Beale Street Wine Race – today at Handy Park

Shitshow. There is no other word to describe it.

The Beale Street Wine Race happens today on Beale Street and in Handy Park (corner of Beale and B.B. King). It is the most glorious hot mess you will find in Memphis outside of BBQ Fest. Bars and restaurants enter teams to compete in four events.

Wine Race begins with an opening parade, as teams march down Beale Street in floats and into Handy Park. Best performance wins.

Next up, beginning about 1:20 in the afternoon, is the must-see event: Queen of the Vine. This is a beauty pageant/talent contest of sorts with the creepiest emcee in the city. Contestants are told to keep it classy but sometimes a nipple or something else accidentally slips out.

Following that is a grape stomp. Contestants get a tub of grapes and whoever can stomp the most juice in a set time limit is the winner. For those partial to the Blind Bear, B-RAD will be your grape stomp contestant this year.

Last up is the wine relay, with teams of four competing. The first participant opens a bottle of wine, pours a glass, and then puts the bottle, glass and bar tool on a tray and runs to the other end of Beale Street. Then the second teammate takes the bar tool, opens another bottle of wine, pours a glass, puts everything on the tray… and so on. As you can imagine there is quite a bit of spilled wine. However, some teams (Huey’s comes to mind) practice and do really well.

This is the best free entertainment a Downtowner can ask for, so don’t be afraid of the rain – come on out. If and only if you’re not driving, stop by Wet Willie’s for a Call-a-Cab, probably the most alcoholic drink on Beale. If you can’t handle that, get you a Big Ass Beer.

In other news, I recruited a new Moody Ques member while drinking out of another BBQ team’s koozie yesterday at a massive three-and-a-half-hour session at Earnestine & Hazel’s. Every year I marvel at the way our BBQ team pulls it all together in the final weeks and enters BBQ Fest week strong as an ox. That’ll do it for now. Time to put on my Team Bear shirt and get things started.

You need one of these for BBQ Fest

While he had his clothing store on Main Street, Tom Shelton launched a line of clothing called Pink Pig Apparel. Having seen the Izod alligator and the Polo by Ralph Lauren horse, Tom wanted to create a line of clothing that was nice enough to wear to work or business casual events, but which kept you true to your Memphis roots. So the Pig was born. Tom started off with polos and expanded the line to hats. dress shirts, T-shirts, fleece zip-ups and more Pink Pig logo items.

When Shelton Clothiers closed, the Pig didn’t die. It lived on at Life Is Good in the Peabody Place office tower. Now that Life Is Good is no more (does that mean Life Isn’t Good now?), the Pig has taken up residence at Sache at 525 S. Main. Yep, you can buy a “Take That For Data” shirt and a Pink Pig hat all in one convenient location.

Last night, we had a mini-BBQ team meeting at the Silly Goose, with team president Clay, vice-president John D, treasurer Misty, me, and Deputy Director of Public Relations Perjorie T. Roll. Post-meeting Perjorie and I headed south to South Main Trolley Night. “Do me a favor,” said Misty. “Take a picture of the Pink Pig hats and text it to me. I’ll tell you what color I want and I’ll pay you back. We can use PayPal, Venmo or whatever to get you the money.”

“Or, you could just give me the money the next time you see me, when I give you the hat,” I replied.

I went down to Sache and found the Pig on a table outside. Tom and his lovely wife Christine were there. I told them my shopping assignment and they let me snap a photo of the hats. “Yellow one in the front,” Misty texted back.

As of yet they only have hats and polos at Sache. I told Christine I would be very interested in seeing Pink Pig T-shirts there. I don’t have to wear a shirt with a collar to work, so I wear the same clothes at work that I do at home most of the time. For the past several years I have been running across the street from work to Target any time I needed a new shirt. I would much rather wear the Pig.

I hope they bring the fleeces back in the winter. I bought two zip-up fleeces about six years ago and they are perfect with a pair of shorts when it’s about 55-60 outside. They are second only to my PBR hoodie in terms of favorite clothing.

After shopping, it was time for a visit to Earnestine & Hazel’s. Perjorie T. Roll guarded Misty’s hat while I ordered a beer.

On to the news. There will be a night of pole dancing and acrobatics tonight at the Rumba Room. Community jam session 6-8 PM and then the show from 8 to 9.

Gannett is holding back severance pay to the Commercial Appeal employees they let go earlier this month because of a petty squabble with the newspaper union that has nothing to do with the employees in question. They also made all their advertising staff re-apply for their jobs. I encourage all of you to call Mike Jung, interim publisher, at 239-335-0277 and tell him what you think about this.

The Bluff City Backsliders take the stage at the Dirty Crow Inn tonight at 9.

It’s ’90s Night at the Redbirds. Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell will be there, Roxi Love will perform ’90s hits before the game, and of course it’s fireworks night. 6:35 first pitch.

Full day ahead. I will lead off at the Memphis Farmers Market, then over to Clarence’s bar at Earnestine & Hazel’s, then down to Max’s Sports Bar for their crawfish boil. After that the next stop will be Floyd Alley between Fourth and Danny Thomas for The Edge Gets Lit alley party. Eight bands, fun and games, a dog olympics, Jamaican food and more! Of course, I could probably talked into wandering down the street to the High Cotton taproom for a beer while I’m in the neighborhood, if anyone is interested! That’s it for now, back tomorrow with more news and probably some alley party photos.

Friday update: Irish Heritage Night at the Redbirds

If you’re going to the Redbirds tonight, you might want to make plans to get there early. It’s Irish Heritage Night, presented by Silky O’Sullivan’s. The first 1500 people through the gates (which open at 6:00, 7:05 first pitch) receive a special green Redbirds logo hat. There will be corned beef and cabbage and beers on special in “The Brewhouse” just inside the main gates. The Silky O’Sullivan’s dueling pianos will perform in the plaza before the game.

The Halloran Centre had a free night on its calendar, so they’re showing classic movie E.T. tonight on the big screen at 7. $5 to get in.

The Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform at the Orpheum tomorrow night at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $25-69 and there’s a $79 VIP ticket.

Lettuce turn up the beets is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. You can buy many varieties of lettuce at the Market, then toss in some radishes, beets, leeks, turnips, and onions to make a delicious salad. Kids can start their own garden from 9 to 11, choosing their seeds and then planting them in a see-through greenhouse. For adults who garden, the Master Gardeners will be back from 9 to noon to answer your questions. UT Operation Heart will check your blood pressure for free 8 to noon. Mid-South Transplant will have a table at the Market so you can learn more about their organization. Live music by Bailey Bigger 8:30 to 10 and Kim Harmon 11 to 12:30. The Memphis Farmers Market is held under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson every Saturday until the end of October, 7 AM to 1 PM.

I sure hope they’re done with film shoots at Earnestine & Hazel’s on Saturday mornings for a while. Last Saturday I walked there after the Market and there was a DO NOT ENTER sign on the door. I was like, “Nooooo! I can’t get in my Saturday morning happy place!” I shoulda got a stool and some popcorn and set up a perch across the street, to see how many people would walk up, see the DO NOT ENTER sign, and then go in anyway. From what I understand, Tennessee Ballet had rented the place out for filming.

The blog looks at this weekend’s weather. Things are not looking good for the Wine Race on Sunday. Rain, possibly heavy, is expected all day.

THANK YOU to the Memphis Grizzlies for a great season. Most analysts had Memphis missing the playoffs and going to the draft lottery. Instead, the Grizz took one of the league’s best teams to six games. Not a shabby season in the least.

As part of South Main Trolley Night, there will be an art show by veterans tonight 6-10 PM. Gallery owner Ephram Urevbu has been working with veterans who were impacted by the ravages of war, encouraging them to express what they saw and felt through works of art. The works will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to the building of the first State Veterans Home.

After getting postponed by rain last week, it will once again be time for a crawfish boil at Max’s Sports Bar tomorrow, Saturday, April 29. Doors open at 11 with the first batch coming off at 12:30. $10 for a 2-pound box plus taters, corn, and sausage. I’m a crawfish fan and can attest that they do crawfish right at Max’s. I WILL BE THERE after my usual Saturday morning stops at the Farmers Market and Earnestine & Hazel’s, although I may refrain from eating crawfish so I will have room for some Jamaican food from Evelyn & Olive at The Edge Gets Lit later in the afternoon.

That’s it for now. Will probably happy hour at Silly Goose then head south for Trolley Night. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thur update #2

If you have a ticket to the 8:30 PM Grizzlies vs. Spurs Game 6 tonight and are looking for a place to pre-game Downtown, the Redbirds invite you to do so for free at AutoZone Park. Catch the first several innings of the Redbirds game and enjoy Thursday night select drafts for $2. All the Club Level TVs will be tuned to the Grizzlies, and the remainder of the Grizzlies game will be shown on the video board once the baseball game concludes.

More baseball news: Saturday is The Edge Gets Lit alley party in Floyd Alley between Fourth and Danny Thomas, and the organizers of the event have cut a special ticket deal with the Redbirds. The gate will be open where Floyd Alley dead-ends at Fourth by the YMCA. There you can purchase a standing room/bluff ticket for only $5, and you will be given a wristband so you can come and go as you please. The gate is the only place the ticket will be offered – it cannot be purchased in advance and will not be available at the box office.

Support the fight against AIDS by dining at one of the participating restaurants in Dining Out For Life today. Participating Downtown restaurants include Catherine & Mary’s, McEwen’s on Monroe, Mollie Fontaine Lounge, Rizzo’s Diner, and Tart Memphis.

Idle and Wild play LYFE Kitchen’s weekly farmers market and live music series on the patio tonight 6-8 PM. When you buy any beer, wine or cocktail, LYFE Kitchen + Chisca Bar will buy your first taco. (Limit one free taco per customer.)

If you enjoy working outdoors, and if you love Downtown and want to promote it, you may be a fit for one of two part-time positions at the Downtown Memphis Commission. Project Assistants will assist in the setup and execution of events, activations, and projects in the Downtown area. These are part-time utility positions.

In other job news, Elite Total Health at Main and MLK Ave. is currently interviewing for a part-time nurse practitioner.

The Pig has returned to Downtown! Pink Pig Apparel, originally available at Shelton Clothiers and more recently at Life Is Good, can now be found at Sache at 525 South Main. If you come visit tomorrow night for South Main Trolley Night, Tom and Christine Shelton will be there to personally help you pick out your clothing.

It’s the one year anniversary of Drafts and Laughs, hosted by Comma Comedians, at the Memphis Made brewery tonight. Start time is 8:30.

The Moody Ques had a brief meeting last night, and I got some surprising news given how late in the year it is: As of yesterday, we still had 4 more team wrist-tiks than we have members. That means spots are still open! If you’ve ever thought about being on a BBQ team, email me at for information on how to join.

That’s it for now. Headed to the Silly Goose after work. Back tomorrow.

Thursday update

Local favorites Star & Micey headline tonight’s Peabody rooftop party with a special performance by Ocean Park Standoff. The buffet (included in price of admission) will pay tribute to Memphis this week, with sausage and cheese platters accompanied by biscuits. If you’re in VIP, you’ll have a second buffet of French onion quiche, lobster mac & cheese, and crab cakes. The special margarita this week is chipotle pineapple, and the moonshine special is Firefly Peach Sangria. Doors open at 6, music starts at 7. $15 cover charge, ladies and hotel guests free before 7. VIP pass gets you in all the parties for the season for $150 and can be purchased at the door.

The Grizzlies have announced promotions for tonight’s game. Tip-off time is 8:30 PM.

She said, stroke it, Clarence Carter, but don’t stroke so fast. If my stuff ain’t tight enough, you can stick it up my… Clarence Carter has been announced for the main stage of BBQ Fest on Saturday, February 20.

This Friday is South Main Trolley Night, held the last Friday of every month. Shops in the area stay open until 9 or later, some offering discounts, appetizers, and/or beverages. Of particular note: Old Dominick Distillery at 305 S. Front will host an open house from 3-8 PM in the Open Tasting Room. For many of us, this could be our first chance to get a look inside the distillery. At 387 S. Main, Stock & Belle will showcase the visual artwork of Mary Ellen Kelly, and Salon 387 will show the art and objects of Chloe York. SMA member? Stop by the member area next to Bluff City Cafe for burgers and adult beverages. The folks at South Main Sounds will take a rare Trolley Night off to celebrate a wedding in the family.

The Redbirds are back in town tonight and there’s an all-you-can-eat specialty ticket that includes wings, hot dogs, and one Coca-Cola product or bottled water per person. There will be select domestic beer sold for $2, and college students can get a left-field bluff ticket with valid ID.

Meeting for those interested in a more walkable, bike-able Memphis:

Job news: Clean Memphis is hiring an office & dispatch administrator.

Bleu is moving its monthly wine dinner to Friday night so as not to conflict with tonight’s Grizzlies game at FedExForum.

Vote for Z-bo and The Conductor for the NBA Community Assist Award:

That’ll do it for now. Possibly a second post later today.

Unusual recommendation: Erotic burlesque by a Suicide Siren at The Pony this week

Going to make a very unusual recommendation today. If you want to see something really different, go to The Pony any night tonight through Saturday around 10:00 for a great show.

Now, just to clarify, for those new to my blog, I don’t hang out in strip clubs. I’ve been to strip clubs maybe 4 times in my life, the last time being 14 years ago. Very rarely will you see a mention of strip clubs in this blog. This time, however, is worth an exception.

About 5:20 last night I arrived at the Silly Goose for happy hour. A woman two seats down from me struck up a conversation. She told me that she was a performer, in town for the week from Las Vegas. Given the proximity to the Orpheum, I incorrectly assumed she was with whatever show was happening there.

She told me her name was Chelsea and we quickly bonded, after learning we share eerily similar crazy experiences the past couple of years. Chelsea asked me if the person we had been talking about was a Scorpio. “No, she’s a different sign,” I replied. “But I’m a Scorpio.”

“I’m a Scorpio too,” Chelsea said, and told me her birthday. It was the same as my birthday! We showed each other our IDs.

I noticed Chelsea was covered in beautiful, intricate tattoos, and was starting to suspect the Orpheum was not where she was performing. Now, I hate to be “that guy” in a bar who goes, “So, you have tattoos, huh?” But I felt like I had built up enough rapport, so I said. “I have to ask you something. Two of my good friends follow this performance troupe called The Suicide Girls and are even personal friends with some of them. Are you a Suicide Girl?”

“Well, sort of,” she replied. “I started out as a Suicide Girl. Then three of us branched off and became the Suicide Sirens. I’m the leader of the Suicide Sirens. Normally all three of us perform, but this week I’m solo at The Pony.” She pulled up a video of one of her performances. The Sirens videos are NSFW so I won’t link to them here, but Google “Suicide Sirens” if you’re curious. “Do you want to take a picture so you can text it to your friends?” she asked. So we did.

Chelsea explained that her performances could be described as erotic burlesque, and my Google searches described them as an erotic circus. “I dance on light bulbs, eat fire, hang stuff from my nipples, eat glass, things like that,” she explained. If that sounds like a show you would enjoy seeing, head to The Pony any night of the next four around 10 PM.

“I’ve traveled to 60 cities to perform,” Chelsea told me. “I wish I had kept a diary of my travels, to record that I met people like you in each city. I do like to collect trinkets from the cities I visit.” I told her about one of the unique things about Memphis – BBQ Fest. I told her I’m the director of public relations of a BBQ team. She then met team president Clay, one of the Suicide Girls fans, who had just come in. We arranged to get a Moody Ques 2017 tank top printed and shipped to where she lives, and I gave her my Moody Ques 2017 Colombia-themed rubber wristband (we have extras so I can get another).

Chelsea also took a photo of the reason she struck up a conversation with me, Perjorie T. Roll.

It’s amazing how many cool people I have met by having this little troll stand on the bar. She’s an amazing conversation piece. She is even responsible for adding new people to the BBQ team. I would say that everyone ought to have a troll, but then Perjorie wouldn’t be unique and people wouldn’t ask about her. So never mind, don’t go get a troll.

Chelsea, if you stumble across this blog, it was a pleasure meeting you.

In other, time-sensitive news: The alley party planned for Barboro Alley tonight has been postponed due to the threat of severe weather.

Back tomorrow with more.

Wednesday update

Tonight’s the night of “The Artery” Alley Party. Come on out to Barboro Alley, located halfway between Union and Gayoso between Front and Second Streets. (If you’re not good with directions: Local, Aldo’s Pizza, Belle Tavern, and the location that was the old Kooky Canuck all border the alley.) There will be live music by Southern Avenue, new murals, new lighting, cornhole, ping pong tables, the Amurica photo booth (for free), craft beer, and MEMpops. Happens 6-9 this evening.

There’s a book for everything and South Main Book Juggler’s book signing this Friday night, from 6 to 9 during South Main Trolley Night, really proves it. Milk and Sugar: The Complete Book of Seersucker book signing Come visit and get your questions answered about the suit of your Southern roots, seersucker. I WILL BE THERE* because you know what a big fan of wearing suits I am.

NOTE: I define “there” as somewhere in the same building. South Main Book Juggler is in the Arcade building on the southeast corner of South Main and G.E. Patterson. Max’s Sports Bar is also in this building.

CodeCrew is hiring a curriculum and instruction manager. Founded two years ago, this nonprofit is to encourage Memphis children to choose computer science in college, career, and entrepreneurship. They especially encourage those in underrepresented demographic groups to learn to code. CodeCrew has a couple of summer internships open as well.

Freewheel is back tonight with its weekly slow ride, and this week it is a ride to Uptown and back. Meet outside the old Kudzu’s at 603 Monroe at 6 PM, or come a little early for discounted pints at High Cotton across the street. This is a ride at a leisurely pace, not a competition to keep up. Register here and reserve a bike if you need one.

Register your kids for Kids Katch, a fishing event for kids 12 and under, to be held Saturday, May 6 at Mud Island River Park.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus Live, an off-Broadway comedy based on the bestselling book, comes to the Halloran Centre Friday-Saturday, May 12-13.

Downtown Yoga has a deal for you when you use the promo code MAY at checkout: Get unlimited classes for one month for $95. That is over 30% off the regular price for unlimited classes for a month. Expires May 31. Perfect for a yoga addict. YOGA!

Probably back at lunchtime with a second post, so check back.

Tue update: New hot wing place, win Grizzlies tickets, Flying Saucer to re-open and lots more

If you’re a fan of chicken wings, the Memphis Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog has some news you are going to like. 901 Wings is coming downtown. The first 901 Wings, which was actually in the 662 area code in Southaven, was so successful that second location is being opened at 97 N. Main. It could open as soon as late this week. In addition to nine varieties of wings, the restaurant will sell Philly cheesesteaks, turkey burgers, salads, and loaded fries.

It’s game day! The Grizzlies play Game 5 of their playoff series in San Antonio tonight, with tip-off at 8 PM. After the last two games, I believe. If Memphis plays like it did in Game 3 and in particular if Z-bo is a beast, I believe we can steal one on the road tonight.

By the way, if you play Texas hold’em, you might want to show up for the free 7:30 game tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 26 in the downstairs of Bardog Tavern. First place prize is a pair of tickets to Thursday’s Game 6 vs. the Spurs at FedExForum.

The Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog has detail’s of the Flying Saucer’s grand reopening on Thursday, May 4, and finally I can let something out of the bag that I have known for months: The new menu will be based on the same gourmet burgers sold at Rodeo Goat, the Saucer’s sister chain. The Saucer is also changing the beer menu, focusing on the craft beer scene that has exploded in the 20 years since it opened.

A rather interesting festival is coming to three Downtown and Midtown spots today through Thursday – Taste of Science Memphis. Each night at Cafe Eclectic, High Cotton, and Tamp & Tap, scientists will gently talk science to non-scientists over drinks. The best researchers will make their work accessible to those without a science background.

Speaking of science, this happened at the March for Science in Chicago.

It’s Memphis Volunteer Week and there will be a pop-up volunteer party at The Washburn, 60 S. Main, Friday during lunchtime. Come in and complete a volunteer project that takes as little as 60 seconds, and you will get free pizza from Aldo’s. You can choose a project benefiting MIFA, Memphis Botanic Garden, or Catholic Charities.

The Memphis Tigers basketball team has booked a home-and-home series against LSU. The LSU Tigers will come to FedExForum December 28, with Memphis going to Baton Rouge in the 2018-19 season.

From the CA: Construction is ramping up on the stretch of Union leading into the Downtown core.

Spring has sprung, YOGA! Sunset Yoga returns to Memphis Park at Front and Jefferson Tuesday, May 2 at 6 PM. This is a free class by Downtown Yoga but you need to click the link and register and get a ticket. Free parking in the garage next door. There will be free wine post-class, and you’re welcome to bring a picnic. They have some extra mats but ask that you bring your own if you have one. Sunset Yoga will happen the first Tuesday of every month.

Got an upcoming flight on GLO Airlines? If the date is after April 28, you need to call 1-855-IFLYGLO. The company filed for bankruptcy and is suspending flights for the time being.

There will be a cash & carry jewelry and accessories show at the Memphis Cook Convention Center this Friday through Sunday.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

The Edge Gets Lit this Saturday in Floyd Alley

What I think could be the hidden gem of the spring festival season happens this coming Saturday. Everyone knows about the big spring festivals like Hot Wing Fest, Brewfest, Rajun Cajun and Wine Race – but there’s a new party on the calendar this year. On April 29 from noon to 11 PM, The Edge Gets Lit.

It’s a celebration of the lighting of Floyd Alley between Fourth and Danny Thomas, creating a walkable, safe environment. This event is free for the public to attend and it is family-friendly. There will be live music, dance troupes, craft beer from the local breweries, and of course there will be food – in fact, Jamaican restaurant Evelyn & Olive, on Madison Avenue in The Edge, is the title sponsor. There will also be a dog olympics, story telling, art and craft vendors, and demonstration art.

The music lineup is strong, with the Side Street Steppers, The River Bluff Clan, Delta Nomads, Ghost Town Blues Band, Deering and Down, Devil Train, and an EDM showcase with DJ Cameron.

For those not quite sure how to get to Floyd Alley, turn south on Fourth from Madison. Half a block south of Madison, you will see an alley next to the Fielder Square parking garage. That’s it! This alley will soon be home to a new BBQ joint, Arnold’s BBQ.

The organizers of this event personally emailed me over the weekend and invited me to come. Invitation accepted! This should be a great event that brings the community together, so come support!