Today is my birthday, and I'm using the opportunity to wear my "It's MY Party, Dammit" Birthday Girl Hat and be only slightly more self indulgent about my dreams and wishes in a public forum. Because if anyone scoffs at the following list, I can just point to the It was my birthday! excuse.
For the past few years, I have on again/off again turned my fractured attention to something I was calling Wishomatic, a city-specific website that helped connect the dreamers with the do-ers. When I first moved to Memphis from LA in 2006, I was beyond frustrated that the city wasn't moving to ride the Food truck wave that seemed to be sweeping everywhere but here. I noticed abandoned buildings that would make for great boutiques and restaurants. I found myself a lot of the time saying, I wish we had this, I wish we could do that, and what if we had a website to aggregate all of those wishes!
Wishomatic was born. It would be like craigslist but with the functionality of Facebook. People could pitch their ideas and then those with the wherewithal to make it happen could connect. I met with Launch Memphis. I pitched the idea to Memphians in the know. I made the idea unnecessarily complicated, got pregnant, and watched my idea, along with the world economy, go down in flames.
But still, the wishing.
I started beating the drum again a few months ago, tentatively reaching out to folks about making it happen.
And then the amazing Candy Chang had to go and trump me. Neighborland is everything I wanted for our city: simple, user friendly, and effective.
I stewed a bit, mad that someone beat me to the idea, then quickly got over myself. They were looking for community managers for future cities to add to their beta testing, so I threw my hat into the ring. I have no idea if and when Memphis will be added to their slate, but in the meantime, in lieu of no website, I'm just gonna update my own wish list. Right here. Right now. Please feel free to add yours, mock mine. Let's just get a conversation going and I don't know, maybe a candy store to open downtown, too.
MY ENTIRELY SELFISH, LIKELY EXPENSIVE, FOOD-CENTRIC BUT UTTERLY MINE BIRTHDAY WISHLIST FOR MEMPHIS
1. Open an old fashioned candy store/soda fountain downtown. Like Miette in San Francisco. I want to walk into this adorable candy boutique and be overwhelmed with sweets and eye candy and a severely-bobbed shopgirl with bright coral lipstick. Miette in San Francisco is the gold standard. But mine would have a party room! Because what little girl - or mom - wouldn't want to be taken to Sugar and feted with Erica Thewis' macarons for her birthday party? (p.s. John Bragg, do you know what a treasure you have in her??)Local artists would work with P. Ashley Rix, the local chocolatier, and make custom Memphis wrappers for his chocolates. Maybe there would even be an ice cream bar, with a hipster mustachioed gentleman serving up old fashioned sodas and floats. When I blow out my candles, I am going to pretend I am doing it here.
2. Open a restaurant or food truck devoted to french fries. Someone heard my silent pleas and finally opened a tamale truck. Now I just need some else to follow suit and open Hot Potato, the french fry truck! It delivers twice-fried frites (the Anthony Bourdain way) and a variety of dipping sauces. Does standing inside a truck with a giant vat of deep fried potatoes in July in Memphis sound like a living nightmare? Absolutely. But a girl can dream. The truck also makes waffle fries so I can eat them without giving my dollars to hate mongering Chick Fil-A. If I am going to hate myself for eating french fries, I want it to be because of the impact on my thighs, not my gay friends.
3. The Memphis Symphony Orchestra presents Bugs Bunny at the Shell
Hands down, one of the best date nights I ever had with Caleb was attending Bugs Bunny at the Hollywood bowl. They screened classic Looney Tunes while the symphony played the score. And those cartoons were how most kids my age were first exposed to classical music. How magical to repeat that with my kids at our very own mini bowl at Overton Park?
4. I'm not finished with the Levitt Shell. What about Morning Wiike up? You and 30 of your friends and neighbors all convened at 6 AM at the Shell to Just Dance. I have no idea where you get a screen for this. But seriously, if you need to exercise and this is the only time you can do it, how fun would this be? In my fantasy, a food truck serving breakfast burritos and coffee is a mere 10 yards away.
5. On the same train, a dance class that teaches the routines to classic MTV videos. Cause if I'm gonna get all sweaty exercising, I'd rather do it like this:
6. The Blow Out Bar
It's a brilliant business model that has sprung up everywhere but here. A salon dedicated to just blow outs - no cuts, no color, just a menu of different straight hairstyles. My twist? Have the other side of the salon devoted to only curly hair. Link the two with a braid bar.