Monday, March 30, 2009

Deja Vu Brew?

We've heard this before, gotten our hopes up, and then been disappointed. But the Ville Voice is saying that Slugger Field's Browning's Brewery may re-open under its original owner by Derby weekend.

I've heard umpteen different people share their distress that the Bats' opening day is a little more than a week away, but still Browning's remains shuttered. Everyone has a "brilliant" idea on how to reopen it: Open only on game days and special events; Open on all of the above plus weekend; Stay open later-- Browning's often closed before Bats games were over, weird movie.

Here's hoping Anoosh Shariat gets Browning's back in the game ASAP!

Speaking of restaurants

... any updates on Cafe Mimosa? Do they plan to reopen?

... which rumor has turned out to be true? Is Kaelin's remodeling or is it kaput?

... and RIP Karma Cafe. Me and my hangovers loved your omlettes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Voices 10-Minute Plays

I'm a huge fan of teenagers. No, not in an icky, creepy sort of way-- get your mind out of the gutter, would you? It's just that I work with teens every day, and I honestly think they're a much-maligned population. Back when I was dealing with the darkest days of breast cancer-- post-surgery, mid-chemo-- it was a whole bunch of teenagers who kept my spirits high and my belly full. I see the worst of teens, sometimes. But I see the best of them more often than not. The kids are alright, as they say.

So in that spirit and with a nod to last night's love for Humana/Actor's, I'm happy to share the New Voices 10-minute Plays event at Actor's on April 19 & 20.

From the press release (Mama loves press releases!):

In conjunction with the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre is presenting the work of selected high school playwrights. The New Voices Ten-Minute Play Festival will include eight ten-minute plays, to be performed April 19 at 5 p.m. and April 20 at 7 p.m. in the 318-seat Bingham Theatre. The performances are free, but tickets are required.

The plays were chosen by the Actors Theatre’s Education Department out of more than 250 entries from public, private and parochial schools throughout Kentucky and Indiana. The 2008-2009 Apprentice/Intern Company will bring the winning plays to life.

A few months ago, I took in Match Games at Actor's-- ten ten-minute plays about love. It's pretty damned impressive what you can do in ten minutes onstage. I look forward to seeing what the kids have in store.

Forecastle Announces Headliners

Forecastle wasn't kidding when they said that this year's headliners are the biggest ever. At the moment, I'm only jazzed about one of the four bands announced: the Black Crowes. Seen them before and they put on a heckuva show. (I'm sure Roommate is hoping Chris Robinson's on-again-off-again sweetie, Kate Hudson, is "on-again" enough to attend.)

As evidenced by my Bonnaroo reporting, Mama is allergic to jam bands, but I'm sure Widespread Panic fans all around the Midwest are hula-ing a little hoop and hackeying a little sack in celebration.

Here's the announcement:

Widespread Panic are an Athens, GA-based progressive, psychedelic, blues / rock jam band, world-renowned for their live performances. One of top-grossing touring artists of the past two decades, they will headline two nights at Forecastle, one of only three festival appearances this summer.

The Black Crowes are a Southern rock supergroup that have sold over 20 million albums. The band is led by legendary musicians and brothers, Chris and Rich Robinson. They have toured with Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, AC/DC, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, and countless more.

The Black Keys are an indie rock powerhouse enjoying sold-out tours and honors from Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork Media, and many others. Considered "One of the Top Artists to Watch", they have toured with Radiohead and Pearl Jam, along with appearances at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and other major festivals.

The Avett Brothers are a high-energy, highly-praised trio combining folk, bluegrass, country, punk, pop, folk, rock, honky tonk and ragtime. In the past year, they have become the poster children of a new and rapidly growing genre of American music. Their upcoming album is produced by Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, U2, Shakira) and will be released on Columbia Records this summer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Series of Local Tubes: Beers for All Occasions

New Series: Series of Local Tubes (SOLT) (thank you Ted Stevens for your "Series of Tubes" quote and so much more). Celebrating newer local blogs.

Check out "Beers for All Occasions." It's thorough, it's well-written, and it's by chicks who love beer. I immediately added it to my Google Reader.

Start by reading their review of Derby City Espresso. I couldn't have said it better myself.

They're buying their own domain name, so these links may not work much longer. I will update you as soon as I find out that the deal is done.

Ameriville & Humana: Go Now!

When we count our blessings as Louisvillagers, we should always include Actor's Theater and the Humana Festival. And if you haven't yet seen Ameriville at this year's festival, run, don't walk. Seriously, there are only a couple more showings.

I can't say it any better than someone I overheard while leaving the play. She said, "After the first ten minutes, I thought, 'They surely can't keep this up for an hour and a half.' But they did!" Mostly music, with some spoken word and stand up comedy, Ameriville uses Hurricane Katrina to highlight the social and political and environmental challenges in this country. It's moving, it's funny, and it's super powerful. Four actor/playwrights adept at everything from flamenco dance to beatboxing give the audience so much raw energy that I yawned-- from sheer exhaustion, not bordom-- the whole drive home. This Katrina refugee was so impressed that she was willing to shelve her cynical nitpicking ("geez, I wish they'd stop talking about 'drowning in the waters of the Mississippi'-- the river didn't flood; the lake flooded.") to be entranced for the entire hour and a half. I'm still shaking my head thinking about how hard those four people worked.

Go. Seriously.

And if you haven't yet taken advantage of the Humana Festival this year, this weekend Actor's is offering an awesome opportunity: Come on Saturday before 10am and pay $40 and you can see ANY play-- and as MANY plays as you can-- that day with an "open seat" ticket. Real troopers could bank five plays on that day for less than $10 a play. And if you've NEVER been to a Humana Festival play, Actor's has extended their $10 ticket offering for any of their plays for any newcomers to the festival.

In my humble opinion, the money I pay each year to subscribe to Actor's is some of the very best local dough I spend.

Loueyville Fun Fact of the Day: Love the Tunnel

While trying to discover what year Cherokee Park was created (A: depends on what kind of date you're looking for but it opened in 1892), I came across this fun fact:

You know the tunnel just before/after the Grinstead exit on I-64? Roomate calls it "my" tunnel because I hate tunnels, and it leads to "my" exit. Well, it's actually called the Cochran Hill Tunnel, and it is one of three sites in Kentucky listed on US Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration's list of "Nationally and Exceptionally Significant Features of the Federal Highway System." I'll let the website do the explaining:

The Cochran Hill Tunnel, on the east and west sides of I-64, is of exceptional significance to the development of environmentally sensitive design in the area of transportation engineering. These underground tunnels were constructed in 1974 to preserve the National Register site directly above the highway. The site is Cherokee Park, a verdant landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, which is part of the larger Olmstead Park system in Louisville. Kentucky Highway engineers and Vollmer Associates, Inc., in consultation with the general public, developed these environmentally sensitive tunnels to avoid destroying the important Olmstead landscape. These unique, groundbreaking tunnels were the first attempts to ameliorate the effects of highway construction on a Kentucky roadway.

Well done, Loueyville.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

NTDWL: Spreading the (High School) Love


So, there was this boy in high school (don't all good stories start that way?) who totally broke my heart (again, good story material) because when we first started dating we pretty much enjoyed the same social capital (ie. not much) and then he got the starring role in the HS Musical (ah, I see where this is going), and he suddenly became Hot Shit. This was further complicated by the fact that I was as pure as the driven snow (ha. well, not a big Ha. I pretty much was...) and there was a senior girl (we were sophomores) who was willing to do stuff with him that I was unwilling to do...

Yeah, straight out of Gossip Girl, I know.

Bygones.

Through the wonders of Facebook, we have recently reconnected (no apologies or "I was a turd"s forthcoming, yet), and it turns out that High School Sweetheart (one of a couple) is out in California in The Industry. And he's been working on web production called "We All Float On," an "original comedy about two best friends who on the verge of turning 30 [who] decide that they finally have to grow up and become men. 10 years too late, they stumble through every issue that a normal grown person would accomplish with ease, with the awkwardness of freshmen in high school."

Mama will reserve all snarky ironic comments about said description.

It's not Dr. Horrible, but "We All Float On" just released its second episode and, combined, the first two episodes will take you less than 10 minutes to watch. It's pretty much your standard dude humor. But check it out. The production values are awesome, it's beautifully shot, and it has singularly beautiful and catchy opening credits.

Boys.

Louisville Tweets

The new Facebook format has done much in the way of curing Lou of her Facebook addiction. Not the best layout for a woman who has weird manifestations of pseudo-OCD. Less is more, FB. Less is more. More is not more. More is not brushing the mountain of powdered sugar off the top of your Kentucky State Fair Fried Dough. It may not kill you, but you'll feel like crap for hours.

So my second favorite social networking tool is quickly moving up in my list o' loves. Twitter is oodles of fun. Where else can you hear about NPR's Scott Simon's pizza breakfast with his daughters and Adam Savage of Mythbusters' love of Battlestar Galactica* and still get local skinnies straight from the horses' mouths?

Today on Consuming Louisville, Michelle (our "Most Influential Loueyville Woman: Geek Edition") posted her "Louisville Guide to Twitter" listing Louisville businesses that are Tweeting. It's awesome. Check it out.

Michelle, along with Tweeties** @beccaheiser @mizhellion and @ashleycecil, convinced me that I really needed to "do the tweet" a few months ago at the Louisville Geek Dinner at the BBC on Shelbyville.

Can of worms, meet the Tweeties who opened you. Tweeties, meet my can of worms.

Don't forget, you can do the tweet with me at @loueyville .

* If you're wondering, I'm saving the final installment (blub) of BSG for tomorrow morning. Kind of like ye olde Saturday morning cartoons, only much fraking sadder. I can't wait. Was not a planned engagement though; turns out that after 5.5 months of seperation, my TiVo and I are like college sweethearts seperated by a semester abroad. We're so happy to see each other, but we're both still a little cynical and skeptical. What really happened while we were apart? Do we even remember how to be a couple anymore?

** The accepted term is tweeple. I know.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Maybe Something for the Blog..." A conversation with Magnolia Films, sorta

Roommate likes to write emails. You gotta love that in a guy. When stuff ticks him off or tickles his toes, he'll whip off an email in praise or protest. And sometimes this really works out for him. I remember when a ticked off letter to the Fox and Hound over in St. Matthews (something about their website offering specials that didn't exist) got him a $25 gift certificate from Fox and Hound HQ. (Which is, of course, shrewd on their part because that meant we had to go back, even though we have no dearth of pubs and faux pubs in our 'hood, and we spent probably close to twice that.)

Anyhoo, Roommate dumped this email exchange in my inbox with the subject header: "Maybe Something for the Blog... Magnolia likes to hit Louisville." With his permission, I relate this chucklefest here.

The background: Roommate had read something or heard something about the Swedish indie vampire horror flick called Let the Right One In being released on DVD. So he googled it and went to the film's website and saw that the only place it was playing in Kentucky was in Lexington. So he whipped off the following email to Magnolia Films:

You're kidding... you put this film in Lexington but not in Louisville? Baxter Eight Theatre or their sister theatre The Village would show this in a heartbeat. You picked the wrong town to premiere the film in this state, in my not so humble opinion.

Fifteen minutes later, he got the following response from Magnolia Films:

Come on dude, why front like that? LET THE RIGHT ONE IN opened at the Village back in December. Where were you then, dude? WHERE WAS ALL THIS ENTHUSIASM BACK THEN?

To which, Roommate responded:

I was in Australia for seven weeks. Sorry. Didn't know. Glad we got it first... and hope it did well.
shutting up now

To which Magnolia Films responded:

As a matter of course, all of Magnolia’s movies, from the best to the shittiest, play in Louisville, usually at the Village.

LTROI is out on DVD now – go buy one.


End of story. So let it be known, Loueyvillagers, that Magnolia Films digs our indie theaters. So, don't front like that and go buy the DVD already.

Damn. Seriously? Festival Showdown '09

I'll say it again, Loueyvillagers: Damn. Seriously?

I'd heard some chitter chatter on the interwebs that it looked like Lebowski Fest and Forecastle Fest were scheduled for the same weekend, but I discounted said assertion thinking, There's no way they're going to let that happen.

The two biggest most "Louisville rocks because..." events of the summer in the same weekend?

I disapprove.

That being said, the Forecastle folks are announcing their headliners next Thursday at 10am , and they sure are pumping the hoopla out of it ("Our biggest announcement in history!"). You can sign up to have the announcement sent to you early via mobile phone or email-- or at least you can in theory. I can't get the website (www.forecastlefest.com) to take my entry. I'll keep trying, and I'll keep you posted on Festival Showdown '09.

The Dudes Have Spoken



The 8th Annual Lebowski Fest will be July 10 & 11 here in Loueyville. Mark it.

We'll let you know when tickets go on sale.

Cowboy Junkies & the Orchestra: a cultural intermission in basketball season

I was driving downtown last night to go see a concert at the 21c, and I was reminded once again that Louisville IS a basketball city. Even our municipal street corner trash cans say "Take it to the Basket!"-- something I didn't notice or process until last night.

Now I know I've copped to my lack of love for sports. I love my Bats, my Sox, and my Reds, but other than baseball, the only sport I have any tolerance for is NCAA Basketball. And come March Madness, I'm a huge fan (although BYU's loss has already cracked my brackets).

But as easy as it is to forget that there's more to life than the NCAA Tournament this year, other great cultural opportunities abound over the next few weeks. And now that everybody and her grandma are wired to receive mobile sports alert (okay, well maybe not ME and MY grandma), there's no good excuse not to go out and take advantage of the bball-diminished crowds.

One of the most exciting upcoming events is the final BB&T No Strings Attached concert of the season pairing the Louisville Orchestra with the Canadian band Cowboy Junkies on March 28 at the Kentucky Center.

According to the press release (Lou loves press releases):

The program will open with classical pieces that are well known to most like
Claude Debussy’s Clair de lune (which is featured in the movies Ocean’s Eleven
and Twilight) and Bizet’s “Les TorĂ©adors” from Carmen. The program will also
include a special guest, 14 year-old violinist Stephanie Zyzak who will perform
Henri Wieniawski’s “Allegro moderato” from Violin Concerto No. 1 in F-Sharp
Minor, op. 14. Ms. Zyzak is one of three winners of the Association of the
Louisville Orchestra’s Young Artists Competition.


After the first half, the Cowboy Junkies, one of the earliest alt-country bands, will join the orchestra. Formed in the 1980's by the three Timmins siblings, Michael, Margo, and Peter, the Cowboy Junkies have recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of their most popular album, The Trinity Sessions (and if that don't make you feel old...).

I have fond, fond memories of listening to the The Trinity Sessions in high school and college. The generation before me had their Barry White; my generation tapped Margo Timmins when we wanted to set the mood (and Leonard Cohen and the soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel, which now strikes me as being kinda dirty).

So have your sports scores forwarded to your cell phone-- but keep that puppy on vibrate! (now, see, everything is sounding vaguely dirty)-- and go check out the Cowboy Junkies and the last No Strings Attached concert of the 2008-09 season.

Whitney Theater, Kentucky Center
3/28 at 8pm
Tickets range from $25 - $55
Call 502.584.7777 or visit www.LouisvilleOrchestra.org.

Monday, March 16, 2009

C-A-R-D-S! #1 in the NCAA

(Mama is rushing to catch up on all the cool Louisville news over the past few days. Pardon her if these entries are sub-par. She's just trying to share all the things that have jazzed her lately. Hopefully better-quality reporting will return by the end of the week.)

Ok:

C-A-R-D-S!!! Heck yeah.

Seriously, I was a Pitino/Cards fan before I moved to Louisville. Admittedly this was because I was in love with a dude who taught me to love the NCAA and who loved Pitino. (Frequent readers may recognize said dude as "Roommate." Life is complicated. Move on.)

But why is it that no one else is giving love to the Cards? I slogged through ESPN's two-hour Bracketology last night only to find that none of the ESPN personalities decided that the Cards would end up as the Tournament winners. And only half of the ESPN personalities put the 'Ville in the Final Four.

Only NBC has gotten behind U of L in the Big Dance. Check out their coverage here.

Literary News: Award and Laureate

According to Michelle at Consuming Louisville, Carmichael's Bookstore has been named Bookseller of the Year by Publishers Weekly magazine. Heck yeah. For more details, click over to Consuming Louisville. I won't mind. We're buddies. But let me just say that this is hugely exciting for all of us Louisvillagers. Carmichael's (combined both stores) is 1/5 the size of the most recent winner of the award.

Also in book news, recently Gurney Norman was named Kentucky Poet Laureate.

I know I'm new to the 'Ville and new to Kentucky, but it seems my "who?" is echoed by the interwebs in general. Not able to find out all that much information about Mr. Norman. According to Amazon, he hasn't published a book in the past half decade or so. And it looks like his last book of poetry was published 15 years ago.

Far be it from me to disparage ANY writer's productivity. I have a novel in my pipeline that's more than a decade old-- and that doesn't sound so horrible until you realize that's around 1/3 of my WHOLE LIFE. Mama gets writers' block. But still... I'd love it if someone in the know would send me more info about Poet Laureate Norma.

Bluegrass Hotel Dives?

Last December, I excitedly reported on next weekend's exciting Bluegrass Hotel Project fundraising concert. Last night, as I lollygagged around watching exciting TV programming like "Monster Fish of the Mekong" on the National Geographic Channel (can you tell I am so thrilled to be back in my house where my tv channel choices extend beyond nine sports chanels and the "Jon and Kate plus 8" Channel?), my Twitterfeed from Backseat Sandbar told me that the project had soured.

It's hard to tell what the real scoop is. Mama doesn't want to involve herself in the scandal. Suffice to say that some of the major acts have cancelled, including the headliner, Sam Bush and our local crush Ben Solee.

And it's gotten ugly. The official website opens with the news release entitled "Newgrass Stars Jilt Charity Fundraising Effort." Sam Bush's website features a notice called, "Concerning the 'Bluegrass Hotel' Concert.'"

We are sad about this. Truth be told, we may not run in the right circles, but we'd heard bupkus about this concert since December. So. Still. The show does go on. Just not as exciting as it once had promised to be.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Colonel Sander-san Rises from the Deep

Image: A Colonel Sanders statue
I know there was all kinds of hoopla (or non-hoopla as it were) with PETA protesting (or not really protesting) a presentation by YUM brands to the GLI yesterday. And that's a story that's good for a giggle (even more giggle-worthy because I watched it unfold on Twitter).
But in my mind the REAL YUM-based news today is that the Japanese dragged a larger-than-life-sized statue of Colonel Sanders out of a river after 24 years.

And check it out... he's Asian!

I know that this may seem a very backwoodsy comment to make, but I didn't know that when the US exported mascots and such to other countries, they made them local-appropriate. Do they? Is Ronald McDonald black in Africa? (Couldn't find that on Google images) I'm looking at the KFC Japan website and the Colonel doesn't look like the dude they pulled out of the river-- he looks like the dude on the chicken buckets here.

I'm very confused. But intrigued. What companies alter their mascots for export? Anyone know?

Tori Murden McClure and Bob Edwards at the Kentucky Center 4/14

In 1999, Tori Murden McClure rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean, starting in the Canary Islands and ending in Guadeloupe. 81 days. 2,962 miles (so sez the Wikipedians). McClure, who is a vice president at Spalding University, is also the first woman to ski over land to the South Pole. Now this Loueyvillager has published a memoir called: "A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean."

Personally, Lou hates being wet and hates being cold, so I waffle between being very, very impressed and thinking "this chick is nuts." But that's just me.

On April 14, McClure will be discussing her book with Bob Edwards, one of my all time favorite Loueyvillagers (and Facebook friend-- I LOVE his updates. Was so sad when his status went from "In a Relationship" to "It's Complicated"). The event is being held at the Bomhard Theater at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

6pm Pre-sale of the books (sponsored by Carmichael's)
7pm Interview with Bob
8pm Book signing

$15

I'm so excited to see Bob. Maybe I can help uncomplicate his relationship. Sigh. (Yes, Mama has weird crushes... but that voice... hubba hubba)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Out Of Office (ps don't believe what you're hearing about Kaelin's)

Hi, thanks for calling. You've reached Lou. But I'm out of the office until March 6 or 7 or so, depending on how the chaos shakes out. I'm super glad you called, and I promise I'll get back to you just as soon as humanly possible. Have a lovely, lovely day.

Mama's on the move in more ways than one.

Here's the skinny, Loueyvillagers:
  • In her "Other Life," Lou may or may not be some sort of education-related professional who may or may not be taking a group of earnest teens down to an area effected by a natural disaster that was not Hurricane Ike so that they can help that area recover by helping to build houses and spending loads of money on beignets and shit from Urban Outfitters. So Lou will be out of town this week.
  • Speaking of natural disasters, Lou's Ike-destroyed humble abode is now done except for the fancy touches. Good news: When Lou gets home from her trip, she will be HOME. Bad news: Roommate is saddled with the move-back-in. Coming soon, "Things I will miss and won't miss about living in a hotel."

So to tide you over til Lou returns, here are some thoughts for the coming week:

  • Rick Pitino should always wear a white suit. Always. Even to practice. And he should carry a cane.
  • Ramsi's Sunday Brunch? SUB-LIME. Seriously, I wish I was a chipmunk so I could have shoved some of that goodness in my cheeks to snack on later. I used to have a love affair with lox, then we broke up. We're back together now. (and that's about as exciting as my love life has been in years... sigh) And $3 mimosas? Yes. Please.
  • Young Survivors Fundraiser? No word yet on how much was raised, but I dropped close to $200 on stuff I didn't really need but really wanted anyway. And happily did so.
  • It's March. Let the madness ensue.
  • It's March. Can we please have spring now, please?
  • UPDATE: Forgot to tell y'all that Kaelin's-- home of the original cheeseburger (and my favorite local fried chicken)-- is closed for renovations! We went last night-- on their last night-- and were surprised to find that they're going to be shut down for a few months. They'll be back in the spring, said the waitress and the host. Local blogs are posting that they're closed forever-- that would be news to their employees (and to the signs posted all over the restaurant that say they're closing for renovations... sheesh, interwebs, calm down.)

Take care, all y'all. Likely next time I blog it will be from the rebuilt Chez Lou. Home sweet home.