Fri update: Bye Ophelia, Local menu, free concert tonight, new concert series, Elvis contest @ Hard Rock, Elvis trivia @ BB’s, Elvis contest @ Farmers Market, Second Street expansion

As my buddy Neal would say, Ophelia Ford is D.U.N. done! Lee Harris defeated her in last night’s election 43 percent to 27 percent. Finally the people who live in District 29 will have full-time representation in the State Senate. I’m sure Mr. Harris will do a fine job.

Local is rolling out a new menu that is available now Downtown and on Tuesday at Overton Square. Mostly it will consist of updates on old favorites, but new dishes include a seafood ceviche, vegetarian portobello mushroom Philly, a New York strip, and a vegan burger.

Memphis Music Club presents Snapdragon & Metal Confetti this evening at 6:30 as part of the free Friday “Memphis Jams” series in Handy Park.

There will be a new six-concert series benefiting the Maria Montessori School at the Harbor Town Amphitheatre, 740 Harbor Bend Road on Mud Island, beginning Saturday, August 23. The concert series will run through spring 2015. Artists confirmed for the fall portion of the calendar:

August 23: The Memphis Dawls and Robby Grant

September 20: John Paul Keith and Mark Stuart

October 18: Ex-Cult and The Limes

Gates will open at 6 PM with music beginning at 7. A minimum $5 donation for the Maria Montessori School will be requested at the door.

Elvis Week kicks off tonight with the semifinals of the “Last Chance” Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest at the Hard Rock Cafe. Elvis impersonators compete for the final spot in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest that begins next week. $5 cover.

B.B. King’s will host Elvis trivia Wednesday, August 13, from noon until 6 PM. Every hour on the hour, patrons will have the chance to show off their Elvis knowledge and win free food or drinks.

Tomorrow’s Memphis Farmers Market’s theme is Nothin’ but a hound dog. The market will celebrate Elvis Week with its own professional Elvis onsite from 10 to 11 to take photos and sign autographs. He will also emcee an Elvis look-alike contest, with the winner getting $50 in market tokens. Music by Matt Blake at 7, South Side Supper Club at 8:30, and Zoo Girls at 11. 7 AM to 1 PM tomorrow, at the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

Possible good news for Uptown: a proposed expansion of Second Street from I-40 to Frayser could spur development. It’s being seen as a new major route into Downtown from the north.

That’ll do it for this Friday update. Absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing tonight. May rest up for Stumbling Elvis tomorrow.

Thur update: Dempseys get a note, hotel news, Peabody rooftop party, SOB birthday, possible new MPD HQ, Stumbling Elvis tube top news

My favorite Memphis band ever is getting its note on the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame. For many years I caught high-energy rockabilly band The Dempseys at venues like Blues City Cafe, Huey’s, and the Flying Saucer. The musicianship and onstage antics of Bradley D. Birkedahl, “Slick” Joe Fick, and Ron Perrone Jr. simply could not be matched. They separated in 2010 to work on independent projects. On Tuesday, The Dempseys will join greats such as Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis on the Walk of Fame, in a ceremony outside the Blues City Band Box where they played many times. Congratulations to Brad, Joe, and Ron. You deserve it and thanks for all of the good times.

Seriously… if you haven’t seen The Dempseys you need to look them up on YouTube now.

The Memphis Business Journal has a couple of pieces of hotel news. There’s a story on challenges the Exchange Building owners will face converting the building to a mixed-use hotel and apartment building. The upper floors are vacant and could be converted immediately, with vacant units on lower floors being possibilities for extended-stay hotel rooms. Residents would be given the opportunity to renew their leases, so it doesn’t sound like anyone will be kicked out. A previous article said the building is currently about 70% occupied. The MBJ reports that the hotel will not carry a national brand and will be called The Exchange.

A contractor has pulled a permit to begin work on the hotel that will be inside of the Pyramid as part of the new Bass Pro Shops location. Retail is scheduled to open December 1, and the hotel next year.

Tonight’s Peabody rooftop party is a casting call for the Memphis Flyer fall fashion issue and Memphis Soul Revue will headline. $10 cover, ladies and hotel guests free until 7. Admission includes a buffet of a wheel of cheddar cheese, assorted baguettes, an olive assortment, pickles, and cherry peppers. If you’re in VIP you have a second buffet of imported and domestic cheese, fresh fruit, and sliced meats. This is the second to last Peabody rooftop party of the summer season.

Also tonight, don’t forget about South of Beale’s 5th birthday party. Live music, hors d’oeuvres, special beer tappings, and birthday cake shots. Starts at 7 PM.

Six years ago I attended a South Main Association meeting at which the speaker was then-Memphis Police Chief Larry Godwin. He stressed the need for the police department to be centralized in one headquarters, rather than scattered in multiple rented locations around town. He emphasized both the cost savings and the improvement in morale that would be a result. Six years later, that may happen. MPD may relocate to the building on the Civic Center Plaza recently vacated by the state.

If you’re deciding whether to attend the Stumbling Elvis pub crawl this Saturday, here’s one more reason to go. I was told that one of the pub crawl attendees bought her outfit on a recent trip to St. Louis – a tube top so small that “we don’t know how she’s going to fit everything in there.” One of her friends commented, “We’re going to have to check Paul’s pulse to make sure he’s still alive.” Crawl begins at Flying Saucer at 7 PM. Bring non-perishable food donation and dress as Elvis or Priscilla.

That’ll do it for now. I’ll be out at the usual places after work.

Wed update: James Taylor, Brad Birkedahl @ Lansky Clothier to the King, help St. Jude, Foursquare, and more

Great night at National Night Out last night. About 150-200 people came out to the Farmers Market pavilion and there was plenty of food, wine, beer, and community friendship.

Tonight’s big event Downtown is on Mud Island. James Taylor plays the Amphitheater at 8:00. That relatively late start for a weekday should give concert-goers plenty of time to pre-game at Downtown bars and restaurants.

Next Monday, August 11, there will be a free concert at Lansky Clothier to the King at 126 Beale (Hard Rock building). Brad Birkedahl will perform rockabilly and rock & roll from 6 to 8 PM. Come listen and see the new store. View the event on Facebook here.

One of my Facebook friends posted this yesterday and it’s worth a share: “This is an on-going need at St. Jude and a great way for you and your children to get involved and help out those children that aren’t able to go to school. Waiting room fun bags: Fill a sealed zip-lock plastic bag with fun things a child or teen can do as they wait to visit the doctor. Make bags age-specific, but generic enough for a boy or a girl. Include things such as: crayons, markers, colored pencils, paper, coloring books, and stickers.”

From Gizmodo: Foursquare 8.0: A lot more like Yelp, and a lot less fun.

Congratulations to my buddy Dennis on winning the Blind Bear Texas Hold’em final table last night. He picked up $300 in restaurant gift cards. All ten final table participants got a prize, and ironically enough my BBQ team vice-president won a smoker. Players got 40,000 chips to start with initial blinds 500/1000. When you start with only 40 big blinds you have to be aggressive right from the start. You can’t afford to sit back the first orbit or two to see how everyone else is playing. Dennis must have figured that out, because he now has four final table wins to his name. The 16-week league toward the next final table starts Sunday at 6:30 at the Bear.

I’ll lead off at the Silly Goose tonight after work about 5:30 as I usually do on Wednesdays. Check back, because there may be a second daily update.

Tue update #2: Tamp and Tap, win trip to see Titans vs. Johnny Football, Exchange Building, MIFA Feed the Soul, Cafe Keough, MEMFix: Edge District

Downtown coffee and beer bar Tamp and Tap is expanding. The Memphis Business Journal reports that a second Tamp and Tap will open in East Memphis, on the 6400 block of Poplar.

Trivia host Kevin Cerrito has announced a big prize coming up for Thursday night Green Beetle trivia: A trip for a team to Nashville to see the Tennessee Titans play Johnny Football and the Cleveland Browns. It will be an 8-week contest, and each week the first-place trivia winner will get 3 raffle tickets, second place will get 2, and third place will get 1. Best Team Name winner will also get 1 ticket. At the end of the eight weeks a raffle ticket will be drawn for game tickets and a gas card to travel to Nashville. It’s free to play and there will be weekly prizes by Budweiser of Memphis as well. You don’t have to play every week, but your team must be present to win the night the raffle is drawn.

The MBJ reports that the Exchange Building may be converted into a 19-story hotel. Earlier in the day, the Daily News’ @tdnpols account tweeted that part of the building may remain apartments, with separate entrances for tenants and hotel guests.

Save the date: MIFA’s Feed the Soul fundraiser/party will happen Thursday, October 2 at The Warehouse at Front and G.E. Patterson. This event tends to be quite the shindig. There will be live entertainment by Earl Randle, Karaoke King Tim Bachus and DJ Stan “The Bellringer” Bell of radio station V101. There will also be bourbon and rum tastings, an oxygen bar, and a raffle. It’s a fun crowd of about a thousand people and it supports an excellent cause.

Cafe Keough has Spake and Duckworth jazz lined up for Friday night, starting at 7 PM. No cover.

MEMFix has put up a Facebook page for its October 18 event MEMFix: Edge District, a one-day, community-driven event to re-imagine the Edge neighborhood around Monroe and Marshall. You can view and “Like” the page here.

On my way out to say thank-you to some police and firefighters and enjoy National Night Out. I hope to see you there.

Tue update: National Night Out, Scratchy gets a home, Start Co. company gets angel funding, Central BBQ beer dinner, the reason why the Breakaway-Bardog 5K got started

Don’t forget that tonight is National Night Out from 6 to 8, at the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson that houses the Memphis Farmers Market on Saturdays. Food from many local restaurants, beer, wine, music by Ashley McBride, and the chance to connect with your local police officers and firefighters. You can view complete details on the Facebook event listing.

I learned of some awesome news last weekend. I spend a lot of time at Bardog, and I’m used to looking out the window and seeing Jimmy, a homeless guy who lives in the alley next to the bar, walking around. A lot of people call him “Scratchy” because he tends to scratch his beard as he walks. Jimmy is just the nicest guy, who never asks for anything but will thank you for leftover food or cigarettes if offered to him. He’s been known to follow a couple of my female neighbors from the bar to our building’s front door, not in a creepy way but just to make sure they get home safe. The past few weeks, I hadn’t seen Jimmy. That worried me a bit. Did he die? Did he get arrested? Is he sick? All of those thoughts went through my head.

None of those were the reason Jimmy has been missing. This past weekend I found out that with the help of some kind people, Jimmy now has an apartment. That is fantastic news. Jimmy has been wandering the streets ever since I first moved Downtown. Very happy to see him get to a better place in life. I guess we can’t call Center Lane between Monroe and Union “Scratchy’s Alley” anymore.

On August 21, the 18 startup companies participating in Start Co.’s accelerators will hold Demo Day, pitching to investors in the hopes of securing funding. However, one Start Co. company has already secured $250,000. Graph Story is a company that uses logistics information compiled by multiple companies to help avoid problems before they happen and reroute drivers. Graph Story participates in Sparkgap, Start Co.’s logistics accelerator, and has secured funding through the Start Co. Angels Network.

The Downtown Central BBQ is holding a Bluff City Beer Dinner Wednesday, August 20. There will be beer by High Cotton Brewing Co. and Memphis Made Brewing Co. This won’t be a stuffy dinner. There will be snacks and a few reception beers while everyone shows up, and then there will be a four-course dinner, each course paired with local beers. You’ll get to sample six beers total, in a commemorative pint glass you get to take home. The main course will be a whole hog “pig picking.” 901-672-7760 to make your reservation. $35 plus tax and grat. Credit card number required to hold reservations, and cancellations after August 18 will be charged.

The Washburns are the reason the Breakaway-Bardog 5K got started. Their son Ethan had ALL, a type of leukemia. Without treatment, it can be fatal within a few months. The family was referred to St. Jude, where he received treatment at no cost to his family. He received his last planned chemo on August 17, 2012, exactly two years to the day before this year’s Bardog 5K and alley party. In the four years of its existence, the 5K/alley party has raised nearly $100,000 for St. Jude.

I’ll be at National Night Out tonight, then back north to Blind Bear to watch my friends play in the poker league final table. Too bad those 70s temps from last week didn’t stick around for National Night Out but it’s what’s to be expected from August.

Mon update: South Main Food Truck Friday, South of Beale 5th birthday, Elvis Week, Felicia’s hiring hostesses

I wrapped up my four-day weekend with a third-place finish at poker at the Blind Bear. I haven’t played much recently and it was good to get back in the game.

Emerge Memphis is hosting the first ever South Main Food Truck Friday this Friday, August 8, from 11 AM to 1:30 PM. The Stickem food truck will be serving lunch. Emerge Memphis is located at 516 Tennessee Street, at the corner of G.E. Patterson. There is limited parking available on the street.

South of Beale is holding its fifth anniversary party this Thursday, August 7. Weather permitting, there will be live music by Sunday Thrills featuring Amelia Warren at 7, Andrew Cabigao at 8, and Britt & T.O. at 9. There will be special beer tappings by Ghost River and Yazoo that night. There will also be passed hors d’oeuvres, $5 birthday cake shots, $3 draft beers, and cupcakes from Muddy’s.

Elvis Week starts this Friday. Here is a schedule of events. Downtown happenings for Elvis Week include the Last Chance Ultimate Tribute Artist contest at Hard Rock Friday and Saturday and Elvis Night with the Redbirds on Saturday. Also, although it’s not an “official” event, don’t forget about the Stumblin’ Elvis pub crawl that starts at the Flying Saucer at 7 Saturday.

Felicia Suzanne’s is hiring hostesses. Details here.

That’s all for now. After work I will head to Bardog for Monday with Melissa.

Fri update #2: Stick’em, Journey/Mud Island, Memphis Made, trivia themes, Backstage Bash @ Orpheum, SOB supports MFM, petition to fire MAS administrator, get free movie tickets, and more

This is the time of day when you would expect to see my first post of the day, but this is my SECOND. Make sure you keep scrolling down after you finish reading this post and read the one I put up about 9:30 this morning. It contains info about a lot of things happening Downtown this weekend, including an event in Victorian Village tonight that will appeal to fans of Memphis history. With the weather being so nice, I just might hop on my bike and ride out there this evening!

I’m munching on lunch as I type this. I walked down to the FedExForum for Food Truck Friday. After looking over the available options, I decided to try the chicken and shrimp platter from the Stick’em food truck.

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Good stuff. Two chicken skewers and a shrimp skewer with seasoned fries. It was $9.82 with tax. All the tables were taken and I forgot to put on sunscreen, so I put it in a bag and walked home for lunch.

The FedExForum posted that you could get your photo taken with Kofi Kingston or Ryback from the WWE. Well, actually, cutouts of Kofi and Ryback. Come on guys, if you’re going to use cutouts can’t you do a little better than that? Neither one of those guys has won a match since like 1972 or so.

Journey will play the Mud Island Amphitheater on Saturday, September 13. Tickets will go on sale one week from today.

Great news, even if not Downtown news: High Ground News reports that part of Memphis Made Brewing Co.’s expansion will be a tasting room. They plan to have it open by the end of the year. Hmmm we may have to get in a cab and take a field trip out there this fall. Since Memphis Made is very close to the new Aldo’s Pizza Pies, maybe we’ll have to check out the rooftop deck there too.

Kevin Cerrito has announced his themed trivia nights for next week. Wednesday at Tamp & Tap (7 PM start time) there will be Seinfeld trivia. Then on Thursday he will be at the Green Beetle (8 PM start time) saluting the start of the school year with “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” trivia.

Oh God. Monday is the start of the school year. Which means there will be tons of “here’s my kid going back to school” pics. Maybe I will stay off Facebook and Instagram on Monday.

The Orpheum’s Backstage Bash is next Thursday, August 7. You can experience the theatre as the actors do, entering through the stage door and seeing what life is like backstage. There will be food by Gus’s, Central BBQ, and Frost. Buster’s will provide a specialty cocktail and there will be Memphis Made and Ghost River beer. If you’re a VIP ticket holder, you’ll also get to enjoy food from the Majestic and a private bar with complimentary wine and beer.

Every month South of Beale benefits a local nonprofit by adding a line to customers’ checks. On that line you can write any extra amount you would like to donate to that month’s nonprofit. This month’s nonprofit is a great one… Memphis Farmers Market! Go grab some food at SOB and support MFM.

Here’s a petition to terminate Memphis Animal Services administrator James Rogers and replace him with someone who knows what the fuck they are doing. From everything I’ve heard MAS is a complete mess and dozens of animals are being killed needlessly.

If you missed Food Truck Friday at the FedExForum, the Fresh Gulf Shrimp truck will still be Downtown this evening. It will be at the High Cotton Brewery taproom at 598 Monroe.

If you make a reservation at Bluefin and put “I want the free tickets” in the Special Request section, they’ll give you free tickets to The Princess Bride at the Orpheum tonight. Limit two per reservation.

Ay ay ay! So much going on this weekend. Time to put some air in my bike tires in case I decide to go that route this evening. (Bob from Squeal Street fusses at me when I ride on underinflated tires.) After that it’ll be time for a little day drinking with Bloom at Bardog, Courtney at Local, and Fancy Nancy at the Goose. Ya never know who you’re going to run into Downtown on an unseasonably mild August day, so look out!


Fri update: Millionaire’s Row meets Yellow Jack, Handy Park concert, Food Truck Friday, The Princess Bride, free movie tix for cops and firefighters, watermelon roll

There’s a fun event happening in Victorian Village tonight, starting at 6. It’s called “Wealth and Death – Millionaire’s Row Meets Yellow Jack.” You’ll learn the story of how yellow fever hit Millionaire’s Row as you stroll through the Woodruff-Fontaine House enjoying a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. You’ll find out how the residents of Millionaire’s Row fought back against the fever. There will be a special guest, Sister Constance, who died of yellow fever on September 9, 1878. The event costs $15 per person.

Good thing I rely on multiple sources for Downtown news. The Millionaire’s Row event ALMOST slipped under my radar. Cheers to those who communicate effectively.

Nancy Apple’s Rhythm and Roots Revival is the featured entertainment at the free weekly Friday concert series in Handy Park, Third and Beale. Music starts at 6:30.

Don’t forget that it’s Food Truck Friday at the FedExForum. Several food trucks will be parked on the Forum plaza from 11 to 1 today for lunch. Stickem, Mark’s Grill, and Fresh Gulf Shrimp are among the participating trucks. For those who need to dine and dash, Chick-Fil-A will be onsite as well with a variety of food options. There will be TWO Food Truck Fridays Downtown next Friday. More info coming soon.

1987 movie The Princess Bride plays on the big screen at the Orpheum tonight at 7. Doors open at 6. Come early for a lesson in stage combat and a swashbuckling swordfight presentation by Tennessee Shakespeare Company.

Next Friday the Orpheum will be showing JAWS, and all local police and firefighters are invited to watch for free. Just show badge or equivalent ID to get up to two free tickets per person.

This week’s theme at the Memphis Farmers Market will be Watermelon Roll. Up to 12 kids, 10 years old or younger, will compete in a watermelon roll at 9 AM. The winner gets $5 in market tokens, and all kids who participate get to keep their melons. There will be pet adoptions at the market as well. Live music by Paul Waits at 7, Heather and Sam at 8:30, and Mason Jar Fireflies at 11. 7 AM to 1 PM tomorrow, on the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

Second day of my 4-day weekend. I’m going to wander down to Beale in a bit and see if I can find any additions to my Annoying Elvis Tourist costume for Stumbling Elvis a week from tomorrow. Maybe I’ll hit one of the food trucks at the FedExForum while I’m down there. After that, perhaps a little time at Bloom’s bar/Panda’s bar this afternoon. As for this evening, you never know where I might show up. I need to branch out and not just go to the same four bars all the time.

All right, time to get this published. It’s possible I’ll get a drunk post in sometime this afternoon, so check back.