Sunday, May 31, 2009
All of this is just to say that sometimes Lou has great stuff in her back yard, and she just... never gets around to it.
Such is the case with the Writers Retreat Workshop. WRW has been a huge part of my life for the past seven years, ever since I first attended in 2002. Many of my bestest friends are folks I met through WRW, and Roommate is the Big Kahuna of the program. And though I've linked to WRW, I've never actually written about it... even though it's right in our back yard.
The Writers Retreat Workshop was founded by Gary Provost in 1987 and has been held in May/June in Erlanger, KY at the Marydale Retreat Center for the past umpteen years. It is a 10-day workshop for novelists who are seriously committed to honing their craft and getting their manuscripts ready for submission. This year, for the first time, WRW is being held twice-- it's going on right now and another session will take place August 22-30.
This is not a workshop for the hobby writer. This is Boot Camp. You will be worn out and ragged after ten days. But as Mellencamp says, it hurts so good. The program maxes out at around 30 writers, so there is tons of individual attention. During your stay, you'll study under published and accomplished writers, you'll have chances to meet with editors and agents, and you'll have a hell of a good time during the little downtime you're able to snag.
Writers who have served as students, instructors, or guest lecturers over the past few years: Nancy Pickard, TJ McGregor, Michael Palmer, Jennifer Cruisie, Jack Getze, Kimberly Frost, Ayelet Waldman, Christine Goff, Janet Chapman, Arthur Golden, Donald Maass, Gregory McDonald...
Back in 2002, I won the program's Robin Hardy Scholarship-- a full scholarship for a new attendee. This year's scholarship winner is another Louisvillager (I wasn't a Louisvillager at the time when I won). Winning that scholarship is easily in the top ten list of best things that's ever happened to me. I've attended three or four WRWs since then-- sometimes just dropping in to take a few classes and visit with friends (I'm lucky enough to be in good with the Big Kahuna. Most people can't do this.) And every time I go, I learn more great stuff and make more great friends.
That scholarship application for August is open until June 5. If you're a novelist and serious about buckling down and becoming the best writer you can be, this is something you should shoot for. And even if you don't win, it's an awesome investment. Once you've been to one WRW, you are part of an incredibly supportive, smart, and dynamic family. I'm so thankful I stumbled upon the program online in 2002. It changed my writing and it changed my life.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Ah... Bonnaroo. This is year three for me & Roommate.
On the surface, Bonnaroo seems like the most un-Lou thing in the world:
- I don't do drugs. And neither should you. (PSA brought to you by the "Ask Me About My Other Vices Coalition of America")
- Despite the fact that I'm a liberal wing-nut, I don't particularly enjoy the company of hippies. (All that hula-hooping and hacky sacking and juggling sticks stuff makes me nuts.)
- I am crowd-phobic. And I have a particular aversion to drinking in crowded places. (After my first day of drinking at New Orleans Jazz Fest, I never had another drink at Jazz Fest in the other seven years that I went. Booze + crowds + sun = freakout!)
- I despise jam bands. (A twenty minute drum solo?? Really??)
But 'Roo '09 is just stop one in Lou's Summer of Awesome Adventures. The day after we get home from Bonnaroo, I'm hopping a plane to Halifax, Nova Scotia where I will be meeting up with a friend that I haven't seen in probably fifteen years to accompany him on a road trip through Newfoundland and Labrador.
Have we been in touch all these fifteen years? Uh, no. Am I basically taking a two week roadtrip with a Facebook Friend? Uh, yes. That's why it's called an Adventure.
What's the worst that could happen? (Rest assured, we have many mutual friends, all of whom attest that he's not a crazy ax murderer. Phew.)
Then we're back in the Ville for the month of July and then off on a solo road trip up the East Coast from Baltimore to Boston and beyond. Thelma and Louise without the Louise and without the whole-driving-a-car-off-a-cliff thing.
Why is Mama filling you in on her summer plans now? Because the Summer of Awesome Adventures officially begins in around six hours. (Cue: "School's Out for Summer!") Woo Hoo!
I'm looking for local adventures, too! I'll keep you posted!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
No, you’ve got your Bonnaroo in my Lebowski Fest!
I love it when great things come together! The Lebowski Fest guys are having a Movie Party (twice) in Bonnaroo’s Cinema Tent. They promise “shenanigans.”
The what-have-you will occur on June 13 & June 14 at 3pm.
Dang. I missed it. It was yesterday. Sigh.
Anyway, fair readers, happy two years of Loueyville.com!!
It’s been fun. We’ve been through a lot together. Thanks for being there when I needed you, and thanks for sticking around during my sometimes long absences.
My hopes for the next year: less personal drama, more time to get out and about to enjoy my favorite city, more new friends, and… more press releases!! (You know how Mama loves her press releases)
Party over. Back to work. No biggie: Lou doesn’t like cake anyway.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I know squat about the Meat Puppets, but I'm just sad to miss the festivities in general-- WW is never a bad time. And Matt at DCE is featuring Slithering Beast and $1 PBRs starting at 10pm. Sounds like a great night for someone-- just not me!
Other stuff Mama's going to miss later this summer: June's Waterfront Wednesday... sniffles... and the June 26th Better than Ezra show at 4th Street Live. Heartbroken!! My first real vacation in two years or staying home and seeing WW and Better than Ezra? Sorry, kiddos. I'll take the wilds of the Atlantic coast of Canada, thank you. Have fun without me!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Then a couple years later, I hung it up in my office because it was suddenly funny. "Who Hired All These Crazy People?" Because I hired all those crazy people. Get it?
So I'm thinking that the producer of "Southern Belles: Louisville" has that bumper sticker hanging in his/her office. Heck, I'm thinking every reality show producer needs that bumper sticker. "Southern Belles" doesn't stray from the formula.
"Southern Belles: Louisville" premiered on SoapNet on Thu, May 21. It follows Emily, Hadley, Julie, Kellie, and Shea-- five friends from Louisville. The tagline is: "Southern tradition meets modern ambition."
I don't know where to begin except to thank the producers of the show for making our fair city look super good. Seriously. And not only does Louisville look good, it's the Louisville I know, for the most part. (Okay, all the high society stuff, not so much). Good job, location scouts! Good job. (One day last fall, Roommate & I were at Jenicca's-- sniff, still miss that place-- as they were getting ready to shoot there.)
The five friends... they probably shouldn't be thanking the producers. I'll just leave it at that.
Of course I'm going to keep watching it. Though I'm not a fan (quite the opposite) of reality TV, I can't not watch. But rather than comment on the plot, I'll stick to the city. Next week, I'll make notes on Louisville locales featured in the show. I didn't think to do it with the premier. Off the top of my head, familiar sites included:
- O'Shea's (where they held the premiere party last Thursday)
- Heine Brothers (I think the Eastern Parkway/Bardstown one)
- Kentucky Derby Museum (where they held a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen fund and raised a paltry $3K)
- Audubon Country Club
- A skating rink-- I think it's Alpine on Gardiner Lane
- The pawn shop across from the now-defunct Karma Cafe (exterior only)
Friday, May 22, 2009
I have an awesome idea for an animal book. It's very vague; I'm still looking for inspiration. But the general gist of it would be this: the book would be about an animal like a giant tortoise or a parrot, a tortoise or a parrot that is inspiring and brave and gentle and kind... AND LIVES FOR-FRICKING-EVER. Seriously, either of those animals are bound to outlive their owners. And most importantly, those animals are bound to live all the way THROUGH the end of their memoirs. The book could end: "And as I finish this book, I look out the window at Timmy the Life-Saving Tortoise, watching him carefully masticating a big bunch of kale, and I know that he has many, many years of good living ahead."
I'm just saying... I'd read it.
In a recent blog post I said that the fact that I was reading and enjoying DEWEY: THE SMALL-TOWN LIBRARY CAT WHO TOUCHED THE WORLD by Vicky Myron and Louisvillager Brett Witter was evidence that I am not as jaded and cynical as I maybe thought I was. And the fact that I enjoyed it all the way through confirmed that.
I didn't pick up the book because I am a pet lover. I have no pets of my own-- my lifestyle isn't condusive to pet mothering. But early readers of Loueyville may remember that the blog was named after a neighborhood stray cat, Louey, who hung out on my porch. After disappearing several times for months at a time, he got sick and had to be put down, and I was devastated. Now a neighbor's cat has claimed me as his part-time mother, and he comes and goes as he pleases. But that doesn't make me a cat person. (Methinks the lady dost protest too much... )
I picked up the book because shortly after we moved to Louisville, Roomie and I met Brett Witter and his family and some of their friends, and despite the fact that we all hit it off, we didn't really keep in touch. And then, two plus years later, DEWEY happened. And this really nice guy we had a really nice dinner with suddenly became a HUGE publishing success. So I had to get my hands on this book.
I admit, I was skeptical when I bought it. Just because something is a New York Times Bestseller doesn't mean it's any good (TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, anyone?). But within a page, I was assured that this was no soft-read, fluff, glorified Hallmark card. The introduction of the book, called "Welcome to Iowa," is such a magnificently rendered description of a very foreign-seeming place that if I were still teaching a writing class, I would give it to my students as a gorgeous example of "setting." I didn't hesistate to plow forth.
Around thirty pages into the book, after Dewey the library cat shows up on the scene as an abandoned, nearly dying, frozen kitten and is nursed back to health by Vicky and the other librarians, I started to worry. How the heck are the authors going to get 240+ more pages of cat life out of this story? Cat makes friends. Cat has adversaries. Cat has quirks. Is there really more than 240 pages worth of that stuff to tell?
No. There's not. But that's not what this book ends up being about. Cat friends, adversaries, and quirks are entertwined with Vicky's family's story and with the story of the small, suffering town of Spencer, Iowa. And those stories are just microcosms for the struggles of the farm belt and small manufacturing towns everywhere. Whether it's Wal-Mart showing up in town or the card catalogue being replaced by computers, change sometimes steamrolls over the town and sometimes pushes the town forward. But Dewey is the constant.
DEWEY is a lovely book. It is a soft-read, but it's not fluff. It's exceptionally well-written. If you love books or love the rural Midwest or love cats, the book has something for you.
Anybunny know for sure? Or is this just a Mama thing. Because back when she was a wee wee girl she also thought the line "If we don't win it's a shame" was "If we don't win it's a SHAVE." A shave. It made total sense to me. Like: "if we don't win, it must have been a very close (like a shave) game."
Mama's got to get herself to another Bats game. Seems like she has good mojo working this year: seen two games, seen two wins. And out Louisville Bats are on a bit of a losing streak. This should be a beautiful weekend for a game (or two) vs. Syracuse. But starting on Monday, the Bats have a series with the Pawtucket Red Sox, and my loyalties suddenly become a bit muddy.
I think next time I go, I'll get the Rally's Grand Slam Deal so I can get a free hat. I think the math is pretty excellent:
Ticket $6 <-- dirt cheapest rate
Hot Dog $2.50
Rally's Burger $2 (?? never been to Rally's??)
= Hat for $2.50
In other Slugger Field news, Browning's has re-opened-- I'm, like, the last person to blog about it. But I'm hearing mixed reviews.
Dog Day at the Park is coming up June 9. Bring your pup, and you get in for $6 and Rolf gets in for $3. I am pupless, but I may have to check out the general chaos.
Also, on Sunday July 12, Christian Rockers Tenth Avenue North are playing at Slugger Field, if you're into that sort of thing. (I am not) Tickets MUST be ordered by July 1.
Play Ball, y'all!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I was going to try to hold out for another week-- our blog birthday is May 27-- before debuting the new look, but I couldn't help but rush home and futz around with stuff and now that I have it just like I want it....
So, whaddaya think??? Isn't she PURTY? I just love, love, love the logo. And I just loved, loved, loved working with John at Hatch. Bless his little heart, I wrote him a letter that was basically caveman-ese: "Me want acorn. Me want cute. Me want retro-ish. Me want perky. Me want cheap." And viola!!! A cute, retro-ish, perky acorn with way more character than I ever envisioned. Heavens to Betsy, I'm pleased. (I'm doing a little happy dance in my chair right now).
So, early happy birthday to Lou!! We'll be a-tweakin' over the next week, but enjoy the new look now.
And Hatch's "Pay What You Feel" pricing lasts only til July 1st, so hop on it! According to their site: "From now until July 1st, we’re letting you tell us what you are willing to spend on our services, whether it be redesigning your website, creating a new brochure, designing a print ad, product photography, or setting your company up on Facebook or Twitter." Love them, love them, love them!! Good Loueyvillagers!
Happy Wednesday, boys and girls! How can you not be chipper on a day as beautiful as this? It’s a good day to be a Loueyvillager. Here’s some Wednesday Afternoon Randomness for you.
· Lou over at Louisville.com [ahem, THIS Lou raises her broadsword over her head and bellows: “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!! Then she puts it down because she’s a lover not a fighter]** has awesome coverage of the free concerts being offered at the KY State Fair this year. Highlights include Peter Frampton (9/20), the Oak Ridge Boys (8/23), and Mama’s favorite on the list: The Wallflowers (8/28). I was skeptical that Jakob Dylan was still touring with his old band, but it looks like he is. Check out Lou’s [“ONLY ONE!!”] write up here.
· Michelle at Consuming Louisville has a great post today informing all veterans, current members of the armed services, and spouses of deployed military personnel that they can eat free (up to $30) at Avalon on Bardstown Road on Memorial Day. What a nice thing for Avalon to do! Good Loueyvillagers!
· Speaking of Ms. Michelle, her book drive continues.
· Speaking of stuff I’ve spoken of before, a reminder that there’s all kinds of theater goodness going down this weekend (in addition to all kinds of music goodness—Reggae AND the Beatles? Methinks the city’s pot dealers will be living XL after this weekend.). Miranda Branson Branson Miranda continues. As does Bent & I am My Own Wife. I was lucky enough to catch BENT last weekend, and it was awesome. Very powerful. Bring a hankie.
· Having coffee today with Hatch Creative to go over Lou’s new look. Big, mushy, “I love you, man” sort of post about Hatch Creative coming soon. Seriously. Love them!
That’s all for me for now. Have a beautiful Wednesday!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
- Bri Tunes: Roommate and I had a great goofy time checking out Brian Williams' new music blog. Yes, that Brian Williams, from MSNBC. The first interview is with Deer Tick from Brooklyn, and if you've ever longed to hear Brian Williams utter the phrase "Give it to Me Right" check out his introductory blog. Made me go a little bit wobbly in the knees. Brian Williams = another Loueyville crush.
- Carla's AT Experience: Follow my kick-ass, tough cookie friend as she walks the Appalachian Trail alone. Gorgeous pictures and a very thorough log of the journey. Carla's doing this right.
- The Bonnaroo Schedule is out! No overlapping artists that will break my heart. I always get a bit nervous when first looking at the schedule. Sometimes they do stupid shit like pitching Bruce Springsteen against Elvis Costello (they didn't, but it wouldn't have suprised me). Looking most forward to the 1:00AM Nine Inch Nails show, honestly. For those of you 'Rooing this year, my hot tip is the Low Anthem at 10pm on Thursday night. The Low Anthem opened for Lisa Hannigan at the 930 Social concert. As I sat in the audience, I downloaded their album Oh My God Charlie Darwin. Great stuff.
- On a personal note, I just celebrated my one year Cancerversary-- diagnosed May 7, 2008. I can't believe how much has happened this year, but it's really flown by. Last year, I went to Bonnaroo 2008 just 12 days after my bilateral mastectomy. I'm looking forward to going to a 'Roo that I will likely REMEMBER-- I was so hopped up on (legal) drugs last year. The one moment burned into my brain from 'Roo08 is Pearl Jam singing "Alive" and feeling very... alive.
- On a Loueyville note, somebody's got a birthday coming up!!... May 27, Lou turns (the terrible) two! Mama's gonna reboot sometime between now and then. Fun trivia: Lou's first post was about Birdzerk!
Monday, May 11, 2009
I just love love love that Louisville is so full of fantastic people and that I’m getting to know so many of them.
Friday, May 8, 2009
May 14 - 16 & 21 - 23 at Walden Theatre, you can catch MIRANDA BRANSON BRANSON MIRANDA, a new play by Backseat Sandbar blogger Hank Willenbrink. The show, presented by the Necessary Theater features Madeline Marchal, Angela from the much-praised production of My So-Called So-Called Life.
According to the release:
Five years ago Miranda’s father, the Magician, made her mother disappear…or did he? Now Miranda is haunted by the two women her father sawed in half…nightly…who claim to be her Mother. Her best friend is horning in on her indie rock boyfriend, and the truth won’t set her free.
To reconnect with her mother, Miranda has to travel to Branson, Missouri—the family-friendly Las Vegas: home of Yakov Smirnoff, Shoji Tabuchi, Table Rock Lake, and a gigantic Titanic museum that is a replica of the ill-fated luxury liner. MIRANDA BRANSON BRANSON MIRANDA is a surreal, hilarious comic drama about the perils of growing up, the anxieties of youth, the liberation of leaving home, and what happens when what you find isn’t what you thought it was.
I'm going to bust my little bee-hind to get to this show for a number of reasons. The first is that Hank is a great Louisvillager, and I believe in supporting the good ones. Secondly, Marchal was a fantastic Angela in My So-Called. Thirdly, Mama has a strange obsession with all things magician-y and has spent some QT in Branson taking in all that is Dixie Stampede-y and mini-golfish. (Some day, I should dedicate an entire post to all of my strange obsessions. They include, but are not limited to: sharks, carnival side-show freaks, people who are fanatics about something or other, New Orleans, penguins, roadside attractions, kitsch in general....)
The show costs $10. Call (502) 454-4370 for reservations.
Also next weekend, Actors is casting locally. Here's their information:
LOCAL CHILDREN AUDITIONS (children ages 6 - 12) Saturday May 16 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.Sunday May 17 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Children auditioning for Dracula, A Christmas Story and A Christmas Carol
LOCAL AUDITIONS FOR YOUNG ADULTS (13 years and older) AND ADULTSSaturday, May 16 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.Sunday, May 17 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
To Schedule an AuditionPlease call 502-584-1265 ext 3403 or Email email@example.com to schedule an audition. Because of time we will only see people with schedule appointments. More information available at : lable at http://www.actorstheatre.org/about_casting.htm
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Two Production Simple folks got back to me today to inform me that Coyotes is honoring contracts for shows that were booked before the venue closed. So The Dead Weather is on.
And… yes, kids, I know I have to brush up on the Cool Bands before I hit my third Bonnaroo next month. I didn’t know that The Dead Weather is a new project by Jack White of the White Stripes, et al.
Nifty. But my favorite White is Meg. I’m just saying.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
There’s so much good stuff going on these days that I just don’t have time to give everything its own post. Here are some of the events that are on my noggin:
Tll All this week the Bats are in town. Yippee! Mama loves her Bats.
- This month is Abbey Road on The River (May 21-25) at the Belvedere. Five days and more than 50 Beatles tribute bands. This is the kind of event I’d love to just go to check out, but even with the coupon available on the website, it’s $15. A bit steep for a quick check-out. HOWEVER, if you happen to be under twenty-one, you get in FREE if you go with a ticket purchaser. Spreading the Beatles love to the young ‘uns.
- Waterfront Wednesday (another big Yippee!) features the Meat Puppets this month (May 27). I’ve heard of them, but… ?? The other bands in the line-up are: the Features & Broken Spurs.
- If you go NOW—before midnight TONIGHT—to http://www.oprah.com/, you can download a coupon for a FREE two-piece grilled chicken dinner at KFC. Tried it last weekend and wasn’t a big fan, but free food is free food.
- May 22 is Bardstown Bound (now with added Baxter!!). Shopping, trolley, entertainment starting at 5pm. Here’s the website. It’s always a wonderful time. I particularly dig this year’s hippy-ish posters.
- Louisville landed a big convention fish yesterday. The ABC Kids Expo decided that Las Vegas mayyyyybe wasn’t really the best fit for a show that focuses “on products from newborn through teen, predominantly in the areas of furniture, bedding, room décor, baby gear, gift and layette, toys and related accessories.” I’d have a ball at that expo. Seriously. I love toys. Now can we please steal the big ALL CANDY EXPO from Chicago? I don’t even like sweets, but this still looks like the happiest place on earth to me.
And finally, the big news on the Lou front is for her second birthday (at the end of this month), she’s getting a whole new look! (well, the website, not so much Lou.) COMING SOON!!!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
... As I typed that, I muttered aloud, "uhhh, that doesn't make sense..."
Yes, I am eloquent when I am da solo. Actually Roommate is here, so I'm not technically da solo, but he's working and I'm working so it feels that way.
Point being, I thought City Block was closed... and therefore Coyotes was closed. Hence my musing about Hanson the other day. I have asked the Twitter world what's up with that... if you know what's up with that, leave a comment or email.
Anyhoo, Production Simple. (Hey I guess I could email them and find out.) They were responsible for the breathtakingly good Lisa Hannigan show we saw at the 920 Listening Room (Not a fan of the venue... I don't want to start anything-- I know it's part of the Sojurn Church-- but the fact that you had to SIT and that the strongest beverage available was coffee made it feel a bit like a kiddie show. Please don't ever make me SIT when in the presence of great music. Fine, don't let me have a beer, but don't make me sit through Lisa Hannigan.) Production Simple was also responsible for the also breathtakingly good Greyson Capps show at Phoenix Hill a few months ago. (Those two venues: a study in contrasts.)
Other upcoming shows include the Decemberists, Conor Oberst, that Ben Sollee show that I'll probably never get around to buying tickets for, Jenny Lewis, Southern Culture on the Skids/Los Straightjackets, Gomez, and Lucinda Williams. Basically if you're a musical act that is way cooler than I am (not hard) and you're coming to Louisville, Production Simple probably booked you.
Check out their calendar for dates and ticketing info.