Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hoofin' it on Beale Street

Chris' birthday fell on the Saturday that we were in Memphis and he wanted to check out some blues music on Beale Street. Since it's right off of the Mississippi, Beale Street was originally established as a main commerce strip around the mid-nineteenth century. Even back then, black musicians played on Beale, and eventually it became the major center of blues music. Also, pretty impressive for the deep south, many of the businesses on the street were owned by African Americans over the last 130 years.

Nowadays, Beale is a tourist strip which features large neon signs naming various blues bars and even a Wet Willies. I thought it might be a bit South Beach, but fortunately it had a character all its own that was enjoyable. A few blocks are roped off so that you can wander the streets as drunk as you like. They sell "big ass beers" on the street in gigantic cups. A la NYC subway style, little boys tumbled down the street for money and the entertainment of gawking tourists. We went to a place called Mr. Handy's Blues Hall to see an old dude and his eclectic band perform, Dr. Feel Good and Potts Band. It was fun and bluesy, and I was really into the Asian guitarist with long hair and Bret Michaels bandana. 

I drank too much, started in on the $2 jello shots and wandered about. That's when I made a friend, Disco Felix, a comedian (below). He told me some amusing jokes, none of which I remember. Beale had a really mixed crowd racially, but it was mostly black. There were these sheets hanging, spray painted with Memphis images in front of which a photographer would take your picture and print it out on the spot. I, of course, wanted one, and I waited a good half hour, made friends with a dude who was definitely on the DL and got one of the funniest pics of my life. I'll share later once I find a scanner.

After many drinks we ate some ribs at a place called Miss Polly's Soul City Cafe. It was scrumptious. 

That last picture down there is for my brother. In Miami, our mannequins have gigantic boobs, but in Memphis, they have humungous booties. Either way, extremely amusing. 

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