26 January 2009

Preview of Black & White, Issue 2 of SP09 Semester

To the Edge and Back to School
Lauren Rae Holtermann, BFA 2010

Have you ever been in the middle of a long evening in the darkroom or the sculpture studio, or maybe stooping over a paper cutter, or squinting with burning eyes at a mac, and realized suddenly that whatever you were in the middle of was going to take quite a bit longer than you had originally anticipated? More often than not, our good intentions of a stable, healthy sleep schedule are obliterated, sometimes by one unforeseen night. But regardless of how angry our burning eyes or calloused fingertips are, we’ve all had to push through the night by whatever means necessary. Who knew that that perfect late night pick-me-up was only a few blocks away?

The Edge is a coffeehouse at the corner of Overton Park and North Watkins; about six blocks west of MCA and just across the street from Five In One Art Space (VINI), which you may have visited for the recent ceramics department’s Flocculent Femmes exhibition or for Tommy Kha’s Shambhala show. Like any good coffeehouse, The Edge has free WIFI, a shelf of well worn boardgames and paperback novels, and a hot pot of strong black coffee always on. What makes the Edge different are the details.

Aside from being open from 8AM until 1AM, the Edge has pool tables, a furnished patio, and jukebox, making it into a cozy hangout for decompression at any hour. On Friday nights, they host live music, ranging from old blues singers to techno DJs. Sunday nights are Songwriters nights, Mondays are pool tournaments, Wednesdays are Karaoke, and Thursdays are open mic Memphis Comedy. There is generally something happening down the street every night of the week that ensures even if you aren’t interested, stopping in will be interesting (they have 2 for 1 drink specials for bikers on Wednesdays!).

Perhaps the most addictive reason to visit the Edge is the beverage for which they identify themselves: the Avalanche. The Avalanche is two shots of espresso blended into a milkshake, topped with whipped cream and served in a frozen beer mug. At $4.25 apiece, they rival Starbucks in pocket change, but this drink is way better than that bitter swill, and worth every penny. My personal favorite, however, is the Landslide, a chocolate-blended cousin of the Avalanche, with chocolate syrup drizzled on top for only fifty cents extra.

The best thing and worst thing about the Edge, in my opinion, is its versatility. Not as easily categorized as quiet coffee shop or roaring venue, the Edge finds a happy medium somewhere in between the two, with the charm of the bar regulars from Cheers. I’ll admit, sometimes it isn’t the best location for a strenuous group study session, as there is frequently loud music, boisterous regulars, limited seating, or any combination thereof. However, in the balmier months of the year, all those obstacles are easily overcome by choosing one of the larger tables on the front deck.

Unfortunately, the cold weather and sinking economy has taken their toll on The Edge. Pressed with financial troubles, Rozelle Artists Guild has decided to host a fundraiser to benefit our favorite coffeehouse: Damn the Man! Support the Edge. Come out to the Edge on Friday, February 6th at 6PM for live music by Travis Cantrell, Valerie June, and Grace Askew. There is no admission, but we’d appreciate if you bought a cup of coffee or donated a couple bucks, and art from members of the Rozelle Artists Guild and others will be for sale. If you’re interested in helping or are able to donate art, please contact me at rag@rozelleartistsguild.org.

Either way, next time you’re settling in for a long night of work, remember that the Edge is just down the street, and open 8AM – 1AM, 7 days a week. For a full menu and events calendar, visit them online at theedgecoffeehouse.com or add them on myspace at myspace.com/theedgecoffeehouse.

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