barbecue

“What to Do in Memphis” according to the New York Times

The New York Times published a travel article via their 36 Hours series, “What to Do in Memphis,”  by Colleen Creamer that highlights some of the favorite hot-spots around town. And locals would agree with their picks.

It features culinary favorites like the Beauty Shop, the Bar-B-Q Shop, and the only antidote to the Delta-summer heat: Jerry’s Sno Cones. There are also landmarks and attractions like Overton Park, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the quirkiest illuminated dance club: Paula & Raiford’s Disco. (Or as my friend Jasmine dubbed it, “Rai-Rai’s.”)

The article and its accompanying video squeeze in a convincing reel of content that portrays Memphis as a desirable and soulful destination. (Which of course is delightfully flattering to us Memphians.)

Yet, Paula Raiford summed it up best when people asked her about opening up another club elsewhere: “I’m not gonna move the experience. The experience is in Memphis, Tennessee.”

Amen, Paula. Amen.

The New York Times' "What to Do in Memphis"

Memphis in May: Resource Roundup

Loyal MusicFest fanatics already know the ins and outs of trouncing through mud and cutting into mile-long porta-potty lines. But here are some useful hints for first-timers and veteran reminders for the 38-year-old Memphis in May International Festival.

Beale Street Music Festival (May 2 – 4)

  • The Lineup features dozens including Kid Rock, the Alabama Shakes, Joan Jett, and the mainstay Jerry Lee “The Killer” Lewis.
  • The Stage Schedule becomes your bible as you’ll be forced to make painfully difficult decisions like seeing either Foster the People or Snoop Dogg.
  • Tickets! Sellouts are possible. Single one-days start at $35+
  • Drinks? Mostly SoCo, sodas, and run-of-the-mill beer.
  • Park anywhere downtown and walk, bus, or Trolley to Tom Lee Park. Expect to pay at least $20 the closer you get. Tip: Line your floor boards with newspaper for your muddy footprints.
  • I personally take taxis. Call Omar and you can disco your way downtown with party lights and a mirror ball.
  • Rain gear: Locals call it “Memphis in Mud” for a reason. Pre-purchase some wellies because the city oddly sells out. Guys: Try Home Depot, Lowe’sOutdoors Inc., and Bass ProLadies: You have many more options; start with Target.
  • Where’s Waldo? The crowd is so dense that you WILL get separated and cell service will be dicey. I suggest setting old-fashioned meeting places and times upon arrival. And I highly recommend gaudy, blinking apparel. My crunk, Superman glow necklace reunited us last year.

Salute to Panama (May 5 – 11)

  • Brush up on your Spanish greetings because music-loving Panamanians will descend on the town expecting your hospitality.
  • Viva Panama!, the main attraction, will feature a night of jazz and Central American cuisine at the Orpheum on Thursday, May 8.

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (May 15 – 17)

  • Tip: Know that it’s mostly private tents and teams, however, if you hang around ’til the weeknight evenings and have a friendly smile, you might score an invite.
  • Want to be a judge but lack a law degree? Well, for $60, you can taste, vote, and be sucked up to by 250 barbecuers. (The judging deadline came early, but good to know for next year.)
  • The Ms. Piggie Idol Contest will take place Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m. It’s a snort-worthy revue of pop culture, satire, and elbow ribbing by the teams themselves.

Sunset Symphony (May 24)

  • The event is budget and family-friendly, and picnic baskets are welcome (more FAQs).
  • Your rite of passage to becoming a local is hearing a rendition of “Ol’ Man River” on the Mississippi at sunset.

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