Thursday update

Reports are starting to come out about what’s being discussed in the BuildDowntown Design Studio planning sessions, tasked with creating a master plan for Downtown through 2030. There was a session on parking.

There’s plenty of parking Downtown, the survey found, but it’s not necessarily concentrated in the right places. There are 70,000 spaces in the Central Business District, which includes the core, the Pinch and Uptown, South Main and South End, The Edge and the Medical District. However, it was noted that people aren’t going to park at Jefferson and Manassas to come see a Redbirds game. They’re not going to park on a surface lot at N. Second and Overton and walk to a Grizzlies game. While parking is not scarce in the core, when big events are happening it’s scarce enough to produce significant upcharges and long lines getting out of parking garages. A good point was made that people often sneak out of Grizzlies games and other FedExForum events early to beat the long line getting out of the garage and out of Downtown. If they didn’t have to deal with that hassle they might stay Downtown longer and spend money on a post-game drink or a late dinner.

The loss of the garage at 66 S. Front, to make room for the Brooks Museum relocation, was also discussed. While a museum is certainly a higher use for that real estate than a parking garage, the loss of those spaces is going to hurt. A local business I frequent regularly, Bardog Tavern, is steps away from that garage, and I know for a fact that some of its patrons park there. I hope the loss of the garage doesn’t cost them business.

Another interesting fact that came out of the planning session is what Downtowners see as top priorities for their neighborhood to grow and evolve. By a 2-to-1 margin attracting a grocery store was the top desire, but that will require a lot of people living in a concentrated area. Downtown is on the way to getting there but not quite at a tipping point yet. Number 6 on their top 10 list, build more workforce and affordable housing, would be number 1 on my list. I am excited about the Brooks moving down here, improvements to the riverfront, and the new soccer team, but I also worry that increasing amenities Downtown will lead to apartment rents that approach those of Downtown Nashville. I want people from all walks of life – teachers, artists, musicians – to be able to afford to live here.

The Daily Memphian has a report on the restaurant and bar that is planned to go into the corner space at Central Station at South Main and G.E Patterson. The project will also contain 200 apartments, 124 hotel rooms, and a renovated Amtrak train station. As of yet the new restaurant and bar does not have a name. The main entrance will be from the Main Street sidewalk.

Yet another microbrewery is on the way to Memphis. Belz has filed a permit to convert a building it owns at 845 N. Main, in Uptown, to a microbrewery called Soul & Spirits Brewery, according to submitted renderings. According to Google Maps, that would be almost all the way to the end of North Main Street at Henry Avenue. Chelsea ends at Second but if it extended to Main, the new brewery would be north of Chelsea. This could be promising – I’ve seen in my hometown of Little Rock how breweries can thrive and be catalysts for change in neighborhoods a mile or so away from a city’s downtown. The new brewery would be a half mile away from one being constructed even farther north, Grind City Brewery at 83 Waterworks near Second Street.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is back in its original location and will be open to the public Monday, March 4.

Tonight at 6 PM is the presentation of the VanWyngarden Cup to the brewery that won the 2019 Memphis Flyer Beer Bracket. Actually, we already know the brewery – Meddlesome. It’s just a matter of finding out whether 201 Hoplar became a repeat champion, or whether Broad Hammer claimed the trophy this year. They’ll be live on Memphis Flyer Facebook to announce the winner.

Tonight is DNA Night at the Earnest Withers Collection & Gallery at 333 Beale at 5:45 PM. Tour the museum and learn about history through the photos of Dr. Withers. Free for DNA members, $10 for guests. Food and libations will be provided.

Tonight at 7:30 at River Inn of Harbor Town, there will be a Music Is in the Air concert featuring soprano Marie-Stephane Bernard and pianist Angelo Rapan.

Don’t forget that the South Main Mardi Gras Bar Crawl happens this Saturday from 2 to 11 PM. Memphis Orleans Street Symphony 2-4, live DJ at Carolina Watershed all day, South Main Bar Olympics at Carolina Watershed as well. Mighty Souls Brass Band at Loflin Yard at 8 PM with a second line parade to Carolina Watershed. Dirty Crow Inn will have food & drink specials all day.

That’s all for now. Debating whether Court Square’s Thursday food truck rodeo or Bardog should be my plan for lunch. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Yesterday I reported that Peter Frampton would be performing at the Orpheum on June 26. However, news has since come up who will be drumming for Frampton that night: Jason Bonham. He is the son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham. On Zeppelin’s 1980 concert tour, at times 12-year-old Jason took over the drumming, giving Bonzo a break. No one even realized the drummer was not Bonzo. Jason also drummed on several of Led Zeppelin reunions after Bonzo passed away.

I also linked to the site yesterday. As I said, I am neutral in this debate, and to be fair to the other side I want to link to their point of view: Tom Lee Park redesign defended as successful festival grounds

This is not a Downtown event, but it’s one a friend of mine holds dear so I want to tell my readers about it.

Jubilee’s Mardi Gras in Memphis features a crawfish boil, a gumbo cook-off, and a 5K. It will be 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, March 23, at Memphis Catholic High School, currently a Jubilee school at 61 N. McLean in Midtown. Admission is $5 with kids 5 and under free. Crawfish will be $10 a box and there will be other food and beverages available as well. The gumbo cook-off is free to enter; just register on the website. They have 10×15 spaces available for $150, including 10 boxes of crawfish, if you want your krewe to have your own place to hang out. They’ll have March Madness on in the VIP tent. Register for the 5K here. If you are interested in volunteering, becoming a craft vendor or sponsoring the event call Angela Fox at 901-373-1211 or

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid has several jobs available. These include part-time food service jobs including cook, busser, steward, host, food runner, and server. There are also full-time service jobs in Big Cypress Lodge, the hotel inside the Pyramid. These include house person and house keeper positions.

This is very cool:

Local Gastropub is having a Fat Tuesday celebration Tuesday, March 5 starting at 5 PM. There will be crawfish po-boys, crawfish pies, muffuletta pizza, king cake, live music, and drink specials.

The Orpheum has revealed its 2019-2020 Broadway season. Shows include Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon, Hello, Dolly!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Play that Goes Wrong, Disney’s Aladdin, A Bronx Tale, and Come from Away.

Today there is plenty of conversation about reimagining the riverfront, Downtown, and all of Memphis. However, it was not the first time such conversations have been made. Memphis Magazine has a look at attempts to reimagine Memphis in the 1920s and the 1950s.

High Ground News has an interesting history of the train line running through the Normal Station neighborhood near the University of Memphis.

That book I’ve been talking about, The Gaslighting Effect by Reva Steenbergen, is available for a limited time directly through the author for only $3.

People have asked me to say a little more about the book, so I will. Chapter 1 explains who a narcissist is – they’re a lot more than just someone who takes selfies and makes things all about them. Other personality traits have to be present. Also, what makes a narcissist happy differs from what makes a normal person happy.

Chapter 2 describes the personality type of the victim the narcissist picks out to be the target of their abuse. The chapter describes what draws the narcissist to the victim, and what emotions and motivations are present in the narcissist.

Much of the rest of the book describes the tactics the narcissist uses to systematically abuse their victim. These include

  • Observing the victim from afar for a period of months or even years before revealing themselves; getting to know the victim’s habits, routines, likes, dislikes, who their friends are, where their favorite places to go are
  • Extremely excessive lying
  • Projection
  • Playing the victim themselves
  • Gaslighting – attempting to upend the victim’s world to the point that the victim doesn’t even know what reality is anymore
  • Denial of things the narcissist previously said or did, even in the face of hard evidence
  • In cases where the victim has children, turning their own children against them
  • Engineering situations in which the victim is likely to be caught off-guard and respond emotionally; then using those responses to show others that the victim is “crazy”
  • Flying monkeys – turning the victim’s friends against them and having them participate in the abuse
  • A few other tactics intended to rip the victim apart from the people., places, and things that make them happy, leaving the victim with nothing

If you want to understand what a victim of narcissistic abuse has been through, or if you want to understand narcissistic abuse so you can protect yourself and those you love from it, get this book. Three bucks, you can’t beat that price. Drink one less Miller Lite while you’re watching the Tigers play Cincinnati at the bar Saturday evening and you’ve saved enough money to pay for it.

Two items are dominating the news today: Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, and Michael Cohen’s public testimony to the House Oversight Committee. However, these stories are causing a third story to fly under the radar, one which is a big deal. India and Pakistan have launched airstrikes against each other. That situation could get ugly real fast. Both of those countries have nuclear weapons, and are traditional enemies. Together they comprised British India, and when they declared independence in the late 1940s they broke apart into the Muslim portion (Pakistan) and the Hindu portion (India).

Watching the Michael Cohen public testimony to the House Oversight Committee on the New York Times website. They have some great commentary going on in a side panel as it happens.

That’s it for now. I may be late getting out this afternoon because I want to see all of the Cohen hearing. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

What a win by the Memphis Grizzlies over the L.A. Lakers last night! LeBron tried to rally his team but it wasn’t enough. Joakim Noah did great coming off the bench (14 points, 12 rebounds) and he looked like he was having the time of his life. He takes a lighthearted approach to the game, as opposed to his former teammate Marc Gasol who was overly serious. He’s a locker room leader who inspires the young players. I’ve read that Noah probably won’t be back next season. Can we please find a way to keep him?

It can be argued that with Jaren Jackson Jr. out for a while, there’s no way the Grizzlies are going to catch up with teams ahead of them to finish ninth worst and CONVEY THAT PICK, and therefore it would have been better if Memphis had lost. But, come on. Beating LeBron always feels good.

Yesterday I posted that the Majestic Grille’s Patrick Reilly was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Memphis Restaurant Association at their awards ceremony on Sunday. However, I neglected to mention that Reilly was not the only one in the restaurant business Downtown to receive an honor. Andreas Kisler, the executive chef of Chez Philippe at the Peabody and overseer of the menus at all the Peabody restaurants, was named 2019 Chef of the Year by the MRA. Congratulations!

Crosstown Brewing Co. is holding a beer and cheese pairing class on Thursday, March 14. Learn how to pair cheeses with a flight of five styles of beer.

Wiseacre has announced its annual Kaleidoscope Food Festival for Saturday, April 13 from 1 to 5 PM. This will be a celebration of cultures of the world, with food from a diverse array of Binghampton vendors. World culture will be celebrated with performances and storytelling as well. Kids and dogs are welcome.

This tweet by Joyce Peterson is really interesting. I never knew there was a physical gauge.

From The Daily Memphian: Memphis 901 FC is serious about playing hard for the city. Minority owner Tim Howard and coach Tim Mulqueen have embraced the city’s work ethic. Memphis 901 FC hosts the University of Memphis in a pre-season match closed to the public at AutoZone Park Friday. If you know anyone who has an apartment balcony overlooking the park, Friday would be a good day to buddy up to them.

The Daily Memphian has an article about the BuildDowntown Design Studio, for which public input is sought, happening this week. From these sessions will emerge a master plan for Downtown to grow and evolve through 2030.

There’s a Save Memphis in May website where people can voice their concerns about the effect the proposed changes to Tom Lee Park will have on Memphis in May events like Music Fest and BBQ Fest, and how those changes would affect the local economy and tourism. Note: I am not endorsing this movement by publishing the link. I am neutral in this whole debate and want to find a win for both sides. Long-term, I believe the park needs to be made into something for all Memphians to enjoy, not just those with a Music Fest ticket or a BBQ Fest team. I am simply putting the information out there.

The Queen of Beale Street, Ruby Wilson, would have turned 71 this Thursday, and to celebrate, B.B. King’s Blues Club will unveil a portrait of Ms. Wilson at 6:30 PM that day. There will be a toast and cake, and donations will be taken for the Ruby Wilson Scholarship at the Stax Music Academy.

Peter Frampton released Frampton Comes Alive! in 1976, but let’s face it, this is 2019 and Frampton probably won’t be alive too many more years. Memphians will have one more chance to hear him perform June 26 when he comes to the Orpheum.

Edible Memphis reports that the chef-in-residency space at the 409 South Main food hall is expected to be ready next month. It will be occupied by Chef Nick Scott, who will open his Salt+Soy sushi restaurant there and remain until the brick and mortar location on South Cooper Street is ready.

Over the years I’ve failed to appreciate what great values Family Dollar on Main Street (between Monroe and Union) has to offer. Last week I ran out of toothpaste. I went to Family Dollar and got a full-sized tube of Crest for $1. Yesterday I was in Walgreens, and saw that a travel-sized tube of Crest, less than half the size of the one I bought down the street, was $1.49.

No longer the only incubator in town for startup businesses, Emerge Memphis has sold its building at 516 Tennessee Street for $3.55 million and will use the money to fund startups. Over the years, Emerge incubated 242 companies, creating 3200 jobs.

The Belz Museum in Pembroke Square has a special exhibit this spring: Tomb Pottery Mysteries of China

The CA has a fascinating story: A Sun Studio record, lost for 62 years, uncovers a Memphis love story. Four days after Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash recorded in the legendary studio, five East High teens called The Heathens were in there recording two takes of a love song.

Max’s Sports Bar is now selling Mardi Gras slushies.

The slushies are a combination of Orange Dreamsicle and Purple Drank. (Photo credit Bjarni)

Reva Steenbergen, author of the book The Gaslighting Effect, tweeted the following yesterday:

Yes. Precisely. This is what happened to me several years ago. I’ll say it again, if you want to understand what I’ve been through, read this book. It is an easy read and just over 100 pages long. Until I found out about this book, I thought I was the only one in the world to go through this. Now I realize I am not alone.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 27 at 8 AM CST, Donald Trump’s former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen is scheduled to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee. The Democrat-controlled committee will be free to ask Cohen any question they want, and it is believed he will testify that Trump committed crimes regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and that Trump committed campaign election finance crimes related to paying hush money to former mistresses. Cohen may also testify about racist remarks he has heard Trump make, and lies Trump has told about his wealth. Tomorrow will be the second of three days of Cohen’s Congressional testimony; he has a closed-door interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee today and another one with the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Leaks are starting to come out about what will happen in these hearings. Oh boy I better pop some popcorn for tomorrow.

I would imagine the public hearing tomorrow will be broadcast by the major networks, but if it’s not, here’s a link where you can live stream the hearing. Parents, if your kids have ever expressed any interest in how the United States government works, you might want to keep them home from school tomorrow and let them watch the hearing. This could be the biggest Congressional hearing since the summer of ’74. If so, this will be better education than kids will ever get in a ninth-grade Civics or U.S. Government class.

Whew. Long post. Back tomorrow with more news probably, although I may be distracted by the hearings.

Monday update

For those of you who fondly remember the fish races at the original Sleep Out Louie’s, it appears something similar is now happening at Loflin Yard on Sunday nights. They had turtle races with a live video on Facebook. The turtles were placed in the middle of a large circle, and at start time were released from a bucket. First to make it outside the circle was the winner. The turtles were in an enclosed space so they couldn’t escape, and they weren’t harmed in any way. I couldn’t tell how people knew which turtle was “their” turtle. Loflin Yard is doing a lot of fun stuff lately and I need to spend more time there once the weather warms up a bit.

The Memphis Restaurant Association had their annual awards banquet last night, and the Restaurateur of the Year was a name many will recognize: Patrick Reilly, co-owner of the Majestic Grille with his wife Deni. In addition to operating that tremendously successful restaurant for the past 13 years, Patrick and Deni have consulted with other restaurants, helping them develop the systems for sustained long-term success. Congratulations! A very well-deserved honor.

The CA has a review of KISS’ performance at FedExForum Saturday night, with all the theatrics the band is known for and a nod to their first Memphis performance, in 1974 at Lafayette’s Music Room.

LeBron James comes to town tonight as the Grizzlies host the Los Angeles Lakers at FedExForum tonight at 7.

Cerrito Bingo is hosting BingoMania at Memphis Made Brewing Co. this Friday at 7 PM. This will be a wrestling-themed bingo night, and anyone who dresses in wrestling gear or who wears a wrestling T-shirt will get an extra card. There will be a prize for best ring attire. If you bingo on a WrestleMania number (that’d be 1 through 35 counting the 2019 show) you score free tickets to 901 Wrestling. There will be Royal Rumble pinball for you to play. If you get hungry, the New Wing Order food truck will be parked outside.

Jennifer Biggs of the Daily Memphian has info on the new Cousins Maine Lobster truck that is operating in Memphis. The truck is a franchise of a business that got funding from one of the investors on Shark Tank in 2011. The goal of the business is to bring New England-style lobster boils to cities across the country. There are Maine and Connecticut rolls and items such as a lobster grilled cheese, lobster quesadilla, and lobster bisque.

Amid the wave of businesses relocating Downtown from other parts of the city, Raymond James is doing the opposite and packing up their headquarters on N. Front Street for a move to East Memphis. They have had problems with the building in recent years including employees being trapped in elevators.

Southern Living has an article on classic Mississippi roast and how it differs from other varieties of pot roast. Pontotoc Lounge serves this dish, and it is so popular that it is on both the dinner and brunch menus.

Don’t forget that the kickoff party for BuildDowntown Design Studio is tonight from 5 to 7:30 at the Center for Southern Folkore Hall. It’s open house format. Come join them for drinks, food, live music, and conversation about the future direction of Downtown.

El Mero Taco will be selling their Mexican fare at Cordelia’s Market tonight from 5 to 8.

I continue to have computer problems. Yesterday I got a portable version of Ubuntu 18.10 running on my ailing laptop and it worked beautifully. I was so happy. Then this morning, while I was on a trip to Walgreens, it froze up, and wouldn’t unfreeze. Rebooting didn’t help. So I’m going to try again, using a different flavor of Linux on a different USB drive. After I get that fixed I’ll do happy hour at the Silly Goose then probably stop by the BuildDowntown party. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

Warning for those of you who park on Monroe Avenue: The first two spaces, after you turn eastbound onto Monroe from Front, have been marked “Loading zone – will tow away” and the meters next to them have been covered up with bags. Previously those were legal street parking places, used by those coming to the neighborhood to visit businesses like The Little Tea Shop, Bardog, the dry cleaner, and Bogey’s.

Terrace at the River Inn of Harbor Town will host a Fat Tuesday celebration 4-9 PM on Tuesday, March 5. There will be food specials including mojo shrimp & grit cakes, chicken & sausage gumbo, and king cake. Cocktail specials will include a New Orleans hurricane, Pimm’s iced tea, and Blackberry on Bourbon Street.

West Memphis in May? The mayor of West Memphis says that Memphis in May officials reached out to him and said that they were not happy with the list of proposed alternate sites for Music Fest in 2020 while Tom Lee Park will be under construction. The mayor quickly threw his hat in the ring, and is making a presentation to Memphis in May officials to try and bring the festival across the bridge. He has identified three spots that could be suitable. The mayor says West Memphis is willing to do “whatever we can that’s reasonable.” West Memphis wouldn’t be my first choice, but it’d be better than relocating to, say, Shelby Farms. If they got Southland to throw in a major sponsorship package, it could be an offer that’s too good to refuse.

The Orpheum will reveal its 2019-20 Broadway season tomorrow at 6 PM, and you can watch on Facebook Live as it happens. Learn about the shows coming to Memphis next season, and how you can have first pick of tickets by becoming a season ticket holder.

Country singer Jerry Patton plays Tin Roof this afternoon at 3.

That’ll do it. Slow news day. Or it could just be that I missed some news. I’ve been playing around with trying to get a version of Portable Linux, booted off a USB stick, to revive a computer that’s been dead since November. I’m 0 for 3 on installations so far, but I’ve decided to take the mindset of Thomas Edison and just keep failing and failing until I succeed. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update: Music Fest 2020 alternative sites and more

The list of alternative sites for 2020 Memphis in May Beale Street Music Fest has been released, and Memphis in May has some concerns. I don’t blame them. Let’s go through the list.

  • Beale Street and Church Park – Music Fest when sold out gets about 55,000 attendees a day. How in the world are you going to fit 55,000 people into this space? This worked in 1977 but Music Fest has grown since then.
  • Greenbelt Park on Mud Island – Right across the street from people’s homes? Oh boy, I bet the residents would love that! Drunks tromping through their neighborhood at 1:30 in the morning going “WOOOOOOOO!” Their lovely park would be torn to pieces by the end of the weekend. Also, this park floods a lot more quickly than Tom Lee. What do you do if half the park is under water in May 2020?
  • Mud Island, the portion south of the new dog park, and Mud Island River Park. Might work and you’ve got one stage built in. But again, you don’t know how much green space you’re going to have, because you can’t predict how much of the island will be under water 13 months from now.
  • Martin Luther King Riverside Park – This is the park west of I-55 between South Parkway and Mallory. It’s big enough but would be inconvenient to get to and in no way can be called “keeping the festival Downtown.” Also, where would people park? I sure as hell wouldn’t want to park on the streets east of I-55 and walk over. That area is one of the biggest gang-infested ‘hoods in the city.
  • The area south of I-40 on Riverside Drive – Would this be the area where RiverArtsFest was held in 2018, and where Southern Hot Wing Fest used to be held? Might work. Seems like kind of a tight fit though. In my opinion the best site of the ones on the list, not that that’s saying much.
  • 9.05 acres on the river south of I-40 – This is called Crump Park I believe. Pull it up on Google Maps and compare its size to that of Tom Lee Park. I can’t see how this would handle the typical Music Fest capacity.
  • Georgia Avenue Elementary – This is a school that has been closed for several years, at 690 Mississippi between the intersections of Lauderdale and Crump. I applaud the idea of re-purposing closed schools for community benefit; however, this area is NOT SAFE. Even if I’m wrong, the perception of “not safe” is so strong that it would hurt festival attendance.

This is really a case of the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object. Memphis River Parks Partnership’s long-term plan for Tom Lee Park needs to happen. On the other hand, it’s unfair to expect Memphis in May to lose tens in thousands of revenue for one year, and for the hotel, restaurant, and related industries in the city to sacrifice millions in revenue for one year. I really don’t know what the solution is here. I want so badly to see a win-win come out of this, but as of yet it doesn’t seem possible.

I’d be curious why Tiger Lane was not among the alternative sites. BBQ Fest was moved there in 2011 due to river flooding, and while I certainly prefer Tom Lee Park, Tiger Lane was not bad. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work equally well for Music Fest, and parking out there is ample. True, it’s not Downtown, but come on, MLK Riverside Park isn’t either and that’s being considered.

In other riverfront news, the historic cobblestones are going to get a $6.3 million renovation. That is great news. No other city in America has a cobblestone embankment like the one here in Memphis. We should take pride in that. The river’s got a story to tell, and the cobblestones are a part of that story.

Grandpas in makeup come to FedExForum tonight for the KISS End of the Road tour. Just looked it up on Wikipedia… Gene will be 70 on August 25 of this year.

Don’t forget that there are crawfish boils at both Max’s Sports Bar and Loflin Yard this afternoon. Both boils are rain or shine.

I don’t do Fireball anymore but this recipe for grilled Fireball pineapple is pretty amazing. BBQ Fest?

Several of us gathered at the Silly Goose yesterday afternoon and reminisced about our BBQ teammate Danny C. who passed away this week. Danny was the kind of person who was always there with a helpful comment. However, understanding that unsolicited advice can sometimes not be welcomed, he’d often temper his remarks with the sweetest intro: “Look, you fucking asshole, this is how you do it.”

A party is being planned to celebrate Danny’s life, and we’d like to encourage those who were active on the Ques Brothers to be a part of it. The Ques Brothers (2007-2011) were the predecessor team to both Squeal Street BBQ and 2018 top 10 shoulder team the Moody Ques. I will spread the word around once I get more details. I’ve already heard we’ll have people coming down from Chicago.

That’s it for now. Back to my project I’m working on, installing Portable Linux on a laptop. Got it up and running, now I’ve got to get the wireless adapter running so it can get an Internet connection. Fun fun. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

We’ve got a “this is SO Memphis” thing happening at FedExForum tonight… a giveaway had to be postponed because someone is wanted by the police. The first 5000 fans tonight in the arena for the Grizzlies game against the Los Angeles Clippers wee set to receive a Jaren Jackson Jr. “Shoot” dance figure. However, now they will receive a voucher for a different JJJ figure, to be redeemed at a later date. The reason why? The originator of the “Shoot” dance, BlocBoy JB, is wanted by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on theft, gun, and drug charges. It just doesn’t get much more Memphis than that… mane.

So I’m sure you’ve all heard about the petition to get the Memphis City Council to change the name of Main Street to Mane Street. I can understand how people would want a street named for a term that refers to a man. After all, we’ve had a street named after a term that refers to a woman for many years now: Broad Avenue.

Back to BlocBoy JB for a minute… the Grizzlies aren’t the only organization for which his criminal charges are causing PR problems. He’s booked to play Music Fest. I guess Memphis in May is going to have to start running background checks before they book their artists.

We don’t yet know the beer that will be the winner in the Memphis Flyer 2019 beer bracket, but we know the brewery. Meddlesome has two beers in the finals, last year’s winner 201 Hoplar and Broad Hammer. Vote here. You have until 11:59 tonight to vote.

Edible Memphis continues to impress with its outstanding writing about local restaurants and the people behind them. In an article posted online this week, they profiled Cesar Gonzalez, who is bringing the taste of Venezuela to Memphis. Several years ago, he opened Sabor Caribe out in The Edge at 662 Madison. He uses recipes inspired by his grandmother. For those of you a bit fearful to try Venezuelan food, fear not; Gonzalez says that unlike most other Latin cuisine, his country’s is not hot and spicy. I want an arepa with shredded beef and cheese! Maybe I’ll have to make the walk up Madison one day next week, if we can ever catch a day when it’s not raining.

The Daily Memphian reports that Memphis in May has requested changes to the redesign of Tom Lee Park. Although Memphis River Parks Partnership has promised it will not be the case, the folks at Memphis in May continue to worry that the new park, with its trees and hills, will not contain ample space for Music Fest and BBQ Fest infrastructure.

Robusto by Havana Mix, the cigar shop with full bar featured this season on Bar Rescue, seeks people to work in the humidor. Experience with cigars is not required, but a passion for knowledge is. Submit your resume to or stop by to fill out an application.

Sarah McLachlan will be in concert at the Orpheum tonight, with opening act Vanessa Freebairn-Smith.

Yet another new style of yoga has popped up: Twerk ‘Til It Hurts Yoga. This class combines yoga, fitness and meditation with dance, specifically the form of dance known as twerking. YOGA!

Pet peeve of mine: People in bars and restaurants who do not know how to use their INSIDE VOICE. Yesterday I was at one of my happy hour spots, and a friend of mine who was sitting in the chair next to me was telling the bartender and me a story about her Wednesday night. It was really interesting but I could only hear every other word because the guy four seats down from me was on FaceTime and was talking loud enough to drown out every other conversation in the bar. Why do people feel the need to do that?

Time to go be productive. This morning I brought my mom’s old laptop back from the dead. There’s nothing wrong with the hardware but it errored out back in November and Windows Recovery wouldn’t work. This morning I got a portable flavor of Linux known as Porteus to boot off a USB drive. Now I’ve just got to figure out how to make it see my Wi-Fi network, which it should be able to, considering that I have three other devices connected to the network right now. Back tomorrow with more news.


Thursday update

WMC Action News 5 has an article that is a must-read if you’re a fan of Memphis history. It’s a look at how Memphis in May got its start, back in the 1970s when less than 500 people lived Downtown, the Peabody and Beale Street were shuttered, and the neighborhood was so dead that the Orpheum had to show X-rated movies at times to stay afloat. At the time, white Memphis and black Memphis tended to celebrate the month of May separately, and Memphis in May was conceived as an event to bring the races together.

New Memphis soccer team Memphis 901 FC is having a Fan Fest at AutoZone Park Saturday, March 2 from 10 AM to 2 PM.  This event is free and open to the public. There will be an open practice session, and fans will have the chance to go onto the field and shoot penalty kicks. As the event wraps up at 2 there will be a team photo with fans. Season ticket holders will have access to an exclusive autograph session.

There’s been a hole in the ground at the northwest corner of G.E. Patterson and Front for the past 13 years. That was the site of the original Downtown Blue Monkey, which burned in 2005. The owners of the Monkey decided it was more cost-effective to move into the building next door rather than rebuild. They still own the land, though, and the Daily Memphian reports that they are now ready to do something with the space. A 3-story mixed-use development will rise on that corner with a ground floor deli and apartments upstairs. With Central Station and Malco at the Power House opening right down the street, that corner is positioned to be prime real estate.

Street closure notice: The Mid-South Farm and Gin Show is coming to the Cook Convention Center next week. Poplar Avenue between Front and Second will be closed off February 25 to March 3 so vendors can show off their equipment. 50 vendors and 19.500 spectators are expected.

Next Thursday, February 28, there will be Competitive Connect Four at Loflin Yard 7 PM-10 PM. This is a 21 and up event. All skill levels are encouraged. There will be prizes for the winners and an additional prize for the first one knocked out.

If you have outdoor plans Saturday, you may need to re-think them.

The Memphis No Kid Hungry Dinner will happen at the Gray Canary Monday, March 18 at 6 PM. Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman will present a multi-course seated dinner, preceded by a cocktail hour. There will be a live auction as well. The purpose of funds raised by this dinner is to make sure that no child goes without food and to teach families how to cook nutritious and affordable meals.

South Bluffs residents have requested more SkyCop cameras for the entrances to their communities. The city has awarded them $2500 for five cameras. Now they need to come up with matching funds.

Lunch time! I walked up to Court Square and visited the @NineDoughOne food truck. I got a Buffalo pizza: Buffalo sauce base, mozzarella, pulled chicken, bacon, topped with ranch and more Buffalo sauce. The trucks are there every Thursday from 11 AM to 2 PM.

They have a lobster pizza on the menu, but were sold out of it. Maybe next Thursday…

Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

With the weather getting a little warmer, Max’s Sports Bar has gone ahead and made the announcement that they will start doing Crawfish Saturdays every Saturday for the near future. Crawfish Haven based in Horn Lake, Mississippi will bring their rig and provide crawfish by the pound every Saturday afternoon beginning at 12:30. There will be taters, corn and sausage, cooked in the boil, in the crawfish boxes as well.

This is going to be interesting, with Loflin Yard having announced yesterday that they are also doing crawfish Saturdays every week. The two establishments are only about 6 blocks apart. They share a lot of the same regulars, who have friends behind the bar at both places. Wonder how people are going to choose? I will say this: You can’t go wrong with the crawfish at either of these venues, and I would say they are better prepared than at any Memphis crawfish festival.

If you want to bring kids or pets to the crawfish boil, then Loflin is the place for you. Max’s is a 21 and up establishment. Loflin has the yard in which dogs are welcome.

On the other hand, if you want to watch sports while you eat, Max’s has a slight edge with a dozen TVs. We have the run-up to March Madness in the coming weeks, the Grizslies trying to finish ninth worst in the NBA so they can have a 6.1% chance to draft in the top three and a 93.9% chance to CONVEY THAT PICK, and the Memphis Express trying not to be the worst team in the AAF.

In other Max’s news, their spring cornhole tournament begins March 12. It will run on Tuesday nights through April 30. You can sign up at the bar and registration is $50 per team. Rules & Regulations

Perjorie. You can’t throw. I don’t mean that as a derisive description of your cornhole skills. But, you literally can’t move your arms.

For my readers over 60: Cordelia’s Market offers a 10% senior discount on Wednesdays.

Go see a circus when you get the chance; they may not be around a lot longer. Circuses are having trouble finding new clowns these days because all the top prospects are choosing politics instead.

If you go to the lunchtime preaching series and waffle shop at Calvary Episcopal during Lent, and you’re a fan of music, might want to mark March 21 on the calendar. Two accomplished musicians, The Rev. John Kilzer and Kirk Whalum, will speak on how they experience God through music as well as other sources.

The Grizzlies 5K returns on Saturday, April 6. There will be ticket packages for individuals as well as for groups of 20 or more. Packages include entry and bib number to the 9 AM race, a race T-shirt, and a ticket to either the April 7 game against Dallas or the April 10 game against Golden State. Following the race on the 6th, from 10 AM to noon there will be a beer tasting for race participants, held by Eagle Distributing. Ticket packages are $45-75 for individuals, with packages for $40 per person for groups of 20 or more, or $35 per person for groups of 50 or more.

Memphis got a bunch of rain yesterday and this morning, and weatherpeople are saying that system isn’t even the heaviest we will experience this week. A system moving through Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon is expected to drop another 5 inches of rain on the already-saturated ground. The Memphis Flyer has a look at what the city is doing to prepare for flash flooding. My concern in all this is water rapidly bubbling up through storm drains, creating a bowl effect. A few of my readers will recognize what I’m talking about here.

Reimagining the Civic Commons has an article about the 5 things in the new River Garden at Mississippi River Park that will bring people together: the Tree House, the fire pits and coffee, the swings by the meadow, the River Garden Rangers who create a welcoming experience for guests, and the Mississippi River itself.

Yesterday I was hanging out at one of my favorite spots when a guy came in to apply for a cook or barback job. Now, I get it that it’s not the same as applying for a professional position, and it’s not necessary to have on a dress shirt, dress pants, a tie, anything like that. But this guy had on saggy jeans, and he had a hoodie on and didn’t bother to put down the hood once he was inside. If I were the owner or manager of that place, I would think, he takes no pride at all in his appearance, why would I think he’s going to take any pride in his job or in the food he puts out? I hate to be sound like an old fuddy duddy, but c’mon, man. Make at least a token effort to impress your potential future employer when you show up to ask for a job.

Friday is only the 22nd, but in a month with 28 days, that makes it the last Friday of the month. That means it will once again be time for South Main Trolley Night, with most of the shops and galleries in the area staying open until 9 or later. There will be a member area with burgers and drinks for SMA members next to Primas, weather permitting (which it almost surely won’t permit).

Things happening during Trolley Night:

  • Art Village Gallery (410 S. Main) will have an exhibit called “Inhabitants of the Earth” by Nigerian artist Uchay Joel Chima for Trolley Night.
  • Edge Gallery (509 S. Main) will have an opening reception for the work of Wayne Russell, a blues musician and artists. His paintings depict Delta and musical images.
  • Primas Bakery (523 S. Main) will have another pop-up featuring their friend Colton with Hard Knot Designs.
  • South Main Sounds (550 S. Main) will have a Songwriter Night featuring Todd Nations, Tony Holiday, Carson McHone, and Charlotte Taylor.

Given the forecast for Friday, it probably won’t be the best night to be out on the sidewalks mingling with your neighbors… but if you bring an umbrella, sometimes those can be the best nights to go! Fewer people means that your chances to have a long conversation with gallery owners and artists are much better than usual.

Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers host the Tulane Green Wave tonight at 6 at FedExForum. Penny told the media the team will have on their Memphis State throwbacks.

There will soon be a Chick-Fil-A not far from Downtown. UTHSC is bringing their food services in house, and a Chick-Fil-A that is part of their food court will be open to the public. There will be a Starbucks too. There will also be brick-and-mortar locations for two food trucks, Soi Number 9 Thai food and Power Life Smoothies & Eats.

Remember back in October-November, I had an “I know something you don’t know, but I can’t say yet” type of announcement that turned out to be Swanky’s in the Chisca? Well, I have a new one. All I will say is that it’s not nearly as big a space as Swanky’s, and that I know the owner and next time I see him (that could be a hint) I will ask what I am allowed to say on here about the new place. In the meantime, we have rain coming, so keep your eyes on the road, and your hands upon the wheel.

Now this is DAMN funny: Out at Collierville High School, on Valentine’s Day they had Charlie Brown Valentine playing on the screen in the school cafeteria. A student hacked the audio/visual system and put porn on the screen for several seconds. He got suspended for a full year, but that was worth it! Brings a whole new meaning to Lunch & Learn, doesn’t it?

The great thing about Twitter is that affords you the chance to get to know local figures up close and personal. For example, we learned yesterday that Daily Memphian writer Chris Herrington (@HerringtonNBA) get his best naps when he takes his children to the movies. He said, for instance, he slept through about 90% of the movie Trolls.

Moody Ques 2018 members: You should have received an email yesterday with a link to pay your dues. If you did not get it let me know at and I will get it to you. You have until March 15 to pay and guarantee your spot for 2019. After that we will open it up to new members. We have a new system for payment this year and the cool thing is you can sign up for what kind of work you want to do for the BBQ team (load-in, painting, keg runs, bartending, etc.) at the time you join.

We are going to have a limited number of spots for new members this year and we have created a spreadsheet of people who showed interest. If you are interested in joining the Moody Ques, it’s best to not only let a team member know that, but let them know what kind of work you can do to contribute to the team. Those we think will contribute the most will be the first to receive invitations to join.

One more piece of BBQ news, and I wish I didn’t have to report this one. We learned of the death of our long-time team member Danny C. yesterday. Although Danny could be cantankerous at times, underneath there was a kind, gentle and generous soul. He contributed a lot to the team over the years, including introducing us to our Yankees who come down for BBQ Fest every year. Rest in peace, Danny, I’ll raise a Franziskaner in your memory next time I have the chance.

Remember I told you I’ve been reading that book The Gaslighting Effect by Reva Steenbergen? There’s a section of the book devoted to a local Memphis cornhole team, even identifying them by name.

Whew! Another long post. Back tomorrow with more news.


Tuesday update

Edible Memphis made a Facebook post yesterday with some good news. For those of you missing Miss Karen at Earnestine & Hazel’s, she has landed at a new spot. Over the past weekend Karen trained at Alex’s Tavern and she started working shifts there as of lunch yesterday. So she went from a legendary dive bar with a great burger to a legendary dive bar with a great burger… that’s about as good a lateral career move as they come! Alex’s is a short Lyft or Uber ride away at 1445 Jackson Ave. If you’ve never had their Greek Burger before, check it out in Jennifer Biggs’ weekly installment of My Favorite Things.

Yesterday I got what is possibly the most indulgent, decadent thing you can get Downtown for $3.

This is the Elotes Con Crema at Maciel’s. Corn on the cob covered in rich cream and spices. So good! Of course, I got some tacos too.

Loflin Yard is doing a crawfish boil this Saturday beginning at noon. The crawfish will be done by Glaze Hardage and his team, who did crawfish boils at Max’s Sports Bar the past couple of years. It will be in the Coach House with plenty of seating inside and out, and this will be a rain or shine event.

The following Saturday, March 2, crawfish’s big brother comes to Crosstown Brewing Co. Shark Tank’s Cousins Maine Lobster will be there from 2:30 to 7 for their official grand opening.

The Memphis Flyer’s beer bracket is down to the Final Four. Vote today and tomorrow. Meddlesome has three beers left in the bracket: 201 Hoplar, Brass Bellows, and Broad Hammer. The fourth beer is Memphis Made’s Fireside.

There was an awkward situation this weekend as Meddlesome announced the renaming of Brass Bellows to Sippin Pippin in memory of the famous Libertyland ride. Then they discovered that Ghost River had just named a beer Zippin Pippin. Meddlesome quickly changed the name back to the original.

Start Co. has capital and mentoring available for “smart city” startup businesses or nonprofits, ones that want to create efficiency in the spaces of public transportation, crime or public safety. Selected businesses will receive $50,000 in startup funding, and will get to participate in an intensive 3-month program of mentoring and brainstorming how to properly grow the business. Fill out an application here.

RiverArtsFest, the juried artists’ expo on the river in October, is now accepting applications from artists who would like to exhibit and sell their work.

Elmwood Cemetery has scheduled a Memphis Music Tour for May 31. They’ll tell the stories of a Confederate composer, legends on the horn, bluesmen, producers, and more. Tickets are $20 and beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Clayborn Temple will show a documentary on black businesses in America Thursday, February 28 at 6 PM. It will cover how slaves went to college, how racists conspired to destroy black business districts (look up the Tulsa Race Riot if you’ve never heard of it), and black millionaires in the 1800s (wonder if our own Robert Church, Sr. will be mentioned).

Memphis River Parks Partnership posted answers to questions they have received at the new Tom Lee Park Engagement Center. This is a really good read and they have diagrams to show how BBQ Fest and Music Fest will fit into the redesigned park. The Habitat Tower will give birds flying down the Mississippi flyway a place to stop. Safety concerns are covered in the questions too. I’m very happy to see that the park design will discourage cruising. If you have a question about the park redesign, stop by the Engagement Center at Beale Street Landing 4-7 PM on Wednesdays or noon-3 PM Saturdays.

The new Malco theater set to open next month on G.E. Patterson Avenue is looking to hire a few experienced bartenders. They are taking applications on ZipRecruiter.

Power was out for a large portion of Downtown Memphis this morning. It appeared that areas north of Monroe were affected. Power went out at approximately 3:30 and was back on around 6:30.

That’s the news for now. Back tomorrow.