Come all you sheiks, and lovers, too,Listen to what I'm tellin' you;
I took a resolution New Year's Day,Never to give nothin' away!
-- Ethel Waters, "Bring Me Your Greenbacks"
For millions of earth's citizens, the changing of years is a time to critique the past, to fiddle with one's formula and come up with a new plan of action and, on January 1st, declare to the world, "I resolve to ... !"
Well, screw those people. I say New Year's resolutions are for suckers who don't have the intestinal fortitude to self-edit on any day of the year that isn't January 1st. And let's not kid ourselves: January Firsters never keep their resolutions anyway. Just like Bono said: "Nothing changes on New Year's day."
But New Year's Eve embraces our human failings and rewards those who don't kid themselves. It's the Dionysian celebration of all that is good and sincere about not making resolutions. It's a parade of vices; even if your only vice is not getting to bed at a reasonable hour, you're already guilty. It's the indulging in behaviors that polite society says should be given up or performed in moderation the next day.
So this New Year's Eve, resolve to give up resolutions. Luckily, there's plenty of folks in the Mid-South prepared to help you do so. Here's a primer on some of the highlights of the evening. For a complete list of events, check this issue's calendar and After Dark sections.
Good luck, be safe, and be resolved.
I resolve to drink in moderation.
New Year's Eve means it's time to party like it's your last night on earth. For most people that means alcohol, and lots of it. These clubs, bars, and other establishments are prepared to help you toast the New Year with the adult beverage of your choice. (Beware, however, tricksy libations that go by the name of "hunch punch" or "hooch." They don't play fair.)
The biggest party of the evening, at least in terms of humans per square feet, will be on Beale. The cobblestone street will be packed. It has to be seen to be believed and is highly recommended if you really, really don't mind touching strangers. Eighty-five thousand attendees are expected this year, and among the goings-on outside are fireworks and live music at Handy Park. The strip of clubs and bars will be bursting at the seams, too. With good reason: great music and mucho licor will be flowing inside.
Southland Park Gaming & Racing
Midnight comes at the same time in Arkansas as it does in Memphis, so don't feel shy to get your Pig Sooie freak on in West Memphis and enjoy some gaming and live music from local rockabilly faves the Dempseys.
1550 N. Ingram, West Memphis, AR, 870-467-6182.
Starting at 7 p.m., Jillian's has as much going on as just about anybody in the city. DJ Abos will be on hand, and there's live music, too; there's a multi-course dinner with guaranteed seating; there's a bottle of champagne per couple (and a toast at midnight); there's a balloon drop with thousands in cash and prizes; there's party favors and a $10 game card; there's admission into the dance club Atlas; and then there's the chance to start 2007 off particularly well with the $25,000 cash giveaway. All this and more is included in the $45 admission.
150 Peabody Place, 543-8800.
The Peabody has teamed with FM100 to throw a "New Year's Eve Bash" at the grand dame of Southern hotels. Live music will play on three stages, with Cowboy Mouth in the Grand Ballroom, Rusty Lemon in the Continental Ballroom, and the John Felix Trio in the Corner Bar. Festivities take place from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., with entertainment commencing at 8 p.m. $45/person at the door.
149 Union, 529-4000.
I resolve to not overeat.
Every obesity study released in 2006 says Memphis is one of the fattest cities in the U.S. Well, when you've got food as great as we do, why not? This New Year's Eve, overeat like it's 1999.
Boscos has cooked up some great food specials for New Year's Eve celebrants to go with their always-fabulous regular menu and their handcrafted beers. Amy and the Tramps perform, too, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Reservations recommended.
2120 Madison, 432-2222 .www.boscosbeer.com
New Year's Eve Brunch at The Peabody
Peabody chefs serve the final brunch of the year in the Continental Ballroom. Reservations required. Brunch, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $35.95 adults/$15.95 children ages 5 to 12.
The Peabody, 149 Union, 529-3668.
A four-course dinner at Capriccio is a perfect beginning to the evening's festivities. Reservations required. Dinner, 5-10 p.m. $89.95/person.
The Peabody, 149 Union, 529-4199.
It's never too late to have your best meal of the year: Chef Reinaldo Alfonso helps you end the year on a high note with a five-course dinner at his French-Asian restaurant. Dinner includes a wristband admission to The Peabody's New Year's Eve party. Reservations required. Dinner, 6-10 p.m. $125/person.
The Peabody, 149 Union, 529-4188.
"Wood-smoked," "aged," "Vermouth-roasted," and "truffled" are just a few of the adjectives describing the four-course offerings from Grill 83. Reservations recommended. Dinner, 5:30-11 p.m. $80/person.
83 Madison, 333-1224 .www.madisonhotelmemphis.com/Events
MO's Memphis Originals
Okay, there is one resolution for 2007 you should make: Eat all 12 of MO's new burgers that will be introduced during the year. You can begin with the Blues Burger, unveiled this New Year's Eve. There'll be live music at MO's, too: all-girl group Sibella from 8 to 10 p.m. and bluesman Dave Crowder from 10 p.m. to midnight. (The Blues Burger will be introduced during Crowder's set.) Doors open at 5 p.m.
3521 Walker, 324-7892 www.memphisoriginals.com
There's no belly like a belly full of steak, and TJ Mulligan's gives you several options to fill your gut this New Year's Eve. TJ Mulligan's-Pinch has a steak-and-potato special for $10.95, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, and live music by 3-Way; no cover charge. TJ Mulligan's-Quince has steak and shrimp for $15.99, party favors, and live music by Blue Gauge; $5 cover. At TJ Mulligan's-Cordova, use the midnight champagne toast to cleanse your palate for the 1:30 a.m. breakfast buffet. $10 gets you everything from party favors to bacon. Roxanne Lemmon to perform; $10 cover includes buffet.
TJ Mulligan's-Pinch, 382 N. Main,523-1453.
TJ Mulligan's-Quince, 6635 Quince, Ste. 101, 753-8056.
TJ Mulligan's-Cordova, 8071 Trinity, Ste. 1, 756-4480.
Dan McGuinness hops on board the red-meat wagon too, with a steak-dinner special, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, and live music by Transitt; $10 cover.
4698 Spottswood, 761-3711.
River Oaks Restaurant
The River Oaks menu will have you at Arkansas caviar, but the four courses also include delectable scallops, salmon roulade, Muscovy duck breast with Oregon truffles, lobster, Rock shrimp, and much, much more. Reservations recommended.
5871 Poplar, 683-9305.
I resolve to not listen to loud music.
Nothing takes away the hearing quicker than listening to some really loud music. Wouldn't have it any other way. In addition to all of the other great acts playing around town New Year's Eve, here's a few more that promise to rock your ears off.
The Bluff City Ball is arguably the premier event of the night. The Orpheum is gonna be shaking, with blues from the North Mississippi Allstars, Memphis faves Lucero, Cory Branan, and Drew Holcomb. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $45.
203 S. Main, 525-7800.
Perennially great venues for live music, the Hi-Tone Café and Young Avenue Deli will not disappoint this New Year's Eve. The Hi-Tone sees the return of the Reigning Sound to Memphis in a blast of garage-rock energy. The line starts behind me. Young Avenue Deli has a pair of the best groups going right now: The Secret Service and River City Tanlines. Each group has 2006 releases charted high in the Flyer's year-end local-music review (See p. 26). Put the two bands together, and they might have to call the state militia.
The Hi-Tone Café, 1913 Poplar, 278-TONE.
Young Avenue Deli, 2119 Young, 278-0034.
I resolve to carefully manage my money.
Life is a gamble. Of course, nowhere is that fact more acute than at a casino. But with the glut of great entertainment, food, and gaming this New Year's Eve, the real gamble may be in passing up on Tunica.
Grand Casino Resort
All month long, the Grand has had a gingerbread village on display, including a nine-foot-tall golden castle. No, this isn't some sort of Fear and Loathing in Tunica, this is just how things are done in the casino wonderland: bigger and better. More please! At the Grand's LB Steakhouse, Chef James Hoyt has created a menu that includes roasted pheasant pot pie, sautéed salmon with a lemon dill beurre blanc sauce, and a mixed-berry cheesecake. The casino also will have champagne toasts and a balloon drop at midnight.
3615 Old Hwy. 61 N., Robinsonville, MS, 662-363-2788.
Horseshoe Casino & Hotel
The Horseshoe has one of those gingerbread villages too; theirs features a detailed model of the casino. I've never wanted to eat a casino so badly. At Horseshoe's Village Square Buffet, $24.95 will get you duck with wild rice, rosemary roasted leg of lamb, and stuffed trout, among other delectables. This all-you-can-eatery goes from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Chimes at midnight set off a balloon drop, with champagne toasts all around.
1021 Casino Center Dr., Robinsonville, MS, 800-303-SHOE.
For that couple looking to end 2006 with a bang, Hollywood has your bet covered. They're offering a four-course dinner for two with champagne at Fairbanks Steakhouse for $125/couple. There's also free entertainment in the Safari Bar Lounge with Andy Childs beginning at 9 p.m. More champagne, party favors, and a balloon drop at midnight on the casino floor round out the late-night/early-morning revelries.
150 Casino Strip Resort Blvd., Robinsonville, MS, 662-357-7700.
I resolve to act my age.
New Year's Eve of course isn't just for twenty- and thirtysomethings. It's for kids of all ages. This December 31st, ignore your birth year, whatever it may be, and take advantage of the great fun these folks offer.
Children's Museum of Memphis
Get a jump on the New Year's celebration a day early with a countdown to noon in the Times Square exhibit at the Children's Museum of Memphis. Festivities include a magic show, karaoke, balloon animals, face painting, and more. New Year's events included with museum admission. Programs begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, December 30th.
2525 Central, 320-3170. www.cmom.com
Kids ring in the New Year at this Zoo Snooze slumber party. Ages 6 to 12 only. Kids get up close and personal with animals, tour part of the zoo on a moonlight safari, and, of course, count down to 2007. $50 members/$60 nonmembers. 6:30 p.m.-10 a.m.
2000 Prentiss Place, 276-WILD.
Playhouse on the Square
You never have to grow up at Playhouse on the Square: Festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. with food and drink, activities, and a special performance of Peter Pan beginning at 6:30 p.m. $35 adults/$20 children.
51 S. Cooper, 726-4656.
I resolve to kick back and take it easy.
Now's no time to relax. Lazing is what you do in August when it's too hot for ambulation. But New Year's Eve is for cutting the rug, shaking your tailfeather, and waving your hands in the air like you just don't care.
Irish New Year's Eves
I feel a Riverdance coming on. Don't fight it: Kick up your heels at Dan McGuinness' Wicked Irish Dance Party and enjoy the party favors and champagne toast at midnight, too. Or, at Celtic Crossing, enjoy a multi-course meal, champagne, live music with the Bob Salley Band, and a dance party later with a DJ. It all commences at 7 p.m. Reservations recommended. $35/person.
Dan McGuinness-Peabody Place, 150 Peabody Place, Ste. 115, 527-8500.
Celtic Crossing, 903 S. Cooper, 274-5151.
Woodland Hills Country Club
Adult singles can have themselves a semi-formal-dressed good time, nosh on hors d'oeuvres, and jam to some great live music at this New Year's Eve party and dance. $25/person.
10000 Woodland Hills Dr., Cordova, 754-2000.
Memphis Symphony Orchestra
I may have saved the best for last with this event, put on by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and held at the Cannon Center. It all kicks off at 8 p.m. as professional dancers instruct attendees on the ins and outs of waltzing. Next is a concert with the full symphony keeping with Old World traditions of music for New Year's. Soprano Joanna Mongiardo sings. Next is a double string quartet performing as everyone waltzes, be they beginners or seasoned vets. There'll be a flowing chocolate fountain -- my favorite kind -- and a champagne toast at midnight, Eastern Time. That's right, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra wants to help you beat the Beale Street throng and escape back home, or to the next party, by recognizing the Times Square ball drop. The whole event promises to be the most romantic thing going on in Memphis for the next 45 days, so put on your waltzing shoes.
Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, 255 N. Main, 537-2522.
Take a deep breath: The night's over. Be safe getting home. Drink lots of clear, nonalcoholic liquids. Curl up in a fetal position and pray that that other thing Bono said is true: "All is quiet on New Year's Day."