Thank you Mr. Raiford

Yesterday I was surfing Twitter on my lunch break when some very sad news came across my feed. Robert Raiford, known to many as “Hollywood” Raiford, has passed away. Mr. Raiford was the owner and DJ of Raiford’s Hollywood Disco at Vance and Mulberry from 1975 to 2007. Since 2009 he has been the co-owner and DJ of Paula & Raiford’s Disco on Second Street.

When I first stepped into Mr. Raiford’s club in September 1997, I found myself entering a new world – a world of white leather couches, handprints on the wall, dance floors that lit up, fog machines, quart bottles of Bud Light. Then I saw the man himself up on his stage, in his gold suit, shaking his maracas, hitting the fog machine button, saying “Let’s get some atmosphere up in here!” and “We’re going to make you feel more than welcome!” I had never seen anything like it. Best nightclub in the world, hands down. Thank you, Mr. Raiford. Your creation brought much happiness to my life. There are thousands of people out there who I’m sure would say the same thing.

My condolences and prayers to the entire Raiford family, and particularly to my friends Paula, Keshia, and Corey. Downtown Memphis would not have been the same had Hollywood not built his business here.

Back at lunchtime with a news post.

Let’s Groove: Wednesday update

Let’s groove tonight! Earth, Wind & Fire plays the Orpheum at 7:30. Tickets are $64.50-$125 and there is a VIP meet and greet package available as well.

South Main residents and stakeholders: There will be a public discussion about the proposed special permit for a Curio/Hilton branded hotel at Central Station on Tuesday, March 28 at 5:30 PM. The meeting will be in the Central Station meeting room, with the entrance off G.E. Patterson. The proposed hotel would have 123 rooms, meeting spaces, restaurants, and retail outlets.

You can make a pledge to donate an amount of your choice to St. Jude every time either Marc Gasol or Mike Conley records an assist in 9 games between March 15 and March 31. Pledges of a certain amount make donors eligible for drawings to receive Grizzlies prizes.

AutoZone Park is getting a rooftop garden. Produce from the garden will be used for concession items. It will be a learning tool for children, and there will be tours.

The Old Dominick’s sign is up!

High Cotton has a loaded event schedule coming up. Tomorrow is Cookies on Tap, pairing High Cotton beers with Girl Scout cookies. They’ll pair Trefoils with their ESB, Samoas with their Baller Brown Ale, Savannah Smiles with the Island Wheat, and Thin Mints with their Milk Stout. $20 in advance, $25 at the door. They’ll also have a special tomorrow where you can take home a High Cotton growler and a box of cookies to enjoy over the weekend for $20. They recommend the Dunkelweizen with the Tagalongs, or their flagship Scottish Ale with Do Si Dos.

High Cotton’s crawfish boil is this Sunday from 1 to 6. Crawfish Shack will be on site preparing the bugs. Get a pound of crawfish and a High Cotton beer for $10, or two pounds and a beer for $16. Pricing excludes small batch beers.

Damn! Look at all this publicity I’m giving High Cotton. I bet that’s why the taproom manager wants to be friends with me on Facebook. She probably thinks I am awesome!

The stolen Blues City Tours bus I reported about in yesterday’s post has been located.

Two men have been arrested for tagging Downtown buildings with graffiti. Thousands of dollars of damage was done. The men and an additional suspect were caught on camera.

Congratulations to my home state of Arkansas on taking a step out of the Dark Ages. The state will no longer honor Robert E. Lee on the third Monday of January along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mississippi and Alabama are the two remaining states carrying on this embarrassing and disrespectful tradition.

On Monday, March 27 the American Queen will be docked at Beale Street Landing from 4 AM to 5 PM.

That’s it for now. Probably I will be at the Silly Goose after work as usual on Wednesday. Back tomorrow.

Fried green tomatoes with warm lump crabmeat and Creole caper remoulade @ Belle Tavern

Last night I went to Belle Tavern, the back bar of Belle Bistro with its own entrance on Barboro Alley, to hear my friends South Side Supper Club who play the first and third Tuesday of every month. They are starting to gain a following in the Downtown core, so I got there 30 minutes early at 6:30 to make sure I would get a seat at the bar. I got the seat with the menu right in front of me. We had a big lunch celebration at work so I wasn’t super hungry, but I decided I could use a snack.

I ordered the fried green tomatoes, topped with warm lump crabmeat and Creole caper remoulade. It was something different from the usual bar food – I wasn’t in the mood for the burger and fries, nachos kind of fare. About 10 minutes later my food came out, and my little troll hopped on the plate for a photo.

They did not skimp on the crabmeat at all – there was a generous portion of it atop four fried tomatoes. The remoulade was delicious. All the flavors and textures complemented each other very well. I thought it delivered value for the price charged, and I will be ordering this dish again.

I haven’t mentioned it because I am not a whiskey drinker myself, but Belle Tavern has a huge array of whiskeys and whiskys, all varieties. If you want to learn about whiskey or try a brand you haven’t had before, Belle would be a good place to go.

I am going to spend more time at this place. Given its location, I can see it being a last stop on the way home, a place I visit in the 10 to midnight range. By that point my friends in the service industry are starting to get off, so it’s a place to catch up with them, and also they don’t shut down the kitchen until 11:40ish, so I can still get the tomatoes when I am ready to have them again.

Back at lunchtime with a news post, most likely.


Tuesday update #2

Memphis Redbirds news: Check out the new bird next time you drive down Union Avenue!

A Blues City Tours bus was stolen outside of Tops Bar-B-Q on Union. The bus was left running while the driver went inside to order. Request for whoever stole the bus: Get the damn thing an oil change, and drive it faster than 20 miles an hour. I hate being stuck behind those smutty, slow buses when I’m on my way home from work.

This morning I mentioned that Robert Cray and Hi-Rhythm would perform at Loflin Yard tonight. The Memphis Flyer has an in-depth look at this upcoming show.

Fun Twitter account to follow: TL;DR Wikipedia

For my readers who travel, Amazon has its packing cubes on sale for less than half off right now.

This is my second news update today, so read on if it’s your first visit. Probably I’ll hit the Silly Goose after work then over to Belle Tavern to see South Side Supper Club.

Tuesday update

There are a couple of live music events going on Downtown this evening. At Loflin Yard, Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm perform tonight from 8 to 11. Tickets are $25.

Closer to Downtown’s center, South Side Supper Club plays Belle Tavern again tonight 7 to 10 in what is becoming an every-other-week gig. I plan to be there!

Over at High Cotton, there’s a real, actual supper club tonight rather than a band named after one. Stanley’s Sweet Treats food truck will provide the menu for the Memphis Supper Club this evening at 7. You can email and ask the taproom manager (who recently sent me a friend request on Facebook) if there are still spots open. As of yesterday afternoon there were 5 spots.

Aldo’s Pizza Pies Downtown is gearing up for the busy season, and they are looking to hire some fresh new smiling faces. They are looking for people who are hard-working, outgoing, friendly, and reliable. If interested apply in person between 2 and 4 PM Monday-Friday. Ask just about any longtime employee at an Aldo restaurant and they will tell you working for the company is like being part of a family.

Your Inner Yogi at 500 S. Second is currently running a Grand Opening Special – unlimited classes for one month for $45. YOGA!

The Grizzlies are looking for people to play in a 2 on CUE Challenge. That means you and a friend take on people dressed up as Rendezvous ribs. You could win two tickets to the April 9 game, dinner for two at the Rendezvous, a private tour of the Rendezvous, and an autographed Grizzlies item.

Scam alert: If an unknown number calls you and asks “Can you hear me?”, don’t say yes. They are recording your voice and will later claim that the “yes” was you giving consent to authorize a purchase or charge. Best advice is to just not answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them leave a voice mail. Scammers almost never do. I hate these scumbags who upset my mother so much in the final years of her life.

From Lifehacker: How Trump handles getting caught in a lie and what you should do instead. In case you didn’t watch the news yesterday: The FBI is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. A sitting president is being investigated for treason. What has happened to this country?

Butler, UCLA, Kentucky, and North Carolina will have open team practices, free to the public on Thursday. There will be free parking for those who wish to attend in the Toyota Garage.

That’s all for now, off to work. Possibly another post later today.

R.I.P. Bracket

What a difference a day makes. Sunday morning I was sitting second from the top in my NCAA bracket league, in very good shape. Then Louisville lost. Well, that wasn’t good, because I had them going all the way to the Final Four.

Then Duke lost. I had them winning the national championship. My other two Final Four picks, Arizona and Kentucky, are still in, but my chances of ever leading my bracket league again are slim to none. Oh well.

We now know which four teams will be competing in the NCAA South Regional at FedExForum Friday: North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA, and Butler. Okay, I have a request for my readers. Yes, Kentucky’s coach is a douche. Boo him all you want. But be nice to Kentucky fans (and North Carolina, UCLA, and Butler fans). Show them a good time in the Bluff City. Make them think, “I had no idea Memphis was such a nice place. I am going to have to come back here on a vacation someday.”

Friday’s games at FedExForum are 4 Butler vs. 1 North Carolina with a 6:09 PM tipoff, followed by 3 UCLA vs. 2 Kentucky at an approximate 8:39 PM tipoff.

Given the eliminations this weekend, FiveThirtyEight’s model now has Gonzaga as the most likely team to go all the way.

Yup that exists: You can buy a Hidden Valley Ranch Fountain for $100. It comes with a year’s supply of ranch.

Get your tickets to the Majestic Grille’s next Supper Club event:

Mayor Strickland is encouraging Memphis to use the #ThankYouMPD hashtag today, or to personally thank a Memphis Police officer for their service.

If I managed a Downtown bar, I’d be thinking about running some kind of beer special the next six or so Mondays… chance to grab the crowd that would normally go to the Saucer for Pint Nite while it’s closed for renovations.

Looks like I got the venue wrong when I reported about Memphis Veg Fest on April 22. For some reason I thought it would be at Wiseacre. However, the CA’s Jennifer Biggs reports that it will be at the Levitt Shell.

If you’ve never run with the Salty Dogs group, tonight would be a beautiful night to give it a try. They meet at Bardog at 7 PM and run a different Downtown course every week. After the run there are specials in Bardog’s Underdog Room for the runners. It is free to participate and you don’t have to RSVP or anything, just show up.

The Brass Door will close at 3 this afternoon for post St. Patrick’s Day cleaning.

There was a fire last night in the building that once housed The Pier restaurant.

Those of you competing in Saturday’s 901 Popper Throwdown will probably want to keep an eye on this:

The throwdown doesn’t start until 1 PM so everything should be okay, but if the time frame shifts to later, that would not be good.

Not sure what to do this evening. Normally my plan is Melissa Monday happy hour at Bardog, but I kind of wouldn’t mind being on a patio enjoying the weather. It will be a game-time decision I suppose. That’s all for now. Back tomorrow with more.

Silly Goose’s new patio

Yesterday I led off at Bardog, then headed to “my home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar, to watch the second half of Notre Dame vs. good ole West Virginny. My intention was to stay at Max’s all day, but I saw a Facebook post that my canine friends Jubi and Dutch were on the Silly Goose patio with their owners. The Goose recently renovated the patio and I walked up there to take a look.

They installed a rail facing the street, wide enough to hold a drink. There are approximately 16 chairs looking out onto the street. The setup reminds me a little of the Saucer’s garage windows with chairs looking out, except this is an actual patio. I like this a lot. I often go places by myself, and rarely went on the Goose patio because it was set up for groups. Now it’s a place individuals and groups can both enjoy.

The new patio is dog-friendly!

My friend Chicken Fried Steak Rodger had his mastiff Jubi on the Goose patio. Jubi and my troll Perjorie became friends and wanted a photo.

Later in the day Jubi took a nap in the sun while Dutch prowled the patio and begged for food. Someone’s gotta do it now that the Nuh-Uh Girl no longer lives in Memphis!

It’s going to be a beautiful day, so if you want to be outside, give the Goose patio a look. Have Dusty make you a Bloody Mary and give the pho-rrito a try.

My bracket is holding up well, currently second in my 20-person league with 32 out of 40 points, and tied for first for number of possible points when it’s all over. I didn’t predict Wisconsin beating Villanova but I only had Nova going to the Elite Eight, so the damage to my bracket was less severe than it was to others. I had Xavier advancing to the Sweet Sixteen and that helped make up for the Villanova mistake.

Today I find myself in the unenviable position of having to root for John Calipari. I have Kentucky in the national championship game, so it would destroy my bracket if they lost. Wichita State is exactly the type of team that could make that happen.

D-RANKS with B-RAD, also known as brunch at the Blind Bear, is first on my agenda today. There’s not enough Fireball in the cooler to prepare me for the massacre that Arkansas vs. North Carolina will be at 5. Back tomorrow with more.

Sat update: Wrestling night at the Grizzlies and more

Tonight is Wrestling Night at FedExForum as the Grizzlies take on the San Antonio Spurs at 8. If you haven’t heard who will be Special Commissioner at tonight’s event, I have a few hints for you.



Self… High… Five!

The Special Commissioner is none other than DDP. Former world champion Diamond Dallas Page comes to FedExForum tonight. Page, despite not training to become a wrestler until age 35, had a long career in WCW, WWE, and TNA. Around the time he retired, he created DDP Yoga, a system anyone can use to get healthy and limber without any running or lifting. DDP will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.

Get there early, because the first 4000 fans receive a free Z-bo Wrestling Buddy. Not sure what to expect on Wrestling Night? Here’s a recap from 2016.

There will be Free Striper Fishing Seminars at Bass Pro today at 11 and 3:30 and tomorrow at 2. Cody Mangrum will be the speaker. Seminars will be in the Fly Fishing Department. When I first saw the announcement, my mind added an extra “p” and I got all excited about this event.

The 901 Lip Sync Battle and Talent Showcase happens tonight at the Visible School of Music at 6:30.

I got to Max’s Sports Bar about 5:20 last night, thinking I’d get there early and beat the crowd. WRONG! The place was full and there were even people sitting out front at tables. “That’s what happens when you give away car bombs,” Max commented. He had them on special for $3 last night.

My troll seemed to be having a good time at Max’s:

Thank you Rhode Island for keeping me competitive in my bracket. I got 26 of the 32 games right in the round of 64. Before you think that sounds impressive, it’s not – 15 of the 20 people in my NCAA bracket league got 26 or more right. On the bright side, 15 of my 16 Sweet Sixteen picks are still live (SMU being the exception), and all eight of my Elite Eight picks are. My bracket philosophy is to be aggressive in the early rounds and conservative in my later ones. When I think about my picks for the final weekend, I’m looking not so much at strengths and weakness of individual players, and more at whether the coach knows how to win at that level. That’s why I picked Coach K, Rick Pitino, and (ugh) Coach Cal to make it to the Final Four. The West is something of a wild card, and my hope is that Sean Miller fills the mighty footsteps of Lute Olson at Arizona.

For my fellow Razorback fans, Arkansas vs. North Carolina will be on TNT at 5:10 Sunday. I’d love to see my Hogs in Memphis next weekend, but unless the entire North Carolina team comes down with the flu today I doubt that is going to happen.

Bardog will be my lead-off spot as usual today. Silly Goose (gotta see their newly-renovated patio), Blind Bear, and Max’s are also on the list. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update: More St. Patrick’s specials, Reverend Horton Heat, food truck app and more

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Day 2 of March Madness! (or Day 4 if you count that First Four crap) Yesterday I went down to my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar, to watch some games. The Wi-Fi was strong so I could keep up with my bracket on my phone, the PBR was flowing, and there was plenty of Madness to watch. Like car bombs? You need to come to Max’s for happy hour tonight. They will have $3 car bombs 4:30-7:00 to celebrate St. Pat’s, and of course it’s Fireball Friday with $3 shots of Fireball. They will also have $1 Jello shots all day.

Random thing I learned today: Memphis has not only Max’s Sports Bar, but also Maxcine’s Sports Bar. It’s on Castalia Street in South Memphis.

Bardog is doing a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 special for St. Patrick’s Day. $1 potato soup, $2 corned beef sliders, $3 green PBR, $4 Guinness, $5 Jameson, $6 ICBs, $7 shepherd’s pie.

The Blind Bear is celebrating St. Patrick’s as well today. $5 Irish whiskey, $5 car bombs, $4 Guinness drafts, $2 PBR (not green PBR). Terry Greene & the Gang start belting out the fun tunes everyone wants to dance to at 10 PM.

Reverend Horton Heat plays the New Daisy tonight.

Quench will have a free tasting tonight from 5 to 7. There will be tastings of wines, liquors, and two special Irish whiskeys in celebration of the holiday.

There’s a new app called Find My Food Truck that helps you locate food trucks in Memphis. Read about the app in this CA article.

The Grizzlies are hosting a record number of summer basketball camps for kids ages 7-16. Kids get skills and drills instruction, guest appearances at select sessions, two tickets to a 2017-18 Grizzlies home game, a reversible jersey, a full-sized basketball, and more. Cost is $295 but you can save $45 by registering before April 1 with code EARLYBIRD.

There will be Memphis Riverfront Soccer Cup matches at Tom Lee Park both Saturday and Sunday.

President Trump wants to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, shaving $148 million/year off the federal budget. The cost of security for Trump Tower, because First Lady Melania Trump continues to live there rather than move to the White House, is $183 million/year.

I’m sure I have readers who skip to the next paragraph as soon as I start talking about pro wrestling. Don’t do it this time, because this is an important part of Memphis history. Next Friday, March 24 will be Sputnik Monroe Day. Monroe was a top wrestler in the Memphis territory from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. He was a heel (bad guy) in the ring, but in real life he was one of the good guys. He forced Ellis Auditorium to adopt racially integrated seating, refusing to wrestle until his black fans were allowed to sit in any seat they wanted. In 1960, he was arrested for hanging out in an black-only cafe on Beale. In possibly the first time a white man was represented by a black attorney in Memphis, future judge Russell Sugarmon argued on Monroe’s behalf. In 1971 Monroe and Norvell Austin (who would later go to be one half of the Pretty Young Things with Koko B. Ware) formed one of the first racially integrated tag teams in wrestling, Monroe shouting “Black is beautiful!” and Austin shouting “White is beautiful!” post-matches.

CA basketball podcast: If you’re a Tigers fan, you don’t want Arkansas surviving into the Sweet 16, because it would be a recruiting opportunity for Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. Arkansas has been known to recruit pretty heavily in Memphis. Three players from the 1994 national champion Arkansas team were from Memphis: Corey Beck, Dwight Stewart, and Elmer Martin.

Joel and Victoria Osteen come to FedExForum tonight. The theme is “A Night of Hope” and it’s church stuff apparently.

The official announcement has now been made: The Flying Saucer will be “on spring break” from March 20 through late April(ish) for some big renovations. If you want to get your beer on at the Saucer, better do it no later than Sunday.

That’s the news for now. My plan for the evening is more March Madness at Max’s Sports Bar! St. Pat’s tends to be the second biggest Amateur Night of the year (after New Year’s Eve), so hanging out at a bar that draws mostly Downtown locals rather than East Memphis yahoos sounds like a good idea. I don’t have a lot of green clothes, so I’ll make sure to put on green beads so I don’t get pinched. Not promising I won’t be the one doing the pinching, though! :mrgreen: Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update #2: Caribbean food festival, foodie job, NCAA tournament and more

There will be a Caribbean Food and Music Festival tomorrow, Friday, March 17, at Visible Music College at 200 Madison from noon to 4:30. The festival will be indoors, in the atrium. There will be reggae, jerk meats, island veggies and drinks, and food for the kids as well. Adult admission will be $15, kids $7. The event benefits the Newborns in Need Charity Organization.

New apartments are being planned for the Medical Center District. UT Health Sciences Center wants to see 185 to 225 units on three lots in an area bordered by Orleans, Jefferson, Madison, and Manassas.

If you love food and you love talking to people about food, there may be an opportunity to earn some money. City Tasting Tours is hiring guides for its upcoming tours.

Donald Trump’s budget will eliminate a grant program that funds, among other things, Meals on Wheels, a project that provides meals to the elderly. No compassion at all in this administration.

Now that the NCAA tournament has started, I’ll tell you a bit about my bracket. I picked all the 2 seeds to advance to the Final Four: Duke, Arizona, Louisville, and Kentucky. In the championship game I have Duke beating Kentucky 71-60. Xavier, Florida Gulf Coast, Marquette, Nevada, Rhode Island, Middle Tennessee, and Wichita State are some of the low-seeded teams I picked to score upsets. I named my bracket “The Troll’s Bracket” after my little green haired troll, Perjorie.

If you need to keep up with multiple games happening at the same time, there is no better place to do it Downtown than Max’s Sports Bar. Plenty of TVs to keep you up with all the action. Max’s is nonsmoking now but smoking is allowed on the back deck and there are three TVs out there. Needless to say, I will be spending quite a bit of time at Max’s over the next four days. Max’s is opening at 10:30 AM today through Sunday for your tournament viewing.

Kooky Canuck will have $2.99 34 ounce green beers all day tomorrow and a $2.50 happy hour from 3 to 7.

YOGA! Downtown Yoga will hold a six-week Ayurveda series starting Tuesday, March 28. Ayurveda is described as the sister science to yoga. Its main principles are that the mind and body are inextricably connected, and that nothing holds more power to heal the body than the mind. $60 for the six week series.

People suck. Here’s proof.

Central BBQ and The Rendezvous both made Southern Living’s list of the South’s 10 best BBQ joints.

Got my mind on my bracket and my bracket on my mind. Back tomorrow with more news.