Monday, February 20, 2012

Million-Dollar Weekend for Downtown Memphis

Posted by on Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

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Author Shelby Foote wrote in his novel "September September" that the three hardest dates in show business were "Christmas, Easter, and Memphis."

Good line, but Foote's novel was set in Memphis in the 1950s, and Memphis has earned a different reputation. Last weekend, the Memphis Grizzlies played at FedEx Forum Friday night and Saturday night, sandwiched around a Memphis Tigers basketball game Saturday afternoon. All of the games reported ticket sales of over 15,000, and Flyer writers who covered the games said the arena looked nearly full.

And on Sunday, "Million Dollar Quartet" played two shows at the Orpheum, closing out a six-day run of sellouts. Pat Halloran said total attendance was around 17,000.

The recession may not be over but Memphians and visitors are coming downtown and spending money. At the Majestic Grille on South Main Sunday night, people were waiting for tables or walking away when they saw the crowd, so I assume it was a good night in general for restaurants and bars.

I thought "Million Dollar Quartet" took off after the midway point when the blow-up of the famous black-and-white photo dropped down from the ceiling and the actors recreated the pose around the piano and the audience collectively thought, "Hey, it all happened about a mile away at Sun Studio."

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