, so check back.

Wed update: Kindle Fire deal, food truck, SeedHatchery company receives investment, Bluff City Coffee, Bleu, things going on tonight

Not a Downtown story, but too good of a deal not to be the lead story. Today only, you can order a Kindle Fire for $140. It’s Amazon’s Gold Box deal of the day. Yes, it’s a refurb, but this is not some shady fly-by-night company selling it: It’s Amazon. Looks identical to a new tablet, and same 1-year warranty. One of the best Android tablets on the market, and although it doesn’t have all the features of an iPad it’s a better deal for the money.

Attn South Mainers: The Revival food truck will be parked by The Lofts on Tennessee Street tonight. Good stuff if you don’t feel like cooking dinner!

Investor Day is tomorrow, but one of the SeedHatchery startup companies has already found funding: The Memphis Daily News reports that Haversack received funding from a-m Ventures. Haversack sells hunting and fishing gear and apparel for up to 70% off retail, and the founder is said to be passionate about his products and the industry. Congrats to them, and good luck to all the other companies at Investor Day tomorrow.

The Daily News also has a report on Bluff City Coffee’s expansion.

Looking for a place to eat before the Grizzlies game tonight? Kerry writes in the I Love Memphis Blog that you should try dinner at Bleu. It’s right across from the FedExForum, so it’s easy enough to get to. When I’m on vacation week after next, I’m going to make it a point to get in their for lunch and try their Build Your Own Sandwich.

My plan for tonight is to catch modern speakeasy band Tumbledown House at the Blind Bear at 7, and I’ll probably stay to watch the Grizzlies game at the Bear. Of, course, I’ll kick the evening off with a happy hour beer at the Saucer as usual.

If you’re looking for something else to do tonight, it’s bingo night at the Brass Door at 7. Diamond Dave calls 6 games, with prizes of $10 gift certificates (first four games), $20 (fifth game), and $40 (sixth game). You know what’s odd? You hear about poker pros like Chris Moneymaker and Phil Hellmuth, but how come there are no bingo pros? And how come no one has ever written a book like Super System for bingo, to expose insider secrets for consistently winning at the game? Perhaps that could be a future venture for Diamond Dave to explore. After bingo it’s Open Mic Night downstairs with a full PA and a piano. $3 house wine too.

GO GRRRRRRRRIZZLIES! It’s too bad there’s not a Grizzlies tube top, because I fully expect them to still be playing when Tube Top Month starts on the 25th. Party on the FedExForum plaza two hours prior to game time, with Free Sol taking the stage at 7:30. Official after-party across the street at Bleu after the game.

Tue update: Tumbledown House returns to Blind Bear, Local to open second location

Tumbledown House, the modern speakeasy band that performed at the Blind Bear last month, will be back tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 2. They will perform from 7 to 8 PM, then the sound will be turned on for the Grizzlies game. After the game the band will take the stage once again. I got to hear them last time they were here, and I definitely recommend checking them out!

Congratulations to Local Gastropub, which will open a second location. They’ve leased the old Yosemite Sam space in Overton Square. The Daily News has more details.

Short post today, because I have a lot to do. Lunch, meeting, PHP, MySQL. After work I’ll probably do the usual routine of Saucer then Blind Bear.