A grilled cheese festival, a brewery party, and a lot more Thursday news

My friend Katie Mac is going to be very, very happy about this first news item: Memphis will see its first-ever grilled cheese cook-off on December 13. Cookteams will compete to win awards, including most cheesy, most ridiculous, best tomato soup, fan favorite, and best overall. It will be held at the Hi-Tone and each general admission ticket will come with a ballot to vote for the fan favorite award. The Hi-Tone lounge will be open and serving drinks. Money raised will benefit ALIVE Memphis Rescue.

Pam and Terry play the Blind Bear tonight from 10 to 1.

The Chris Johnson Band plays Tacos and Tunes on Felicia Suzanne’s patio tonight 7-10. $2 tacos, $5 margaritas.

Save the date for a brewery party: On Saturday, November 7 from 1 to 9 PM, Memphis Made Brewing Co. at 768 S. Cooper will celebrate its second birthday with a party called MALTED. The party will feature big malted beers, including Nut ReMix, Junt, Fireside, Drew’s Day Off and other limited releases. 16-ounce Belgian-style MALTED glasses are free to the first 50 customers. Live music from Tony Maynard, Caleb Sweazy, and DEVIL TRAIN. In addition, New Ballet Ensemble and School will do a preview of Nut ReMix, their interpretation of The Nutcracker which they perform each year at the Cannon Center. The Gourmade and Sushi Jimmi will be on the parking lot if you want to order some food.

Speaking of Sushi Jimmi, that food truck will be at the Fire Haus tonight. Hmmm… I have wanted to try their food… perhaps I will walk over.

And while we’re on the subject of food trucks, Holly Reports that there will be a new food truck on the Memphis scene as of this weekend: 4 Dumplings, an offshoot of the restaurant in East Memphis, where nothing is fried or processed and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.

RiverFit Relaunch happens at Tom Lee Park today. The RiverFit fitness park by the Grizzlies, initially intended as a temporary installation, is now permanent. Come down and celebrate from 5 to 6:30 with yoga, hula hooping, rowing, and food trucks.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is having happy hour at Twilight Sky Terrace atop the Madison Hotel tonight from 6 to 7:30. You don’t have to be a member to attend and there is no agenda; just a casual environment in which to have a drink and get to know your neighbors.

Keith Burgess and Chris Ashley from Hard Core TV will be at Bass Pro at the Pyramid tomorrow from 1 to 5. They will be doing a Q&A as part of the ongoing Waterfowl Expo.

The Green Beetle (@GreenBeetle39) tweeted that they will have $1 Miller High Life drafts for the Tigers game tomorrow. In other Beetle news, Shufflegrit will play there at 3:30 Saturday, a quick walk from RiverArtsFest.

The Grizzlies posted that they have sold out of the $15 tickets I mentioned in yesterday’s blog.

On Mondays and Thursdays, Double J has bottles of Pepperwood Grove wine – Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay – for only $15 a bottle.

Want to hear something weird? I get my days mixed up, based on which bartender I will be visiting that evening. I was just thinking, “Today is a Jessica day, so it must be Wednesday or Thursday, which is it?” I had to consult the calendar and was pleased to see it is Thursday. I’ll lead off at Silly Goose after work, probably a stop at the Fire Haus after that, then over to the Blind Bear for Pam & Terry. Sounds like a very good evening in Downtown Memphis.

Wed update 2

If you’re a NASCAR fan who lives in Memphis, tomorrow is a big day for you. Tomorrow at the Waterfowl Expo at Bass Pro in the Pyramid from 4:00 to 5:30, you’ll be able to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kerry Earnhardt, and Kelley Earnhardt Miller. There is a limit of one autograph per person while time allows.

Felicia Suzanne’s is having a Hanna Farms dinner next Wednesday. There will be elevated street fare from Hanna Farms, prepared by Chef Michael Hanna. $35 plus tax and a 20% gratuity. Click the link to see the complete menu for the dinner.

There will be a yard sale at the 2 West Condos at Front and G.E. Patterson Saturday beginning at 7 PM, cat-a-corner from the Memphis Farmers Market. Key items include foosball table, love seat, dinette set, electronics, tables, lamps, chairs, and artwork. RiverArtsFest will be going on nearby too, so you can get a foosball table, fresh produce, and craftwork by regional artists all within two blocks.

@TigersMedia has tweeted that the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award has announced the inclusion of Memphis Tigers coach Justin Fuente on its watch list.

If you’re a pro wrestling fan, listen as one legendary announcer interviews another. Jim Ross interviews Memphis announcer Lance Russell on his podcast The Ross Report.

Holly reports that there’s a basic blacksmithing workshop this weekend at the Metal Museum.

Time for a beverage at the Silly Goose. Back tomorrow.

Wednesday update

I’m leading off this lunchtime post with a movement happening on Facebook that I can definitely get behind. Bring CityTarget to Downtown Memphis is a move to put a Target location in the empty Peabody Place Mall. That would mean that Downtowners would no longer have to drive to West Memphis or East Memphis to shop at a retailer like Wal-mart or Target.

There are several reasons it is believed this would work. One is that Downtown has a population the size of a small city, about 30,000. What city that size does not have a Wal-mart or Target? Another reason is that although Peabody Place failed as a “shopping destination” that people would travel for miles to visit, it’s perfect for redevelopment as an “every day use” destination to serve the needs of people who live in the neighborhood, as well as visitors staying in the hotels here. Fill it with shops and services Downtowners need.

The New Daisy is back open after being padlocked unexpectedly by the state for back taxes. Neither the city, which owns the building, or the Downtown Memphis Commission, which acts as landlord, was notified in advance. One of the owners settled the tax matter in time to have the theater open for a concert tonight. The closing came as a shock because the theater just had a grand reopening with $500,000 in new equipment.

Meanwhile, renovation has begun on the building at 380 Beale formerly known as Club Crave and the Plush Club. It will be a sister concert venue to the New Daisy and will blur the lines of what is actually known as the Beale Street Entertainment District.

Seen on Facebook today: In Albuquerque, a city worker drives around asking the homeless if they would like to work for the day cleaning up the city. If they say yes, they work 5 1/2 hours at $9 an hour, then are taken to a health center where they are offered food, shelter, and other services. We need something like this in Memphis.

The Grizzlies are releasing some $15 terrace level tickets for the October 28 opener against Cleveland.

The Tigers now lead the AAC in attendance for football.

Grizzlies guard Russ Smith has been implicated in the Louisville sex scandal.

Possibly back after work with a second post, so check back.

RiverArtsFest is this weekend in South Main

There’s a big festival coming up this weekend in South Main. RiverArtsFest, the largest fine arts festival in the region, happens Friday through Sunday with South Main blocked off between Huling and Webster. 180 artists will have booths along Main.

Friday is the festival’s kick-off with free admission and live music by Marcella and Her Lovers, Motel Mirrors, and Hurry for the Riff-Raff. Some of the artist vendors will have their booths open as well. Hours for Friday are 6-10 PM.

The hours for Saturday are 10 to 6, Sunday 10 to 5, with $5 admission each day. The artists will all be open for business, and there will be live music by Amy LaVere & Will Sexton, Grace Askew, The Passport, Ms. Ruby Wilson, Avon Dale, The Dead Soldiers, and many more. Here’s the list of stages and times for live music and here is a list of artists. There will be a variety of food vendors and of course, beer.

This is a great chance to get started on your holiday shopping, not only with the vendors but in the stores along South Main and surrounding streets. I’ll give the insider tip I give every year: If the guy selling cinnamon pecans is there, get them.

Sorry for missing yesterday and the short, one-topic post today. I haven’t been feeling well. I plan on getting back in the swing of things with a longer update tomorrow.

Sunday update

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One of the must-eats of Downtown Memphis: The Soul Burger at Earnestine & Hazel’s. I had my first Soul Burger in 4 years last night. Happy birthday Neal!

I’m hurting y’all. These 3 AM go-home times are killing me. I was in South Main until 1 for a birthday party. After the massive amount of food I ate at Maciel’s (see previous post) I didn’t need a Soul Burger, but I was there and Soul Burgers were there so it had to happen. Later in the evening I made my way back to the core and closed the Blind Bear.

The Green Beetle will have its weekly installment of Live Music Sunday tonight with Chris Hill. “Service Industry, come on down!” Food and bucket specials. 8-11 PM.

The River Rat Rounders are doing a Deal Out Cancer fundraiser for men’s health Saturday, November 21st at the Downtown Central BBQ at 2 PM. Grand prize is a trip to Vegas and the top five places pay out, prize packages ranging from values of $400 to $150. Teresa from RRR will be running the show and your $45 buy-in includes a Central BBQ buffet.

While we’re on the subject of buffets, Agave Maria will have a Day of the Dead/Resurrection buffet November 1 for those recovering from Halloween.

Here’s a second view of the hearse Bardog is giving away on the 31st. Photo credit Bicycle Bobby:

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That’s Melissa (of Melissa Monday happy hour fame) next to the hearse.

There’s a wildlife management seminar at noon at the waterfowl expo at Bass Pro Pyramid today. If you missed Friday’s seminar on giant whitetail deer, you have a second chance today.

Anheuser-Busch’s merger with Miller is the first of a 5-point plan to eliminate craft beer. It won’t work.

The Grizzlies are winning at the box office as well as on court. As of Friday less than 20 lower bowl season tickets remained.

Time to go talk to B-RAD about some D-RANKS. Back tomorrow with more news.


A second visit to Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos

Today I watched the Memphis Tigers kill Ole Miss and make the Top 25, first half at Bardog and second half at Blind Bear. After the game I thought about going to the Fire Haus but decided, “No, you have a birthday party at 8. Go home and get some food.” I walked up to Maciel’s Tacos and Tortas at 45 S. Main, a half block north of Union.

I ordered a huarache, which I talked about earlier this week. This is sort of a flatbread made with a masa base and topped with almost any toppings. At the recommendation of my favorite pair of librarian glasses, who has eaten there almost every day since Maciel’s opened, I got the chorizo huarache. Feeling hungry, I got a tenga (spicy chicken) taco and rice and beans. That was way too much food but I didn’t care. I wanted to sample the menu.

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Immediately upon ordering, they brought me a cup and said, “Go get a drink while you wait, sir.” A couple of minutes later they brought this to me. “Something to eat while you wait, sir,” they said. It was a tostada and it was damn good.

I got my food to go:

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Upper left: huarache, made with chorizo. Upper right: Tenga (spicy chicken) taco. Bottom: Rice and beans. The huarache in particular was a meal in itself, loaded to the extreme with chorizo, lettuce, tomato and cheese.

A feast for about $18, less than I would spend for an entree at several of my favorite restaurants down here.

Go there as soon as you can. This is not a “well, maybe next March when I get an extra 30 minutes for my lunch break one day” place. Make the time to go there now. It’s that good.

Saturday update

A friend of mine who is assisting with the Sinners for Saints Halloween Ball at Stop 345, benefiting the Church Health Center (buy tickets here) is looking for local businesses who would be interested in donating gift cards to be given away at the party to costume contest winners. The party is expected to attract 500-700 young professionals with disposable income who drink and dine in Downtown and Midtown. The organizers would announce your business’s sponsorship on the event’s Facebook page, where it could be seen by as many as 2400 people. They would be happy to put up any banner you want at the party as well, and I will mention you on here personally thanking you. Green Beetle, Silly Goose, and Rizzo’s Diner are already among those on board, and there’s still plenty of room for more. If you would be interested in donating a gift card, shoot me an email at paul@paulryburn.com and I will pass it on to the person coordinating the donations.

I was told that one of the very top organizers of the party said that it’s nice to have me on their side. Nice to be on your side. :) Or should I say, PBR MAN is happy to be on your side. See you on the 31st.

From Cambridge, Massachusetts: Man writes open letter to woman who reported a “creepy guy” in the park. This illustrates what happens when accusations are made and people believe them having heard only one side of the story. It’s really unfair. Don’t assume; don’t judge; seek facts and listen.

There’s a lot going on today at the Waterfowl Expo at Bass Pro. Events include a bowfishing seminar, information on what is available for women in hunting, a Taste of Memphis event (bet the Nuh-Uh Girl wishes she was in town), a seminar on hunting wild hogs, a duck calling seminar, and a ton more.

Wet Willie’s is having a Koozies for Boobies party tonight at 8. Get hammered drinking Call-a-Cabs for charity!

Across the street from that party, Ben Rector: The Brand New Tour will come to the New Daisy as part of the theater’s grand re-opening. Special guest Judah and the Lion. Tickets are $20.

30 years ago, my grandmother told me about a time 40 years before that when the Fuller Brush man would knock on her front door and see if he could sell her any brushes. It isn’t the Fuller Brush man but door-to-door sales jobs still exist in 2015? Really? Glad I’m insulated from salesmen behind the call box of a controlled-access building.

A lot of people are posting “RIP Bevo” this weekend and I would like to join them. Bevo, the Moody Ques’ smoker at BBQ Fest 2014 and 2015, made a valiant effort to hold temp but the environment prevailed. You did the best you could, Bevo. Rest in peace.

Tickets are now on sale for Fall Out Boy’s March 18 stop at FedExForum.

Here’s a photo of bubble ball in Court Square yesterday.

The Memphis Tigers host the Ole Miss Rebels at the Liberty Bowl at 11. I will be making a special trip to Bardog to watch the game. Football insider John D will join me to provide insight into these two football programs.

Okay, really he’ll be showing me the Star Trek air freshener he got in his July Loot Crate shipment, but whatever. Go Tigers! Tentative plan after Bardog is librarian glasses at Blind Bear, Fire Haus, tacos from Maciel’s, halftime nap, then a birthday party at E&H at 8. This post is D-U-N done. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Giant whitetail news and more

If you’ve always wished you were more knowledgeable on the topic of hunting giant whitetail deer, today is your lucky day. 5 PM at Bass Pro at the Pyramid, Jimmy Sites from Spiritual Outdoor Adventures presents “A Unique Strategy for Hunting Giant Whitetail.” It’s part of the 10-day Waterfowl Expo happening at Bass Pro.

Also at 5 today, the Memphis Music Commission hosts a free “Rhythm, Reading and the River” concert on the promenade behind the Cossitt Library at Front and Monroe. The show is free and for all ages, kicking off with Mason Jar Fireflies, followed by The Passport.

The Grizzlies host the Oklahoma City Thunder this evening at 7 PM in a pre-season game.

Paul Thorn plays the New Daisy tonight at 8 as part of the New Daisy’s grand re-opening weekend.

Good Gourd is the theme of tomorrow’s Memphis Farmers Market, under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson from 7 AM to 1 PM. Gourds are the ornate, whimsical member of the cucumber family, and are great for decorating fall arrangements and displays. While there you can pick up some pumpkins and squash for the dinner table. Live music by Kris Acklen 8:30 to 10 and Savannah Long 11 to 12:30. Pet adoptions by Streetdog Foundation 9 to 12. There are only six markets left this season.

1700 acres of undeveloped farmland on the Arkansas side of I-55 will become the Delta River Regional Park, as reported by Action News 5. By next fall you’ll be able to bike across the Harahan Bridge to get there.

MATA has launched a smartphone app that will bring real-time bus data to riders. You will be able to see icons of the buses traveling along their routes, in the same way you can see an icon of a Lyft driver on the way to pick you up.

People continue to be fed up with the long hold times on Memphis 911.

From Wayfarer: The most common travel scams around the world. The infographic left a few Memphis scams out, including “hey mane I’ll see you this flower I picked from a public flower bed for about three dollars.”

That’s it for now. No definite plans for after work. Considering my usual spots in the core, a trip to South Main, possibly even another field trip to the Memphis Made taproom. Could be another post after work, so check back.

Hot hot hot: 90-plus degree Thursday update 2

Temperatures at Memphis International broke the 90-degree mark today. This is the latest in the year a high temperature in the 90s has ever been recorded.

You know that high-rise at Riverside and Channel 3 Drive that sat there unfinished for years and years? It’s finally finished. Artesian Metropolitan Residences has its grand opening today. It will be condos, with the penthouses selling for over $1 million.

From Bleacher Report: Undefeated, underrated Memphis is truly America’s college football team

Costume Contest categories have been announced for the October 31 Saints for Sinners Ball: Best Male, Best Female, and Best Couple. I predict superhero PBR MAN will take the Best Male award. (Any woman out there who wants to dress up as Fireball Woman and enter with me as Best Couple?)

From High Ground News: The New Daisy comes back to life

Chevrolet is bringing the El Camino back.

Last paragraph of this Flyer article: “As usual at the advisory board meetings,(A.C. Wharton crony James) Rogers faced much criticism from animal advocates in attendance. Mayor-elect Jim Strickland has pledged to replace Rogers with a new Animal Services director after he takes office in January.” HALLELUJAH!

If you missed my earlier post at lunchtime today, you need to go read it. I talked about a nonprofit called A Step Ahead that helps teens prevent unwanted pregnancies. I discussed inflection points in people’s lives and how unplanned inflection points like surprise pregnancies can make people feel out of control and limit their future options. If YOUR organization eliminates unplanned, negative inflection points from people’s lives, or helps people plan positive inflection points in their lives, I would love to talk about you on here. I want to expand my horizons and make this blog more than just the “What’s Going on Tonight at the Blind Bear Blog.”

There’s a charity poker tournament for breast cancer at the Blind Bear tonight at 6 and then live music by Roman Duo at 10.

All right, time for beer. Back tomorrow with what’s going on at the Farmers Market this week and more news.

Inflection points, breaking the cycle of poverty, and Thursday news

I have this theory about life that I refer to as inflection points. Inflection points (the term is borrowed from calculus) occur when something happens that sends your life in a completely different direction than the one it was going in before. They’re game-changers. They’re life-changers.

Life is generally good when you choose your own inflection points. For example, at the beginning of 2002 I said to myself, “Downtown is really starting to take off. It’s time for me to move down there.” That was an inflection point in my life. Another example of a chosen inflection point might be when a couple decides it is time to have a baby: They want a child, are ready for the responsibilities of parenthood, and are financially capable of supporting a child. That child is probably going to get off to a good start, growing up loved with his/her needs provided.

Inflection points can be less pleasant when they choose you, when they happen to you unexpectedly. Surprise inflection points can make you feel helpless, powerless, out of control; they can limit your future choices. Take, for example, a young woman who becomes accidentally pregnant at age 16. Maybe no one ever told her about birth control, or maybe she couldn’t afford it, or maybe the condom broke. She’s now about to be financially responsible for another life when she’s not even an adult herself yet. Her options to go to college and have a career where she can realize her potential are now severely limited. She may very well have to go on welfare to support the baby. The child may grow up in an environment where he/she is resented and unloved. The child will be more likely to get pregnant or get a woman pregnant him/herself at a young age, continuing the cycle of poverty for yet another generation.

Last night I was flipping through Facebook after trivia ended at the Blind Bear, and I found an article by my friend Christopher “Skippy” Blank. I am a big fan of anything Skippy writes, so I clicked through. The article was about an organization called A Step Ahead that provides long-term, highly effective birth control. Most importantly, it helps make sure that young women who otherwise couldn’t afford this birth control method (it can cost upwards of $1000) have access to it, even arranging transportation to a clinic if needed. It was founded by a former Juvenile Court judge who I’m sure got tired of seeing teenage baby mamas and baby daddies in her court.

I had not previously heard of A Step Ahead, but I wanted to give it a mention because I know a lot of people in local media follow this blog. There are a lot of programs in Memphis attempting to break the cycle of poverty, and I am not knocking any of them. However, I have heard of few programs as capable of directly preventing unwanted inflection points in young people’s lives as this one.

Fortune magazine has an interesting article on craft breweries’ big dilemma. Let’s say you co-found a craft brewery at age 33. You expand capacity, expand distribution, and in several years your beer is highly rated and being sold in twenty states. One of the large national breweries comes along and offers to buy your brewery. It’s your love, your passion, and you don’t want to let it go; but they’re offering enough money that you could retire at, say, 39. Could you really turn that down?

The Fortune article tells the story of a Seattle craft brewery that had three co-founders. Big Beer came along and offered to buy the brewery at the very same time they were running a commercial mocking craft beer. That pissed off one of the founders, who wanted to say no, but he was overruled by his two partners.

Speaking of beer: It looks like I won’t be attending Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest this year. I have a birthday party to attend at Earnestine & Hazel’s at 8 that night, and if I drink craft beer for four hours in the afternoon, the chances are too high that I will fall asleep and miss the party.

Streetdog Foundation tweeted that they are looking for homes for foster dogs short-term and long-term.

Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty will sign autographs at Bass Pro at the Pyramid tomorrow from 5 to 7 PM. Tomorrow will be the first day of the 10-day Waterfowl Expo happening at the Pyramid. Here’s the master schedule of events.

Tuesday I had someone ask why there were so many people walking around Downtown all dressed up, especially kids. It’s because Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is at the Orpheum through Sunday.

A blue key with a Kroger card was found at Best Memphis Burger Fest.

There will be no Tacos & Tunes at Felicia Suzanne’s tonight because of a private event.

That’s it for now. Possibly a second post after work, so check back.