Thur update: Gatsby Soiree, Radford Ellis, Chisca redevelopment, Thursday parties and events, beer/Obama, Facebook, and more

Tonight is the Great Gatsby Soiree at the Blind Bear, from 10 PM to 2 AM. If you dress in character, you don’t have to pay the $5 cover at the door. Photographer Joey Miller will be there to take your photo for the Bear’s dining room wall from 10 to midnight. There will also be a blackjack tournament played on real tables, with your entry fee going to St. Jude.

There will be a benefit show for Radford Ellis this Saturday, August 25, at Alfred’s from 3 to 6 PM. Radford is an Elvis impersonator who works in Memphis year-round. When I first moved Downtown in 2002, his Elvis show on the Black Diamond patio was possibly the first outdoor show I saw on Beale. Since then he has performed regular gigs at Club 152, The Pig on Beale, and other venues in the area. The benefit show this Saturday is for health reasons, and there will be performances by Pam & Terry, Zeno, and Jim Wilson. James Alfred Wilson will be the MC and DJ. No cover, free appetizers. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

The Daily News has a great story about the redevelopment of the Chisca Hotel. They are going to retain the motor hotel that was added on to the south side of the Chisca in the 1960s. At first my reaction was, “tear that addition down, it’s an eyesore,” but now I’m glad they’re saving it. It will mean even more apartments in the Downtown community, and the apartments in the motor hotel can be rented at a lower rate than those in the main hotel. I’ve said for years that there need to be more affordable apartments Downtown, so artists, teachers, those in the service industry, and others who have chosen a different path than corporate life can live here. A more diverse Downtown is a strong Downtown.

The Peabody rooftop season has ended, but the Madison rooftop continues this week with Deering & Down for its Thursday night party. $7 cover, small plates and cash bar available.

The Rebel on Beale concert series wraps up this evening with Sonia Leigh performing in Handy Park. No cover, all ages.

If you prefer to do your partying indoors, John Williams and A440 will play smooth grooves and soulful sounds in the lounge at Bleu this evening.

If you go to the Redbirds game tonight, be on the lookout for the Krispy Kreme tour bus. They will be handing out free donuts. Free donuts? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Winners of sports trivia tonight at the Green Beetle will receive a really cool prize: A Coors Light tailgating/patio bar. Trivia starts at 8 PM.

Beer news: A Freedom of Information Act has been filed for the recipes of the beer President Obama drinks. There are three beers: White House Honey Ale, White House Honey Porter, and White House Honey Blonde Ale. All three are made with honey from Michelle Obama’s garden.

Do you get messages on Facebook Chat that you don’t feel like responding to? Facebook has a creepy way of letting senders of messages know that you’ve seen them (so they know you’re purposely not responding). You can block this with the Chat Undetected extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

That’ll wrap it up for now. I’ll be on South Main this evening.

Wed update: Thunderbird convention, LaunchMemphis calendar, burger eating contest, Redbirds, poker, stuff going on tonight

Memphis will host the world’s largest Thunderbird convention this weekend. Friday from 11 to 4, 300 1955-1957 Ford Thunderbirds will be on display at the Cook Convention Center. The ‘birds will also be on display at Graceland Saturday 11 AM to 1:45 PM, and on Beale Street Sunday 2 PM to 5 PM. The Daily News has more details.

The LaunchMemphis Fall 2012 calendar of events has been released. If you are an entrepreneur, are interested in being one, or would like to support entrepreneurship in Memphis, there’s something on there for you.

The Best Memphis Burger Fest has announced an eating contest for the September 30 festival at Minglewood Hall. Two-person teams will compete each other. The team that eats the most of a 7 1/2 pound Kooky Canuck Kookamonga burger will be declared the winner. Winning team gets a $100 Kooky Canuck gift card.

The Redbirds return to town tonight for their last homestand, which runs through August 30. Tonight is Tooth Fairy Night. The Tooth Fairy will be signing autographs during the game, and after the game kids can run the bases with the Tooth Fairy. Sponsored by Delta Dental. When I was a kid in Little Rock I got autographs by Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Bob Feller at Arkansas Travelers games, but never the tooth fairy. Dammit I missed out. Maybe the fairy only works AAA and higher.

This week a federal court ruled that poker is a game of skill. The government, the plaintiff in the case, was given an opportunity to bring in an expert to testify that poker is predominately a game of chance, but could not find an expert who would say so. Read the Poker Players’ Alliance press release about the ruling here. The momentum continues to grow for online poker to be legalized and regulated in the U.S.

Speaking of poker, congratulations to Tim on his victory at the Blind Bear final table last night. He will be eating well for a while, with several hundred dollars in restaurant gift cards awarded as the prize. A new league with new point standings will begin next Tuesday at 8 PM.

Stuff going on tonight: DJ Superman at Bleu, 7 PM; Bikes on Beale; bingo with Diamond Dave at the Brass Door, 7:30; half price pizza and wine at Pa Pa Pia’s; glass night at the Saucer, 7 PM; trivia night at Blind Bear, 8 PM.

Before I went to the Bear, I stopped by Aldo’s Pizza Pies for the Slice of the Day. It was the Button Man with pepperoni added.

The Button Man consists of tomato sauce, mozzarella, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and black olives. It’s basically a supreme pizza without the meats, which is kind of cool because it allows you to add the meats you want – a “build your own supreme” in a sense. Alternately, you can order it without any meats and have a really good veggie pizza.

I like the Slice of the Day concept too. It lets me sample all of Aldo’s pizzas one by one, without having to invest in whole pies. Then, when I am ready to lay down some money for a 12 or 18 inch pizza, I know which one I like the best.

That’s the news for the day. Most likely I’ll be at the Bear for trivia tonight.

Tue update: Patio x 3, Jerry Seinfeld, Cordelia’s demo postponed, Kentucky Fried Rasslin, Jeffrey and the Pacemakers, burger fest needs volunteers, Victorian Village

What an awesome night last night. I was walking south on Main Street, and found my friends Duck Finkley and Fireball Joe on the patio of Aldo’s Pizza Pies. I decided to join them for a PBR, and we enjoyed the unseasonably mild weather and the people watching and tube top watching. About 7 I moved on to Pint Nite at the Saucer, but when I saw Duck and Joe check in at Blind Bear on Foursquare, the temptation to join them was just too strong. Sure enough they were on the patio, and our friend Mikey joined us for a beer.

I went inside to take a break, and found Jamie watching the Food Network’s Drive-ins, Diners, and Dives. Guy Fieri was sampling a Chef Michael Patrick creation from Rizzo’s Diner, and he told Mike, “This sauce is just NUTS!” (That’s a good thing.) Very happy to see my friend get the publicity and national recognition he deserves. I went back outside, and Duck and Joe and I decided to hit the Silly Goose patio for another PBR and maybe a Fireball shot or two. One night, three patios, great weather, great friends, no driving. You just can’t beat that. Last night exemplified why I live Downtown.

There are still tickets available to the Jerry Seinfeld show at The Orpheum this Friday. Get them here.

If you go to the cooking demos at Miss Cordelia’s, tonight has been postponed due to unforseen circumstances. The demos will resume next Tuesday.

I found a good blog this weekend. Scott Bowden was a manager in the Continental Wrestling Association, more commonly known as Memphis wrestling, in the early to mid 1990s. Before that, he was a photographer at Memphis wrestling matches. He shares his stories in his blog Kentucky Fried Rasslin. You can follow him at @KFriedRasslin on Twitter.

Beatles, Burgers, and Beer: 1960s British Invasion cover band Jeffrey and the Pacemakers will play Downtown Huey’s this coming Sunday, August 26, at 8:30.

The Best Memphis Burger Festival is looking for volunteers. Action News 5 has the details.

The Daily News has a good article on how the renovation of the James Lee House into a bed & breakfast could spur growth in Victorian Village. Read it here.

Game show night is the trivia theme at Ferraro’s Pizzeria & Pub tonight. 8 PM, Kevin Cerrito hosting, $1 PBR and Rolling Rock draft during trivia.

It’s the poker league final table tonight at Blind Bear. I haven’t been coming much in recent weeks, so I didn’t make the final table of the top 10 point earners. The grand prize for the final table winner is several hundred dollars in local restaurant gift cards, including a hundred from the Blind Bear. I will probably stop by and watch since I have several friends sitting at the table. Most likely I’ll hit the Saucer before that, although perhaps I’ll do another patio if the weather is as nice as last night.

Bardog alley party 2012

Kelly finally gets with the program and wears a tube top

Raffle prizes

Star & Micey

Boo & Gary

The wooden nickel Boo and Gary brought me entitles me to a nickel PBR

…And they even taped the nickel to the back. Friends indeed.

It was good to see Maddison but I’m disappointed she did not get in the dunk tank.

Pete seemed to enjoy the Bardog party. Most likely it was because it was a Sunday he didn’t have to worry about me whooping his ass at pool at the Saucer.

Bluff City Backsliders

Talley. Thankfully he didn’t wear a Speedo to this fundraiser.

Bob, Talley, and Bad Shane

Official T-shirt of the meatball eating contest. Yes, that is Aldo’s grandmother.

Ciara rocking out as she and Emily enter Scratchy’s Alley from Union

Aldo emceeing the meatball eating contest

Duck Finkley was outmatched in the meatball eating contest. Four bites per meatball? Come on. Swallow those bitches.


Watching the meatball eating contest from the fire escape

Meatball eating champion Mike Muruako

Post-contest, Bob Rebecca’d a leftover meatball.

Tawni with hair

A minimum $2000 was required to get Tawni in the barber’s chair.

View full photo albums:

Massive respect for Tawni and for the other people who got their head/beard shaved for St. Jude. And massive respect for Bardog for putting this thing together, and for being the Downtown core’s neighborhood bar for 4 years.


Bardog Alley party is today

Bardog Tavern has its 4th birthday party today in the alley next to the popular neighborhood bar (Center Lane, known to Downtowners as Scratchy’s Alley). The Bardog 5K run starts at 9, and the party kicks off at noon. Assuming it follows the format of previous years, here’s what will happen.

At noon the party will begin. Don’t forget your ID, because they check everyone at the entrance. There will be two bands, the Bluff City Backsliders and Star and Micey. There will be outdoor beer stands. In past years guests have had to buy tickets for the stands, and I imagine that will be the case again. You can also buy beer inside, but with Panda Manda and Jeannie in bikinis at the outdoor stands, there’s plenty of reason to stay in the alley. There will be sliders for sale as well. There will also be porta-potties in the alley so you don’t have to go inside and stand in line for the bathrooms.

The early part of the afternoon is the dunk tank. Aldo and some of the Bardog staff take turns in the tank, with James selling balls with the proceeds going to St. Jude. They also tend to have special guest VIPs get in the tank. I hear that some of the girls from Aldo’s Pizza Pies will be in the tank this year, and I will definitely be there with the camera. If Aldo’s Pizza Pies manager John Findlay goes in the tank, there will be a line around the block.

The raffle goes on throughout the day. There are numerous prizes, given away at various intervals. The last prize to be given away is the sweet Fat Tire bike that has been hanging from the ceiling. I can’t remember if the drawings are every 15 or 30 minutes. At any rate, it pays to find out what times the drawings are, and make sure you’re in the alley at those times.

Toward late afternoon, I think around 4, is the “I Busted Aldo’s Grandma’s Balls” contest. The first person to eat 40 of Bardog’s meatballs, which are Aldo’s grandma’s secret recipe, will be declared the winner. There is no time limit, and contestants are disqualified if any meatballs come back up. My friend Duck Finkley has said he is entering the contest this year. I will try to get a “DUCK! DUCK! DUCK!” chant going.

The last event of the day is the head shaving. Tawni Bell has agreed to have her head shaved if $2000 is raised for St. Jude. I had planned to donate $20 to Tawni’s baldness fund, but you know what? I’m going to double that to $40 in memory of Jay Hollingsworth, recipient of last year’s haircut who is no longer with us. Miss you Jay, the party won’t be quite as good without you here.

I always take a lot of pictures, and this year will be no exception. The iPhone camera won’t be enough today. The digital camera will be out, with both spare batteries.

This is one of those “all kinds of good things could happen” types of days. I’m going to hit the Majestic at 11 to get some food in me before I start on the beer. At 12 I’ll hit the Saucer for 1 beer and a quick mayorship defense, then Bardog about 12:30. Hope to see you at the party. It’s one of the best Downtown events of the year.


Sat update: Who Made that Tube Top?, Little Tea Shop, $$$ for Downtown storefront improvements, Aldo’s Slice of the Day, Farm to Fork dinner @ eighty3, Local hiring, another Gasol brother, Sid Vicious

The New York Times has published its best article ever. Who Made that Tube Top? is the story of an Iranian immigrant who arrived in New York in 1971 with less than $100 in his pocket. When a manufacturing error resulted in a pile of fabric tubes, the immigrant bought them and proceeded to re-sell them as tops. They caught on in the East Village, and by the 1990s he had a $500 million empire. Folks, this is truly entrepreneurship at its finest. The people at LaunchMemphis should keep copies of this at the Launchpad to hand out as inspiration.

You can show your support for entrepreneurship by wearing a tube top to Bardog’s alley party tomorrow afternoon. The party is a fundraiser for St. Jude, so you’ll also be supporting medical research and care for children by wearing a tube top.

The Little Tea Shop has announced plans to re-open Tuesday, August 21. The popular Downtown lunch restaurant has been closed since Mr. Lauck passed away last month. I know a lot of people who work Downtown will be happy to have it back.

Downtown business owners: If you want to make improvements to your storefront, the Center City Development Corporation will match you dollar-for-dollar on money spent. Improvements can include lighting, signage, awnings, canopies, patio railings, painting, cleaning, and accessories like planters. Details in this MBJ article.

Now that Aldo’s Pizza Pies is open for lunch as well as dinner, “Like” the pizzeria on Facebook to have Slice of the Day announcements show up in your News Feed. Today’s Slice of the Day is Mr. T-Rex, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs.

By the way, I’d like to thank Aldo for motivating me to have a cleaner apartment. This morning I pulled some years-old pizza boxes out of the refrigerator and rode them down the elevator to the dumpster. That way the refrigerator is ready for future pizza boxes.

Local Gastropub is hiring for both the Downtown location and the Overton Square location which will open next month. They are looking for front-of-house people at the Downtown location, including bartenders. For the new location they are hiring for front-of-house and back-of-house. If interested, apply in person at the Downtown location Monday-Thursday 2 PM-4 PM, and bring a resume. You must have experience in the position you are applying for.

eighty3 is having a Farm to Fork dinner to celebrate the end of summer a week from tomorrow, Sunday, August 26. Cost is $59 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 901-333-1224 to make a reservation. Here’s the menu

Salad: Local lettuces topped with poached farm-fresh egg, ricotta cheese and peach white balsamic reduction
Grilled watermelon gazpacho
Peach and ginger catfish escabèche with green tomato
Grass-fed local beef short ribs served with “Grit Girl” Johnny cakes
“Tomate du Saltambique” local beefsteak tomato braised in crème du caramel, stuffed with local nuts and fresh fruit and served with a spiced white peach sauce

Yahoo! Sports blog The Dagger reports that Adria Gasol, younger brother of Pau and Marc, will walk on at UCLA this year. Although 6-10 and from a famous family, the youngest Gasol has not shown much interest in basketball until this year. Never count him out… remember, people would have laughed if you’d predicted 9 years ago that Marc would be an NBA All-Star.

Sid and Sabrina Vicious will be on AM 560/87.7 FM at 11:30 AM this morning on MemphiSport Live to discuss how their son Frank is doing on Big Brother. You can listen on TuneIn Radio if you don’t live in Memphis.

All right. Time to go do important stuff, like play Zynga Poker on my iPad. No definite plans for tonight, but I may hit Max’s Sports Bar at some point.

Fri update: Bardog alley party, Citizens’ police academy, 3-4-5 happy hour, lots of Elvis stuff, Free the Helmsman, Aquanet @ Club 152, Godfather II, Redbirds and MFM news

Recommended attire for the Bardog alley party on Sunday: a tube top

Breaking news about the Bardog alley party this Sunday: The lovely Tawni Bell has agreed to shave her head if $2000 can be raised for St. Jude. You can bring donations to the bar between now and Sunday in an envelope marked “Tawni Bell Baldness Pledge.” Of course, I’m sure they’ll be taking donations at the party as well.

The MPD South Main Station is accepting enrollees for its Citizens’ Police Academy. This 9-week program is an inside look at how MPD works, and how you as a citizen can partner with MPD to keep your community safe. People I know who have been through this program have praised it highly. Classes will meet Tuesday nights starting September 4 from 6 to 9 PM. If you’re interested in signing up, call the South Main Station at 901-636-4099 for more information.

Bleu is starting a 3-4-5 happy hour. Monday-Friday from 4-7 PM, they will have drafts for $3, wine for $4, and liquors for $5.

Saw this on Twitter: Action News 5 broadcast from August 16, 1977, the day Elvis died.

There’s a site called Free the Helmsman where you can donate toward the operation of the Daily Helmsman, the campus newspaper of the University of Memphis. The newspaper makes some revenue from ads, but up until now they’ve depended on the university for funding as well. They want to be fully funded without having to depend on money from the people they report on. You support the concept of the free press when you make a donation on this site.

There will be a Spirit of the King concert tonight at the Cannon Center at 11 PM. It will feature past winners of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest. This year’s tribute artist contest seminfinal, round two happens at the Cannon Center at 7 tonight.

Over at the Hard Rock Cafe, it will be Movie Night with Elvis. Elvis tribute artists will sing songs from Elvis’ movies. Start time is 10:30 PM. $5 cover will benefit MIFA and Presley Place.

My top non-Elvis live music recommendation for this evening: ’80s hair band cover band Aquanet plays Club 152 at 9 PM. This is most definitely worth a trip through the security line on Beale.

The Godfather II is the Summer Movie Series movie tonight at the Orpheum, 7:15 PM. More info here.

The Redbirds are having Organ Donor Awareness Night tonight at AutoZone Park. First 2000 fans will receive a replica Organ Donor Jersey. This night was named the best theme night in Minor League Baseball for 2011. Game time 7:05. Block party in the plaza for the two hours prior to game time, with $2 Coors Light.

The theme at the Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow is Chunka Hunka Grillin’ Love. When you think farmers’ market, you think vegetables, but MFM has fish, seafood, pork, red meat and poultry vendors who make grilling delicious. Kids can make their own lunch bag from 9 to 10:30, and there will be music by Efron White at 8 and BEAN at 11.

Quick lunch then back for a few more hours of fun with clip art. Fun fact I learned this week: Microsoft Internet Explorer won’t display CMYK images. Thanks to IE for adding hours and hours to what should have been a simple project. Anyway, I’ll be out somewhere after 6, no definite plans for tonight.

Thur update: Elvis, Trivia & Troubadours, jobs, graffiti, rooftops, baseball, James Lee House, meatball eating contest

The big event happening Downtown tonight is the Elvis 35th Anniversary Concert at the FedExForum. Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley will be there. Elvis will sing on the big screen, backed by members of his band as well as other music notables including Brad Birkedahl and Joe Fick, former members of The Dempseys. Tickets are still available at the $65, $85, and $95 levels.

Speaking of Elvis, our trivia team called ourselves “The Elvis Aaron Presley Candlelight Vigilantes” last night and won second place. I think we should have won best team name too.

A couple of days ago, I blogged a Craiglist post that suggested Dream Berry Yogurt is for sale. Today this was confirmed in a Daily News blog post. The owner of the building is terminating Dream Berry’s lease.

The Brass Door starts a new night called “Trivia & Troubadours” tonight. At 7:30 Seamus will host trivia. At 8:30 there will be live music by Ruthie Shaffer, Kris Acklen, and Kim Garmon.

Jobs are available at the Church Health Center. Positions open include child life education & movement associate, dental assistant, and medical assistant.

Several South Main businesses were tagged with graffiti earlier this week. Tagged businesses are between the Orpheum and Spindini. A South Main deli owner caught the tagger on video and police are searching for a suspect. The graffiti does not appear to be gang-related.

Ingram Hill will play the last Peabody rooftop party of the season tonight. The opening band will be American pop-rock band Boys Like Girls. $15 cover tonight, with first drink included in the price. Ladies still get in free until 7. 6-11 PM.

The Memphis All-Stars headline Sunset Atop the Madison tonight from 7-11 PM. They play everything from R&B to soul to rock.

Like fast food? Tonight would be a good night to go to the ball game. If you show a Subway receipt, you get in AutoZone Park for half-price tonight (up to 4 people). If the Redbirds win, Subway coupons will be distributed upon exit. Also, the first 1500 fans will receive a card with special discounts from Sonic.

If you want to hear more about the city’s plan to renovate the James Lee House at 690 Adams, there will be a public meeting at the house tomorrow from 2:00 to 3:30 PM. An investor wants to redevelop the property as a bed & breakfast. The house is located at Adams Avenue and Orleans Street in Victorian Village.

Bardog Tavern has announced that the meatball eating contest will return this Sunday at the alley party, 12:30-5:30 PM. The first person to eat 40 meatballs without any coming back up will be declared the winner. If you want to be a contestant, get there early and find Aldo and tell him you want to do it.

Here’s a pic from the 2010 meatball eating contest. After it was over, the Nuh-Uh Girl swooped in and started eating the leftover meatballs.

Outta here for a quick lunch. I became the mayor of the Taco Bell on Church Road yesterday on Foursquare, prompting a “REALLY??????” from my food panhandler. I guess I’ll be getting a text soon that I failed to interpret her comment as a request for a Doritos Locos taco. Anyway, outta here for now. If I get a meeting wrapped up in time, I’ll play poker at Max’s tonight at 7.