Thur update: South Main article, youth hostel, Peabody rooftop party, Morrissey, Pink Pig Apparel pop-up, parking scammers

If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a Memphis Flyer yesterday and read the cover story on South Main, you can read it here. Absolutely fantastic article. The best news? Bud Chittom is planning not only two new restaurants in the building behind Earnestine & Hazel’s on G.E. Patterson, but a youth hostel in the building behind that. A hostel is badly needed Downtown. Hopefully it will attract an international crowd, like maybe some ROMANIAN girls!!!!!!!! ♥♥♥♥♥

The Molly Ringwalds with special guest Katy Tiz headline the Peabody rooftop party tonight. Doors open at 6. $10 admission, but ladies and hotel guests can get in free before 7. Admission includes a buffet of red beans, smoked sausage, rice, and catfish dip. If you’re in VIP there’s a second buffet of shrimp remoulade shooters, fried oyster mini po’boys, and chicken & sausage jambalaya.

My “DAWG” John D will kill me if I don’t mention this: Morrissey plays the Orpheum Tuesday night.

Pink Pig Apparel is having a pop-up shop for Sunset Symphony. Clothing featuring the brand, formerly available at Shelton Clothiers, will be sold at the corner of Mina and Tennessee, near the Butler Park entrance, from 2:30 to 6 PM Saturday. Performance T’s, vintage T’s, and caps will be for sale.

Scammers are targeting parkers Downtown. This is not a new thing. Ask any attendant who tries to charge you for company ID if you aren’t sure.

That’ll wrap it up for this Thursday. Tube Top Month is a day away! Time to get excited!

Wed update: Joerger, South Main cover story, Pearl Jam, Memphis trivia, Redbirds to celebrate Silky, Redbirds on national TV, Orpheum summer camps for kids

In case you haven’t heard the latest Grizzlies news, it’s pretty shocking. The front office has given head coach Dave Joerger permission to interview with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Even if he doesn’t get that job, he could be done in Memphis. Wow. Team management is falling apart. Time to give George Karl a call.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the Memphis Flyer today. Cover story is “$outh Main.”

Pearl Jam is coming to the FedExForum October 14.

Think you know your city? Kevin Cerrito hosts Memphis trivia tonight at Tamp & Tap at 7 and tomorrow at the Green Beetle at 8. Topics include Memphis Restaurants, Geography, Sports, Current Events, History, Music, etc. Keeping with the theme, there will be $3.50 Memphis Made Brewing Co. pints on special at Tamp & Tap tonight.

The Redbirds will celebrate the life of Silky Sullivan with an Irish Night on Friday. The first 3000 fans will get a green batting helmet courtesy of Silky O’Sullivan’s. As is the case every Friday game night, there will be a block party in the plaza from 5-7 with $2 16 oz. Coors Light and live music. Game time is 7:05 PM. (If you need help deciding what to wear, let me point out that Tube Top Month begins two hours and five minutes prior to game time.)

Another big night coming up for the ‘Birds will be the Thursday, May 29, when they will be on TV for CBS Sports Network’s Minor League Game of the Week. Game time is 7:05 vs. the Iowa Cubs. There will be specials of $3 Bud and Bud Light drafts, $2 popcorn, and $1 hot dogs. Fans can also receive a $5.29 discount off of Field Box tickets to this game, courtesy of TNStars® College Savings 529 Program.

Want to get your kids involved in theater? The Orpheum has summer camps for students who have just completed the 2nd-4th, 5th-9th, and 10th-12th grades. Details here.

Interesting impromptu BBQ team post-mortem session at the Saucer last night among a few of the members. There are many members of this team who aren’t on the board of directors but who have ideas that are worth listening to. We need to have fewer board meetings and more full team meetings.

All right. Time to hit Publish and walk outside and look at the three goslings out by the pond. I guess that’s one advantage of working in suburbia. I’ll be back Downtown and out and about at 5:30.

Tue update: Sunset Symphony, “STOP” and say thank you to police, Chris Carpenter @ Twilight Sky Terrace, Woodruff-Fontaine Groupon, Downtown party that got out of hand

BBQ Fest is over and a new week has begun. Let me jump right to the most important event happening Downtown this week.


No, just kidding. The most important event happens Saturday at Tom Lee Park, the final event of Memphis in May, Sunset Symphony. For those who have never been, it is considerably more laid-back than Music Fest and BBQ Fest. You can bring your own blankets and coolers and picnic baskets and spread out on the grass and listen to music. Yes, you can bring your own food and alcohol, although they ask you to be careful about beverages in glass containers. It’s a very good idea to read the FAQ and get a full understanding of what can and cannot be brought in.

Entertainment will be provided by Navy Band Mid-South, the Stax Music Academy, and an air show to kick things off, with the music starting about 3. Then, as the sun starts to set, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra will perform, leading up to a fireworks finale.

This event is considerably more family-friendly than the other two Memphis in May main events. However, it’s also a great place to go with a group of friends (and remember, you can bring alcohol). It’s also a great place for tube top watching. If you don’t feel like bringing a picnic basket or cooler, they will have vendors selling food on-site.

You’re invited to stop in The Warehouse, the green building at Front and G.E. Patterson, this evening between 6 and 9 to say thank you to our police officers. Refreshments will be served and you’ll be able to have conversations with the men and women who keep us safe.

This coming Sunday, Twilight Sky Terrace atop the Madison Hotel will host Nashville artist Chris Carpenter in an unplugged session from 6 to 8 PM. His influences include The Beatles, The Eagles and Sting to John Mayer, Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars.

There’s a Groupon for The Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum in Victorian Village, with admission for two, four, or six. $11 gets you two admissions, a $20 value, so it’s 45% off.

Sunday night/Monday morning when I couldn’t sleep, part of the reason why was that it sounded like there was a huge party going on somewhere near my apartment. There was so much yelling and screaming that it sounded more like Music Fest Saturday. Then I heard six to eight gunshots and a few minutes later, a police car siren. Here’s what happened. A local DJ booked an event at the Deluxe Arcade Building at Second and Madison and allegedly oversold it. He’s charged with inciting a riot. By the way, that is normally a totally safe venue and gunshots are almost unheard of Downtown.

My cold has mostly gone away and I am back in the game. After a long day of catching up for work email I will be out for some beverages and maybe a little poker tonight. That’ll do it for now.

BBQ Fest Saturday recap

(I’m still under the weather, so please excuse any typos in this post)

Saturday morning I got up, did the Friday recap on the blog, and got on Facebook. I was my usual jubilant self, shouting out to our pitmaster David Scott Walker and his team about the great food I’ve been eating all week and how I looked forward to the awards ceremony. Then I posted “we’re going to need your help bringing a trophy back” on the wall of a teammate I was worried might not make it down there. Then I went to Bardog, unfortunately forgetting to check my email one more time before leaving.

Team president Moody was already at Bardog. “That’s weird,” I thought. “After the cooks, isn’t the team president the most important team member to have at judging?” And then I thought, “Why are several of my other teammates here as well?”

“Did you get my email?” Moody asked. “We couldn’t get the cooker up to temperature last night. We didn’t know that the cooker we had was only designed for warm weather. It’s never been in the 50s for long periods of time at any BBQ Fest we’ve done. So we just didn’t know. We couldn’t serve the judges undercooked pork, so we had to serve them nothing.” That was disappointing to hear. We’ll be getting a new smoker. The good news was, the cooks had got the temperature up by 11 or so, so there would be food for the team to eat.

Seeing no rush to get down there, I ordered some PBRs at Bardog and caught up with bartender Panda, who had been in our booth for a while Friday night. Then about 12:15 I got a call. “Hey Paul, do you know there are only two people down here?” she said. “Just John D and me.” Well, that’s not good. You don’t want that few teammates there, to avoid situations where moochers try to come in and steal bottles of liquor or T-shirts. I tabbed out and hurried down there.

By the time I got there a few more people had showed up and were working to get the food situation going. Our board member Frank was manning the grill, along with two guys who weren’t even on the team (but I hope they are next year) but just wanted to help out. Also, the team member who called me to come down to the park was busy making burgers. I’m not going to call them out by name here (although I may later on Facebook) but they know who they are and their hard work was definitely noted and appreciated.

I do want to thank Bones and Dennis who came over from Squeal Street to take a look at the grill. They noticed there was a lot of ash in the bottom and showed us how to get it out. They said it was a possible cause of our temperature issues. Squeal Street offered their help all throughout the festival if we needed it. Maybe we should have taken them up on it earlier than Saturday.

Food came out, and the mood in the tent lightened. We cooked everything in the refrigerator. I got a plate of pork shoulder and a burger and caught up with our inspirational leader/father figure on a few things that happened in the tent Thursday and Friday night. The weather in the park was much cooler than I expected – WeatherBug showed a high of 69, so I walked down there only in a T-shirt and shorts. However, the temps most of the days were in the 50s, dropping to the low 50s by the time the sun went down. I was cold but determined to have a good time. At least the booth had a second story to cover us if rain came through. I drank and dance right until we were kicked out of the park at 10.

By 10 it was lightly raining. I had no choice but to walk north and deal with the rain. Squeal Street’s booth, which had not yet been shut down was on the way out and I stopped for some bites of lasagna with Bones and Leigh, the last two members of that team left standing. One last great BBQ Fest memory. Then it was time for the cold walk home.

You can see the pics here.

BBQ Fest got me

Saturday night I had to walk home from the south end of the park, which is about a mile. The high had been predicted to be 69, which sounded like T-shirt and shorts weather to me, so I didn’t take a jacket. However, the temps barely made it to 60 all day, and as I walked out it was 54 and raining. By the time I got to the top of the hill I was soaked. “I hope I don’t get sick,” I thought.

Yesterday I seemed fine for most of the day, but about 7:00 I brought home Chinese food and couldn’t eat but a few bites of it. I felt funny and went on to bed. I woke back up a few minutes after 11 PM with chills, runny nose, coughing, fever in the 100-101 range – all the symptoms of a common cold. By 6:30 I had not been able to get back to sleep. So I emailed my co-workers, took some NyQuil, and finally got to sleep.

Some of you have sent me pics of construction and of the Best Booth trophy presentation. I will try to get those up this week. I will do a Saturday recap too. Saturday took some unexpected turns. Right now though I just want to get back to bed. Needless to say I will NOT be going out anywhere tonight.

BBQ Fest Friday recap


Team accountant Frank buying ice. Of course “Mr. Load-in” was right there with the assist.




More food. Can you tell I’m exhausted and have given up even trying to be witty with these photo captions?


Misty, Buddha, and Uncle Ray


Nikki and Andre




My neighbor Peter discussing the booth design with lead artist Sarah


Jeannie, me, Panda


Somewhere between the 23rd and 24th Fireball shot I stopped to take this pic.

Full photo album (about 110 pics I think) here. These BBQ Fest photo albums just aren’t the same without pics of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.

Today is judging day. My teammates will be in the park at 10 AM getting the place spotless for the judges. We’ve re-worked our presentation this year and we better bring home a trophy. Otherwise I will have to listen to our inspirational leader/father figure go “BULL….. SHIT” for four hours and I just can’t take another year of that.

I don’t make a positive impression on judges so I’m staying out of the tent while that is happening. Going to hit Panda’s bar at Bardog for an abbreviated Saturday session then will be in the park about 1.

Moody Ques win Best Booth for the second year in a row




The Moody Ques have repeated as Best Booth winners. With our “red devil” bus design, we impressed the judges enough to score the win. Huge thanks to Clay (pictured above) who came up with the idea, Travis and Brent and the gang from Holliday Flowers, and Sarah and her team of artists who painted the bus. Awesome job guys! Now it’s time for the cook team to step up. This better not be the only trophy in our booth by Saturday night!


The creative team, minus Brent

And now for the rest of the Thursday photos:




Team treasurer Frank (right) with our Yankees. The Northern members of our team are awesome.


If anything happened last night that I need to apologize for (and I think it did) this is the reason why. Alcoholic gummy bears. Eating six of these at one time? Maybe not such a good idea.


Also, right after eating six alcoholic gummy bears is probably not the best time to do a Jello shot.

I just discovered that I threw up on my living room carpet last night. Hey, I made it to Thursday before that happened! That’s a four day improvement over BBQ Fest week last year.

I hope you’re enjoying this encore presentation of “How to Destroy Your Personal Brand in a Week.” If you missed the beginning, no worries, just check back in May 2015.

And now, back to the photos…


The “Red Devils” in Panama City have the owners’ favorite sports figures painted on the back. This was one of the judges’ favorite boxers and it really impressed him.




Ana won Best Dressed in our booth last night.


These beef tips were amazing.


Dinner. Since the Nuh-Uh Girl is not here I carried on her tradition of going back for two more servings of food.

(People are reading this and thinking, “Two? More like eight.”) Sorry, I can’t eat that much.


Rainbow after a storm moved through. If you  look closely you’ll see a second rainbow.


Our team co-founders


It was cold last night and there weren’t many tube tops to photograph. So you get this instead.


The Saucer girls heard about the awesome job I did during BBQ Fest load-in and came down to check it out.


Kao and Bloom. Yesterday Bloom got me started with a Bloody Mary at her bar at Bardog at 8:30. By 9:55 I’d had a PBR and a Fireball too. Yes that’s AM. Not PM. Or p.m. if you follow the AP Stylebook. BBQ Fest: The spring break for adults.


From the “nice photo but it would be even better if they had tube tops on” file…

Full photo album (about 180 photos minus a few bad ones of me that I deleted) are here on the Moody Ques site. Nice to see that WordPress can handle large photo galleries.

So, let me tell you about my morning. I woke up about 8:15 today and looked around and couldn’t find the pants I had on last night. That was kind of a problem because my wallet, iPhone, and keys were in them. After about 12 minutes I finally located them. They were one step inside the entrance hallway to my apartment. Once again, let me stress that six alcoholic gummy bears at one time really isn’t a good idea.

Sunny and 73 is the forecast. There is NO EXCUSE for not having a tube top on today. Championship meat goes on the smoker tonight. Let’s do this. It’s 10:07 now and I guess it’s time to take a shower. I will pre-game at the Flying Saucer at 11 and will be in the booth by 12:30.

BBQ Fest Wednesday Friends & Family Night recap

I’m going to dispense with any kind of clever introduction and show you our 2014 team booth!





In Panama City, Panama, mass transportation is handled by private bus companies. The buses are known as red devils and there is no published route or schedule for them. They are elaborately decorated and you know where they are going by looking at the decorations. Sadly the devils are being phased out, but we decided to bring them back for a weekend for our BBQ booth facade.

I have to give credit where credit is due here. I may be “Mr. Load-in” but the facade was other people’s  brainchild. It started with our team vice-president, Clay, who communicated the idea to our booth sponsor Holliday Flowers. “The reason it works so well is, Travis (from Holliday) knows what’s up here (pointing at his head) when I can’t even put it in words,” Clay said. If you need an event planned or decorated, Holliday is the place to call. They will blow your mind and exceed all your expectations.

Once the facade was erected, a team of artists led by BBQ teammate Sarah, newly returned to Memphis after four years in Chicago, got to work painting our red devil. They incorporated elements of Memphis, our sponsor Start Co., our logo, and of the Memphis in May host country Panama.

And now let’s get to the rest of the pics. I didn’t take as many as usual because it was so blasted cold. It was 52 degrees outside, windy, and misting for a while.

2014-05-14 20.53.59

BBQ Fest toenail polish


Koozie for Schweinehaus, the new restaurant being opened by our head pitmaster David Scott Walker


We incorporated the motto of our sponsor Start Co. into the booth design.


Team president Moody commented that in all the years we have been BBQ teammates, there has never been a photo taken of her, the team president, and me, “Mr. Load-in.” Last night we took one.


The zip tie which caused me to injure my back during load-in Tuesday. The back is feeling much better thanks to peach moonshine shots last night and the Bloody Mary I am drinking at Bardog right now as I type this post.


Our pitmaster Chef DSW is a pretty easy-going guy but he did have one demand for the team: Cheese balls in the booth at all times.


Speaking of DSW, here he is. I had someone read my blog and ask, “Wait, Designer Shoe Warehouse is your sponsor?” No, I’m just too lazy to type our chef’s full name over and over.


Otto’s mom with her boyfriend Buddha. Expect many drunk inappropriate comments from this man over the next few days. Buddha is the one who invited people to our booth and said, “We’ll get you so drunk you’ll have a seizure and die.” (Moody will kill me if I don’t add this: This man does not speak for the Moody Ques and your experience may be different than what Buddha advertised.)


I guess John D couldn’t be bothered to smile for this photo. At least his rain coat matches the colors of our sponsor Start Co.






Otto’s mom getting down. There is a video of me dancing with her to “Back in Black” that will probably hit Facebook sometime today if it hasn’t already.

Complete photo album here on the Moody Ques website. Again, the photo album is smaller than usual because it was so damn cold. There will be a ton more photos today. Since we’re using a WordPress gallery this year, I need to ask Otto how to stop the photos from displaying in reverse chronological order.

With the photos out of the way, let me recap the rest of the day and add some comments. My road to BBQ Fest started about 2 yesterday when I stopped by Bardog. I was just going to have a couple of PBRs and move on, but team president Moody showed up to give “Mr. Load-in” a report on the food delivery situation. We were running behind schedule and I needed a Fireball shot to deal with the news.

Moody left to go get blankets to keep the cooks warm. Teammate Kao joined me and we moved to the Silly Goose for an abbreviated session of our usual Wednesday Jessica visit. After a couple of PBRs I went to the restroom and came out to find “The BBQ Fest Bum” talking to Kao. He has a habit of begging every BBQ team member on every team he knows for a guest wristband until someone feels sorry for him and gives him one. I need to give a couple of teammates who don’t live Downtown a briefing of his behavior over the past year, so they understand why this person is persona non grata in the Moody Ques and Squeal Street booths and possibly others too.

On Friends & Family Night the cooks keep the menu simple, with burgers and hot dogs. I wasn’t expecting much but Matt, one of the assistant cooks, came over and told me, “Paul. Get in line at the food table. We have burgers coming out. You want to try this.” So I grabbed a bun and slapped on mustard, some kind of gourmet white cheese that had been put out, and salsa. Ten minutes later the burger patties came out and I grabbed one. OH MY GOD. That burger was moist and flavorful and artfully seasoned and was one of the top five burgers I have ever had in my life. Seth from Best Memphis Burger – I will let you know if those burgers are on the menu again this week. You have got to come try one.

Even though the weather was horrible, this was the best Friends & Family Night in the 8 years I have been on BBQ teams. Everyone was in high spirits and we fired up the music and danced and did moonshine shots. It’s so cool to watch new team members assimilate themselves into the team.

After the park closed, I caught a ride to the Blind Bear. Trivia was going on and about 10 of our members and sponsors and friends were playing at one of the tables. They gave me a round of applause as I came in. They had heard that I was pretty much the Clydesdale of the load-in effort at our booth this year. It’s nice to be appreciated.

Looking forward to a big day today. Cody Rogers who is one of our team members will be picking out the tunes tonight, so the music should be top-notch. The food should be top-notch too. I still haven’t seen the menu, but if I do I will try to get it posted to the team website.

After last night’s weather, I can announce that we are seeking a few new members for 2015. Desired qualities in new members:

1) Female
2) Wears tube tops when it is 52 degrees outside
3) Becomes extremely affectionate after a couple of stiff drinks made with less-than-premium quality vodka

All right. Still at Bardog and Bloom just talked me into a Fireball shot. It’s not even 10:00 yet. I hope I don’t drop the MacBook on the walk home. As always I will have a pre-game beer at the Saucer at 11 then hit the park for Day 1 of BBQ Fest that is open to the public.

“Mr. Load-in” suffers back injury at Tom Lee Park

Yesterday I was up and at ’em early. My plan was to get to Tom Lee Park not long after noon to assist the team with remaining booth construction tasks. I don’t mean to brag, but I lead the Moody Ques in assists. I’m kind of like the Mike Conley of BBQ Fest.

I texted the team and let them know I was on the way. “Hold on,” they replied. “Have you made it past the Saucer yet? Can you go by and see what the Fire Sale is?” I was already at Riverside and Beale by that point, but I backtracked and went to the Flying Saucer, to discover that they had Goose Island IPA as their discounted “Fire Sale” of the day for $3.50 a pint. Normally it sells for around $5. As long as I was there, I decided to have a refreshing Dos Equis Lager before continuing on to the park for a day of hard labor.

Thirty minutes later I was back on my way. Again I made it to the north entrance of the park when the team sent another text. “Can you go by and see what the Daily Dog is at Bardog?” Every day Bardog Tavern features a differently-topped hot dog as one of its specials. Once again I turned around and made the walk up to Monroe. Yesterday’s dog had marinara, parmesan, and black olives. I had to admit it sounded really good. I didn’t order the hot dog because I felt I didn’t have time to eat. However, I did order three PBRs.

Once again I started to walk to the park. This time I didn’t text anyone to tell them I was coming. “If the team keeps sending me on wild goose chases, I will NEVER get to the park and be able to get some work done,” I thought. This time I made it. Good thing I did too. The team was starting to get burned out and tired. An inspirational visit from “Mr. Load-in” was exactly what the team needed to pick up their spirits.

While in the booth I chatted with one of the assistant chefs who will be working with our pitmaster, Chef David Scott Walker. “I know we won Best Booth last year, but I’m embarrassed that we didn’t bring back any trophies for food. This year we are going to change that,” he told me. We’re entering all the ancillary competitions – things like beef, Anything But (pork), sauces – and of course, we’re prepping for the main event in our category, pork shoulder. We lost points on the presentation to the judges last year and the cooks have a plan to turn that around. Also, I learned that we will be fed even better than we were last year, with a special entree for each meal plus plenty of ribs and shoulder throughout the festival.

The final decorative touches were being put on the booth, and the team put me to work. I handed our team vice-president a crate. Then about 20 minutes later, I handed one of the guys from Holliday Flowers a crate. I was a crate-handing machine down there, let me tell you.

However, my tendency to overdo things caught up with me. “Hey Paul, can you hand me a zip tie?” my teammate Jason asked, sitting atop the scaffolding, hanging a curtain. There was a zip tie sitting on the bar and I grabbed it and took it over. As I reached up to hand it to him, – OW!!!! – I felt something pop in my back. I had gone too far and injured my back at BBQ Fest load-in.

I didn’t tell anyone. So many people on the team look up to me that I felt that I couldn’t let them down by telling them about my injured back. For the next hour I stood around and tried to do as little as possible, which was hard because that’s completely out of character for me. My teammates helped team captain Moody unload bottled water from her car, and I felt terrible standing there watching while everyone else did the work.

I didn’t tell Moody about the back injury but she must have figured it out, because she insisted on giving me a ride back to the Downtown core. She dropped me off at the Blind Bear, where I supported our team sponsor by ordering crawfish mac & cheese and eight PBRs. Then I went over to the Flying Saucer and stayed there until last call. The lime juice I squeezed into my Dos Equis Lager helped my back feel a bit better. Then I went back to the Blind Bear to support our sponsor some more.

There’s last-minute load-in stuff to do today, but due to my back I am not even going to attempt it. The others will have to soldier on without me. I plan on stopping by Bardog around 2 to report the Daily Dog to the team, then Flying Saucer at 3 to report the Fire Sale. At 4 I will relocate to the Silly Goose which I will use as a last-minute staging area. The park opens for Friends & Family Night at 5:30. This is a special night that is not open to the public, and you have to have a ticket purchased by the team to get in. It’s a chance for the BBQ teams to do test runs of food and walk around see each other’s booths before the public comes in on Thursday.

Our booth is three from the very south, on the bluff side (as opposed to the river side). Sarah and her team of artists did an incredible job incorporating elements of the host country, of Memphis, of our team logo, and of our sponsor logo into the facade. I’ll keep it a secret for one more day but it is something that is iconic in the host country’s capital, Panama City.

Back tomorrow with plenty of pictures. It’s time to eat!