It's time once again to swear off fat grams, make plans to drink fewer cocktails, and finally join that gym you've been considering for the past three years. But before you devote yourself to that rigorous new year's self-improvement plan, go out and celebrate the end of your old bad self. Eat your heart out and drink until your eyes cross one more time this New Year's Eve. There's plenty going on around town.
So you wanna be on television? A film crew from Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve Times Square celebration will be at the W.C. HANDY PERFORMING ARTS PARK (200 Beale) to catch segments of the Memphis party scene to air on the 32-year-old ABC special. Performances include Slick Ballinger, Ingram Hill, Kavious, Poizon, Free Sol, and Chosen View, and there's no cover charge. Revelers can take part in the annual "Bury the Blues on Beale" by depositing their bad memories into an open casket that will be closed at midnight. A fireworks display follows. If you'd rather stay out of the cold, check out The Carl Drew Blues Band and Ruby Wilson beginning at 8 p.m. at B.B. KING'S BLUES CLUB (147 Beale, 524-KING, $20 cover). Want loud angry music? Try Dust For Life at 9 p.m. at the HARD ROCK CAFE (315 Beale, 529-0007, $10 cover). If blues-y roots-rock is your thing, The North Mississippi Allstars and Lucero will be rockin' out THE NEW DAISY (330 Beale, 525-8979) in an all-ages show at 8 p.m. ($20 advance tickets). Or you can drink and eat to your heart's content at PAT O'BRIEN'S (310 Beale, 529-0900). For $99 per person, you get an open buffet and bar package from 8 to 10 p.m. and music through midnight in the Piano Bar and the Briars Suite. The Kathryn Stallins Band will be playing the heated patio. Still hungry? Check out the special holiday menu at RUM BOOGIE CAFE (182 Beale, call 525-3891 for reservations) for $85 main-floor seating or $50 upstairs seating. You'll get to choose between pepper-crusted prime rib, barbecue smoked ribs, grilled salmon, or fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken. The price includes entertainment by The Eric Hughes Duo from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and James Govan & The Boogie Blues Band from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
EQUESTRIA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE is offering a five-course menu (3165 Forest Hill-Irene, 869-2663). For $75 per person, you'll enjoy blue-cornmeal-dusted Chilean sea bass served with blackened shrimp ravioli and filet of beef stuffed with brandied duxelles as well as an appetizer, salad, and dessert. Music will be provided by DJ Smokey. Relax to the sounds of Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear in a Memphis Symphony Orchestra concert at 8 p.m. at the GERMANTOWN PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE (1801 Exeter, 324-3627 to purchase tickets, $50). Or if you're on a budget, boogie with Joe Norman & The Memphis Beat from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at HUEY'S CORDOVA for a $5 cover (1771 N. Germantown Pkwy., 754-3885).
Party with The Bo-Keys and dine from a four-course menu for $65 per person at AUTOMATIC SLIM'S TONGA CLUB (83 S. Second, 525-7948). Or if it's not food you're after but lots and lots of beer, head on down to the FLYING SAUCER (130 Peabody Place, 523-8536) and check out The Scott Sudbury Band from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. ($10 cover). At KUDZU'S (603 Monroe, 525-4924), the 4 Heads will be playing at 9 p.m. ($5 cover). Wanna chance to wear that fun jester costume still hanging in your closet from Halloween? Check out the carnival-themed party at JILLIAN'S (150 Peabody Place, 543-8800) where $35 will get you access to their buffet, two drink tickets, and a $5 game card, or $50 will get you reserved seating in the Video Cafe, a bottle of champagne, and a $10 game card. You'll also have a chance to win $50,000 and hear Yes, No, Maybe. If it's glitz and glamour you prefer, check the swanky goings-on at the MADISON HOTEL (79 Madison, 333-1215). For $175 per person, you'll be treated like royalty with a five-course menu and the jazzy sounds of Pat Register at 8 p.m. Or try THE PEABODY (149 Union, 529-4183), where you can choose between the $30 New Year's Eve Party with Nation, Gabby Johnson, and Blind Mississippi Morris, or if you wanna go all the way, start with a meal from Capriccio Grill ($75 per person) or Chez Philippe ($125 person). Meal price includes admission to party.
Wanna feel like a VIP as you ring in the new year? Check out Backstage Pass at the COCKEYED CAMEL (5871 Poplar, 683-4056), but be sure and plan ahead because reservations are required ($25 per person). Uprisin' will provide the sounds at the newly opened HUEY'S POPLAR (4872 Poplar, 682-7729) from 9 p.m.to 1 a.m. for $5. There's no cover at PATRICK'S (4698 Spottswood, 682-2853), where you can catch the Southern Lights.
There's always a party at T.J. MULLIGAN'S (6635 Quince, 753-8056), and New Year's Eve is no exception. For a measly $5, you can party with Krysilus and enjoy a champagne toast at midnight, and they'll give you fun party favors.
Ever partied at BACKSTREET (2018 Court, 276-5522) and thought, Damn, this place would be so much cooler if it had a bigger dance floor? If so, you're in luck. For their "New Year's Resolution 2004" event, the club is opening their new, state-of-the-art dance floor, The Coliseum. If you've been lamenting your old rave days, check out the NRGLuv Productions' "Funkin' In Da New Year" party at THE FULL MOON CLUB (1718 Madison, 274-7101). It'll feature DJs Ben Armstrong, Danny Rockwell, Mary Jane, Singularity, Muse, and Truss. Admission is $8 before 8:30 p.m. and $12 after. Or you can purchase a VIP ticket that includes a free drink from the bar and champagne at midnight for $14. Employees of local restaurants and bars can show their pay stubs for discounted $10 VIP tickets. There's no cover at the GLASS ONION (903 S. Cooper, 274-5151), where you can catch Jim Duckworth's Action Figures and ring in the new year with a champagne toast. The HI-TONE (1913 Poplar, 278-TONE) is throwing their second annual "Greatest Rock 'n' Roll New Year's Eve Party" with The Reigning Sound and The Cool Jerks at 10 p.m. ($10 cover). Sophisticated Midtowners should head over to MELANGE (948 S. Cooper, 276-0002), where they're offering a special four-course menu for $49 per person. And while you're wining and dining, DJs Jason "Witnesse" Sims and Mark Richens will be providing some lounge tunes. Or for those who'd rather mosh than feel posh, check out 2000Core Fest featuring Clenched Fist, Hopes Like the Hindenburg, In Case of Fire, and more from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at THE RIOT (296 Monroe, 210-4751, $5). At the new SENSES nightclub (2866 Poplar, 454-4081), local DJs Tree, Caleb Law, Justin Hand, and Graflin will be spinning some house beats you can shake your groove thing to. The $50 cover includes food, party favors, champagne, and dessert. And for those looking for a good time on a budget, check out the $5 party at the YOUNG AVENUE DELI (2119 Young, 278-0034), where you can hear locals faves Vending Machine, Snowglobe, and Chess Club.
Bringing the recipient of your New Year's Eve kiss to the party? At FLASHBACKS (5709 Raleigh-LaGrange, 383-7330), couples get in at the discounted rate of $25, while individuals pay $15. Double or Nothin' and DJ Dennis are providing the tunes, and Jell-O shooters are $1 all night long.
There's plenty going down on the Highland Strip. At GILL'S BAR & GRILL (551 S. Highland, 458-2787), $20 will get you in to see Xavion and Eric Gales. Hippies and jam-band fans should choose NEWBY'S (539 S. Highland, 452-8408) as the first place to be in 2004 because Zarr Records is taking over and they're going to showcase Stout, Thingamajig, and The Subteens. If you stick around after midnight, you can pig out at the breakfast buffet. And over at THE RALLY POINT (616 S. Highland, 452-2584), it's a free party with the hardcore metal band Mrs. Fletcher.
If Lady Luck has her grip on you, you might want to try for the big money at the GRAND CASINO RESORT (1-800-WIN-4-WIN), where Sinbad will be providing some comic relief. Tickets range from $24.99 to $29.99. Over at the HOLLYWOOD CASINO (1-800-871-0711), you can enjoy an exquisite four-course menu for $125 per couple and then head over to the Safari Bar to listen to Carrie Folks until the midnight countdown. And be sure to stick around until 10:30 a.m. on New Year's day for the Champagne & Mimosa Brunch for $13.50 per person.
New Year's Eve is a big game day for football fans: The AXA LIBERTY BOWL FOOTBALL CLASSIC kicks off at 2:30 p.m. This year C-USA champion Southern Mississippi will square off against the Mountain West champion Utah at the LIBERTY BOWL STADIUM (795-9095). At the DESOTO CIVIC CENTER (662-470-2131), you can catch the action as the Memphis RiverKings battle the Indianapolis Ice at 6:05 p.m. Got little ones? They can celebrate the new year without even staying up late at the MEMPHIS ZOO's (333-6763) "New Year's Eve Zoo Snooze." In this "kids only" event, the countdown starts at 10 p.m., and kids will get a chance to go on a moonlight zoo safari. Admission is $50 per child. Wanna hone your sleuthing skills? Check out the Death Du Jour Mystery Dinner Theater at THE SPAGHETTI WAREHOUSE (40 West Huling, 521-0907), where you can volunteer to act as a suspect or detective in local mystery writer Phyllis Appleby's play "Fatal Resolution." The $35 fee includes a drink, salad, entrÇe, and dessert.