Mon update: Opportunity for undiscovered artists, Bon Ton to open for dinner, Bob Dylan to play AutoZone Park, ZipCar event Thursday (free food alert)

Memphis artists: There is a show coming up called RAW: Natural Born Artists that is an opportunity to show off your work in art, fashion, music, film, hair, makeup, photography, or performance art. The plan is to bring together the best undiscovered artistic talent that Memphis has to offer, through shows every other month. If this sounds like something you would want to be a part of, check their website for details.

Starting May 1, Bon Ton Cafe will be staying open for dinner. The cafe is on Monroe between Second and Third, and is already open for breakfast and lunch.

Bob Dylan will play AutoZone Park July 2. His supporting acts include Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and the Richard Thompson Electric Trio. All tickets will be $65.50 general admission and will go on sale at the park’s box office May 11.

Thursday morning, there will be an event in Court Square to announce the official start of the Downtown Memphis Commission’s partnership with ZipCar, the car sharing service. At 10:30, Paul Morris who runs DMC will hold a press conference. From 11 to 2 the Fuel food truck will be there, and from 11:45 AM to 1 PM there will be live music by Rage Against the Stone Age. ZipCar reps will be there for photo opportunities with the cars and to provide info on how the sharing program works. Starting at 11:45 AM, 150 free lunches will be given away. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

The New Belgium/Yazoo beer dinner at Central BBQ Downtown has sold out, according to @CBQDowntown on Twitter.

The public will get to see designs for the Harahan bridge next week. The railroad bridge will add a pedestrian path to walk from Memphis to West Memphis.

My plan for tonight is the official Grizzlies watch party at the Flying Saucer. May do the Stone Brewery tasting if there are still tickets available when I get there after work. If the Saucer gets super super packed, I’ll hop over to Blind Bear.

Sunday recap and today’s Memphis Beer Week events happening Downtown

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest yesterday was a success. This is the second year they’ve expanded it to include Riverside Drive. It’s twice the size of what it was before and there were enough people to fill it up.

It’s funny… there was plenty of entertainment, with bands, crawfish races, and other events. What I found most entertaining, though, was leaning against the railing on Riverside Drive and watching people try to park on the cobblestones. At least 10 cars were completely blocked in thanks to other people’s stupid parking decisions. Some cars had only a few inches of room to get out between other cars, and had to back up and try again many, many times. One truck started spinning its wheels on the cobblestones and had to be pulled out by a larger truck. Many of the people were drinking beer as they attempted to navigate their cars through that mess. I was sure we were going to see a car go in the river, but it didn’t happen during the hour or so I spent watching.

Two mallard ducks, males with the green heads and ringed necks, were swimming nearby. I watched a grown man pick up a big piece of wood, probably a foot by 2 inches by one inch, and throw it at the ducks. Luckily they saw it and flew away just in time. Seriously? I understand hunting season to control the population, but apart from that, why would anyone want to hurt ducks?

The crawfish were all right but not the best I’ve had this year. Mudbugs in March’s crawfish were spicier. Then again, I ate fairly early in the afternoon and perhaps Rajun Cajun’s crawfish got spicier as later batches were cooked.

There was a line of porta-potties on the Wagner side of the festival, but restroom facilities seemed a little inadequate on the Riverside side. At one point I counted 24 people lined up for 2 portable restrooms.

Overall, though, great festival. Lots of vendors, lots of food trucks, lots of money raised for Porter-Leath.

Good day otherwise as well. The BBQ team picked up a new member, someone I’m thrilled to add. The Moody Ques are so strong and diverse this year. I’ve been hearing about the menus our pitmaster and his sous chefs are dreaming up, and they sound wonderful. I’m not going to promise a trophy because the difference between 1st and 20th is so miniscule by judging standards… but I am fairly certain the team members are going to have a fun year and many new friendships will be formed.

After brief stops at the Flying Saucer and Silly Goose, both of which got too crowded, I ended up on the patio at the Blind Bear with some of my poker buddies. It was a pleasure to hang out and drink beer with them apart from the table. By the time poker started at 6:30 I was worn out and tired. I knew I wouldn’t do well, and didn’t, unusual for the Blind Bear’s game where I almost always make the final table. I wrapped up the evening at Bardog to get food to go, where an off-duty bartender from another bar told me I was one of her favorite customers. That made me feel good and ended the day on a high note.

There are four Memphis Beer Week events going on tonight. At 7 PM Local will tap Red Brick Brewing’s The Lost Years keg. This will also happen at their Midtown location.

Also at 7, there will be a New Belgium and Yazoo beer dinner at the Downtown Central BBQ. Try how beers pair with Central’s famous ‘que. Beer dinners usually have limited seating, so if you’re interested in attending, it’s best to call the restaurant and make a reservation.

At 7:30, the Flying Saucer will have a Stone Brewery tasting, with a flight of Pale Ale, Cali-Belgie, Vertical Epic ’12, Sublimely Self Righteous, and Double Bastard for $10. This will be a seated event in the front room, and reps will be on hand to talk about the beers.

At 9, Aldo’s Pizza Pies will tap the sour that is a collaboration between the New Belgium and Yazoo breweries.

That’ll do it for now… before-work posts are unusual but I got out of bed early this morning. Tonight I will probably skip the Silly Goose’s poker game in favor of the Grizzlies watch party next door at the Saucer. Off to work. I hope the drivers on 240 south aren’t as stupid as the ones that parked on the cobblestones yesterday.

Sun update: Memphis Beer Week kicks off, river on the rise, Bark in the Park, random pro wrestling videos

Today is the start of Memphis Beer Week, the first annual celebration of craft beer in the Bluff City. Let’s have a look at events going on Downtown today:

The Flying Saucer is hosting Sour Hour at 4 PM, tapping a sour beer collaboration between New Belgium and Yazoo breweries. In addition, they will have Wayan Sour, New Belgium La Folie, and Yazoo Sour Saison. Beers will be paired with desserts from local bakeries and pastry shops.

At 5, Aldo’s Pizza Pies will tap Ghost River Noble Prized Porter. You can be one of the first in the city to try this new release from Memphis’ local brewery.

Ghost River returns to the Beer Week lineup two hours later at 7, when they will be hosting a special beer dinner at McEwen’s. Call the restaurant for menu and reservations.

This is not a Downtown thing, but worth mentioning anyway… I’ve told you in the past how Cash Saver on Madison has a great build-your-own six-pack deal. Well, now I’m hearing that they have a really good bomber shelf too, for those who prefer to supersize their craft beer.

Bark in the Park is today at AutoZone Park at 1:35 PM. Dogs and their owners can sit in a special section and watch the Redbirds game. I hear that Vegas will be there and she is super excited about the game.

The blog reports that the Mississippi River is on its spring rise, but not enough that Memphis in May events will be threatened this year.

Random pro wrestling video of the week: The Freedom Fighters debut in Memphis Wrestling, spring 1985. Jim Hellwig and Steve Borden made their first appearance. They had absolutely zero personality at the time.

Random pro wrestling video of the week #2: Several months later, Hellwig and Borden made their debut in the Universal Wrestling Federation (formerly Mid-South Wrestling). By that point they were a heel team, The Blade Runners, Rock and Sting, managed by “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert. Rock got fired from the UWF the following year. He went to World Class Wrestling and became the Dingo Warrior, then went on to fame in the WWF as The Ultimate Warrior, then legally changed his name to Warrior Warrior (I’m not making this up) and showed up at WCW Halloween Havoc ’98 for a horrible match and a huge payday. Sting became… well, Sting, the greatest wrestler never to perform in the WWF/E. He’s still active in TNA Wrestling in his 50s. Anyway, as for the video itself, great entrance music and great posing after the match, as if to say, “Not only are we huge, we’re also batshit crazy” (which is actually true in real life for the Warrior).

I think people may have taken a comment I made here yesterday the wrong way. People got the impression that I think it’s silly that some of my friends sit on a rooftop and look at Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest, rather than being physically present at the festival itself. Not so! In fact, just the opposite… if I have any objection, it’s that my friends don’t think big enough. Next year they should try to be passengers aboard the international space station, where they can take satellite photos of Rajun Cajun. Because that would be fun, right?

Thanks to my poker buddies Dennis and Will for buying me PBR last night while I watched the Grizzlies game at the Blind Bear. Monday is an absolute must-win road game for the team.

Time to get in the shower and then head out to Rajun Cajun! It’s on the river between Union and Beale. If you look for me, look to your left, look to your right, but no need to look up, because I’ll be keepin’ it real on the street all day long.

Sat update: Chili mac, Union Mission in need, Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest, Grizzlies Monday watch parties, and an “only in Memphis” story

Several months ago, I wandered into the Blind Bear around 11 PM for Paul’s Drunkass Food to go. Since day one I’ve been a huge fan of their pepper jack mac & cheese. They had recently added beef Hibernation Chili to the menu. “Hmmm,” I thought. “What if I got a cup of Hibernation chili and a cup of pepper jack mac & cheese, and mixed them in a bowl to make chili mac?” I did it, and it was delicious. I blogged about it, and other people started ordering it. So last night, I was in the Blind Bear, and Jeannette showed me a copy of the new menu. The chili mac is officially a menu item now! How cool is that? I’ve never invented a dish at a restaurant before. If you don’t like the pepper jack mac & cheese, you can get chili mac made with white cheddar mac & cheese instead.

The Memphis Union Mission has posted that they are in critical need of certain items to hand out, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and socks. Socks can be new or gently used (please, no gently used toothbrushes though). You can drop them off at 383 Poplar, just east of Danny Thomas, at any time. This is a much more effective way to help those in need than giving money to panhandlers on the street.

Tomorrow is Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest, sponsored by City Auto. Of all Memphis’ crawfish festivals, this is the best one. It’s along Wagner Street and Riverside Drive from Union to Beale. Even if you don’t eat crawfish, there’s plenty else to do. There’s a gumbo cookoff, three bands including local favorite FreeWorld, food trucks, crawfish races, and my personal favorite… bobbing for crawfish. Yep, people put their hands behind their back and try to pull out as many live crawfish with their teeth as they can within a certain time period. Of course, the crawfish come equipped with pinchers and are allowed to fight back… and fight back they do. Everyone should see it at least once.

If you do eat crawfish, there will be a stand selling them by the bucket. Of course, there will be ice cold beer sold as well, to wash your crawfish down. Pro tip: Get there early (before 12:30 if possible) before the lines get super long. Proceeds from the festival benefit Porter-Leath, one of Memphis’ finest charities.

Look for me there; I’ll be at the festival from a few minutes after the noon opening time until at least 5 PM, and maybe until it’s over at 6. Administrative note: When I say I will be at the festival, I will be physically AT THE FESTIVAL, not on a rooftop nearby looking at the festival. Some of my friends do that but I just don’t get the point. I want to be out, walking around, where I can see people and talk to them.

The Grizzlies have announced four official watch parties for Monday’s 9:30 Game 2 vs. the L.A. Clippers:

Downtown: The Flying Saucer
Midtown: Bar Louie
Cordova: Buffalo Wild Wings on Highway 64
Collierville: Booyah’s

Of course, I recommend the Saucer! I will be there, at least for the first two quarters. Third and fourth quarter are dependent on how much recovery sleep I need after the weekend.

Only in Memphis: Woman causes $14,000 in damage to a Memphis restaurant when they won’t let her return a three-day-old burger for a refund.

That’s it for now. Congratulations to my friends Frank and Laura who are getting married this afternoon.

Fri update: Free Grizzlies swag, run for Boston, own a Gus’s franchise, lots going on tomorrow, SOB rolls out new menu

The Grizzlies are hosting a Playoff Swag Pickup at the FedExForum. Right now through 6 PM today, you can stop by and pick up free posters, headbands, and car flags.

Local TV coverage for the playoff games has been announced. Games 1, 2, and 5 will be on FOX Sports Tennessee, and games 3, 4, and 6 will be on SportSouth. TV to be TBD if a Game 7 is needed.

There’s a run in Overton Park tonight to honor those in Boston. It’s free to run, and donations for the Boston Marathon bombing victims will be accepted.

If you’ve dreamed of owning your own Gus’s, pick up a print copy of the Memphis Business Journal today. The franchise is expanding. In addition to Memphis, stores are open or soon to be open in Nashville, Little Rock, Southaven, and Austin.

There’s a lot going on tomorrow, and I’ll start it off with a highly recommended concert. Muck Sticky performs tomorrow at 7 at the New Daisy. Uber-talented and he just oozes positive energy. How many of us are lucky enough to have a job that can be done in pajama pants?

If you plan on going to see Muck Sticky, why not get to Beale a few hours early? There will be a Corvette show on the street from 8 AM to 4 PM tomorrow.

Lots happening on Mud Island and the Mississippi River tomorrow. One event is the Maria Montessori School Regatta and Duck Race. Kayak and canoe races, 1 and 2 mile courses. The duck race is a rubber ducky race. You can “sponsor” a rubber duck, and if your duck crosses the finish line first, you win $100.

Bass Pro’s Big Cat Quest is tomorrow as well. See who can reel in the biggest catfish on the Mississippi River. $5000 in cash and prizes to be awarded.

Harbor Town Crawfish Festival is tomorrow from 2 to 8 PM.

South of Beale released their new menu yesterday. Visit their website to view it.

Crazy crazy news day and I just don’t have it in me to come up with a clever final paragraph. Quick and nasty Taco Bell lunch, a few more hours at work, then I’ll be out about 5:45.

Thur update: Grizzlies, Music Fest reminders, severe weather, Boston Marathon blog post by a former Memphian

The Grizzlies are in the playoffs as the 5 seed in the Western Conference. In the first round of playoffs, which start this weekend, Memphis will play the Los Angeles Clippers. The first two games are Saturday and Monday. Both games are in L.A. and have a start time of 9:30 Central (ugh). After that the series comes to Memphis for a 7:30 Thursday game and a Saturday afternoon game on the 27th at 3:30. Subsequent games, if needed, will be played Tuesday the 30th, Friday May 3rd, and Sunday May 5th. Tickets for Games 3 and 4 in Memphis are on sale now.

That 3:30 game on Saturday the 27th could affect Memphis Brewfest, which happens at AutoZone Park that day at 4. I wonder if they’ll make arrangements so that people can watch the Grizzlies while sampling beer.

WMC-TV has a photo gallery of the top 10 things to remember when attending Memphis in May Beale Street Music Fest in Tom Lee Park. Definitely a must-read. One of the most important points is to buy a disposable poncho (stores on Main and Beale sell these) that will fit in your pocket or purse. Also, don’t wear heels! Seriously, I have seen people do this (not only at Music Fest but BBQ Fest as well) and have thought to myself, “what in the world were they thinking?”

Severe weather is in the forecast for this afternoon/evening. Unfortunately it looks like it will hit during rush hour. The blog has the details. They write that this is the greatest risk for severe weather we’ve received since early last spring.

I wonder if people who own windshield repair companies are all like, “YESSSS!!! Chance of large hail! COME ON severe weather! Bring it!” when a forecast like this is released.

Here’s a link to a moving blog post by runner and former Memphian Jen Barker on her experience at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Jen was one of the founders of the Salty Dogs running group that meets at Bardog Tavern every Monday.

That’s all for now. I hope I beat the squall line home this afternoon.

Let me tell you about the badass food I’m having tonight

Tonight I left the bars with a few minutes left in the fourth. The Grizzlies clearly had it under control and I wanted to get food before the crowds let out. I didn’t have lunch.

I went to City Market for to-go food. There’s always something good to eat there. I saw an $8.99 bucket of gumbo, enough for two meals. “I want crackers,” I thought, and not boring old saltines. So I went to City Market’s cracker aisle, located in the inner southeast corner of the store. I picked out Back to Nature’s Organic Stone-Ground Wheat Crackers. Loving my dinner. These crackers are perfect for dipping or munching alongside the gumbo, whatever you prefer.

Wed update 2: Peabody rooftop party details for tomorrow, ZipCar, Africa in April, ESPN filming at the U of M this weekend, Redbirds news

This week’s Thursday night Peabody rooftop party will feature Kaleidophonix, DJ Mark Anderson, and Hot Chelle Rae. The drink special will be $4 shots of Fireball, and the food buffet will be a french fry bar with assorted toppings. Those in VIP will also have a buffet of open European sandwiches, crab cakes with corn salsa, and grilled chicken tenderloins with honey mustard sauce. The Grizzlies’ Claw Crew and Grizz Girls will make appearances. Doors open at 6, ladies free until 7. If bad weather threatens (looks like it will) they’ll move the party inside to the Grand Ballroom in the hotel’s skyway.

I have more info on ZipCar, the car sharing program coming to Downtown Memphis. There will be two cars at Main and Gayoso, and two at Main and Huling, each with dedicated parking spaces. The cars can be rented for $7.50 an hour or $69 a day, with gas, insurance, and parking all included. Recent studies indicate members of car-sharing programs cut their transportation costs by up to 70% a year.

Cultural awareness festival Africa in April happens this weekend, Wednesday, April 17 through Sunday, April 21. The fest is in Robert R. Church Park, located on Beale just east of Fourth. The honored country this year is the Republic of Senegal.

ESPN will be on campus this weekend to do a feature on longtime Tigers baseball bat boy Stan “The Man” Bronson. Very cool. I went to a few of Stan’s birthday parties in the Tiger Den when I was a graduate student and instructor at the University of Memphis. One of the nicest people you will meet in this city, for sure.

The Redbirds are back in town Saturday and it will be a fireworks night. Sunday is a day when you can bring your dog to the ballpark and sit in a special section. There will be $1 hot dogs and nationally-known entertainment act Jake the Diamond Dog will perform.

Ahhh. The apartment building charged my A/C with Freon and it feels like Antarctica in here. I saw some people discussing “Who’s a member of the ‘I haven’t turned my A/C on yet, it’s only April’ club?” on Twitter this afternoon. I am definitely NOT a member of that club! Can’t enjoy the cold for too long though… there’s beer to drink. Out to the bars!

Wed update: Bike corral giveaway, Seamus’ birthday specials, Mad Earl beer bust, MPD town hall meeting, MiM keeping it safe, Bikes on Beale, Grizzlies

Breaking: Boston Marathon bombing suspects possibly identified (lots of pics)

If there’s a business Downtown you think would benefit from having a bike corral, you can nominate it to win a free one. Bike corrals provide parking for 10 bikes, while taking up the same amount of space it takes to park one car.

It’s Seamus’ birthday at the Brass Door, and the Irish pub is celebrating with happy hour specials all day. Bingo at 7:30 then $3 wine. San Francisco songwriters Jeff Campbell, Clay Bell and Brad Brooks will perform in The Cavern starting at 9:00, $5 cover. The trio played on WREG Live at 9 this morning.

The Mad Earl will have a beer bust/fundraiser on Friday, April 26 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, one of the events for the bar’s grand opening weekend. Come in and the Earl will sell you a souvenir cup that you can fill with High Cotton ESB. Money raised will be used to send Val from the Brass Door to Madagascar with Habitat for Humanity.

The South Main Station MPD Precinct will hold a town hall meeting Thursday, April 18 at 6 PM in the Downtown Memphis Commission office at Main and Adams. This is a follow-up to the ward changes that occurred earlier this year, and a chance for the public to voice concerns related to those changes.

After the recent explosions at the Boston Marathon, Memphis in May officials are taking extra precautions to keep everyone safe at Music Fest, BBQ Fest, and Sunset Symphony. Every item brought in can be inspected, and backpacks larger than 12×12 won’t be allowed.

The 2013 Bikes on Beale season kicks off tonight. Starting at 6 PM the street will start filling up with motorcycles.

If you’re a student of the game, there’s a great ESPN article on the Grizzlies’ starting five that you should read. The Grizzlies wrap up the season tonight at home against Utah, a team that is fighting for its life to claim that final playoff berth in the West. Chris Herrington from the Memphis Flyer has all the possible outcomes after the Grizzlies, Nuggets, and Clippers games tonight – who we could be playing in the first round of the playoffs, and whether we would have home court advantage. The Grizzlies will have a fan appreciation party tonight beginning at 5 on the FedExForum Plaza, and the first 5000 fans will receive a free Grizzlies T-shirt. Goooooo Grizzlies!

Tue update: Twilight Sky Terrace, Harbor Town Riverfest, new restaurant coming to Rio Loco space, building on Riverside to be renovated, Blind Bear news, Victorian Village Gatsby party, Joe stays with the Tigers

I guess I should start this post with some words about the Boston Marathon tragedy, but I just don’t know what to say. I have many friends who are runners and I cannot imagine what they must have felt when they watched video of the explosions. My thoughts are with everyone who was affected by yesterday’s events. All of my friends in Boston (either visiting or who live there) have checked in that they’re safe, and for that I am grateful.

The Memphis Flyer has a great article about Twilight Sky Terrace, the new lounge opening on the rooftop of the Madison Hotel.

The River Inn is hosting the first Harbor Town Riverfest Friday from 5 to 10 PM. Jazz trio 5 to 8, and a guitar duo from 8 to 10. Ghost River and Bud Light on tap, as well as mojitos and specialty cocktails. Featured food will include Fried Thin Catfish and Frog Legs and Grilled Chicken Kebabs.

This morning Kerry reported that Southern Belle: Take-Out Hot Lunch and Catering will move into the former Rio Loco Space at 117 Union. They will be open May 1 and will serve lunch and dinner.

The Memphis Business Journal has reported that the former Cummins Building, at 666 S. Riverside Drive, has been purchased by developer Trip Trezevant. The building was built in 1945 and has been vacant for quite some time. Trezevant isn’t sure what he will do with the space yet, but a coffee shop with drive-thru or a free-standing bank branch are possible ideas. That building is one of the first people see when they exit off I-55 onto Riverside Drive. It’s great that Trezevant saw the building’s potential and made the decision that it should not be vacant any longer.

Prohibition has ended at the Blind Bear. This past weekend, there was some kind of problem with the paperwork for their liquor license, and they could only serve beer. That matter was straightened out yesterday, and the Bear is once again serving wine and liquor.

Victorian Village Inc. is having a Great Gatsby party Friday at Laurelhill, 671 Jefferson, this Friday, April 19 from 7 to 11 PM. Attendees are encouraged to dress in period attire, though it’s not required. Bee’s Knees cocktails will be served along with other giggle waters. The party is free for members, and if you’re not a member you can join at the door or on the community association’s website.

2012-13 Conference USA men’s basketball Player of the Year Joe Jackson will return for his senior season. His backup point guard Antonio Barton has decided to transfer. Because Barton graduates this summer, he will be eligible to play at another school immediately.

That’ll do it for now. Most likely I’ll be at the Blind Bear tonight at 8 for poker.