The Memphis tech community lost one of its leaders this past weekend. Dave Barger, founder and CEO of LunaWeb, Inc., died in a kayaking accident.

Dave was one of the early organizers of the Memphis tech community. He was key in organizing the BarCamps in which techies and creative types came together and shared presentations and information. He also was one of the main people involved in the monthly social media breakfasts that kept people informed of the latest social trends. As Erik from MemphisWeather.net pointed out, Dave gave freely of his time, and of his money, to raise the local tech community to a higher standard. Many of the leaders in the Memphis social media community got where they are today because Dave helped them.

When I was laid off from my job in October 2008, Dave was one of the first people to reach out to me. He told me there might be a place for me at LunaWeb, and even if not he’d keep his eyes and ears open for other opportunities for me. I ended up going in a different direction, but I really appreciated Dave contacting me and offering help.

Rest in peace, Dave. Thank you for all you did, and you will be deeply missed by many. My thoughts and condolences are with his family, his many friends, and his LunaWeb family. If you have memories of Dave you’d like to share, put them on Twitter and hashtag it #rememberdave. These tweets will be compiled and given to his family.

Tue update: World Cup, homebrew competition, Sweetwater beer, DNA happy hour, sports forum, why some people hate summer

From BuzzFeed: 250 new emjojs will be added to the Emojipedia in July.

Congratulations to the USA soccer team on kicking the ball in the goal one more time than the other team from Ghana did. We are awesome.

FiveThirtyEight now has the U.S. as slight favorites to advance to the knockout stage (63 percent probability). However, the U.S. still needs a point against Portugal.

There’s a People’s Choice homebrew competition this Saturday. Brewville @ DeNeuville happens at the DeNeuville Learning Center at 190 South Cooper from 4 to 7 PM. Everyone who attends is a judge, and can vote for their favorite beers in each category. Ticket sales benefit the DeNeuville Learning Center, which empowers women to improve their lives through education and community. If anyone I know is going to this, shoot me an email or Facebook message. With many of my friends away on a canoe trip, I’d be open to hopping in a cab and making a trip to Midtown.

The MBJ has an article about Sweetwater Brewing Co.’s move into the Memphis area. Starting yesterday, Sweetwater beers began to be distributed through Budweiser of Memphis. Don’t forget that Sweetwater will debut on 7 taps tonight at 9 PM at the Flying Saucer. First 40 people to say “don’t float the mainstream” will get a free beer. See all of Sweetwater Brewery’s kickoff events here.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is having their monthly happy hour at Twilight Sky Terrace, on the rooftop of the Madison Hotel, Thursday at 6 PM. Yummy appetizers, happy hour drink specials.

The following Tuesday, June 24, a week from today, the DNA will hold a Sports Forum at Bleu in the Westin Hotel. A panel of sports writer/radio host Geoff Calkins, sports writer/radio host Gary Parrish, sports reporter Carrie Anderson, and voice of the Grizzlies Pete Pranica will offer a unique perspective on Memphis sports. Cocktails at 6, panel at 6:30. Parking will be available in Lee’s Landing garage.

From BuzzFeed: 21 reasons why summer sucks for anyone with big boobs. There are some nice tube top pics here. I became aware of this post when Blind Bear bartender Daniel posted it to his co-worker Kaylea’s Facebook timeline. I love how the URL for this article contains “underboob-sweat.”

There will be a second post today, and it will be one of the rare times you will see me break my Tube Top Month rule. In this case the exception is warranted. Check back around 5:30.

Mon update #2: Vuvuzelas, fire video, get free beer for life for $1000, Nettleton Community Orchard, Beetle taps 420, Volunteer Odyssey/Farmers Market

A manager at Local Gastropub posted that they have $5 food specials along with game day beer specials for the World Cup. VUVUZELAS ENCOURAGED. The magic words I wanted to hear. If I hadn’t already promised my happy hour patronage to Panda, I would be there. I will probably get in there one happy hour night during the World Cup at least. Other bars ought to copy the “vuvuzelas encouraged” concept. I don’t actually own one of the South African horns but I have three vuvuzela apps on my phone.

The MBJ has exclusive video of firefighters at the scene of the Blue Plate Cafe fire last Friday afternoon in Court Square. View it here. I bet that fire was hotter than a Romanian gymnast in a tube top.

This is a pretty cool story, and thanks to Darrin for sharing it: Would you pay $1000 to get free beer for life? Three investors wanted to open a restaurant that brewed beer right there onsite. However, it would take $220,000, and no large investors were willing. However, they had friends who said, “I’d be willing to throw in a grand or two.” So they created a unique campaign for funding: They offered free beer for life to anyone who invested $1000. Before long they easily had enough to open the restaurant.

Here’s another Kickstarter-type project you can donate to: The Nettleton Community Orchard. They plan to transform a privately owned railroad embankment lot in Memphis, Tennessee at the corner of Nettleton Avenue and Tennessee Street into a community fruit tree orchard. This will make the neighborhood more vibrant and will enhance awareness of our environment and community health. Seven fruit trees will be purchased and planted. The orchard will take much less effort to maintain than a community garden.

Green Beetle is tapping their Sweetwater 420 today.

In this blog post a Volunteer Odyssey volunteer talks about her experience volunteering for the Memphis Farmers Market. Two great organizations right there.

On my way out to see Panda, drink PBR and watch soccer. Back with more tomorrow.

Mon update: World Cup, Envision Groupon, farmers’ markets, South Main, electric bus, Disney trivia, Tube Top Month, Slider Inn and more

If you have an event happening this weekend, it is a perfect week for you to let me know about it and get it listed in the blog. The reason why is that I will be looking for things to do myself! Nearly my entire Downtown crew will be out of town this weekend on a canoe trip, and I’m not going. If you have events email the info to paul@paulryburn.com, or hit me up on Facebook if we’re friends there.

The USA team plays Ghana today in World Cup action. FiveThirtyEight has crib notes for today’s games and calls USA-Ghana the most even matchup of all of the round-robin games.

The Brass Door is setting up a giant screen and cash bar outside for a watch party in the alley for the USA-Ghana match. You can bring your lawn chairs.

Ghana is rationing electricity to make sure people can watch the World Cup match.

From the Daily Beast: Why the Yanks don’t get futbol

From Mashable: Despite landslides, flooding, and sinkholes, the U.S.-Ghana match will go on

There’s a Groupon for 5 or 10 group fitness classes at Envision Memphis. Envision is the fitness club atop the Cadre Building at Second and Monroe. Very nice facility.

Saw this on Facebook: 27 reasons to avoid farmers’ markets. Figured the folks at MFM would get a kick out of it.

From the MBJ: Developers have the hots for South Main (photo gallery)

From Gizmodo: It only takes this electric bus 15 seconds to charge at every stop. Somebody show this to MATA!

Kevin Cerrito is hosting two Disney-themed trivia nights this week, with all six rounds being Disney questions. Wednesday night (7-9 PM) is the family-friendly version at Tamp & Tap, with Disney-themed prizes. (I wonder if my new friend Henry will attend.) Thursday night (8-10 PM) is the 18+ version at Green Beetle.

I got asked an interesting question yesterday. “Let’s say that a woman you think is amazing, beautiful, hot, whatever, just your type, told you, ‘I would date you if you gave up Tube Top Month.’ Would you do it?”

HAHAHA! I would have a lot of UNHAPPY readers, for sure! But yeah, I can think of three women who are awesome enough that I would kill the greatest thing to happen to Memphis since Jerry “The King” Lawler. So theoretically at least, there are people out there with the power to end Tube Top Month. I doubt it will happen though, so you can expect to be stuck with lots of tube top talk through July 6. I just LOVE those tube tops! ALL ABOUT THE TUBE TOPS #tubetops

It was a so-so weekend for me, but not a very good weekend for a few of my friends. You know who you are and you’re in my thoughts.

This isn’t Downtown news but the Slider Inn in Midtown is doing a Tiki Tuesdays Throwdown tomorrow, with fire dancers, a whole hog roast, island music, coconut bras and grass skirts. If I were a Midtowner I would be there. Aldo never ceases to come up with some really cool stuff.

So, am I the only person in the country not watching Game of Thrones? Maybe I should make a deal: Somebody explain to me what’s the big deal about Game of Thrones, and I’ll explain what’s going on these days in the WWE to you.

Reminds me: I read the recap of last night’s TNA Wrestling’s pay-per-view this morning before work. I cannot believe anyone would pay their hard-earned money to watch that crap. Dixie Carter as a character sucks, Bobby Lashley sucks, Jeff Hardy’s Willow character bores me even more than the Jeff Hardy character, lots of Dusty Finishes in the matches with ref bumps and the like. I could go on and on. Velvet Sky is still hot but I’m not paying $40 to look at her. Bully Ray (the former Bubba Ray Dudley) is awesome as a character but I’m not sitting through 2 hours and 50 minutes of garbage to watch him be awesome for 10 minutes. I haven’t seen anything this bad since WCW’s final year and I expect TNA to be out of business within nine months.

Now that I think about it, make that four women who could make me give up Tube Top Month. Velvet Sky could too. Although, it would be a crying shame because Velvet looks great in a tube top. Velvet is to me what the Suicide Girls are to my buddies Clay and John D.

All right, this post is getting ridiculously long and has taken nearly my entire lunch break to type, so I’m going to hit Publish now. Melissa Monday at Bardog is not happening this week, and I posted “where should I go to watch the soccer game thingy?” on Facebook. My Saturday bartender Panda replied, “It’s PANDA MONDAY – and hold up a minute… come see me!” A better response would have been, “It’s PANDA MONDAY – and hold up a minute… come see me, I’ll wear a tube top for you!”, but, good enough. Bardog it is for happy hour and soccer.

“What are you doing in Midtown?”

Happy Father’s Day! So happy that I am not getting any presents today.

About 4:15 I walked over to the High Cotton taproom for the grand opening. Not a bad walk from the Downtown core at all. It’s no farther from home than Max’s Sports Bar on the south side, and I walk to Max’s all the time. The taproom is a very nice space. It was already crowded so I didn’t take pictures. I will try to get back there this week and take some. They had the back of the brewery open, with two extra bars, so it never got uncomfortably packed at the opening. The two extra bars took cash so I didn’t have to whip out the debit card. I drank the saison all evening, which was delicious.

While I was there, I had pizza from the Rock’n’Dough food truck for the first time, and now I see why everyone raves about it. Living two blocks from Aldo’s place, I’m hard to impress when it comes to pizza, but Rock’n’Dough did it. I had a slice of pepperoni that was huge and cheesy. It was so good that I went back for a cheese slice, even though I totally didn’t need it.

While there, I caught up with my friend Craig David Meek who recently released his book Memphis Barbecue: A Succulent History of Smoke, Sauce & Soul. I’m only on chapter 3 but I have already learned a lot about Memphis that I didn’t know. Just to give a couple of hints: A building in which I spent a lot of time between 1997 and 2005 used to be a BBQ joint in the ’50s. Also, a food item that is very common in most Memphians’ diet these days might not have caught on in this city if BBQ hadn’t been involved.

I checked in on Facebook and Foursquare, and before long I was getting comments from my Downtown friends. “What are you doing in Midtown?” they asked. The taproom is ONE BLOCK EAST OF DANNY THOMAS. That’s not Midtown. The taproom is across the street from Kuzdu’s, which is considered a Downtown bar. If you walk out the taproom’s back door, you see Six-1-Six, very much considered to be a Downtown nightclub back in the day. I believe most Memphians consider Bellevue, a mile east of the taproom, to be Midtown’s western boundary. The Edge, in which the taproom is located, and Victorian Village are both Downtown neighborhoods despite being on the wrong side of Danny Thomas.

That’s the way we Downtowners think though… anything past Third is the wilderness. Overton Square might as well be Nashville to us. East Memphis is Knoxville. Cordova is somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda, maybe, although that’s kind of an insult to Bermuda.

Anyway, back to the taproom opening. There were some very nice tube tops and tube top dresses there, the Dead Soldiers were good, and overall it was a nice vibe. Glad I went.

The big event Downtown today is the Riverside Drive Open Streets party, celebrating the two lanes of Riverside that are now open to bike and pedestrian traffic. There will be music by the Mighty Souls Brass Band as well as bike art and exhibits. There will also be food trucks including Mark’s Grill, which tweeted its menu a few minutes ago. Things get started on Riverside at 4. Why not wear a tube top and get a tan on your shoulders?

If you want to take your dad to a baseball game, the Redbirds have a Father’s Day buffet today. Game time is 1:35. See memphisredbirds.com for information.

Leading off at Bloom’s bar at Bardog at 11 and then will figure out the rest of the day. Hopefully I will make it down to Riverside for a bit.

Sat update: Silly Goose a winner, 100 N. Main, Calipari, more High Cotton taproom news and more

(Note: There was a second Friday update post yesterday with lots of news, so scroll down and read it if you haven’t checked the blog since lunchtime yesterday)

Every four years a conversation like this happens.

Me: “So the soccer players were out on the field and…”

Soccer fan: “The football players were out on the pitch.”

Me: “Yeah. So anyway, the soccer players were out on the field and…”


Congratulations to the Silly Goose. There was an event out east last night at Booksellers at Laurelwood called Literatini, a martini tasting to benefit Literacy Mid-South. The Goose won the vote for best cocktail, beating second-place Alchemy. It’s not easy to beat Alchemy in any kind of vote, and it shows how the Goose has really stepped it up lately with their new hand-crafted cocktails. Another Downtown bar, the Blind Bear, came in third.

From the Daily News: Questions raised about 100 N. Main developer. As my friend Mikey would say, rut roe.

Interesting news this morning: Localmemphis.com reports that a relative of former Tigers basketball player Pierre Henderson-Niles has been in contact with the NCAA, alleging that he was involved in a pay-to-play scheme under former coach John Calipari. Henderson-Niles played his final season under Josh Pastner, who was not named in the allegations and has said he does not believe them to be true.

Last night I was at the Flying Saucer, and I watched as two pieces of paper were pinned to the employee bulletin board. Both pieces of paper contained numerous pictures of women’s tops, and one was labeled “YES” and the other “NO” to communicate acceptable uniform standards. I think I saw a tube top on the “NO” sheet. BOOOOOOOOOO! Maybe I’ll rent the space across the street that used to be Jillian’s and open a beer joint with tube top uniforms.

Unfortunately I got stared at by an imbecile while I was drinking my beer at the Saucer. Some people just never learn. If that person would put as much effort into finding a job as he puts into bothering me, he wouldn’t be broke right now.

High Cotton Brewery has posted its lineup of seasonal beers for the taproom opening today: Cherry Beet Saison, Bourbon Barrel IPA, Hefeweizen, and Pilsner. They say that the pilsner won’t last long because supply is limited. The Facebook event listing shows 972 people attending. However, the brewery has said not to worry – they are installing additional bars for the event and you WILL get a beer. Beer sales are credit only, so don’t forget to bring a card. However, if you want to get food from the Stickem or Rock’n’Dough food trucks you will need to bring cash.

Plans for today: I’m leading off at Bardog at 11 as usual, but I am going to take it easy on drinking there and wherever I go for my second stop. No Fireball (THIS ESPECIALLY MEANS YOU BROOKE) and I plan on drinking plenty of water. I want to get to the taproom right at 4 and get photos for the blog before it gets super busy. Given the huge number of friends I have who have said they’re coming, my tentative plan is to stay all the way until closing time at 10, although I’ll be open to leaving if anything interesting comes up. Time to get this weekend started!

Fri update #2: Blue Plate fire, taproom opening, Sweetwater beer, UFC 174, Steiner interview, Sports Ball kick-off party, cook at BMBF, article for startups, MIFA jobs, trolleys

There was a fire in the kitchen at Blue Plate Cafe on Court Square this afternoon. Witnesses reported seeing some flames and a ton of smoke. As of about 4:05 MFD had it under control. No word on extent of damage yet.

The Memphis Flyer has posted an article about High Cotton’s taproom opening: High Cotton, High Times. The grand opening takes place from 4 to 10 tomorrow, and then regular hours will be Thursday 4-8, Friday 4-9, Saturday 2-10.

Lots of news about Sweetwater beer’s arrival in town, courtesy of @memphisbeerweek on Twitter. Madison Growler inside the Cash Saver has confirmed they will have $4.20 growler fills of Sweetwater 420/IPA for next week’s launch only.

The Flying Saucer will be getting in on the Sweetwater action too. On Tuesday, June 17 at 9 PM, the Saucer will be pouring 7 Sweetwater taps and will have an in-store sampling. Also, the Saucer will give a free Sweetwater beer to the first 40 people who say “don’t float the mainstream” starting at 9 PM that night. Beer sampling and a chance at a free beer? Looks like I will be skipping Blind Bear poker on Tuesday.

If you’re looking for a place to watch UFC 174 tomorrow night, Club 152 is showing it on 10 screens.

If you missed MemphiSport Live’s interview with “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner, you can listen to it online. Best part of the interview? When interviewer Dustin Starr asked about Steiner’s recent stint in TNA Impact Wrestling, and he said, “Don’t talk about that, that’s horseshit wrestling.” HAHAHA! Having read recaps of their recent Thursday night TV shows, I have to agree with Big Poppa Pump.

Kooky Canuck is hosting its annual Sports Ball Kick Off Party Thursday, June 26 from 5 to 7 PM. Join them for appetizers, drink specials, and special guest appearances.

Want to cook at Best Memphis Burger Fest? The 2014 cooking application is online.

Moody Ques BBQ team sponsor Start Co. tweeted an excellent link today that every startup founder needs to read. When talking to potential investors, what is the right way to answer the question How will you use my money?

If you’re looking for a job in the nonprofit sector, here are three job openings at MIFA.

The MBJ interviewed MATA president Tom Fox. Fox was asked if any consideration had been given to ending the trolley line altogether, and his answer was one word: No.

Who’s going out Downtown in a tube top? I’m about to hit Publish and then I will be out for some late spring tube top watching.

Fri update: Startup offers Grizzlies rewards, important PBR news, Beale Street Landing fails again, Sweetwater beer, High Cotton taproom, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

There’s a good article on the Memphis Flyer’s website about FanBank, a Memphis startup that provides rewards when you shop locally. Shop at a business that partners with FanBank and you can be entered to win Grizzlies tickets, autographed merchandise, or a luxury suite at a Grizzlies game.

By the way… speaking of local… Tube Top Month was not invented in New York, the fashion capital of the world. Nor was it invented in L.A., the home of the silver screen. Nor Chicago nor San Francisco. Nope. Tube Top Month got its start right here in Memphis. When you support Tube Top Month, you are supporting a locally-grown, grass-roots concept that managed to survive into its 10th year.

Speaking of tube tops…

2014-06-12 19.08.39

Christie knows what month this is! Her landlord could stand to take a few notes on how to wear tube tops/tube top dresses.

This week some friends of mine wanted to watch the sun set, and they figured the top of Beale Street Landing would be the perfect place to do it. Several others were gathered there as well. However, a few minutes before the sun touched the horizon, a security guard came by and told them, “Beale Street Landing is closing, you have to leave.” They asked if they could at least stay to see the sunset, and the guard said, “No. The landing closes at sundown.” My friends were disappointed, and there was a little girl crying, “Daddy! I want to see the sunset!” Seriously??? We paid $40+ million in taxes for this thing and we can’t even enjoy it? Why can’t the landing close 15 minutes after sunset?

IMPORTANT PBR NEWS: The Brass Door will have $5 PBR pitchers during World Cup games today. They’ll also have $3 pints, $10 buckets, $5 cocktails, and $20 wine bottles.

It’s official. Sweetwater beer is coming to Memphis.

This weekend, however, I am more concerned with local beer, particularly High Cotton on Monroe whose taproom opens tomorrow at 4. The Facebook event listing shows 925 people going as of the time I’m typing this, and it is a very diverse crowd. Among my 51 Facebook friends listed as “going,” I see people I knew from MPACT Memphis a decade ago, my Congressman, Saucer girls, restaurant and bar owners, folks from the international crowd, and owners of other breweries. The BBQ team will be represented by our lead booth artist, booth construction workhorse “Mr. Load-in,” and my teammate who thinks I talk about tube tops too much (she also thinks the Cookie Monster talks about cookies too much).

Important note: The taproom is credit card only, so bring plastic if you want to drink.

You know who I bet is going to benefit greatly from the taproom opening? Kudzu’s. I hate to admit it but in my 12 years as a Downtowner I have not been to Kudzu’s even once. I have nothing against the place, and I have a feeling I’d really like it if I went. It’s that there are many other places for me to go which are much closer to home. But now, when I walk down to the taproom, I will probably think “Might as well check out Kudzu’s while I’m over here.” I bet a lot of others will too.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom plays on the Orpheum’s big screen tonight at 7. Come at 6 to play trivia.

There is easily enough news for a second post today, so check back. I may do one after work. If not all the news will be up tomorrow morning.

Thur update: World Cup news, Agave Maria, Peabody rooftop, Orpheum movies, shuttle schedule, Memphis Public Works on Twitter

World Cup games start today. The Brass Door has announced a 10 AM opening time every day from now until June 26 for the games. During the games there will be $3 pints, $10 beer buckets, and giant TVs on with full sound. They posted a full lineup of this weekend’s games.

Last night Daniel told me the Silly Goose will open at 2 today for the World Cup, although happy hour bartender Jessica texted me and said he told her 2:30. In any event, the Goose will be open in time for Brazil vs. Croatia. They were doing a lot of remodeling last night: painting, new construction. Of course “Mr. Load-in” from the BBQ team was right there to assist with the hard labor, lifting several 16-ounce glasses of PBR.

From FiveThirtyEight: Mexico’s and Bosnia’s players have been ordered to not have sex while at the World Cup. Does sex affect athletic performance? I know that if I were a soccer player, and a willing Brazilian tube top hottie approached me, I would find it hard to say no.

I wonder if Brazilian women wear tube tops? I have a former student from the U of M who is from Brazil. I need to message her on Facebook and ask.

The MBJ reports that Local Gastropub owner Jeff Johnson has pulled a permit to renovate the former Pa Pa Pia’s space on Union into Agave Maria, a Mexican restaurant.

The Kicks will headline the Peabody rooftop party tonight. There will also be a casting call for the Memphis Flyer fashion issue. Doors at 6, $10 cover, ladies free until 7.

It’s movie night tonight at the Orpheum: Double feature of Bridesmaids and Father of the Bride. First film starts at 7. Get there early for themed activities and cocktails.

MATA has posted alternate shuttle routes for the buses that will replace the trolleys for the next 3-6 months. Fares will remain the same and trolley passes will be accepted.

Front Street reopened at A.W. Willis reopened this morning. Crews had been repairing a sinkhole there. By the way, Memphis Public Works is now on Twitter. Follow the agency at @Memphispubworks.

Time to get back to work. I’ll be out at the Goose to watch the World Cup this evening.

Wed update: Union Mission needs pants, trolley service suspended, donate tools to Habitat and get beer, Yao’s Groupon, World Cup viewing Downtown, DMC wants parking plan feedback

The Union Mission has an urgent clothing need. They are badly in need of men’s pants of all sizes – not dress pants, but jeans and work pants. The mission is located on Poplar about a block east of Danny Thomas if you have something you want to drop off.

The big news Downtown is that MATA has suspended trolley service indefinitely. This move follows two trolley fires that have happened in the past five months. MATA will have to decide whether to renovate the current heritage trolley cars, get new heritage trolley cars, or get modern streetcars. The trolleys will be off the streets three to six months, and hybrid electric buses will replace them in the meantime. More info in this MBJ article and a second MBJ article that says replacing the trolleys could cost up to $37.5 million if MATA chooses modern streetcars.

The Flying Saucer is collecting tools for Habitat for Humanity this weekend. Drop off a tool and get a free beer. See flyer below for info and a list of tools needed (click for larger sized image).

Photo Jun 10, 6 38 03 PM

There’s a Groupon for Yao’s China Bistro going on for the next day. You get $18 worth of food for $11. (Cue comments from Bob and Talley about the “Mr. Ryburn Special”)

I had a request for recommendations for the best places Downtown to watch the upcoming World Cup games. My picks would be the Brass Door Irish Pub, Silly Goose, and Max’s Sports Bar. Brass Door and Silly Goose both have owners who are big soccer fans. Brass Door is the best pick if you prefer non-smoking, Max’s if you prefer the South Main area, and the Goose offers the best chance to see tube tops as well as soccer.

The DMC wants your feedback on proposed Downtown Memphis parking guidelines.

That’ll do it for now. I’ll be out and about after work, leading off at the Silly Goose as usual on Wednesdays.