We Recommend 

August 25 - 31, 2005

Thursday, 25

Well, now. This column, for me anyway, is sort of the end of an era. It’s the last time I’ll be writing this part of the paper, in which I try to offer up recommendations about what to do around town each week, and it’s probably a good thing for everyone, since I have become such a hermit that I don’t actually go anywhere other than work, my nearby neighborhood bar, and my other nearby neighborhood bar. Bands start too late for me. I can’t get to anything outside Midtown because it involves driving over viaducts. And my bedtime is 10 p.m. Since 1989, I’ve written this column almost every week, except for the weeks when I’ve been just too tired and out of it to do it. Or when the thought of someone actually thinking of making plans based on what I might recommend scared me too much. Oh, I’ve found and promoted some fairly interesting people, places, and things and have taken great delight in helping give them exposure in order for them to be more successful. And I have been, more often than not, sincere about wanting to let readers know about these things, whether free drinks and other forms of payola were in it for me or not. I can think of a few standouts. If any of you ever paid attention to my ramblings and visited the Big S Lounge and tasted the late Mr. Hardaway’s barbecue and drank the coldest beer on the planet from little milk glasses and listened to the juke box there that has perhaps the country’s best collection of R&B music loaded into a machine, I feel honored that you took me up on the tip and just hope that you got to meet not only Mr. Hardaway but also everyone else who ever sat in that magical place. If you’ve ever ordered a martini and lit a cigarette upstairs in the “Heaven Room” at Cielo in Victorian Village while Di Anne Price wails torch songs from her seat at the baby grand piano, you might just have a good idea of what it’s like to be in, well, heaven. Ditto for Mr. James Govan at Rum Boogie Café. In looking back at my bound volume of the first 52 issues of the Flyer, it appears that the first “We Recommend” column appeared in the second issue, on February 23, 1989, as a simple listing of some of the things going on around town that week. Not sure when it turned into a venue for bashing the right wing on a weekly basis, but at that time it was pretty harmless, innocent, and naive. It mentioned blues legend Mose Vinson playing a gig at the Oak Court Mall. What was up with that? It also featured, and I quote, “the National Field Trial Championship, the country’s foremost championship for bird dog competition. An annual event since 1896, pointers run 35 miles a day, sniffing out quail while followed by judges on horseback.” I must have still been in AA when I wrote that! In that same issue, longtime FM 100 deejay Tom Prestigiacomo (whose name I can still spell off the top of my head), in his “Let ’Em Cake! Birthdays” column, wished a happy b’day to “actor Jim ‘Lovey, I think I left my diamond cuff links in the lagoon’ Backus, born in 1913.” In that same issue of the Flyer, yours truly seriously reviewed a few artsy video releases but loosened up in the following edition with a thumbs-up salute to John Waters’ classic film Polyester, stating that “Housewife and mother Francine Fishpaw (played larger than life by the late Divine) becomes a dismal alcoholic when her porno-theater-owner husband runs off with the secretary; her teenage daughter gets pregnant in between go-go dances and decides to turn Hari Krishna rather than have an abortion; and her glue-sniffing teenage son turns out to be the infamous Baltimore foot-stomper.” It was like being set free to really write anything I wanted to convey. In that same issue, the evolving “We Recommend” column mentioned catching a show by comedian Dennis Phillippi (who is still not one bit right) and the opening night of a production of No, No, Nanette at Germantown High School’s Poplar Pike Playhouse. I think at that point I had dropped out of AA. Or at least I would like to believe that was the case. And then at some point during that first year of the Flyer, I became a real smart-ass, or at least took on that persona. And, unfortunately for many of you, I’ll still be writing that kind of column and it will appear on the inside back page of the paper. Maybe not every week and certainly not forever but as often as possible (starting next week) and until I’m either in prison or a nursing home. So, without further ado, and for the last time, here’s a quick look at what’s going on around town this week. At the Brooks Museum tonight, there’s Girls’ Night Out at the Brooks, a closing reception for “Patrick Kelly: A Retrospective,” with cocktails, door prizes, and hair and makeup demonstrations by Pavo Salon. And Vicky Loveland is playing at tonight’s Sunset Atop the Madison series.

Friday, 26

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There are some plays opening this weekend. Flip over to the “Theater” listings and you’ll find them! That’s what I always did, only I got them before you did! Art openings? Well, just check out the “Art Happenings” listing. They are all there. There are about a dozen or so and I — ha ha ha — don’t have to type them in! As for other fine entertainment, tonight’s Fresh Air Flicks Film Series movie is Make It Funky! and is showing outside on South Main next to Earnestine & Hazel’s. Yamagata is at the Beale Street Tap Room. The Gamble Brothers Band is at the Full Moon Club. And at the Blue Monkey Midtown, there’s a very special benefit tonight for the family of Holly Abbott, a dear, sweet Blue Monkey bartender who was killed a few weeks ago in a motorcycle accident. There will be live music by Los Cantadores, Susan Marshall, the Circus Bears, and other special guests. So come, donate, and support this event.

Saturday, 27

Tonight’s Hands on Memphis “Summer in the City” fund-raising party at The Orpheum features entertainment, a cocktail party, food, and a big silent auction of items including airline tickets, jewelry, artwork, hotel stays, and much more. Tonight’s Heartlight Gala at the Cannon Center to raise funds for Agape Child and Family Services features a live performance by Steven Curtis Chapman. Papa Top’s West Coast Turnaround is at the Buccaneer. And Drew Holcomb is at the Hi-Tone.

Sunday, 28

Di Anne Price & Her Boyfriends are at Huey’s Downtown this afternoon, followed tonight by the Soul Shockers. And Chip Googe and Dave Norris are at Café Ole.

Monday, 29

It’s the last Monday of the month, which means it’s time again for the Last Mondays in Studio A concert series at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Tonight’s show is by Barbara Blue and her five-piece band. 7-9 p.m.

Tuesday, 30

Preston Shannon at B.B. King’s.

Wednesday, 31

Court Square Concert Series from 5 to 8 p.m. with The Dempseys. And now I really must go. It’s been a great 16 years, and I need a drink. BIG TIME. I’ll be back next week, but in a different life.

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