Next year is going to be a great year. It has to be, because 2007 was disappointing at best. Sure, some good things happened. But somehow the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, a very brief Police reunion tour, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows really can't get rid of the Virginia Tech shootings, the never-ending war in Iraq, and Barry Bonds' continuing major-league career. Even locally, 2007 delivered a fractious mayoral election, and The Pyramid is still waiting for someone to pay its rent.
So, what exactly is it that's going to make '08 so great? For starters, it's a leap year, which is always fun; Indiana Jones should be returning to theaters in May; and the first new president in eight years will be elected in November. And the Olympics are in August. Come on. It's never a bad year when they hold the Olympics.
However, to make room for the utopian dreams of 2008, you need to cleanse your minds of the impurities of this one. December 31st is right around the corner, and no doubt many of you have begun considering how you'll spend New Year's evening. Well, we at the Flyer have prepared a list of party destinations. But what's more, we also have included some of those 2007 memories that we hope an evening of "holiday cheer," a few Advil, and an afternoon of football on January 1st will wipe from your memory permanently. Cheers!
Obnoxious 2007 Memory: Cable News Coverage of Anna Nicole Smith's Death
Purge: New Year's Eve Spectacular with Kallen Esperian at GPAC
The late Anna Nicole Smith loved attention. But even she would have been outraged by the weeks of nonstop cable drivel on her untimely death. So, as a remedy for the most obnoxious news coverage of the year, we recommend a drive to the Germantown Performing Arts Centre, where Kallen Esperian, along with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, will ring in the New Year with music that will shove even the most relentless talking head out of your head.
Tickets are $75 plus handling. Call the GPAC box office, 751-7500, for more info.
Troubling 2007 Memory: The U.S. Economy
The dollar has seen better days. Dropping consistently against the euro, competing in the booming Asian markets, and suffering from a troubled housing market and high oil prices at home, the greenback has taken quite a beating this year. What better way to both celebrate the New Year and reinvest in the economy than an evening down at "the Boats"?
Hollywood Casino has a great New Year's Eve lineup. Buy the two-night hotel package for $299, dine on a four-course meal at Fairbank's Steakhouse for $125, then join Andy Childs in the Safari Lounge for live music, champagne, and a countdown and balloon drop at midnight. Roll out of bed before 2 p.m. and order a mimosa with brunch at the Epic Buffet.
For Hollywood hotel and dinner reservations and information, call (800) 871-0711.
Sam's Town also is offering its New Year's revelers a big time. Eat all day on New Year's Eve at the Great Buffet or sit down for dinner at Twain's Steakhouse or Smoky Joe's Café. Join Pat Sullivan & One Night Stand in the Atrium or catch the country beat of Mickey Utley & J Jam Inc. at Roxy's Live. There's a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight, and guests can eat breakfast at the crack of dawn or brunch until 3 p.m.
For Sam's Town hotel and dinner reservations and information, call (800) 946-0711.
Aggravating 2007 Memory: Hannah Montana and High School Musical
Purge: Take the kids to the Children's Museum or the Memphis Zoo Snooze.
Let's be honest: We're glad they keep the kids happy, but these two pre-teen hits are as vapid as they come. So get involved with the kids at the Children's Museum in the afternoon or have an evening away from it all at the Memphis Zoo.
The Children's Museum of Memphis is celebrating 2008 with an afternoon of noisemakers, karaoke, and a parade to "Times Square" for a bedtime-friendly countdown to the New Year at noon.
Cost is free with museum admission. For more info, call 320-3170.
On December 31st, the Memphis Zoo is opening its gates after hours to families, church groups, scout troops, and other organizations for an evening of nocturnal adventure. The Zoo Snooze offers 6- to 12-year-olds a night safari, games and learning activities, and a warm, indoor sleeping space to "camp out" at night. Security will be around the clock, and in the morning after a continental breakfast, snoozers are free to tour the zoo.
Cost is $50 per member child, $60 for nonmember children. For more info and to register, call 333-6572.
Ridiculous 2007 Memory: O.J Simpson's Armed "Memorabilia" Robbery
Purge: Downtown Hotel Galas
As if we wanted to hear anymore from O.J Simpson, in September, the former Heisman Trophy winner and three other men, all armed, burst into a Las Vegas hotel room to "reclaim" sports memorabilia from Simpson's tarnished football career. "O.J," one witness reported thinking at the time, "how could you be so stupid?" So, head down to the Madison Hotel or The Peabody for New Year's Eve parties and celebrate the freedom that comes with being a law-abiding citizen.
The Peabody New Year's Eve party has become one of the best attended in the city. Start the evening off with dinner packages from Chez Philippe or the Capriccio Grill and then join an estimated 4,000 partygoers in the hotel's lobby, dancing 2007 into the history books to the sounds of Cowboy Mouth, Lord T & Eloise, and DJ Party Train. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door.
Dinner is by reservation only. For Chez Philippe, call 529-4188; for Capriccio Grill, call 529-4199.
At the 83 Lounge inside the Madison Hotel, guests can spend the evening at the carved-ice martini bar and for $83 dine on gourmet hors d'oeuvres, regaled by the music of the critically acclaimed Amy LaVere. The hotel also offers dinner at Grill 83 for $80, not including tax and gratuity, and hotel rooms starting at $440.
For the Madison Hotel, dinner reservations, and info, call 333-1200.
Unsurprising 2007 Memory: The U.S. Movie Box Office
Purge: Boscos Squared
This year in movies left many fans of the cinema disappointed. While some true diamonds shined, they shined in a very murky rough. A discussion of this year's releases is, of course, replete with as many opinions as there are moviegoers. But for every dollar wasted and every hour lost, Boscos Squared — where many meet before meeting their movie fate at Malco's Studio on the Square — will make up in a matter of minutes on New Year's Eve. The microbrewery will have eight choices of award-winning beers on tap, a special menu, Lynn Cardona singing, and champagne at midnight. This will be the perfect place to forget that you saw Norbit.
For information, call Boscos Squared at 432-2222.
Embarrassing 2007 Memory: President Bush's "[Nelson] Mandela's dead."
Purge: Dinner Out on the Town
President Bush's gaffes have come to be like knock-knock jokes, even when he is saying that the late Saddam Hussein has killed world leaders who are still alive. (Now would be a good time to reflect on two things about Bush's quips: They are unscripted, and he has actually said them.) So, as 2008 rolls in, celebrate the guarantee of a new leader over dinner before painting the town red ... or blue.
Esplanade's New Year's Eve gala will feature music by Almost Famous, a premium cash bar, hors d'oeuvres, and bubbly at midnight. $75 at the door. 901 Cordova Station, 753-3333
Make your way to the Majestic Grille on Main Street for dinner specials, live music all evening, and champagne at midnight. 145 S. Main, 522-8555
Circa's New Year's Eve celebration will offer an impressive meal and live jazz. $150 (includes wine). 119 S. Main, 522-1488
Encore will offer a four-course prix fixe menu for $65, which includes a midnight champagne toast, as well as their regular menu offerings. Jim Wenger and the Jim Spake Duo will provide live music. 150 Peabody Place, 528-1514
Pearl's Oyster House will offer a prix fixe, four-course menu starting at $50 with free admission to the downstairs party featuring DJ Andy Boone and complimentary champagne at midnight. 292 S. Main, 522-9070
WTF? 2007 Memory: Britney Spears' MTV Video Music Awards "Performance"
Purge: Memphis Rock-and-Roll
No need to mention the above performer at all other than to say that it's about frickin' time. Let the pop idols self-destruct. This New Year's Eve head out into the town that invented rock-and-roll, find a cutie, and rock out. The shows go on all night all over town. Give "The Man" the finger one last time in 2007 (before you go buy that new iPod with the Christmas money your parents gave you).
Lucero tops the bill at the Young Avenue Deli New Year's Eve bash. Pick from one of the best beer selections in the city and enjoy the sights. Glossary and Ghostfinger will open for the hometown alt-country rockers. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Murphy's will make your ears bleed for one last time in 2007 with Mouserocket, Evil Army, and the Red Mollies. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $10.
The Hi-Tone lets you rock out your New Year's in the very building where Kang Rhee taught Elvis to kick. Jack O and the Tearjerkers headline with Moto and the Perfect Fits opening. Doors open at 9 p.m. The cover is $8.
Newby's will get the Highland strip rowdy with On a Dead Machine, Stonecreek, and Perspective on the bill. The doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $10.
FUBAR: Everything Else
Purge: Beale Street
From rampant wildfires, to invisible tanks, to the entire Bush administration, there is a plethora of noteworthy detritus that could make its way onto this list. And so for everything we'd rather forget about this year, there's Beale Street. Whatever your poison, the Birthplace of the Blues is bound to provide it.
New Year's Eve on Beale is huge. With every venue packed with partiers, live music at Handy Park, and unending food and drink specials, there will be enough noise, dim lighting, and eye candy to scrub every unwanted memory of 2007 from your brain.
So grab a Diver from Silky's and find someone to smooch at midnight. But be careful: Don't start 2008 with a bad memory you'll carry around for the rest of the year.