The fourth annual Memphis Flyer Burger Week is happening right now. So run, scoot, or ride this very minute to one of the 23 restaurants around town offering burger specials for $5.99 through July 16, 2019.
What exactly is the Memphis Flyer Burger Week?
The Memphis Flyer Burger Week is when you can get burgers at local restaurants for cheaper than usual, $5.99 to be exact. Also, the Flyer’s current issue is all about local chefs and their favorite local burgers, so pick that up.
Participating eateries include a bunch of the Huey’s and Tops locations, Slider, Bardog, Farmburger, LBOE, and Memphis Mojo Cafe. A few of my personal favorites – Flying Saucer downtown and Wimpy’s – are on the list, too.
Graceland is now officially at lot more than just the famous Mansion that was home to Elvis Presley for decades. Across the street, you’ll find Elvis Presley’s Memphis, an entertainment complex with casual restaurants, a museum, and the Presley Motors Automobile Museum.
As of May 2019, the Graceland Exhibition Center also offers exhibition rooms with rotating displays that change out every few months, plus plenty of space for event rentals.
Photo by Alex Shansky
The first three exhibits include artifacts and interactive museum-like spaces that are all family friendly. I checked it out a few weeks ago.
I think motorcycle fans will enjoy all the historic bikes on display in Century of the American Motorcycle room, and I think kids will like the fun Nat Geo interactive stuff in the Earth Explorers room.
I was most impressed with the Mohammed Ali exhibit, which was extremely well-designed and full of fascinating artifacts from Ali and information on his career and political activism.
The Graceland Exhibition Center is open 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call ahead for New Year’s Day hours.
There’s a new “Jungle Room” bar area and a dining hall with stuff like burgers and burritos, plus plenty of space for receptions, parties, dinners, retreats, etc.
For a limited time, your ticket to Graceland includes free admission to these exhibits. They have not said when this offer will expire, but you can check out the most very up-to-date information here.
Here are the three inaugural exhibits.
Greatest Of All Time: Muhammad Ali through September 15, 2019
Description provided by Graceland: An exhibition celebrating Muhammad Ali’s incredible rise from humble beginnings to becoming the three-time heavyweight champion of the world and “The Greatest of All Time.” Discover the true story behind the most recognizable sports figure of the 20th century. Experience the thrill of the fights and be mesmerized by both the grace and power of Ali the boxer and the incredible amount of hard work, dedication and personal sacrifice that went into Ali’s battles both in and out of the ring.
Explore the life of Muhammad Ali through his personal artifacts and experience his story through immersive photo opportunities. Presented by Muhammad Ali Enterprises, the exhibit features more than 100 artifacts, including rare photographs, championship belts, boxing shorts and gloves, ticket stubs and programs dating back to the 1960s, and other objects intended to share Ali’s unique story.
National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers
through September 9, 2019
National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers is a highly interactive, hands-on, family-friendly exhibition that allows visitors to learn and use methods employed by Nat Geo explorers in the field. Exhibit visitors will embark on an epic adventure through six themed and immersive environments to discover new species; study animal behavior; and learn about the important roles that technology, innovation, and ingenuity play in making and documenting explorers’ discoveries.
Visitors will take a simulated ride on a hot air balloon to record the migration of herds across Africa and go undersea in a deep-sea submersible to survey life at all levels of the water column—from abundant coral reefs to deep-sea thermal vents. National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers will showcase the work of some of the most innovative and exciting National Geographic explorers.
A Century of the American Motorcycle through November 23, 2019
Ever since the invention of early bicycles, people have searched and experimented with various ways to make transportation more automated and faster. Although putting a motor on a bicycle was deemed crazy at the time, centuries later the motorcycle has become a social and cultural symbol, a symbol of freedom that has found an enduring place in America.
The first motorcycles are almost to humble in style. No one could have predicted or even dreamed what these machines, these pieces of art, would become today. This exhibit, curated by the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, explores a century of developers, inventors, and dreamers that pushed the envelope on what two wheels can do. This is a century of the American motorcycle.
Graceland Exhibition Center ticket prices:
$16 – adults
$14.40 – seniors and students
$8 – youth 7-12
$5 child 3-6
free child 2 and under
Buy tickets online here. This doesn’t include any of the other exhibits or the Mansion tour. You can also get a family four pack with two adult and two youth tickets for $38 on site.
Graceland Exhibition Center
Memphis, Tennessee 38116
Happy holiday weekend Memphis! I hope you’ve enjoyed some fireworks and parades this week (if you’re reading this on Thursday, check out what’s going on tonight here) but don’t worry – the fun’s just getting started. Here are the five things you won’t want to miss in Memphis this weekend.
– Enjoy a Memphis patio If you suffer from patio addiction despite the heat, there are a few spots that have gone out of their way with misters and fans to make their patio a little more palatable: Slider Inn, the Bayou, Aldo’s in midtown, Celtic Crossing, and Loflin Yard.
I’m looking for more. Let me know if you know of any patios with great fans and misters.
Click here for a full list of places to enjoy patios in Memphis (including info about which ones are Fido-friendly).
Also, the Pink Palace has 3D movies in their CTI Giant Theater.
– Play inside
There are plenty of places to play inside that the kids (or kids-at-heart) especially will love. Rec Room and Main Event are two good options for arcades and games. Try laser tag and arcade games at Golf ‘n’ Games on Summer, indoor trampolines at SkyZone or Jumping World USA, and tons of activities like arcade games, go-carts, and laser tag at Incredible Pizza in Cordova or Main Event Entertainment.
Live music inside in the AC? Yes please. Check out The B-Side which is inside the Minglewood Hall complex in midtown. They opened late 2018 and have plenty of live shows from local bands, plus friendly bartenders and fun snacks. The Green Room at Crosstown Arts is inside the Crosstown Concourse building, and they have a truly diverse, eclectic lineup of music and DJs most days of the week. Stop in that Art Bar while you’re there, too.
What are some other ways you’re keeping cool during this gorgeous Mid-South summer?
Originally published June 2017. Updated July 2019.
There’s a lot to explore in downtown Memphis’ first neighborhood: The Pinch District. I recently spent the day visiting just a few of the local restaurants and checking out the up-and-coming area. This mini guide will give you a taste of the fun and good food you can have here.
First things first:
Where Is The Pinch?
Simplest way to put it: The Pinch is downtown by the Pyramid. In general, includes the Cook Convention Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is bordered by Keel Avenue, 2nd Street, and A.W. Willis on the north and northeast.
There is a ton of parking in The Pinch. Just look around on the street, or look for a public lot. There are also several Explore Bike Share stations, so you can bike over from another neighborhood. Usually, the Main Street trolley line will take you to and from The Pinch, but right now that line is stopped during construction on the Cook Convention Center.
You can read more about the history of The Pinch and where it got its name here.
You can start off your day in The Pinch at Comeback Coffee, the neighborhood’s newest addition. Opened by local couple Hayes and Amy McPherson in March 2019, the hip and friendly shop serves third-wave coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and more. There are plenty of comfy seats inside (with outlets!), a spacious courtyard, and a finished alley where they host occasional events and music.
You know why so many millennials love avocado toast? Because it’s delicious. Try it at Comeback Coffee, where it comes with homemade crusty bread, ample avocado mash, and slices of cucumber, strawberry, radish, and cherry tomato.
Comeback Coffee is open 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. They serve breakfast until 1 p.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Next up, it’s a Memphis institution. A Memphis bucket list restaurant. Downtown’s soul food headquarters: Alcenia’s. Opened by BJ Chester-Tamayo in 1997, the restaurant has been featured on the Food Network, the TODAY show, and countless other shows and magazines.
Alcenia’s is your destination when you need food for your belly and your heart. BJ greets everyone who walks in the door with a hug and hospitality in a colorful, homey environment. Fried chicken, catfish, meatloaf, mac ‘n’ cheese, greens, yams, slaw, spaghetti, and much more are on the menu, which has daily specials. Every plate is made to order by hand, and every plate is worth the wait.
Earlier in 2019, the future of Alcena’s was uncertain due to concern over the building’s lease. But let me make it clear: Alcenia’s is OPEN for business and BJ and her staff are serving up exactly what you need.
When I was there, a table of guys from Knoxville were raving over their fried catfish, a couple of local ladies enjoyed a leisurely lunch and chatted with the staff, and we ordered some catfish ourselves since it was National Catfish Day.
Alcena’s is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Read more about Alcenia’s here.
Another option for lunch in The Pinch District is downtown Memphis is Ferraro’s Pizza & Pub. This spot, opened by Andrea Ferraro in 2010, serves pizza and Italian favorites in a casual, old-school vibe. They have daily specials, including a $9.95 pizza and pasta buffet lunch buffet on Tuesday.
As luck would have it, I walked in during lunch on a Tuesday and every booth and table was filled with folks chowing down on pizza, baked spaghetti, ravioli, mac ‘n’ cheese, and salad.
Ferraro’s also delivers to midtown and downtown, and serves beer. My curiosity and appetite were piqued by signs for the “Cheesy Corner”, which is supposed to be coming soon either as a part of Ferraro’s menu or connected to it. I’ll be sure to update y’all on that if I learn anything new.
Ferraro’s is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Read more about it here.
It’s time for another downtown Memphis institution. Another Memphis must. The perennial favorite, the always-there-when-you-need-it, Westy’s. I walked in during the late afternoon and watched as the booths and bar filled up steadily with people through happy hour. “It feels like Cheers in here,” my friend said. She’s right. The place feels like the kind of place you could be a regular. And of course, people are.
Owner Jake Schorr opened the current iteration of the Westy’s pub and restaurant in 1983 and has been serving visitors, Memphians getting off work, and late night diners ever since. Mr. Schorr has always been an advocate for Memphis, singing its praises to anyone who would listen and remaining a steady presence in the Pinch for decades.
The menu at Westy’s would make a great beach read, honestly. We went with loaded potato skins, and one of the Wild Rice dishes (I think it was #10. There are 30 different options…) and then we had to try the infamous Jake’s Original Hot Fudge Pie. This pie is immortalized by multiple vintage-style signs around the property, including this interesting one of a little girl.
Turns out the portrait wasn’t that much of an exaggeration.
Westy’s downtown is open every day from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and do late night delivery. They also have a midtown delivery location.
What Else Is In The Pinch?
This is only a sampling of places to go in The Pinch. St. Jude’s campus is there and undergoing a billion dollar expansion that will certainly bring more businesses to the area. The Bass Pro Pyramid is there. The Balinese Ballroom is a unique wedding and event venue.
Ed. Note: Contributor Wesley is here to tell us all about a new project coming from a group of MCA alumni – and they need our support to get this project done! Their Kickstarter is only until July 4th at 9 a.m. so time is running out. Donate here and get all kinds of fun things – including their 170-page color anthology, enamel pins, t-shirts, and more.
A group of Memphis College of Art alumni are coming together to produce Paper Cuts—a comic anthology of over 170 color pages created by 16 artists living across the country. Spearheaded by Art Director Elliot Boyette and Editor Shane McDermott, both MCA alumni, the project was brought to Kickstarter to raise money for the printing and shipping of physical copies that’ll hopefully find a nice new home on your bookshelf.
The comics included range from post-apocalyptic fast food chain restaurants, to cavemen on a wooly mammoth hunt and apes telling jokes, to gunslinging witches, and other stuff I can’t wait to read.
I sat down with Elliot, Shane, and Paper Cuts contributors Olivia Logan and Mathis Ryan at the cafe in Crosstown Arts to talk about bringing Paper Cuts from conception to completion.
Elliot Boyette is a graphic designer for the City of Memphis and Paper Cuts’ Art Director
Shane McDermott is a former Memphis College of Art professor and Editor of Paper Cuts.
Wesley: You were all independent working artists before deciding to collaborate. What are some of the benefits of doing an anthology versus instead of trying to release stuff individually?
Elliot: I think that’s a divided approach, when you go individual. It’s hard to get attention for a new artist just starting out, and a lot of us were just coming out of college and still are. We were inspired by Kazu Kibushi’s Flight anthology, and a lot of those people are big name artists now who got their start with an anthology. So as a way to start our comics careers, we thought we’d come together and make a book with everybody in it.
Mathis: It’s good to either start a new project with a one-off or just do a palate-cleanser. It’s a good excuse to just create, and a lot of people kind of needed it. I know I did.
Olivia: In the unstructured life that came after the structure of school, it kind of gave us a purpose that wasn’t a vague goal that was unlikely to happen.
Wesley: When did the idea of creating a comics anthology come about?
Elliot: The project’s been kinda going on since 2014 or 2015 I think. We started having these meetings at Memphis Pizza Cafe where we brought in all these people that were interested in being a part of it. It was very fun and loose, no name idea, no nothing, let’s just get together, make comics, and see what happens. From there, we were breaking up into groups, making stories, come back every once in a while, have another pizza meeting, and then talk about what was going on.
Olivia: The name was probably the one thing we deliberated on for the longest amount of time. For the full three years.
Mathis: You would think that a big group of creative people would be able to name one thing easily.
Wesley: Is there an overarching theme in the anthology between stories, or is it a collection of non-connected stories?
Shane: In the beginning, we intentionally decided against having a theme. A lot of the anthologies we were looking at did have themes, but I figured since this is our first foray into this, let’s just see what we can do, put it all together, and let it be its own thing.
Elliot: I guess the theme is it being a mixtape of everything we’ve wanted to write comics about.
Some Paper Cuts panels from illustrator Robert Burns’ comic
Wesley: I feel like comics in particular are more accessible to new career artists because you don’t necessarily have to be a master illustrator to make a good comic, since the narrative is just as important as the art. Does that make sense?
Olivia: Definitely. For example, Questionable Content is a webcomic I’ve been following for about ten years at this point, and when the guy started out, he sucked. You’ve watched him grow as the years have gone by, but everyone came for the writing and jokes, basically.
Elliot: Which is funny, because there are a lot of comics that are just gross to look at or neutral to look at, but the writing’s so good. There aren’t many comics that I know of that look really good, but you just hate reading them.
Wesley: Are there any dedicated writers on your team?
Olivia: It was all very free, choosing how we wanted to put this thing together. There were people who decided to team up on one story, but there were several of us who did it all.
Elliot: I think there are three writer-artist teams. There’s Angel Bonesteel with Rory, Chris Haley with Lan Pitts, who’s actually done some work for Boom Studios. And Robert Burns has a writer buddy, Tyler.
Wesley: You brought the project to Kickstarter, which as of now has raised a little over $3,700 of its $12,800 goal. How else are you getting the word out about Paper Cuts?
Shane: We’re looking at other things now, like ads we’re going to take out and press releases we’re going to send. Bleeding Cool emailed me last night asking me to write something in the first person for their site basically talking about the project and linking to other work. So I cranked out this article in three hours that went up a couple hours actually. Elliot and I talked about not milking the whole “MCA is closing” thing, but as I was writing, I was feeling really connected to the school and to our friends, so I definitely turned that up a bit.
Wesley: Speaking of which, how does Memphis College of Art closing up affect this process?
Shane: We started talking about Paper Cuts late 2015, just under a year before the school announced it was gonna close. At the time, our connection was MCA, but we weren’t broadcasting that it was this MCA thing because we were open to bringing in other people from the community as well. But once the school announced that it was closing, there was this collective feeling of, “Oh, well we kinda want this to be a tribute to the school and the programs.” It’s definitely heartbreaking.
Editor Shane McDermott is also contributing a story to the anthology—here’s a page from him.
Wesley: But artists nationwide are contributing to this, right? Or is it just MCA alumni?
Shane: There are 16 of us total, 3 of us aren’t MCA alums.
Olivia: And there are people living all over contributing to this even though we’re centered in Memphis.
Wesley: Is there another plan if the Kickstarter doesn’t reach its goal? Have you worked with any other agencies or organizations in Tennessee to get Paper Cuts out there?
Shane: We’re not out to make money on this. If it made any extra money we talked about distributing it amongst the artists, but ultimately we just want Paper Cuts to exist as a physical book. We want it to be on bookshelves. There are other things we could do, like Amazon’s CreateSpace print-on-demand thing. Maybe get a grant to get it printed and then sell it in local shops or something. Part of the reason the Kickstarter goal is so high is, not only are we printing it, we have to get it shipped here from China, and then shipped to all of our backers.
Mathis: Sponsors and grants are cool and everything, but the real goal we want is books in hands. So instead of people being independent contributors and just covering the cost, we want people to actually have it. We’re making something we want to give to people. Money is cool, but even if we just end up giving it to 90 people, it’s like, I hope those 90 people like it.
Shane: I’m not opposed to just making .pdfs and giving it to everyone if the Kickstarter doesn’t make it. Then if people want printed copies, we could try again.
Wesley: Anything else you’d like to add?
Shane: I wanna throw some kudos to our contributors. I may have gotten the ball rolling in the beginning, but these guys were talking about doing this a long, long time ago, way before I said, hey, let’s finally do it. Especially after the MCA announcement, I’ve dropped the ball on this and it shifted to the backburner for me, but Elliot has kept it on track. He’s really the heart and soul behind the Kickstarter campaign. Olivia got her comic done really, really early on. It’s a 100 percent collaborative effort, we’re peers, and we’re all equal in this endeavor.
Here are some very important links to check out if you’d like to support Paper Cuts:
Wesley Morgan Paraham is a Memphis native and University of Memphis graduate who spends most of his free time in his Midtown apartment playing video games with his partner. He’s currently DCA‘s PR+Social Media Coordinator.
Happy Friday, Memphis! Here are the five things you won’t want to miss in Memphis this weekend. Making plans for July 4th next week? Check out the Independence Day guide for all the parades, parties, and fireworks you can handle.
The Levitt Shell has released a preview of their fall 2019 lineup, which starts on August 31 and includes two very exciting Shell Yeah! ticketed shows.
Memphis’ Levitt Shell In Action
First, the Shell puts on more than 50 “free” shows per year. I use quotes around “free” because it’s free for our community, but it still costs money to upkeep the state-of-the-art historic facility and to pay all of the artists and professionals that make this one of the best things to do in Memphis.
Let’s keep it up and running and keep it free by making sure we make a donation this year. Another way to support is to buy a ticket to the new Shell Yeah! concert series. This fall, the two Shell Yeah! shows are Jason Isbell on September 6 and Ben Folds on October 4.
Note that for Shell Yeah! shows, you can’t bring pets, coolers, drinks, etc., but that’s so the rest of the year, you can bring all those things. There are food trucks and a bar at every show, if you don’t want the hassle of packing up a picnic.
All shows start at 7:30 p.m. sharp unless otherwise noted.
Here’s the full schedule:
8/31 Stone Soul Picnic (special schedule 12pm-7pm)
9/6 Shell Yeah! Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit (ticketed event, show at 8 p.m.)
9/12 Rob Baird
9/13 Opera Memphis
9/14 The Dip
9/15 Wealthy West
9/19 Los Colognes
9/20 Jack Oblivian & Some Sheiks
9/21 Sam Lewis
9/22 Aztec Sun
9/26 Yola Carter
9/27 The War & Treaty
9/28 Rhodes College Night (featuring Charlie Wood)
9/29 Rudi Scheidt School of Music
10/3 Trout Steak Revival
10/4 Shell Yeah! Ben Folds (ticketed event, show at 8 p.m.)
Full disclosure—my dear friend Leo Ramos plays bass in this band, so it’s kinda cheating listing it here, but I don’t care because General Labor rocks hard and puts on a great show. It seems like every few years synthcore enjoys a bit of a revival, and even though one band may not count as a comeback, one band is all it takes. General Labor played the small room at the Hi Tone in May, and it was very high energy. Check out some footage of that below.
The Levitt Shell is hosting Orquesta Akokán, a mambo big band made up of seasoned musicians from Havana, Cuba and New York. There’s so much spirit and joy in these songs that you’ll be pulled to your feet then dance in the street, so lucky for us The Shell has plenty of room to move. Set your belts to “M” for mambo and come dance.
Daptone Records introduces: Orquesta Akokán (Trailer) - YouTube
One of the best parts about doing this column are the “oh snap really????” moments. I didn’t know Built to Spill was playing in Memphis this month until a few days ago, and now I have something great to look forward to. Seeing 90s rock bands get up on stage in 2019 and really bring it warms my heart, and Built to Spill is one of the best. Watch any performance of theirs from the last few years and you’ll see that they’ve still got it.
A while back I bet my Facebook friends a buck that they couldn’t name a worse song than Hall & Oates’ “Maneater”. I ended up paying out—Kokomo by The Beach Boys—but not before someone mentioned Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, the sonic disaster unleashed upon YouTube in 2011, and that she was opening for Man Man, a pretty solid band that was a bonafide indie success in the aughts. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.
HEELS is one of the hardest-working bands in the city. They play two to three shows a month in Memphis alone and have an obsessive, meme-happy following. Between the two members Josh McLane and Brennan Whalen, you’ve got years of stage experience which translates to a live show that’s both incredibly knuckleheaded yet highly professional. For their album release, they’ll be joined by four other musicians, effectively creating a HEELS tribute band featuring the actual members of HEELS.
Rosey, led by longtime Memphis singer-songwriter Michaela Caitlin, is celebrating the release of their EP A Great Day to be Swallowed by a Whale by playing a show with Louise Page & Faux Killas. Page and Faux Killas will round it out some intimate pop and honest garage rock. Three unstoppable bands at the ever-improving Lamplighter Lounge (s/o to Laurel & Chuck~) for a suggested donation of $5. And that doesn’t mean free, cheapskates.
Avon Dale brought their Midwestern Americana flare to Memphis in 2013, and have since enjoyed becoming part of Memphis’ music scene. To show some love, they’ve curated a concert series called Bluff City Boogie, which showcases some of Memphis’ best roots rock, blues, Americana, and others. It kicked off in May, but it continues in July starting on the 13th with Alice Hasen at the Hi Tone. Check the Facebook event linked above for more dates and times.
On top of being a celebrated actor, writer, and director, Billy Bob Thornton can also hold a tune. He leads The Boxmasters, a bluegrass trio that, in my limited experience with bluegrass, sounds very good! See them at the Tin Roof Downtown, and if they’re taking requests, make sure you ask if they got any o’them french fried potaters.
Louise Page Silver Daughter Album Release Show w/ Crystal Shrine and Mama Honey at 1884 Lounge at Minglewood Hall
8 p.m., $15
Photo by Chloe Littefield
Louise Page is a prolific Memphis singer-songwriter whose second EP Simple Sugar released last year to some fanfare, including write-ups in the Memphis Flyer and Focus. Her piano and vocals lead a band which features, brass, strings, and percussion, which make for some pretty experimental and confessional chamber pop. She’ll be celebrating the release of her debut album Silver Daughter with Crystal Shrine, the southern gothic rock project by fellow Memphis musician Kelley Anderson, and Mama Honey, a punk-influenced blues rock trio led by guitarist and singer Tamar Love. Tickets for this aren’t on sale yet, but check Minglewood’s calendar for when they do.
Don Trip is a certified Memphis success story. Named an XXL Freshman in 2012, alongside underground hero Danny Brown and trap superstar Future, then enjoying success as both a label and independent artist, Don Trip has released at least one mixtape or album every year since 2009, several of which have received positive reviews from publications such as Pitchfork, USA Today, and even Robert Christgau (he gave Step Brothers Two three stars!!). His music is His latest release in March, Don’t Feed the Guerrillas, features fellow Memphis rappers Kevo Muney and the perennial Juicy J.
Don Trip “Where I Come From” ft. Kevo Muney (Official Music Video) - YouTube
A group of lofi DJs are going to create some serious a e s t h e t i c at Growlers this month. Come play some video games, watch some anime, and just relax. It’s hard to explain the appeal of lofi hip hop because “It reminds me of Saturday night on [adult swim]” is esoteric and “It helps me focus on cleaning my apartment” just sounds lame. Which is why I’m not going to try to convince you to go to this, you should already know if you want to or not. And that’s okay.
About The Author
Wesley Morgan Paraham is a Memphis native and University of Memphis graduate who spends most of his free time in his Midtown apartment playing video games with his partner. He’s currently DCA‘s PR+Social Media Coordinator.