Sunday update – Raid on Main Street

When you live Downtown, you have to expect a certain amount of noise – revelers going “Wooooooo!” the nights of Music Fest, the occasional revving engine, fireworks. However, the folks who live on the block of Main between Union and Gayoso have had far more than their fair share of noise to deal with lately.

Large crowds have been gathering on that block every night of the week, and I’m not talking 9, 10 at night – I’m talking about the wee hours of the morning. The crowds have been loud and unruly, making it hard for those who live in the many condos and apartments on that block to get a decent night’s sleep.

About a week ago, a man was out walking his dog at 5:30 AM and the crowd was still there. He approached them and asked them to please keep the noise down because people were trying to sleep. The crowd became aggressive and a man identifying himself as Flava House Security allegedly pulled two guns on the dog walker and threatened to arrest him.

This past week after numerous posts on Nextdoor about the matter, residents gathered together and asked the Memphis Police Department for help. (My source of this information, by the way, is a regular reader of this blog who lives on that block of Main.)

Police responded by sending undercover agents to Flava House Lounge, followed by a raid on the business. According to my source, this led to the following charges on people in and around the business:

  • Felony arrest for sale of marijuana
  • Conspiracy to sell crack cocaine
  • Bartender serving without an ABC card
  • Security operating without a license

My source said that police allegedly found marijuana and cocaine in plain view. My source also told me that the security guard who pointed guns at the dog walker was arrested for aggravated assault.

Kudos to MPD, who put the operation together within only a few days of hearing the residents’ complaints. They sent the message loud and clear that criminal behavior will not be tolerated.

On to the news… Let’s hear it for those Memphis Tigers, who defeated another SEC team yesterday, topping Mississippi State 31-29. Check out this punt return by Calvin Austin III that will be on ESPN’s highlight reels this week.

Mississippi State had downed the ball at the Memphis 6, but the referee had not yet whistled the play dead. That allowed Austin to sneak through several Bulldogs players, scoop up the ball, and take it to the house.

Memphis improves to 3-0. Next Saturday the Tigers host UTSA in a 2:30 game at the Liberty Bowl.

Couple of big SEC games coming up next Saturday… Texas A&M and Arkansas will play in a 2:30 neutral-site game in Arlington, Texas. The Razorbacks have a chance to prove that they’re back as a force to be reckoned with in the SEC for the first time since Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle ride.

Also, it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year, the annual WHOOPIN’ that Florida puts on the Tennessee Vols. This year’s beating will happen in Gainesville with kickoff at 6:00. Florida has won 15 of the last 16 meetings and this doesn’t look to be Tennessee’s year.

Here’s a link to James Aycock’s COVID Week-in-Review. The biggest news is good news: Hospitalizations are down 23% over the past two weeks, a sign that we may be past the current surge’s peak.

ZZ Top plays the Orpheum tonight. Tickets start at $59.50 and there are front row, gold, and silver premium ticket packages. The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band will open.

In celebration of National Talk Like a Pirate Day, there will be a Pirates’ Raid at River Garden Park this afternoon 1 to 4.

Test-drive a youth acting class at Lily Roze Studio, 810 S. Main, this Sunday or next from 3 to 4.

That’s the news for today. Back tomorrow with more.

Saturday update

Some big things are happening at the Mississippi State vs. Memphis at the Liberty Bowl this afternoon. Former Memphis Tiger Isaac Bruce will participate in the Tiger Walk, and prior to the walk he will do a two-hour autograph session. At halftime he will be honored for his 2020 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Prior to the kickoff there will be a moment of silence for the late, great former Tiger Danton Barto, who passed away last month from COVID.

A rumor has been floated by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that Grizzlies power forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. is in line for a contract extension in the 4-year/$100 million range.

Keith Potter, Executive Chef at Cimas, the restaurant inside the new Hyatt Centric Hotel, joined WREG Live at 9 this week. He demonstrated how to make blackened cobia with sweet pea hoppin’ john.

An FDA advisory panel recommended yesterday not to advise giving a COVID booster shot to most people. The data supports recommending the booster for those 65 and older and for those with severe illnesses, but not the population at large. Gotta be fair and call him out: It was a mistake on President Biden’s part to talk so much about booster shots in last week’s speech before the scientists had a chance to announce their ruling.

The Risky Whiskey Boys bring their We’re Not Posers Tour to Slider Inn Downtown at noon tomorrow.

Tonight is the final fireworks night of the season at the Memphis Redbirds. First pitch vs. the Louisville Bats is at 6:15 with fireworks following the end of the game.

If you go to the Cooper-Young Festival today, please be safe. Wear a mask, distance yourself from other people as best you can, and if you’re not fully vaccinated, please consider taking a year off from the festival.

Also be aware that it is going to be damn near impossible to get a Lyft or Uber between about 1 and 7 today, and if you manage to score one you’re gonna pay a hefty surge charge.

One more thing – the cell phone networks tend to get overwhelmed at Cooper-Young Fest, so if you plan on meeting up with others, better not rely on a call or a text.

It’s highly unlikely I will go to Cooper-Young today. Going to lead off at Bardog and catch up with friends I didn’t get to see last week when it was closed for renovations.

Friday update

If you purchased chicken in the past decade, you may be eligible for a payout from a class action settlement. The settlement stems from a lawsuit accusing six chicken producers of price-fixing.

Let’s take a look at what college football games of interest happen tomorrow.

  • Tennessee Tech at Tennessee, 11 AM, SEC Network
  • 1 Alabama at 11 Florida, 2:30 PM, ABC
  • Georgia Southern at 20 Arkansas, 3 PM, SEC Network
  • Mississippi State at Memphis, 3 PM, ESPN2
  • 22 Auburn at 10 Penn State, 6:30 PM, ABC
  • Tulane at 17 Ole Miss, 7 PM, ESPN2
  • 19 Arizona State at 23 BYU, 9:15 PM, ESPN

The University of Memphis is reminding fans that cowbells aren’t allowed at Liberty Bowl Stadium.

It’s National Monte Cristo Day. My pick would be the Waffle Monte Cristo with real maple syrup from Kooky Canuck.

Get ready for a soggy weekend at the Mississippi State-Memphis game, Cooper-Young Fest, and other outdoor activities. Local 24’s Chelsea Chandler has us at a 70% or greater chance of rain for the next four days.

Max Weinberg’s Jukebox comes to the Halloran Centre tomorrow night. Weinberg is a music historian, drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and was band leader for Conan O’Brien for 17 years.

It’s an unusually slow news day for a Friday. That’s all I’ve got. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

A new three-day festival called Fieldaze comes to Memphis November 5-7. The purpose of this festival is to celebrate all there is to do outdoors in our city. The headlining events will be

  • The 5th annual Peer Power BRX Half Marathon + 5K Saturday, November 6
  • Huzzah! on the Harbor Kayak Memphis Race Saturday, November 6
  • Annual Outdoors Inc. Grit & Grind Gravel Grinder Bike Race

However, Fieldaze’s celebration of the outdoors will extend beyond the intense and the competitive – there will be plenty of leisurely and recreational activities as well. Some of those will include

  • Envision Memphis scavenger hunt
  • A kickoff event Friday, November 5 at Wiseacre Downtown
  • A Zumba class
  • Grizzline performance
  • #NFstrong 5K
  • Yoga (several classes throughout the weekend)
  • A walking tree tour of Elmwood Cemetery
  • Line dancing
  • Mighty Lights viewing on the river
  • Swing dancing
  • Wiseacre Sunday brunch
  • Kick It 5K
  • Sunday Skate

The event is sponsored by the Downtown Memphis Commission, Memphis Travel, Wiseacre, Hyatt Centric, and Beale Street.

The DM reports that Raymond James Tower will be renovated into 300 apartments. The tower’s namesake occupant moved out a couple of years ago following a dispute over non-working elevators. The building, at Front and Jefferson, will be renamed the Memphis Waterfront Tower.

The DNA’s Jerred Price reported that workers discovered a bonus as they were restoring the cobblestones along the river: an extra 5300 square feet of cobblestones that had been buried.

Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe has introduced a coffee line called Sip Topics Coffee.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association has announced its September membership meeting. It will be at Artspace Lofts, which provides 63 affordable live/work spaces for artists and their families. The special guest speaker will be C.J. Davis, Memphis police chief. The meeting will take place Tuesday, September 28. Social hour starts at 5:30 with presentation at 6:30.

I had a chance to try the Cereal N Milk cookie from Insomnia Cookies yesterday. It’s Fruity Pebbles, marshmallows, and white chocolate chips on a brown butter cookie. Pretty tasty!

Jackson Avenue and Lamar Avenue could soon have new names if the City Council follows the recommendations of the street renaming committee. Also, Manassas between Madison and Union is recommended to be renamed Black Lives Matter Street because of its proximity to the park where the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue once stood.

Today is National Guacamole Day.

Joe Nichols and Larry Fleet play a free show in Handy Park tonight at 7. It’s part of the KIX on Beale series.

Jordan Mobley provides the tunes at Moxy Memphis, 40 N. Front, tonight 7 to 9.

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

Wednesday update

Tickets for Cooper-Young Beerfest are now on sale. The festival will be held on the parking lot at 795 Cooper Saturday, October 9 from 1 to 5 PM. Due to Shelby County’s surge in COVID cases, attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination. You will either need to show your CDC vaccination card or a photo of your card on your phone. Need to get vaccinated? Here’s info on where to get that done.

Buy a $10 ticket to today’s 12:15 matinee game between the Memphis Redbirds and the Louisville Bats using coupon code CONCESSIONS and you will receive a $10 voucher you can spend at the concession stands.

Artisanal gelato company Zio Matto will sell their product at FedExForum this season. The company is the creation of filmmakers Ryan Watt and Matteo Servente.

A health and nutrition bar may open at 145 Madison, on the south side of Madison just east of Second. A look at Google StreetView reveals that to be the building between Havana’s Pilon and Fam.

Rachel Maxann and Mike Hewlett play South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, this Friday at 7.

Arkansas’ coach Sam Pittman is delivering the culture change that led to Saturday’s win over Texas.

From Lonely Planet: For the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the movement continues

Today is National Double Cheeseburger Day, a good day to walk down to Dyer’s on Beale Street and get a double-double.

The outer bands of Tropical Depression Nicholas will pass through the area today. Periods of heavy rain are possible.

Time for me to do some professional writing. Gotta earn the right to go out and celebrate. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

If you’re a fan of Blues City Donuts but not a fan of driving to get them, I have some great news – on Saturdays and Sundays, you will be able to get Blues City Donuts at Walking Pants Curiosities on G.E. Patterson Avenue. They say they’re going to carry the yummy butter rolls and all.

Friday is Grizzlies Night at AutoZone Park as the Memphis Redbirds take on the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats. Here’s a list of what will be going on that evening:

  • Grizzline, the Grizzlies’ drum line, will perform pre-game
  • Grizz, the Grizz Girls, and the Claw Crew will be there throughout the game
  • New Grizzlies forward Yves Pons will throw out the first pitch at 7:10
  • The Redbirds will wear black and teal uniforms, inspired by the Grizzlies’ throwbacks. Players will sign the uniforms after the game and they will then be auctioned off on the Redbirds’ website.
  • Ticket packages that include a ticket to Grizzlies Night and to the Grizzlies’ NBA regular-season home opener

Grizzlies Night jersey. Photo courtesy of the Memphis Redbirds.

How ’bout those Arkansas Razorbacks, who gave the Texas Longhorns a warm welcome to the SEC with a 40-21 loss Saturday in Fayetteville? Texas is the big dog in the Big 12 and before that the big dog in the Southwest Conference – but in the SEC, the ‘horns are going to be just another school that’s lucky to eke out a 7-5 record.

Sugar Grits is expanding their hours. They will now be open 8 AM-10 PM Monday-Saturday and 8 AM-8 PM Sunday. So they’ll be open for dinner 7 days a week and they’re adding some new dinner items. They’ll also have their full breakfast menu all day.

Organizers have decided to cancel the Cooper-York Fest because of the COVID surge we’re going through. Important note: I said the Cooper-York Fest, not Cooper-Young Fest. I don’t want anyone saying, “Paul’s blog said the Cooper-Young Fest was canceled.”

What’s Cooper-York Fest, you ask? It’s an event Memphis Made Brewing Co. runs yearly in its taproom and parking lot, the same day as Cooper-Young Fest. It has live music, food trucks, and of course, great craft beer, yet it has a more intimate feel than the crowded madness that is Cooper-Young Fest. I applaud the Memphis Made folks for wanting to keep their customers and employees safe from the pandemic.

I’m extremely disappointed in my alma mater this morning. An incident of racial hatred on campus should have been handled by the administration swiftly and decisively. Do better, Rhodes.

The annual Mississippi River Monsters catfish tournament happens at Bass Pro this weekend.

For my fellow wrestling fans: BIG E!!!!!! There’s your dominant babyface champion in the mold of Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and John Cena. Please don’t screw this up, WWE… if you have E lose the title to 54-year-old Goldberg in 14 seconds at the annual SuperShow in Saudi Arabia, I will never watch your shows again.

That’s it for today. Sorry for the earlier post saying I wouldn’t be posting for a couple of days. I hadn’t found my energy yet. I need to remember not to let the way I feel at 8:30 in the morning define how I feel all day.

Back when I have enough news to warrant another post. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Thursday.

Saturday update

Marc Gasol is a Grizzly again… although it is highly unlikely he will suit up in Beale Street Blue this season. The L.A. Lakers traded Gasol, a 2024 second-round pick, and cash to Memphis, and in return they got the draft rights to Wang Zhelin. ESPN’s Woj reports that Gasol will work with the Grizzlies on a contract buyout so he can remain with his family in Spain. It lets Gasol retire a Grizzly, and it’s a classic Grizz front office move to take on an expiring contract in exchange for a future asset.

Wang Zhelin was drafted with the 57th pick by the Grizzlies in 2016; however, since then he has elected to remain in the Chinese Basketball Association, where he is a 4-time All-Star. It’s unknown if Wang ever has plans to come to the NBA, but if he does he will come in as a Laker.

Info from Jimbo from Mempho:

Glad to hear it’s a mild case, and I wish you a speedy recovery, Mr. Mayor.

The grand opening of River City Records at 101 S. Main is today 3 to 7 PM.  Check out the listening lounge, browse the vinyl, check out the music-related art on the wall. Beer and cocktail hour starts at 5. Performing live will be Grammy-nominated blues musician RL Boyce and blues duo Memphissippi Sounds.

On pay-per-view tonight: A boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort, with commentary by none other than the Trumpster. Holyfield is 59, but that doesn’t make him the oldest man ever to step in the ring – in 2006 right here in Memphis, 66-year-old King Willie, at the time the mayor, fought in a 3-round exhibition against Smokin’ Joe Frazier.

For those wondering, “How is Donald Trump qualified to provide commentary on a boxing match?” I would tell you, Trump is very well qualified because he’s a malignant narcissist. Malignant narcissists are the world’s foremost experts on everything. No doubt the Stable Genius will serve up a heapin’ helpin’ of word salad tonight.

Memphis 901 FC hosts The Miami FC tonight at AutoZone Park. Gates open at 6, and kickoff is at 7. If you are in the military or are a first responder, you can get 2 free tickets to tonight’s game (info here) thanks to a partnership with Academy+ Sports Outdoors, Celtic Crossing, and Slider Inn. There’s a prematch party at Ghost River on Beale beginning at 4 PM, where you can get a 20 oz. Ghost River Gold and a Flying Sobies chili cheese dog for $10. You can also catch live music by my friends Pam and Terry on the patio. Official match program

Real 2 Reel Productions has a new offering: Puzzles! Pre-order yours before they go to print on October 6. They will be available for pickup at Real 2 Reel’s gallery November 4.

Good article by Gary Parrish: The AAC is reeling after losing Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF to the Big 12 and recovery won’t be easy. The AAC has positioned itself as one-sixth of the “Power Six,” although most everyone else thinks of the “Power Five” with the AAC as the strongest non-Power Five conference. Parrish thinks the Big 12 is not done expanding. The addition of the aforementioned schools and BYU brings the Big 12 to 12 teams, but their TV contract says they can have up to 14. Parrish thinks within the next few years, the Big 12 will come calling for Memphis and either SMU or USF. At that point, the AAC will have little room to claim it is more prestigious than, say, the Sun Belt Conference.

I too think Memphis’ time is going to come. Memphis has become too good on the field, in the classroom, and in terms of facilities to be ignored for more than a few more years. And when it happens, we’ll have Memphis vs. Kansas in conference basketball play. I could get down with that.

As for the next few years – Penny, you better make sure the nonconference schedule is stacked, because conference wins over ECU and Tulane aren’t going to impress the committee much.

Catherine & Mary’s is looking to hire a host.

Hilton Garden Inn is looking to hire an assistant general manager.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company will launch its Free Shakespeare Shout-Out Series with performances of HENRY VI: Wars of the Roses around the Memphis metro. Two of the performances are Downtown:

  • River Park, 51 N. Riverside, Thursday, September 16 at 7 PM
  • Wiseacre Brewery, 398 S. B.B. King, Monday, September 20 at 7 PM

From Action News 5: Southern Heritage Classic adds boost to the Memphis economy. Total impact is said to be $29.2 million.

Thank you to all the first responders who keep us safe.

It’s decision time for me this morning. Bardog, my usual Saturday stop, is closed for repairs. I can’t make up my mind what to do. Do I stay in my usual comfort zones, even though they’ll be super-crowded with out-of-towners today? Do I visit a place I’ve never been before that I hear has great PBR prices, but I might not know anyone there? Do I tolerate a couple of Cluster B personalities in exchange for cheap PBR and a mostly good crowd? I have a couple of hours to figure it out. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

This is going to be a very long post with more than 20 topics covered, so grab a cup of coffee or a cocktail or a PBR and buckle yourself in.

President Biden gave his points of attack against COVID in a speech last night. I’ll list the highlights here, then get on to today’s news, then come back with my thoughts at the end.

  • The biggest and most unexpected development is that Biden will invoke workplace safety rules, ordering the Labor Department to require that all private businesses with over 100 employees require a minimum of full vaccination or weekly testing for each employee. Companies that refuse this requirement could get hit with fines of up to $14,000 per employee in violation.
  • Federal government employees, as well as employees of contractors doing business with the federal government, must be fully vaccinated, and there will be no opt-out-and-test-regularly alternative.
  • Teachers funded by federal Head Start money must be fully vaccinated. Biden also requested governors to require full vaccination for school teachers and staff in their state. (Fat chance Gov. Lee will comply though)
  • Workers at health care facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid dollars will be required to be fully vaccinated.

Read more at CNN. I’ll come back with discussion at the end.

Okay. Next item of business. Yesterday I discovered a food item that has been available Downtown for well over a decade, yet I had never tried it.

I have had many a Kooky Tender from Kooky Canuck with the hot sauce. I’ve also tried the Golden BBQ and, when feeling really adventurous, the super-hot Holy Smoke. However, I have never tried the tenders covered in strawberry jalapeno sauce. It’s for the same reason I’ve never tried the summer salad at Wendy’s that has strawberries on it. Strawberries and chicken together do not sound appetizing.

Yesterday, though, someone had got the strawberry jalapeno tenders and offered me one. WOW!!! That was the best chicken tender I had ever eaten! I could not taste any strawberry at all. The best way I could describe it was, “the flavor of the southwest,” and if that doesn’t help, you need to taste for yourself. As far as heat, I would put the strawberry jalapeno sauce at 20% hotter than Kooky’s hot sauce. Perfect. If you’ve shied away from the strawberry jalapeno sauce for the same reasons as I did, do yourself a favor and go try it now!

Next up: News about the Cooper-Young Beerfest. However, first, an IMPORTANT NOTE: I am talking about Cooper-Young Beerfest on October 9, not the Cooper-Young Festival on September 18. They are two separate festivals put on by separate entities. I do not want to hear people say “Paul’s blog says Cooper-Young Fest is going to have COVID regulations.”

So, anyway: The organizers of Cooper-Young Beerfest on October 9 have decided to implement a vaccination requirement. It will apply to all ticket holders, volunteers, and participating brewers. They said the decision was difficult but they felt it was the only way they could put on a safe event given current health conditions.

Tickets will be on sale on September 15 at I’m gonna say it one more time: If you truly love beer and learning about beer, this is the one Memphis beer festival you must attend. Brewers are required to be in the booths (they can’t send their marketing people). There is an education tent where brewers give presentations on their beers. Participating breweries must be within a one-day drive of Memphis, so if you like their beers you can easily visit them.

The Groove on Demand shuttle bus service has once again expanded its reach. It now runs as far south as McLemore and includes Presidents Island. It still includes Downtown, the Medical Center District, New Chicago, and Soulsville.

Southern country-rockers Brothers Osborne play the Orpheum tonight, with openers Travis Denning and Tenille Townes.Tickets are $39.50-$79.50.

Let’s have a look at tomorrow’s college football games of interest:

  • Memphis at Arkansas State, 6 PM, ESPN+
  • 12 Oregon at 3 Ohio State, 11 AM, FOX
  • Pittsburgh at Tennessee, 11 AM, ESPN
  • Murray State at 7 Cincinnati, 2:30 PM, ESPN+
  • Air Force at Navy, 2:30 PM, CBS
  • 10 Iowa at 9 Iowa State, 3:30 PM, ABC
  • Houston at Rice, 5:30 PM, CBSSN
  • 15 Texas at Arkansas, 6 PM, ESPN
  • NC State at Mississippi State, 6 PM, ESPN2
  • Austin Peay at 20 Ole Miss, 6 PM, SEC Network

South Main Association members will get a chance to experience one of Downtown Memphis’ newing living spaces, The Landing Residences at One Beale, Tuesday, September 14 at the monthly meeting at 6 PM. Ali Manning from Project Green Fork will speak, as well as representatives from The Landing Residences. Only SMA members will be able to attend, but they will be signing up new members at the door if you want in. You can also join on the SMA website.

The city-wide drought of Pabst Blue Ribbon 16-ounce cans, an issue at the distributor level, came to an end with a delivery yesterday. That had been an issue the past 2 weeks, with some bars selling 12-ounce cans at the 16-ounce can price and others running out entirely. Glad to have things back to normal.

Sage posted that they are hiring an experienced evening server. You’ll need to have a resume to apply.

Celebrities will be on hand for the final two Memphis Redbirds Bark in the Park home games on Thursday, September 16 and 30. Instagram-famous English bulldogs Sir Meatball and Milkshake will attend both games and will be available for photos. Tickets are $15 per person and your dog gets in free with a human ticket. The Redbirds’ regular season wraps up on Sunday, October 3.

Interesting read on CBS Sports: Snubbed by the Big 12, here’s why Memphis needs to go all-in on becoming a college basketball power. Basically what they’re saying is, if the big boys don’t want to play with us, we should become the next Gonzaga and beat all of them at basketball. Memphis does have the tools to make that happen.

Any other people in the Downtown core find themselves without a place to watch Thursday Night Football last night? Silly Goose gets too nightclubby after 9. Blind Bear has a drag show on Thursdays. Bardog was closed for the week and really isn’t conducive to football-watching besides. Max’s is too far to walk, and I don’t like the idea of walking home from South Main at 11 PM. There’s an opportunity for a restaurant/bar in the Downtown core to capture a crowd on Thursday nights if they threw a big TNF watch party with good specials. Saucer, your move? Or Local? Any Beale Street bars want to get in on this opportunity?

Courtyard Downtown Memphis is looking for a front desk associate.

Today’s National Hot Dog Day. Recommendations: The Daily Dog at Bardog, one of the hot dogs at Max’s Sports Bar, Kooky Canuck’s Montreal style hot dogs.

The annual Southern Heritage Classic, Tennessee State vs. Jackson State, is at the Liberty Bowl tomorrow. The game is at 6 PM, so expect heavy traffic Downtown after 9 as fans get ready to party the night away. Fact I did not know: Jackson State’s head coach is football and baseball legend Deion Sanders.

Keep in mind that if you have to travel anywhere tomorrow afternoon or evening via Lyft and Uber, surge pricing is sure to be in effect big-time. I have a friend who lives in Midtown and Ubers to her Downtown job. She told me it cost her $38 to get home on July 4. I bet it costs more than that to get anywhere tomorrow night.

Watch 19th-century style magic in The Mesmerist at the Woodruff-Fontaine House tonight at 6:30. Jeffrey Day will perform “parlour magic” from the Victorian era. Tickets are $50 and you must wear a face covering.

Drag queen bingo featuring Savvy Duval is back at the Moxy, 40 N. Front, tonight at 7. One of the bingo prizes is a free suite stay.

Strooly performs a virtual show in Health Sciences Park today noon to 1.

Albert King Jr.’s Final Touch Band plays the Blind Bear from 8 to 12 tonight. Usually they’re the backing band for Velvetina’s burlesque show, then they play a couple of hours by themselves. However, I haven’t seen any mention of a burlesque show this week as of Friday morning.

Shufflegrit plays Earnestine & Hazel’s tonight at 9.

The original lead singer of the Bar-Kays, Larry D, has a listening party at Hard Rock Cafe tonight 6 to 9. He’ll present “Just We,” his new single and video.

All right. Now for my thoughts on Biden’s speech last night.

First of all, this is what a true statesman does. Biden’s regulations are going to force 80-100 million people to go get vaccinated, many of them against their will. His popularity is going to drop like a rock. He may have just sacrificed his second term, as well as Vice-President Harris’ chance at ever being elected president. He made an unpopular decision to save American lives like any competent wartime leader would do.

The requirement for private businesses with over 100 employees will probably be challenged in court. However, as the CNN article notes, management of many private businesses will appreciate the cover of federal regulations, because now it won’t be they who get sued over the mandates.

This will drive up vaccination rates. Shelby County, now at 50.9% vaccinated (1+ dose) according to COVID Act Now, could hit 70% vaccinated by the end of the year.

We tried giving away grocery gift cards and even cars, but a large swath of the population couldn’t be bothered to get vaccinated. Since the carrot didn’t work, it’s time to bring out the stick. For a responsible leader, there was no other choice.

As for Cooper-Young Beerfest’s decision to require attendees, brewers, and volunteers to be vaccinated, I think it is very appropriate. I applaud the organizers for wanting everyone involved to be safe. The event is still 4 weeks away, so if you go get your first dose of Pfizer or Moderna this weekend, you’ll have time to get your second and have a full vaccine card for the beerfest.

Whew! I didn’t know writing a blog post could be so exhausting! I’ll do it again tomorrow. Happy Friday.

Thursday update

Band alert! Last week I reported that I had gone to see a band called the Mario Monterosso Band at the Blind Bear, and they were excellent, playing with impeccable timing. Well, tonight they will perform at Central Station Hotel’s Live at the Tracks concert series. The music kicks off at 7 PM. If you don’t have plans for this evening, I think you will enjoy checking them out.

There will be a special performance including 4 original members of the B.B. King Band Wednesday night, September 15 at 7:30 at B.B. King’s Blues Club, Beale at Second. The performance will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the club’s opening in 1991.

Yesterday I watched a woman complain about the 20% gratuity that had been added onto her check, as is common practice at many of the restaurants Downtown these days. “I think I should have the right not to tip!” she complained. Geez. Why not just put a neon sign on your head that says “I AM A CHEAP-ASS”? If you don’t want to tip when you go out to restaurants, I suggest you stop at Kroger and pick up a six-pack of beer and a Totino’s pizza to heat up at home. I totally support the auto-gratuity. It assures servers that it is going to be worth their while to come to work and do their jobs.

From the DM: Molly’s La Casita out in Midtown has a new owner, but the recipes are still the same. Two of the restaurant’s regulars bought Molly’s, so it will be in good hands.

A new mural at Second Street and Gen. Washburn’s Escape Alley (between Monroe and Union) calls for an end to gun violence. The artist, Kyle Halbrook, has dozens of childhood friends whose lives were taken by guns.

From Architect Magazine: The rebirth of Memphis’ 100 N. Main

There’s a Healing Field flag display just west of Riverside Drive near Bass Pro. Its purpose is to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, the 20th anniversary of which is Saturday.

Stephanie Mills and Jeffrey Osborne play the Orpheum tonight. It’s an event that is part of the Southern Heritage Classic cultural celebration. Tickets are $68-$128.

The GOODLife DJs will provide the music at the lunchtime food truck rodeo in Court Square today.

Dallas Cowboys fans, Loflin Yard is hosting a season kickoff party tonight as your team battles the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ll have the game on the huge projection TV in the Coach House and there will be specials on BBQ brisket and Lone Star beer.

Mid-South car enthusiasts will meet Saturday morning for Cars & Coffee On The Edge.

Andy Hall performs at Moxy Memphis Downtown, 40 N. Front, at 7 tonight. The event is presented by The Consortium MMT, Memphis’ music incubator.

Aggressive panhandler alert:

  • White male, very short brown hair, 6’4″, 200-210 lbs., approximately 45 years of age
  • Tends to hang out in the southern end of the Downtown core, between Union and Beale
  • Extremely talkative
  • Has been known to bring his own beer into restaurants and expect to sit at the bar and drink it
  • Has brought lit cigarettes into nonsmoking restaurants and got highly agitated when asked not to smoke
  • Shoved the manager of a local restaurant after he was asked to leave
  • Smashed a beer bottle against a building he was asked to leave
  • Known to approach people on bar patios, strike up a conversation (which is mostly him talking nonstop) then say “Would you mind buying me one of what you’re having?”

You can call the Blue Suede Brigade, Downtown Memphis’ hospitality and safety team, at 901-281-9146 if you feel threatened. They are trained in patrol and safety procedures and can get to your location quickly on bike.

And yes, I know how some of you are going to respond: We need to address issues like homelessness, addiction, and poverty that are the root causes of this man’s situation. I don’t disagree with any of that. That’s why I support organizations like The Hub that work to get people to a better life situation. But we also have to address the immediate problem: This man’s behavior makes people feel endangered.

If I run into him at a bar (one that he hasn’t been banned from yet) and I can strike up a conversation that’s not too uncomfortable, I will ask if he knows about The Hub’s services.

That’s the news for today. Y’all be safe out there, and please go get vaccinated if you’re not already. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Downtowners are fed up with drag racing, drifting, and reckless driving and are pushing the police to take action, WREG reports. Jerred Price of the Downtown Neighborhood Association met with MPD following an incident last weekend where a cop witnessed a driver doing donuts and made no attempt to pull the car over and issue a ticket.

The DM’s Chris Herrington has a first look at River City Records, which quietly opened last Saturday at 101 S. Main. They have their grand opening this coming Saturday. Owner Chris Braswell was part of the scene at the Antenna Club in the late 1980s and was a buyer for River Records on Highland.

If you’re not sick of reading about COVID in Shelby County yet, this week’s Memphis Flyer has a good cover story on the topic.

The Grizzlies have two new 10-game packs of tickets for the 2021-2022 season. One is all weekend games and includes the No. 50 retirement ceremony for Zach Randolph. The other is all “big games” and includes the No. 9 retirement ceremony for Tony Allen, with his former teammate Mike Conley in the house.

Again, not a real newsy day. Back tomorrow.