Valentines Day 2019…Let’s Do This!!

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All right people…it’s crunch time…8 days till Valentines Day.  And whether you love it or hate it, it will be in your face soon demanding your attention.  Allow me to help you with your Valentines Day plans…so whether you are celebrating the day before the big day, on the big day or after the big day, we have you covered!  Now on to the list….

  • Cosmic Skate Night at Midsouth Ice House Every Saturday night in February the MidSouth Ice House turns down the lights, turns up the music and brings out the disco ball for an event that is fun for the entire family. Can you say Black Light Couple Skating??!!
  • Maybe painting is more your thing.  Pitter Potter Studios is offering a special painting night for couples from 6pm-9pm on February 14th.  Reservations are required.
  • Phillip Ashley Chocolates is hosting the first Chocistry Experience Tasting of  2019 on February 14th from 7pm-9pm at Memphis Botanic Garden.  Enjoy eight designer chocolates paired with eight different wines and heavy hors-d’oeuvres.
  •  Romantic movie trivia will be going on at Pimentos, Maciel’s Highland and Memphis Made Tap Room are the places to be to test your trivia knowledge of all things Rom-Com!  February 14th at 6:30…this is a free event, but reservations are strongly suggested.
  • Have you always wanted to take a Memphis Riverboat Cruise?  The Valentines Day Dinner and Music Cruise is perfect for you!  The two-hour cruise will begin boarding at 6:30om and includes live jazz music and a delicious meal.  If you haven’t seen our Memphis skyline at night, this is the perfect opportunity!
  • Speaking of amazing views of the Memphis’ sky-line  The Lookout Restaurant located on top of the Pyramid is serving a special Valentines dinner.
  • Here is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate while giving to a very worthwhile cause.  The 4th No Show Ball is a fundraiser for the Forrest Spence Fund.  This wonderful non-profit helps support families of critically or chronically ill children by assisting with non-medical needs.  And guess what?  You don’t even have to leave your house for the ball!  They will deliver a meal for four in a cooler to your door (complete with wine or apple cider) on February 9th between 10am-1pm.
  • Celtic Crossing is hosting a special three-course dinner complete with chocolate hearts and piano music…all set in beautiful Midtown Memphis
  • Primas Bakery and Boutique has put together a Valentines Truffle Tasting on February 9th at 4 pm. Truffle flavors include Nutella, Salted Caramel, White Chocolate Rasberry, and Chocolate Peanut Butter.
  • Blue Suede Ballroom is offering a Valentines Day dance class on February 14th at 5 p.m, 6 p.m., and 7 p.m.  These 45-minute classes give you the opportunity to practice the Rumba, Tango, or Salsa.
  • The Memphis Shrine Circus starts on February 14th this year and runs through February 17th at the Agri Center Showplace Arena. A Valentines Day treat for the entire family!!
  • Woodruff-Fontaine is hosting a Galentine’s Day Tea complete with your favorite hat and fan!  Come celebrate in style on February 17th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m and have a proper afternoon tea along with a tour of the museum.
  • Felicia Suzanne’s is serving a fantastic three-course dinner complete with take-home chocolate dipped strawberries from Dinstuhl’s
  • Trolley Stop Market is throwing a Valentines’ Day Celebration that celebrates the love of family and friends. It will include face painting, door prizes, and even a movie and will be held on February 14th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

So there you have it, a variety of fun things to do to celebrate Valentine Day in Memphis and the Mid-South.  You need to make sure you call ahead and make reservations and or purchase tickets to ensure your spot.  What are your plans to celebrate this year?  If you have any other suggestions or ideas, please share them in the comment section below…Happy Celebrating!!!

Elmwood Cemetery….Your History Lesson Awaits

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I am guessing when you think of fun things to do in Memphis, visiting a cemetery isn’t something that you think of…that is unless you have been to Elmwood! Established in 1852 and placed on the National Register of historic places in March of 2002 it has become the final resting place to over 75,000 inhabitants including mayors, governors, madams, blues singers, suffragists, martyrs, generals, civil rights leaders, holy men and women, outlaws and millionaires, paupers and slaves. It is Memphis’ oldest active cemetery. They have guided tours throughout the year and an audio car tour is available to rent anytime. It is an amazing history lesson to both young and old alike. So check it out on the link below…it is truly a beautiful adventure!!
http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/

Explore..It’s Good For the Soul!

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 Although it might just be the turning of a calendar page, Januarys seem to be so much more than that. New beginnings, clean slates, fresh starts, who doesn’t love phrases like that?  So how about you?  Have you made any resolutions for the coming year?  Perhaps you have significant changes looming on the horizon.  Maybe a job change, a marriage and starting a family. Perhaps you are on the other side of this with retirement, empty-nesting, and downsizing.   But I would also like to present you with a challenge.  How about resolving to explore your community this year?  To truly find out about the fantastic city you live in; the history, the people, the architecture, the local shops and restaurants, the parks and trails, the music….all the beautiful things that make Memphis and the surrounding suburbs so incredible. If this sounds like an adventure you would like to embark on, I can help!  I love my city and many times use this blog and my social media pages to bring attention to many of the incredible events and opportunities offered.  I will also be reviewing local shops and restaurants in the coming months to bring attention to the talent and creativity the area has to offer.  This is where you, the reader, play a part in all of this.  If you see a business you would like to know more about or think others need to know about, let me know.  Know about an event or celebration going on in your community…drop me a line so I can share it with others.  Know of an individual that is doing something amazing and making a difference, let me know. We all know how fast bad news can travel, let’s prove good news can travel twice as fast!   Now, on to some January adventures….

  • Inspire Community Cafe 510 Tillman Street Suite 110 (Sam Cooper @Tillman)-I truly can’t say enough good things about this place!  They offer a fantastic menu of breakfast, lunch or dinner items, provide an environment of love and acceptance, pay all their employees a living wage and give 10% of net profits back to the community…that is a win/win if I’ve ever seen one!!  Check out the link above and give them a try….you will not be disappointed!
  • January 15-January 20 the Orpheum host the musical hit Waitress.
  • January 18th-February Theater Memphis will host Harper Lee’s timeless novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • If you are looking for something of a more adult nature, January 18th from 6:30-9:30 The Pink Palace will be hosting the 6th annual Science of Beer
  • Was getting more exercise and enjoying the outdoors part of your New Year’s goals?  If so the Wolf River 5k race is for you!  It will take place on January 19th at 8 am at Wolf River Greenway Trail Head on Humphries Blvd.  Proceeds will benefit the Wolf River Conservancy
  • And finally, one of my favorite days in the 901…MLK Days of Service.  This year there will be events taking place throughout the city January 18-January 21st.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to our city and serve alongside your family and friends.  Opportunities are child-friendly and show them that one person can make a difference.  I will cover this in more detail next week, but for now, check out this link for a more detailed listing of ways to get involved.

So get out there, explore your community and share with us, and your family and friends what a great place the 901 truly is!!

Lansky Brothers

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Lansky Brothers is known as The Clothier to the King…and for a good reason. Bernard Lansky, whose father loaned he and his brother $125 to start a store at 126 Beale in 1946, likes to say “I put his first suit on him and I put his last suit on him.” This, of course, referring to Bernard’s 25-year friendship with the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Lansky Brothers is now run by Hal Lansky, son of the late Bernard Lansky who passed away in 2012 at the age of 85. The original store located on Beale reopened in 2014, three years after the unveiling of the historical marker in front of the building that tells the story of the Lansky brothers role in music after World War II. The 1,700 square foot store includes memorabilia from the 72 years the store has operated in Memphis. This store along with the three stores located in the historic Peabody Hotel tells the story of Memphis music in a way that only Mr. Lansky could tell it. While you are shopping, check out the fantastic children’s book by Bernard’s granddaughter Julie Lansky “Come On In, Young Man.” This book, co-written with her father Hal Lansky tells the story of the family’s friendship with Elvis. The Lansky’s Brothers website is an excellent resource full of history and photos, plus some examples of their unique clothing lines that you can buy online, but, if at all possible, you need to make a trip to downtown Memphis and see Lansky’s in person…you won’t regret it!!

Bird’s Eye View…

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Did you know from 1959 thru 1970 Mud Island was a one runway airport?? Mud Island as we know it today opened in 1982. The River Museum was closed this summer as they plan for the next phase of the park’s history, but the scaled replica of The Mississippi River is still rolling right along!! If you have never seen this model, you need to go! This hydrologic model shows the river from Cairo Missouri and empties into one acre ”Gulf of Mexico ” that holds a whopping 1.3 million gallons of water(Bud Boogie Beach to old-time Memphians😊). Plus, as an added bonus, has some of the best views of the city’s skyline..one might say a bird’s eye view 😊

The Mid-South Coliseum​

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Mention the MidSouth Coliseum to any longtime Memphian, and they will immediately have a story for you. Either a concert they saw there, a graduation they attended, or my personal favorite, Monday Night Wrestling(but it is pronounced Rasslin😊). Built in 1963 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 2000. The 10,085 seat arena was also used as the home for the original Central Hockey League team the Memphis Wings from 1964-1969. When the league reformed in the early ’90s, it was the home of the Memphis Riverkings. The Memphis Rogues indoor soccer league also played their 1979-1980 season there. And let’s not forget all the Tiger basketball that was played there. And there are so many concert memories.  One of the few stops on the Beatles’ final American tour, the band played 2 concerts there on August 19,1966.  Elvis recorded Live on Stage in Memphis March 20th, 1974. The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Carpenters, Alice Cooper, Ozzie, John Denver, Shaun Cassidy, Prince, Tina Turner, Journey, Waylon, Willie, Merle, The Gap Band, The Boss, Bob Dylan…they all played at the Coliseum at one time or another.  If you lived in Memphis as a child/teen, it’s probably the place where you saw your first concert.  Mine was Shaun Cassidy in 1976.  So many great concert memories, from Barry Manilow riding an elephant in on “Copacabana,” to  AC DC firing a real cannon during “For Those About to Rock,” my best concert memories took place at 996 Early Maxwell Blvd.   The Coliseum closed in 2006 but has remained a subject near and dear to many people’s heart.

The Orpheum

29D4498D-F2D0-48AD-98C9-6C03EB5C14BADid you know the Orpheum theater was almost demolished in 1976?? The original structure, called The Grand Opera House, was built in 1890. It became known as the Orpheum in 1907 and was home of some of the finest Vaudeville acts in the south. This building burned to the ground in the famous fire of 1923. In 1928 it was rebuilt and reopened with much fanfare. The new building was twice the size of the original and built to show both live performances and silent movies. The building was purchased by M. A. Lightman for only $75,000 in 1940 and begin its run as a first-run movie theater. After over 30 years as a theater, the Orpheum showed its final film in 1976. Malco sold the building and plans were made to demolish it in favor of office space. Luckily, a group of concerned Memphis citizens formed the Memphis Development Foundation and purchased this treasure off the courthouse steps a year later. It was one of the first buildings in Memphis to be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The grand theater reopen in January 1984 and in the last 34 years has presented more Broadway touring productions on average than any other theater in the United States.  Another good Memphis save!

 

 

 

 

The Outings Project Comes to Memphis

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Julien de Casabianca has given Memphis something to talk about, and thankfully in a good way!  Known as the “Robin Hood of Street Art” he has taken his Outings Project to over 50 cities worldwide.  With filmmaker and artist in his title, Mr. de Casabianca has brought the community together with his beautiful wheat paste murals found in various sizes and locations around town.  The purpose of the project is simple, take these classic works of art off of museum walls and into the community where they will reach a wider audience and spark conversations that will last long after the murals are gone.

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Pellegrino di Mariano Rossini’s Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint.

The Outings Project is truly a community program.  The artist visited Memphis earlier in the year and met with people in the community from all walks of life to chose the 21 characters to “free” from the paintings and bring to life on buildings, signpost, and doorways around the city.  The result has been spectacular!

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La Femme en very (The Woman in Green)by Leon Bonhomme  

From beautiful Renaissance works such as this 6 story beauty located on E. H Crump Blvd:

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Painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1886,  At the Foot of the Cliff.

To Memphis’ own Carroll Cloar;

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And everything in between!

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Wilford Conrow Maser-El-Din Hoja

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Reading by the Brook by Winslow Homer

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Gladys by Abbott H Thayer

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Cori With Cat painted by Robert Henri

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Portrait of Bessie Vance by Katherine Augusta Carl

There are 21 of these beauties located all around town.  And all of them are in the permanent collection at Brooks Art Gallery in Memphis, so you can see the mural and then go see the original work of art!  Thank you Julien de Casabianca for bringing this amazing opportunity to Memphis!

Revitalize and Renovate

fullsizeoutput_27eThe word repurpose and renovate have become buzz words in our community.  After years of operating under the philosophy of new and modern is the only way to go, builders and developers are finally starting to see that repurposing and re-imagining a space has its place in growth as well.  We have seen this play out several times in recent years around our city. Sears Crosstown being one of the best examples, a crowing jewel in Memphis architecture and real estate.  We have another chance to save a beautiful building with a rich history.

 The William C. Ellis & Sons Ironworks and Machine Shop located at 241-245 S. Front opened in 1862.  When it closed in December of 2016, it had earned a place in Memphis history as the longest running family owned business in a single location.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.  Before closing it’s doors in 2016, a deal was brokered with the Carlisle Group who purchased the 137 year old property with plans to move forward on it’s “One Beale” development. It was rumored the building was to be demolished to make room for new luxury high-rises and a parking garage.  But Chase Carlisle listened to the pleas from Memphis Heritage, a non-profit that works to maintain architecturally and historically significant buildings in the Mid-South area.

Last Thursday night, Memphis Heritage hosted a tour and informative meeting inside the beautiful William C. Ellis & Sons Ironwork and Machine Shop. After touring the three buildings, those in attendance heard Chance Carlisle share his vision for this historic property. A032E3BE-4112-4A76-A5B6-B8F2360F4580The building above  with its gorgeous view of the Mississippi River and the iconic Hernando Desoto Bridge is slated to become a ballroom and event venue. With its high ceilings and beautiful brick archway, this will be an excellent addition to the Memphis downtown.4722762B-C81F-49D6-8E6C-1D2C303BDCF1 ThIs building is the original foundry storage building and is being discussed as being used for an upscale tavern/ whiskey tasking. The largest of the buildings, the machine shop, and garage that face Front Street(the first picture in this post) is being discussed for an open and airy conference room. By re-imagining this property and listening to suggestions from Memphians who loved this building and desired to see its rich history preserved, Carlisle LLC has joined the Memphis renovation revolution.

The Rebirth of Crosstown

Did you know that over the past 4 years Memphis has completed over 250 revitalization projects?? Just in the last few years we have seen The 19th Century Club, The Tennessee Brewery, The Chisca Hotel and Clayborn Temple all saved from demolition and repurposed. But my personal favorite revitalization and repurposing story happened just last year. Crosstown Concourse,or what we lifelong Memphians will always call it, Sears Crosstown. Built in only 180 days, Sears Crosstown opened August 27, 1927. At over 650,000 square feet this building was the largest building in Memphis to date. More than 1,000 people were employed to staff the retail store and process the 45,000 orders that came into the catalog center every day! At its peak it had an in-house hospital! As times changed,however, the way people shopped also changed. The retail store closed in 1983 and the catalog distribution center closed in 1993. After sitting vacant for more than 20 years, work began in 2014 to give this beautiful building a new lease on life. In 2017 the building reopened and has since won numerous architectural awards. There are restaurants, retail, businesses, a brewery, movie theater, soon to be high school, apartments…you get the picture…there is A LOT to do within these walls!! Scattered throughout the building are historical pictures and items salvaged during the renovations. It is a beautiful story of a city loving a building back to life…read more in the link below and put it on your list of things to explore in Memphis!!
http://crosstownconcourse.com/