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by Tim Sampson

thursday, june 10

Let me just tell you right now: I am in no mood for this. It's the first week of June, it's at least 200 degrees, there is no air-conditioning in the room I'm working in, no air-conditioning in my car, and I am about to go so totally frigging off that I am even scared of myself. But that's not the worst part. Yesterday, I was betting on horses. I know, the scariest part of that being that I was actually watching a horse race and keeping up with it. It's just like my recent interest in basketball. Not long ago I was in Oxford, Mississippi, at a bar -- which did not serve alcohol on Sundays, wretched county that that city is in, which prompted my friend and me to get back in the car and drive straight to Zinnie's -- watching the Utah Jazz playing and I was mesmerized. The tension. The overtime. The synergy. The crowd going wild. The big strappin' men with tattoos, all sweaty and jumping around like maniacs and hugging and patting each other. I never thought I would like basketball, but now I'm hooked. And I just love it when they make a touchdown. This was after going to South Memphis, a cemetery, two lakes, a horse farm, a place on Third Street that had pictures of hot wings painted on the outside of the building, and two terribly surreal golf course "communities" in Olive Branch, a place one really shouldn't frequent unless one has plenty of tranquilizers, or has been fortunate enough to have had at least a partial lobotomy. And you wonder why I wanted to torture that bartender in Oxford, who, by the way, was standing in front of a spinning margarita-filled contraption and a full bar when he announced that they didn't serve drinks on Sunday. And don't even get me started on going to Horseshoe Lake to a yard sale yesterday. Or about running into some of those alternative newsweekly people when they were in town, on the patio at a late-night establishment conversing with a man in women's clothing who kept reiterating that he was the "reigning Miss Mid-South." I feel certain I'm going to end up on the Jenny Jones show someday, having completely lost my mind. What tiny, tiny bit of it that's left. Anyway, back to this horse-racing business. There I am, waiting for this race to begin. It had something to do with the Belmont, though I'm not sure what. I know they have great cheeseburgers at the Belmont, and that it's about the coolest bar in East Memphis, but I didn't know they had anything to do with a horse race in New York. And they kept talking about the Belmont "stakes." I've never had a stake at the Belmont, but I'm sure it's good. At any rate, some friends decided to go over to Left Memphis, where they could place bets. So I laid out a tiny amount of cash and told them to place it on a horse for me. Can't even remember the stupid old nag's name. I say stupid old nag, because the horse lost. But that's not the real point. The point is that after my friends left, I found out that there was a horse in the race named the "Lemon Drop Kid." There I was, sitting in the lemon drop (world-famous shooter, for those of you who live in caves) capital of the world (yes, Zinnie's again), and it was too late to change my bet to a horse with a name that karma flung into my face like the Second Coming. And a horse, I might add, which, of course, won the race. It wasn't even the money I lost that bothered me. It was the fact that fate had once again mooned me unabashedly, as if to let me know that I will always be a big fat loser. And the absolute most tragic part of this whole sordid tale is that after the humiliating loss, a commercial came on, and it was Bob Dole talking about his erectile deficiency problem. Yes, the former presidential candidate and Ray Bolger look-alike was on national television talking about not being able to cop a woody. Now, how is that going to help his chubby-cheeked sickening wife in her run for the presidency, I ask? It's all too much. Way too much. It makes me want to go back to the golf course in Olive Branch and shout, "WHY IS GOD DOING THIS TO US?!!!" But I don't have the time or the emotional stability to go back, and I guess I'd better just get to the point of this whole mess: what's going on around town this week. And it's going to have to be brief. I am already short on space, it's hot as hell, and I'm just about up to here (I'm pointing at my chinless, unshaven neck) with all this nonsense. Tonight, there are two plays opening, one at Rhodes College and one at Theatre Memphis. Look 'em up yourself, because I just went outside to smoke a cigarette and I'm now in the process of having a full-blown heatstroke. Memphis-born jazz great Kirk Whalum is at the New Daisy tonight with some other musicians. You can see that crazy Vivian Leigh chomping on that carrot in Gone with the Wind at The Orpheum tonight. There's karaoke at the Brunswick Bartlett Bowling Lanes, for those of you who like a walk on the wild side now and then. The Amazing Rhythm Aces are at Newby's. And at the most fabulous little place in town, In the Grove, there's live music by Dr. Jay and Miss Diana.

friday, june 11

More theatre. This Is Not an Outlet (but a Real Live Wire), a play by the Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe, opens its weekend run tonight at Theatreworks. And there are art openings at: The Unknown Café, Albers Gallery, Lisa Kurts Gallery, Java Cabana, and at City Grocery on Front Street, where there's a little gallery/studio at the entrance that is really cool. If you're in Tunica, there's a concert by Lorrie Morgan at Sam's Town, and one by Starship at the Horseshoe Casino. For music here at home, Reba Russell is at the Black Diamond; Melina Almodovar and her samba band are at Automatic Slim's; and Dale Watson with Elena Sky & the Demolition String Band are at the Hi-Tone Café.

saturday, june 12

More art openings. One is at Otherlands, for an exhibit by Margie McSweeney; the other is at the U of M Art Museum, for "Max: 99," which features the work of the very talented Carlos de Villasante, among other notables. And if you're hungry and haven't been to the new Cheffie's yet in the Sanderlin Centre, by all means go. Now. You are going to freak out.

sunday, june 13

Rod Stewart at The Pyramid.

monday, june 14

Muchacha, Subteens, and Neckbones at Young Avenue Deli.

tuesday, june 15

Jekyll & Hyde opens at The Orpheum. And would someone please go to Side Street Bar and Grill and have the bartender, Greg, make you a martini so I can live my life in peace? Thank you.

wednesday, june 16

The Dempseys at Elvis Presley's, and Caliente at Newby's. And that is it. As always, I really don't care what you do this week, because I don't even know you, and unless you can get Bob Dole to stop talking about his flaccid penis on national television, I'm sure I never want to endure having to meet you. Besides, it's time for me to blow this hot box and go have, I mean bet on, a lemon drop.

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