A tour of the Cossitt Library

At lunchtime I took a tour of Downtown’s Cossitt Library and learned about programs and plans for its future.

The library is at the corner of Front and Monroe, and is one of 18 in the Memphis Public Library system. It is the oldest library in the system, having been built in 1890 and opened in 1893. Each of the libraries in the system is tailored to serve its immediate community, and that’s why the Cossitt Library has been closed for the past year: It is being renovated to better serve the needs of the Downtown community. It is expected to reopen in early 2020.

Many people think of the library as a book warehouse, but in these modern, electronic, social times a library’s mission needs to extend well beyond that. It needs to be an information center, an active and engaging community resource. Cossitt will recognize a diversity of talent Downtown with creative arts and dance classes, technology and programming workshops, lecture and discussion series, community-led art installations, performances and more. The courtyard area outside facing Front Street will be re-done. It will provide a space for outside seating when the weather is nice, as well as outdoor fitness and yoga classes.

A cafe will use the talent of local chefs and restaurants to provide light fare including sandwiches, salads, and drinks. It will open directly to the courtyard.

Two meeting rooms, seating up to 15 people, will be available to the community and will be able to be reserved. Programmed discussions and classes can be held there as well as meetings.

Wi-Fi will be available throughout the facility. You can bring your own laptop, or if you don’t have one you will be able to check out one of the library’s 15 laptops and carry it anywhere on the premises.

There will be an installation remembering the sit-ins and read-ins that happened at Cossitt in 1960. At that time, African-Americans could come to the facility and use its resources in house, but they could not check out books. The protests at Cossitt were the beginning of the desegregation of libraries throughout the Jim Crow South. Amazingly, most of the protesters are still alive and quite active in their 80s.

Books will be rotated out every six to nine months. The initial set of books will focus on African-American history and the civil rights movement because of the part the library played in it. Of course, they will have something for everyone. If you have particular requests for books, contact the library. They are looking for community suggestions, always.

On the second floor there will be music listening stations. As with the books, the music will be carefully curated and rotated out from time to time.

The second floor will also have studio spaces where community members can record, produce, and share graphic design, music, and video projects. The studios will have electronic equipment and computers to support many different-sized work sessions. 40 years ago, musicians practically had to mortgage their houses to pay for expensive studio time to record an album. Soon, you’ll be able to record your album for free at the library.

There will be a workshop space for creative technologies. Collaboration with local professionals will produce classes on tech such as Photoshop, AutoCAD, photo and video editing, programming, robotics, circuitry, and more. There will be work tables and lockable storage.

There will be a 2300 SF group performance space, although its size will be able to be adapted to needs. Full-mirrored walls and Marley flooring will support diverse dance, music, acting, and fitness classes. Lil’ Buck will teach Memphis Jookin’ classes there.

The library will have 5 sewing machines and they already have someone committed to leading a sewing and knitting program.

The library will be a place where entrepreneurs can come for resources. Many of the entrepreneurs using the library have businesses that are up and running, but weren’t sure how to get the website and e-commerce presence going. San Francisco-based company Automattic, which has an easy-to-use suite of tools including WordPress.com and WooCommerce, donated $15,000 of software to the library. The library then reached out to web developers at neighborhood businesses, and they are donating their time training the entrepreneurs on how to use the tools.

In summary, the vision for the library is to be a place where you can come and feel like an actively engaged member of your community, a place where you can meet your neighbor. I can’t wait to enjoy its amenities once renovations are complete.

Tuesday update

Over the past three days I have received many messages and words of support. Thank you all. I have been offered two temporary jobs so I can make some short-term money, one cataloging resources for the homeless for a local church, and another building out a friend’s website. I am truly lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

And then there’s this guy:

Okay, let’s get on to the news.

Residents of one city in the UK have a new strategy to encourage their city to fill in potholes: They spray-paint phallic symbols around them. Maybe we should try that here in Memphis. I mentioned it on Facebook and one person commented: “We’d run out of paint.”

Riverside Drive is down to two lanes today between Beale and Georgia as prep work is under way for Memphis in May. Tomorrow through May 27 it will be closed altogether. If you need to get on I-55 S coming out of Downtown, the detour route is Second to G.E. Patterson, left on G.E. Patterson, right on B.B. King, right on Crump, and you’ll see a cloverleaf to get on I-55. Be careful though – there is merging traffic right there.

MemphisWeather.net shows a 40% chance of rain on Friday for Music Fest and a 50% chance of rain on Saturday. Best bet is to get a disposable poncho at Walgreens or one of the gift shops on Beale. These can be kept in your pocket or purse and used if needed.

Here’s a photo of goat yoga that I saw happening in Health Sciences Park on Saturday.

I must say, it looks like they got some rather anti-social goats. They’re not interacting with the people much.

I found a good website called Rainy Mood that provides background noise to help soothe you at work or wherever you need it.

Sage’s House of Sage cocktail is featured in Jennifer Biggs’ Bar Talk in The Daily Memphian. It’s made with Uncle Nearest, named for the first African-American master distiller.

Sabor Caribe, the Venezuelan restaurant in The Edge, is looking for a server/waiter to work 11:30 AM through 2:30 PM Monday through Friday. They prefer someone who speaks both Spanish and English. Call 901-425-5889 to set up an interview.

Ever thought about commissioning a portrait of your child, your pet, or yourself? I have a friend who does that. Check out Jason’s Davenportraits on Facebook.

If you grew up loving the Big Mac at McDonald’s, but wish it was made with better quality ingredients, head on down to the Dirty Crow Inn on Crump. They have the Dirty Mac, their take on the Big Mac.

StyleBlueprint has a nice profile of Penelope Huston, currently with the Downtown Memphis Commission promoting our fair city. In the past she has worked for the Memphis Flyer, St. Jude/ALSAC, and Memphis in May.

Leave your car at home and take the 2019 Memphis Commute Challenge.

New cardboard cut-out addition to the Silly Goose:

Who dis? There’s a document in his hand, so perhaps it is Thomas Jefferson holding the Declaration of Independence.

Preserve Partners is the latest business to relocate to The Edge just east of Downtown. The minority-owned investment firm has been looking in the neighborhood for two years, and has now found a home in a triangular-shaped building at Madison and Lauderdale.

The Cossitt Library is hosting a Lunch and Learn tour today at noon. I think I may do this.

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

Two Feet from The End

So, I’ve gone nearly an entire week without posting, which basically never happens. I have not been responding to emails, Facebook messages, or texts either. I’m sure you all have wondered where I have been. You may have heard that my legs got bad again and I had to go to the hospital, but that’s not true. That’s a story one of the few people who knew where I was told to cover for me.

I was in the Crisis Safety Unit at Alliance Healthcare Services out in the Medical Center District.

I know when people see me out, I seem very happy. And it’s true – when I’m out among my favorite people, in my favorite places, I am happy.

However, you don’t know what it’s like when I am alone. The past several years, I have had a storm brewing inside my head. Factors included: getting laid off twice in six months and generally being disillusioned with a career 19-year-old me chose when he picked his major; my mom’s death; people being shitty (if you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ve seen me allude to this); and a disease hitting my legs last fall and restricting my movement. All this overwhelmed me. I couldn’t do the things I should have been doing in my life. I just wanted to get out and see my friends because they were my escape from my emotional pain. True, the places where I saw them generally involved alcohol, and admittedly I did have a problem with Fireball from about 2015 to the beginning of 2018. However, my friends were the escape from what was going on inside me, not the booze. I want to make that clear. Anyone who thinks alcohol is the root cause of my problem is deeply mistaken.

Since July 2018 I had been living off savings and my mom’s inheritance. Unable to hunt for jobs or do the other things in life I needed to get done due to the emotional funk I was in, I made a decision: Until the money ran out, I would spend my remaining days, happy, in my favorite places with my friends. Then, when the money ran out, I would kill myself to end the emotion pain.

I wanted my final time on Earth to be months and months of happiness, free from problems and concerns. What if I lived to be 53 and died of a stroke, or 55 and died of a heart attack, having spent my last days in a cubicle slaving away with only two weeks and some holidays of free time a year? Also, I wanted to go out in my prime – I didn’t want to die in a hospital bed as my mom and grandfather did, or rot away in a nursing home as my grandmother did. I have no spouse or children so I have a lot less reason to live a long life.

I really, seriously felt this way.

By April the money was starting to run low. My online rent payment got rejected due to insufficient funds. I knew my days were numbered. Some of you may have noticed that I stayed out an extra long time every day the second and third weeks of April. I wanted to soak all the good times in. I wanted to see my morning friends who came to Bardog. I wanted to see my late-night friends at Blind Bear. I wanted to eat my favorite Downtown meals one last time.

I had a total poker face. No one was on to my plan. I even paid my BBQ team dues even though I did not expect to be there to participate, knowing that not paying them would arouse suspicion. The third week of April, I went in to see my favorite bartenders at my favorite spots one last time. They had no idea I was telling them goodbye. I started crying as soon as I left their bars.

It looked like Sunday of last week – Easter – would be the day. I hated that because I didn’t want to ruin that holiday for people who enjoy it. I also didn’t want people thinking I had some kind of Jesus complex by choosing to kill myself that day. I stretched the money out and got through Easter.

So it was going to be Monday the 22nd. I stayed home all day preparing, although I managed to get a blog post up. One thing I of which I wanted to make sure is that there would be no alcohol in my system on the day which I did it, so that no one could accuse my of making a rash, drunken decision. However, about 7 PM the bug bit me. “I have $38 in my wallet,” I reckoned. “Can’t take it with me.” I decided to postpone my plan by one more day, and went out to the Blind Bear. I had 6 PBRs, so my tab was $18 and I tipped $7. That left me with $13.

Tuesday, April 23 I did not go out, spending most of the day crying at the thought of how much I would be hurting people who love me. Yet I felt I had come too far with the plan, had committed to too great an extent, to turn back now. I penned a suicide note, explaining what I just explained here. I asked that a person for whom reliable transportation would be a life-changer be identified, and my car given to them. I told the reader of the note where in my apartment to find my troll, and asked that she not be thrown away but rather taken to the Blind Bear, so they could have a token to remember me.

About 11:15 PM I took the elevator up to my apartment building’s roof. The rail of the rooftop patio, which residents are forbidden from climbing over, is about four feet high. With bad legs that was going to be difficult. I scanned the rooftop for ideas. In the corner there was a planter about two and a half feet high. I pulled up a chair next to it, climbed onto the chair, climbed onto the planter, and… over. I was now on the rooftop itself, sitting about a foot below the raised deck. I was about six feet from the edge. I walked over to the edge, close enough where one more step would send me over. I looked down at the Main Street Mall and the trees below.

At that moment I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew my plan had been a massive mistake.

It wasn’t the anticipated feeling of my head banging against the concrete, my soul being freed from my body. I had been preparing for that for weeks.

It was the realization that there is a LOT, LOT, LOT more good in my life than bad.

For one thing, I definitely wasn’t born stupid. I was gifted with a brain that is both analytical and creative. As I have said before, I am a connector, an inspirer, a teacher, a writer. Although rather bummed those best gifts of mine are barely used in my career doing web development, it would be a shame to throw them all away.

I realized that by jumping, I would be snuffing out my blog. My blog more than anything else is my identity. I couldn’t bear ending my blog, and I couldn’t bear ending my life.

And then there are my many, many wonderful friends. I couldn’t do this to them, even though I spent the day crying as though I could and would.

I realized many people would swap places with me in terms of what they have going on in life, in a heartbeat… and here I was, on the verge of throwing my life away.

Now I had to get back over the rail and back to my apartment. However, with the rail 5 feet off the rooftop surface, that would be a challenge. Before I could figure it out, the building security guard, Eddie, who had seen me on camera, came out of the elevator. He and I figured the best way to get me back over the rail. We sat and talked for about 10 minutes, then he rode down the elevator to my apartment with me. I spent about 10 minutes shaking in disbelief of what I had almost done, then went to bed.

About 12:15 the police were banging on my door. I didn’t blame Eddie for calling them. He was just following procedure. The cops were real nice, and could tell I was no longer suicidal. However, they said, they had to take me over to the Medical Center to talk to a counselor with more training than they had. I readily agreed. I knew I didn’t have a choice.

The counselor agreed that I was no longer suicidal, either. However, after speaking to her supervisor, she told me she could not release me that night. She told me I had two options: Voluntarily commit myself to Alliance Healthcare Systems’ Crisis Safety Unit program, or be involuntarily committed to the Memphis Mental Health Institute upstairs. She strongly encouraged me to pick the first option. “From talking to you, I can tell you don’t belong in MMHI,” she said. I decided to go along with her suggestion, since going home was apparently a non-option.

A nurse practitioner checked me in. She told me the program I would go through would last five days, and then I was taken to a room with three beds, where two other guys were sleeping. It was about 4 AM. I lay down and tried to sleep in the cold room with the door wide open, letting too much light in, all kinds of noise down the hall. Before I knew it, it was 6:30 and one of CSU’s techs was yelling “RISE AND SHINE!” into our room.

I got up and went to the room where we would spend most of our waking hours. We would eat our meals there, as well as have “group.” This consisted of 5 sessions a day where the leader would introduce a topic, like self-care or eliminating negative emotions, and initiating (or trying as best they could) to initiate conversation among us. The people in the room were a mix of people who at some point had posed a danger to themselves, addicts, alcoholics, and people who were detoxing and given a choice between the program or jail. I was told that sometime that day, and once every day until I was discharged, I would get to see a psychiatrist. Our vital signs were taken twice a day. After-hours there was a room where we could watch TV. We weren’t permitted to have our phones, which is why I haven’t been in touch with those of you who have contacted me. Three times a day there was a 30-minute break where we could sign up to use the CSU’s phone for 5 minutes apiece. Thank goodness I knew one of my buddies’ phone number. I asked him to let my BBQ teammates know why I couldn’t fulfill my Director of PR duties for a few days (we had a regional today) but asked him to otherwise keep the reason for my disappearance quiet.

My session with the psychiatrist, as well as another doctor, came early in the afternoon. She asked various questions to assess where my mind was at. After about 20 minutes, she said, “You know what, Paul? I prescribe meds for most of my patients, but my gut intuition tells me you don’t need them. I reserve the right to change my mind later, but for now I’m not writing you a prescription.”

I had shorts and sandals on. The other doctor in the room looked at my legs and immediately diagnosed the condition I had developed back last fall which made my legs so weak I could barely walk for a couple of weeks – the condition which was part of the emotional cloud hanging over my head. I have PVD, Peripheral Vascular Disease. As soon as I get insurance again I will get that looked at.

Being in the room with the other patients was humbling. At my table there were two guys who knew each other from being in the same prison the year before, and the other guy was there because he’d spend $1100 getting drunk in one weekend. One of Downtown’s longtime panhandlers was there. About 60% of the people were either homeless, in a halfway house or sober living, or looking to get into such a living situation. Then again, to show you what a mixed bag that group was, the leader asked me to give an example of how determination applied in my life. I said, “Practicing over and over again with my team until we got it right and won a trophy.” The group leader asked what sport, and I said, not really a sport but BBQ Fest. Another guy in the group said he was on a BBQ team as well, and we exchanged info.

One thing I want to stress is that despite battling their demons, every one of my fellow patients was so nice. They were dealing with their issues but had positive attitudes toward their fellow patients. My stay at CSU was a reminder of the abundance that I have, having a place to call my own, free from addiction. It also taught me that I was no better than anyone else in that room.

On the second day, I told the psychiatrist more about my Downtown group of friends. I told her that at one time I overconsumed Fireball to run away from my problems, but that now, although I still drink regularly, it’s to be social rather than an escape. At the end of the session, she said, “My gut intuition tells me you still don’t need meds. I may change my mind tomorrow.” That night I learned that I was one of only two in the 20-person group who was not prescribed any psychiatric medication.

The next morning, lying in bed, I thought of a new philosophy on life, one to carry into the days after my release. “Bad poker players get happy or unhappy based on whether they win or lose the hand,” I thought. “Good poker players are happy if they played the hand well, and if not they have opportunity to learn. What if I took that approach with each day? If I can look back on the day, and say I played out the events of the day as well as I possibly could have, I should go to bed happy, even if it was a ‘bad’ day based on events out of my control. If I didn’t, then I learn something for the next day.” It’s the poker player’s version of the “one day at a time” cliche used in rehab.

The next day was the middle day of my 5-day stay there. I was the only nonsmoker in the group, so when they all went outside for their smoke break I stayed inside. That worked out well, because the psychiatrist saw me and said, “Paul, let’s go ahead and do your session first.” I went in her office and we chatted for a bit. “Paul, would you like to go home tomorrow instead of Sunday?” she asked, and I said yes. “If you don’t think you need all five days, I don’t either,” she said.

So about 11:30 yesterday I was discharged. They said it would take a while to find a ride for me, and since it was a beautiful April day I decided a walk home from the Medical Center would be just fine. I walked past Goat Yoga in Health Sciences Park (took a photo for a future post). I also walked through The Edge, where Motor Fest was happening a block away. I could have gone over there but I didn’t (those of you who know my situation well will understand why). Up to my apartment, where I’ve been applying my new “one day at a time” poker rule, cleaning, opening mail, going through my mom’s stuff, and doing all sorts of other chores I had neglected for months and months. I expect to go to bed happy tonight.

I’m glad that I spent four days in the facility. It was surely an inconvenience, and I resisted it the first night. However, it made me think. It’s not so much that I gained a lot of life skills from being in group; rather, it gave me time and space to think, free from all the behavioral anchors I have in my apartment and in the Downtown core. It made me realize how much I have to live for, and how I will never, ever do what I did Tuesday again.

The good news is, I will have help. Allied Healthcare gave me a referral to their facility at 1200 Peabody, where I can see a psychiatrist anytime I want on Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday. I can just walk in without an appointment, so if I ever find that dark cloud swirling around me again I will have a resource I can turn to for professional help.

Now, the bad news – I spent all my money, thinking, you can’t take it with you when you die. Well, not ALL my money, but all the money I remembered I had as of Tuesday. Thank God I didn’t think about my retirement accounts. I can take an early withdrawal from one of those and have enough rent for April and May, so I’m not going to be living on the street. Sucks for the tax penalty I will face, but it’s the best available option at the moment.

Of course, I know that a hold is usually placed on those funds for several days before they become part of an available bank balance. So I have a short-term cash flow problem, with only $13 in my wallet. I found $125 in American Express gift cheques I received as a Christmas bonus years ago. A search online reveals that I can cash them at SunTrust right down the street. I also have about $50 in coins that I can wrap and exchange for bills. My mom said before she died that there was a little cash in the folders she had in her filing cabinet, and I never looked, and will later tonight. So maybe I’ll be okay short-term. Then again, if anyone has an odd job I can do so I can pick up a little cash, hit me up. Has to be Downtown though, because tags and service on the car are one of the things I neglected.

Those dues I paid to avoid arousing suspicion on the BBQ team that something was wrong? Instead of being wasted, they will now be put to good use. I plan on being all over Tom Lee Park that week! I’ll be looking for things to do.

Regular news posts will return Tuesday. I want to leave this post up top through Monday because that’s the day I have the most readers. If you have any questions about anything I wrote here, please ask me. But, please ask ME. Not my friends. None of them has a completely accurate idea of what has been going through my mind.

My suicide note said, “Don’t be sad that I’m gone. Be happy that I was here.”

I’m still here dammit.

Don’t forget I’ll be out at Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest. I have little money to spend at bars (of course if someone wants to buy me a PBR or two I won’t refuse) so I have to stick to the free events until I can make some things happen Monday.

Memphis Crisis Center hotline: 901-274-7477


Spring’s version of November 1

Today is the spring version of November 1, the day when candy is half-off at Walgreens. Good day to stock up on Peeps, Cadbury creme eggs, chocolate bunnies, and whatever else floats your boat.

Big festival weekend coming up! Sunday is the annual Porter-Leath Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest down on the river. It will be on Riverside Drive and Wagner Place between Union and Beale. Buckets of crawfish will be for sale, and if you’re not into crawfish, come hungry anyway, because there will be carnival food and food trucks. There will be live music on three stages, a gumbo cookoff, crawfish races, and the always-entertaining bobbing for crawfish. Yes, live crawfish that have claws. This is a fundraiser for Porter-Leath, with the proceeds going to the development of 50,000 children.

My advice if you go to Rajun Cajun is to go early. By about 1 PM the lines for crawfish and beer get super long. Get there early, get a bucket of crawfish, find a place to sit on the grass outside AutoZone’s headquarters store support center and enjoy the beautiful weather and the music.

Saturday is Southaven Springfest down at Snowden Grove. There will be carnival rides, games, and food, and the headlining act on stage will be Santana. Normally I don’t blog about events outside of Downtown, but there’s a good reason I’m blogging this one. One of the components of Springfest is a regional BBQ competition, and my team the Moody Ques will be competing. Saturday is judging day, with awards ceremony at 5 (or thereabouts) and dinner and party time after that.

Closer to home, the Midsouth Food Truck Fest will happen this Saturday at the Liberty Bowl. It’s like a mobile food court, where you can purchase food truck fare from some of the best trucks in the city.

Ride the trolley or bus for free Thursday:

Memphis 901 FC hosts Charleston Battery at AutoZone Park this Saturday at 7 PM.

That’s all I got for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

It’s 4/20 and here’s where to go if you’ve got the munchies:

The Redbirds’ game vs. the Round Rock Express got rained out yesterday. The game will be made up today in a doubleheader. First game will start at 4:35 and gates will open at 4:00. The Little League parade will happen between the games, and game 2 will be followed by fireworks. Each game will be seven innings.

Flying Saucer is holding 420 Day today with a munchie menu and DJ Yongo. This is an afternoon event from 1:00 to 4:20 PM.

“Coaches here have the staying power of a LYFE Kitchen.” Good one, guys.

Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday this year, so Maciel’s announced that it will be open Sunday, May 5, taking Monday, May 6 instead as its off-day that week.

Celtic Woman: Ancient Land plays the Orpheum tonight at 7:30. Tickets are $45-155.

That’s it for now. Happy birthday to my friend Dennis. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Yesterday I decided to play the “I haven’t gone through my wallet in a couple of years, let’s see what’s in there” game, and found a picture of Shawn Danko smiling at me. Shawn and his wife Lana own Kooky Canuck, and his photo appeared on a gift card I had in my wallet. I won it the last time I was in a Blind Bear poker league final table in December 2014. It’s not like I haven’t been to Kooky since then, but I have a bad habit of forgetting what gift cards I have on me.

So last night I decided it was time to splurge. Usually when I go in there I order an app”eh”tizer like the wings or the poutine, or I order a burger. With gift card money to burn, I turned my attention to the entree section of the menu, and there I found prime rib.

They have a 12 ounce or a 16 ounce, and although I had the money on the gift card, I decided there was no need to be a glutton and ordered the smaller one. It comes with horseradish, au jus, and choice of two sides. I got the blue cheese mashed potatoes and the cheesy corn. What a great dinner!

Before I went to Kooky, I was at Silly Goose happy hour, and bartender Jessica told me, “When you go, you better get the skillet cookie for dessert.” I decided she was right, and ordered the cookie, recently named the best dessert in Tennessee.

Ooey gooey chocolate goodness a la mode! I was so full by the time I finished most of the cookie that I could barely get out of my seat.

If you’re wondering what film crews were doing on Mud Island this week, they were filming for a new movie called “Wedding at Graceland” that will be released in June.

There’s an all-you-can eat specialty crawfish ticket for tonight’s Redbirds game. The ticket gets you a 6:00-8:00 buffet of crawfish, corn, taters, hot dogs, and 2 non-alcoholic drinks per person.

Chef Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney in Washington DC will be the next chef in The Gray Canary’s guest chef series. He will prepare dinner in the Canary’s kitchen on Sunday, May 13. Call 901-249-2932 to make your reservation. It’s part of the Enjoy AM series created by Lexus of Memphis, with proceeds going to the Mid-South Food Bank’s Healthy School Pantry.

Learn to make the Peabody Lobby Bar’s Anniversary John Collins in this week’s Bar Talk in the Daily Memphian.

Kayak and paddleboard rentals are coming to the Memphis Harbor next month.

The trolley stop by the Sheraton will be under construction April 23 through July. Temporarily, passengers can board the trolley at Main and Exchange nearby. The temporary trolley stop will be ADA accessible.

A new Mexican restaurant is planned for Downtown. The owner of Las Comales has purchased the building at 113 Madison.

There’s a raging debate about whether French fries are better with ranch or ketchup. Team Ranch all the way, baby!

It’s Earth Day and Easter weekend at the Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow. Unfortunately Tennessee law prevents vendors from selling the most popular item to consume on 4/20, but they have lettuce, strawberries, radishes, root vegetables, bread, honey, protein, and crafts. Food trucks will be on site. Generation Rx will be there to talk about proper use of medication. The Cossitt Library will have kids’ crafts and reading activities. Live music by Tony Manard, Paul Crum, and Joe Sanders. The Market runs every Saturday under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, behind Malco Powerhouse.

Entertainment has been announced for the Celebrate Memphis bicentennial celebration in Tom Lee Park on Saturday, May 25. There will be live entertainment on 5 stages, a lighted drone show, an attempt to set a record for the world’s longest picnic table, an air show, a veterans’ group parachute landing, and much more. Gates open at 3 and this is a completely free event. Although there will be food truck vendors, you’re allowed to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and your own food.

The Brass Door will be open at 8 AM on Easter Sunday, for those who want to get out of the house, have a pint, and watch some futbol on TV.

Yes Maam and Holy Locust will play The Civil Pour, 409 S. Main, Friday, May 5 at 7 PM.

South Main Sushi will have a 1st birthday party on Trolley Night, Friday, April 26. DJ Dre will be spinning and there will be specials and giveaways.

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

Wednesday update

A month or two ago, the Daily Memphian did a battle of the sliders: The Dirty Crow Inn vs. Bardog Tavern. I commented at the time that it was somewhat ironic that those two businesses went head to head, but I could say no more at that time. Now the secret is out: Aldo, owner of Bardog as well as the two Aldo’s Pizza Pies and the (soon to be) two Slider Inns, has bought the Crow.

The food court at 910 Madison in the Medical Center is almost ready to go. It will be open to the public 10 AM to 2 PM and restaurants will include Soi Number 9, Coletta’s Italian Restaurant, and Southern Hands restaurant.

Cruisin’ Heavy will be the headliner at the Peabody rooftop party tomorrow night, Thursday, April 18. There will be a guest performance by Fletcher as well. $15 cover charge or you can buy a VIP pass that gets you in for the entire party season that runs through August. Admission includes a buffet of pizza rolls and mini corn dogs with mustard. If you’re in VIP you get a second buffet of assorted gourmet pizzas, hamburger sliders, and onion dip with crostini.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. will be at Cordelia’s Market tonight with some special packs of beer as the brewery gears up for its birthday celebration, Hopped.

The Cousins Maine Lobster food truck will be at Ghost River Brewing Co. at Main and Crump tonight from 4 to 8.

Comedian Aziz Ansari will be at the Cannon Center tonight with his Road to Nowhere tour and the most ridiculous cell phone policy I have ever seen.

The annual Africa in April cultural awareness festival is in Church Park on Beale Street this weekend. This year the honored country is Nigeria.

Bike Night on Beale returns tonight. Every Wednesday, you can park your motorcycle on Beale Street and check out everyone else’s rides.

It’s Woof Wednesday with the Redbirds tonight. There will be a special ticket that gets you and your dog into AutoZone Park for tonight’s game. Dog owners must sign a waiver and enter through the Fourth Street gate. First pitch is 6:35.

Wiseacre is having a beer pairing class at their taproom this Saturday: Beer and tacos! There will be 2 PM and 4 PM seatings that include a tour of the brewery, a breakdown of beer styles and flavors, four tacos from Maciel’s, and all the Pancho’s cheese dip you can eat.

All right, that’s it for this post. Everyone get out and enjoy today, because tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a very wet one. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

What a sad day yesterday as the iconic Notre Dame cathedral of Paris burned, and how terrible it is that it happened so close to Easter.

Complete results of Beale Street Wine Race have been posted. Lafayette’s and Gold Strike tied for best in the parade. Sherito Thomas of Gold Strike was crowned Queen of the Vine. Tin Roof won the grape stomp, and Huey’s added to their list of wine relay wins.

Downtown steakhouse 117 Prime is having an Easter brunch this Sunday from 10 to 3.

Over on the island, River Hall at River Inn will have an Easter brunch buffet on Sunday.

Union Row developers have acquired the corner of Union and Fourth, where the Powerhouse Motors building currently stands. Powerhouse Motors will be moving to 500 N. Hollywood in the Broad Avenue Arts District.

New Memphis is hosting a launch session on Tuesday, April 30 from 4 to 6 PM where you can get to know more about internships and careers with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Camy’s, which delivers food to Downtown and Midtown, is hiring a delivery driver.

That’s all the news I’ve got for today. Back tomorrow.

Monday update

As you might have guessed from the forecast yesterday, Beale Street Wine Race was not much fun. I got down there about 12:40 as I usually do. Most years the street starts to get packed around that time. Yesterday there was practically NO ONE out. I can understand why. Not only was it not even 50 degrees with the wind kicking up, but to add the ultimate insult to injury there was a very light fog/mist in the air to make it feel that much colder.

I marched in the opening parade with Team Blind Bear. There was a tie for best entrance/float but we weren’t one of the teams that tied. We got seats in the Handy Park pavilion and watched Queen of the Vine. Someone commented, “I’ve never seen so many clothes on the QOTV contestants,” and I had been thinking the same thing. One of the casinos won that event, Gold Strike I think.

There’s about a 20 minute break between Queen of the Vine and the grape stomp. Normally everyone goes right over to the grape stomp area. Not this year! The street practically cleared as everyone went indoors to the various Beale bars. At that point I decided I’d had enough. I hated to skip the last two events, but I couldn’t take that cold, wet wind battering my face anymore. I walked back to the Blind Bear, where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

This was a rare year in which I didn’t take any Wine Race photos. The main reason why was that I didn’t want to take my hands out of my pockets! It was just too damn cold. Also, I knew that one of the QOTV contestants likes to keep her life private, so I didn’t take any photos out of respect for that.

At least Wine Race is a free event that is not a fundraiser. The event I really feel bad for is Southern Hot Wing Fest. That festival is ticketed entry, with cover charge and donations at the booths going to raise money for Ronald McDonald House. The feels-like temperature of about 43, 30 degrees below normal, surely cost them thousands of dollars.

While I was freezing at Wine Race, a friend showed me a notification on his phone that Tiger Woods had won the Masters. Over the years I’ve never really been into golf, but I enjoyed watching the Masters and I am so happy Tiger got his redemption. America needed a feel-good story right about now.

Congratulations to my friends on the New Wing Order food truck, who came in second out of 60 teams at the hot wing festival. Follow the truck on Facebook and Twitter to find out where it will be.

If you like fun and games on Beale Street, mark a date on your calendars… Downtown’s annual Big Wheel Race is set for November 30. You don’t have to provide your own Big Wheel like you do in some other events. Space is limited, so sign up soon.

Next Sunday a helicopter will drop Easter candy into AutoZone Park. Kids who attend the 2:05 Redbirds game that day can stick around after it’s over for the candy drop. There will also be a specialty Easter brunch ticket.

I’ve got a request for my readers, especially those who come to this blog not only to read the news, but who care about me as a person. June 1 is World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day. I didn’t even know what narcissistic abuse was until the beginning of 2019, but as soon as I read about it, I realized, wow, that happened to me, and events that made no sense for the longest time began to make total sense. If you don’t know what narcissistic abuse is, please spend 5 or 10 minutes reading through the WNAAD website. Not only will you get a better understanding of what life has been like for me, but you’ll also gain powerful information to protect yourself against this form of abuse.

There’s a biography of Doors frontman Jim Morrison that is divided into three sections: The Bow Is Drawn, The Arrow Flies, and The Arrow Falls. Some days I feel like the day I met my abuser at a bar in five summers ago was the beginning of “The Arrow Falls” chapter of my life.

But, on a better note about me… I didn’t drink a Call-a-Cab yesterday! Over the years at Wine Race I’ve had a history of drinking the fruit punch daiquiris from Wet Willie’s, often leading to a stumble home and a 4 PM bedtime. The cold wasn’t the reason I didn’t drink one. I just felt like I didn’t need it. In fact, I didn’t even drink a beer the entire time I was at Wine Race. I felt better, I saved money, and since I wasn’t taking in any liquids I didn’t have to worry about any trips to the restroom. I can’t remember the last time I made it to 11 PM the day of Wine Race.

Oh… one more thing… look who showed up at the Blind Bear last night, making me wonder if someone hung a FREE FOOD sign on the door.

That’s right, folks, for the next several weeks you’ll be able to hear the call of the Nuh-Uh Girl in the wild, which sounds like this: “Can I have a biiiiite?” or “Leftovers?”

Thanks for reading, especially the personal part. It’s sunny and starting to warm up, so I’ll be back in shorts and sandals today. Back tomorrow with more news.