Friday, August 27, 2010

Late Notice: Good Show at the Rud Tonight

I'm sorry I'm going to miss this:  

FRI, AUGUST 27, The Rudyard Kipling, Louisville, KY An Evening of Burlesque Music Dance Art Photography Spoken Word, Frank appears as special guest at Ron Whitehead's book release mega-party and concert featuring Ron, Tyrone Cotton, Frank Messina, The Show-Me Burlesque Troupe, Dean McClain and others. Rudyard Kipling, 422 West Oak Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203. 10:00PM. 

Happy Friday, Louisville!

Whoa.  Longest week ever.  Mama's rewarding herself by getting the heck out of Dodge for the weekend and heading to Cincy for a couple of Reds games, a visit to IKEA (mmm... meatballs), and spree at Trader Joe's.  Woo hoo!  Actually, it's Roommate's b'day on Sunday (Katrina Day, poor Roommate) and mine on Tuesday (7pm Monkey Wrench if you wanna), so this is kind of a birthday trip.  Roommate has been obsessed with the Reds this year-- they're playing the best season they've had since I met him-- and lots of our former Bats buddies are doing great things for the team.  So, as I said, woo hoo, go Reds!  And happy birthday, Roomie.

But before I go, there's a lot of great stuff coming up in Louisville...
  • Why Louisville's The Kids are All Right contest ends on Tuesday (yeah, I know, they call it "Alright"-- I just can't get behind that).  So if you have a Mini You under the age of ten, break out the sketch book and the markers, and have them design a Louisville t-shirt.  Entries can be submitted at the store or online.
  • Zombie Attack.  August 29.  Always a good time. And, it's worth saying every year: as a member of the Katrina diaspora, I find the effect of hundreds (thousands?) of zombie wandering down the street on August 29... truly odd.
  • Michelle has all the details of the Frazier's attempt to break the Guinness World Record for number of pirates gathered in one place at the same time.  There are a LOT of details.  It's next Saturday, September 4, at 11:30am (don't pirates like to sleep late?).  This is an awesome thing; we should really make this happen.  But don't fudge it-- you HAVE to accessorize, people!  I only wish they'd waited til Talk Like A Pirate Day to pull this off (September 18).  
  • This weekend's midnight movie at the Baxter is Serenity. Oh Nathan Fillion, how oh how is it possible that you're single, and I'm single and...yeah.  Sigh.
  • Speaking of movies, this weekend wraps up the Hitchcock movie festival at the Palace Theater.  Friday is Psycho and Saturday is The Birds.  All shows at 8pm.
  • It's also the last weekend for the Kentucky State Fair-- see you there on Sunday.  I'll being the one playing the "should I or shouldn't I?" game with the donut burger.   

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's the Shizz, not the John Wall Dance

Last week, LeShawn Talbert, known to his friends as "Sugar Shizz," was shot while sitting in his car in Okolona.  He was pronounced dead three days later.

According to local lore, Talbert was the originator of "The Shizz," dance moves which became popular in Louisville in 2009.  "The Shizz" inspired Kenzo, a local rapper, to record "Do the Shizz" and later inspired the even more popular "John Wall Dance."

Even though John Wall admits his dance is just a modified Shizz, typing "John Wall Dance" into the Googles or You Tubes yields about a bazillion more hits than "The Shizz" or "Do the Shizz."  Shame that.

Talbert will be laid to rest tomorrow.  Do a little neck-poppy, fist-pumpy dance-y thing in his honor.  And let's try to get back to calling it "The Shizz," huh?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Waterfront Wednesday: Audra Mae is opening??

I have been so remiss... tomorrow is Waterfront Wednesday, and it's a damned good one.  You know if Audra Mae is the OPENING act, it's going to be good.  I'm not a "fan" of any of the three bands, but I've heard Audra Mae's music on WFPK, and I've loved-- LOVED-- everything I've heard.  (I'm sure she hates this, but I will say it anyway:  She's Judy Garland's grand-niece. What a cool fun fact!)

The headliner is These American States.  Again, not a "fan," but I've loved what I've heard.  And their Lollapalooza show got awesome reviews.

Between the two is the Dan Mangan band.  From Canada.  A big ol' question mark.

But if the weather is as nice as it was today...

You know how much Mama loves her some Waterfront Wednesdays... this could be the best one of the year!  Hope to see you there.

Special Edition: My Katrina, Further down the Road

I became a serial blogger on September 2, 2005, while exiled in Florida, heartbroken to my core, trying to work through what was happening... and what was going to happen... in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  I'd lived in Louisiana for seven years at that point, in New Orleans for six.  You'll often hear people from New Orleans say that they love the city with the same kind of love they have for their families.  And that was me.  I'd fallen in love with New Orleans as a teen, worked my entire young adulthood to get there, and never imagined I would ever leave.  Ever.  So much so, that I'd never evacuated for a hurricane. Ever.  Until Katrina.

A while back, I thought I would honor the fifth anniversary of Katrina by re-posting posts from that blog, simply called "Displaced."  And just ten minutes into starting to re-read the blog, I started to cry.  And I realized I couldn't keep reading.  Most of it is just too sad.  And some of it is too incongruously beautiful.  But I thought I'd start by republishing the first post, at least.  I reserve the right to not publish any more.  I've not changed any of the typos or grammer errors-- or even the places where I sound utterly mad.  Mad as in crazy.  Mad as in MAD, too.  I've just changed a couple of the names and left out a few work details.

... by this post, Roommate & I had been taken in by a mutual friend in Tampa, Fl.

Post title: Sunday Update
Original post date: September 4, 2005 3:57pm

L has a back patio with a screened-in pool.  A little waterfall runs off and on into the pool, and I find myself needing to go to the bathroom every twenty minutes.  It’s either the sound of the water or the beer.  It’s Sunday; this weekend, Roommate and I were supposed to go away for our shared birthdays (Aug 29 & 31).  I’d pretty much decided on a fishing camp on the water in Morgan City; I’d wanted to go to Biloxi to see Dwight Yoakem in concert, but the room rates were too expensive.  And now, neither Biloxi, nor the rooms, nor Dwight Yoakem is there.  Morgan City still stands.

As I type this, the red-boxed “Breaking News” on is that police have shot and killed 5 members of the Army Corps of Engineers on a bridge outside of New Orleans.  Details to come.

Was it just yesterday, or this morning, that I felt for a nanosecond that things seemed to be getting better?

I’m so tired.  I don’t sleep well, and that has nothing to do with L’s accommodations.  And I don’t sleep much.  And just being awake makes me tired.  But my God, any time I feel myself lapsing into anything that even remotely resembles self-pity, I feel like dashing my head against bricks.  And that in itself is exhausting, to be honest.  I guess this is what they call “survivor’s guilt.”

I really anticipated having some “news” this weekend.  But we’ve heard only briefly from our headmistress.  
I got a personal email from her this morning; she told me to be patient and that she was assessing how much of the community was in Houston.  I’m gathering that there may be a satellite school in the works there. 

I’ve checked out my block on Google Earth; the satellite pictures as of 8/31 and 9/1 show my house and my car.  They’re there, and there’s no tree damage, but that’s all I know.  The Whole Foods three blocks away is missing a good portion of its roof.  We read on the message boards that the Whole Foods and all the blocks between there and our apartment had been looted.  But at that time (two nights ago) the homes had been spared.

Every so often, I think of things I left behind.  But somehow in the rush of preparedness, I managed to fill Tony (Roommate's car) with so much of meaning.

I have the photo album that my grandmother, gave me on my 20th birthday full of original and irreplaceable pictures of my dad as a kid.

I have a few pieces of artwork that I did—crappy though they are.  I have the one piece of original art I’ve ever bought, a picture of an iris.  I bought it last summer for more than I could afford directly from the artist in a gallery in Bay St Louis, Miss.  A town that, essentially, no longer exists.

I have framed pictures of my dad.  I have framed wedding pictures of both of my grandparents.  I have the engagement ring that my dad gave my mom that has, since my divorce, hung on my wall in a glass box.

Roommate suggested, as we were leaving, that we should just take everything in our closet and stick it in the trunk.  So I pulled armfuls of clothes out of the closet and shoved them in Tony’s trunk.  As a result, I am lucky to have a plethora of outfits (although not a single pair of pants), but I also have a ton of clothes that don’t fit me—clothes that stayed in my closet “in case I get skinny again.”  If you know of any homeless Katrina victims who are a size 0 or 2, let me know.

Update:  Now CNN says that the corps of engineers were not killed… the people who were shooting at them were.

My lifestyle is such that I am frequently away from home for months at a time, especially in the summer.  This summer I was away from home from mid-June through the first week of August.  Last summer, I was away from home the entire summer.  I am used to being away.  I’m sure Roommate is too—he averages one trip every other month, maybe more.  But still… homesickness.

Last night, B and L and J and I went to the Tampa Theater and saw “Broken Flowers” starring Bill Murray.  I’m a huge Murray fan, and
he didn’t disappoint.  And yet, I was the only person in our group who didn’t like the movie.  When they asked why, I could only say that I was not in the mood for that kind of movie.  The cynicism of everyday life doesn’t interest me any more.  I used to be a card-carrying cynic.  But all of that seems so shallow right now.  

The Dude Totally Abides

Hurry!!   You only have 12 hours to buy this awesome t-shirt at .  Sure I have more than one Big Lebowski t-shirt that I never wear, but I really think I'd wear this one!  And it's only $10 plus shipping on this one-t-shirt-a-day site.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

Special Edition: My Katrina, First Post

I became a serial blogger on September 2, 2005, while exiled in Florida, heartbroken to my core, trying to work through what was happening... and what was going to happen... in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  I'd lived in Louisiana for seven years at that point, in New Orleans for six.  You'll often hear people from New Orleans say that they love the city with the same kind of love they have for their families.  And that was me.  I'd fallen in love with New Orleans as a teen, worked my entire young adulthood to get there, and never imagined I would ever leave.  Ever.  So much so, that I'd never evacuated for a hurricane. Ever.  Until Katrina.

A while back, I thought I would honor the fifth anniversary of Katrina by re-posting posts from that blog, simply called "Displaced."  And just ten minutes into starting to re-read the blog, I started to cry.  And I realized I couldn't keep reading.  Most of it is just too sad.  And some of it is too incongruously beautiful.  But I thought I'd start by republishing the first post, at least.  I reserve the right to not publish any more.  I've not changed any of the typos or grammer errors-- or even the places where I sound utterly mad.  Mad as in crazy.  Mad as in MAD, too.  I've just changed a couple of the names.

Post title: First Thoughts
Original post date: September 2, 2005 4:22pm

I’m waiting. I’ve always been bad at waiting. Terrible at waiting patiently.

And yes, like every New Orleanian, every displaced denizen of the Gulf Coast, I am waiting for answers, for news, for concretes. And like every American I am waiting, and not very patiently I might add, for help to arrive in my city. For those who have the power to step up and do the right things, the logical things, the compassionate things…

But it’s Friday now, and I’m still waiting, and this time patiently, for the right words. I told a number of friends who emailed me early this week that I would send them a “proper email” as soon as I could. And I can’t.

As soon as I knew I would be displaced (although then I thought it would be briefly—weeks, not months), I knew I’d have a lot of people who’d want to know the hows and wheres and whats of my displacement. I decided that the best way to do that would be to establish a blog; that way I wouldn’t trouble people with newsy emails and anyone who was interested could check in at their convenience. I thought too that it would be nice to have a journal of the experience for myself.

And as I said, it’s Friday now and I’ve yet to put finger to keyboard except to respond to emails, briefly, and to search the internet, incessantly.

Writing has always been an escape, a catharsis. But for the past days, the act of articulation has seemed burdensome.

And I am waiting, too, for the enormity of this tragedy to finally be real enough to me that I am able to parse out my emotions. Grief, yes, more than I can possibly articulate. Anger like I have never felt in my life. Anger that I hope is common to everyone who tunes in the news. But there are other emotions there that I have yet to tap or yet to identify. Dichotomies of selfishness and selflessness, hope and despair, optimism and crushing pessimism.

But there has been a single sentiment that has eked through the morass in my brain, even long before I saw my city become alien to me, long before the ravages of nature turned into the savageness of unrest and criminal neglect. In the course of a lifetime, we are confronted by personal tragedies, even social tragedies, to which we respond “My life will never be the same. I don’t know how I can go on.” Death of loved ones, divorce, even the enormity of events like 9-11. But even as early as Monday morning, when the national news began to release image after image of places that I know and love fallen, under water, the lives of so many washed away—whole towns wiped from the continent—I felt humbled, tragically na├»ve, to have ever believed that any sorrow that I have suffered, either personally or sympathetically, could ever have made me feel like it would be difficult to “go on.”

And in the past days, it has gotten worse. My gut response was to the power of nature. I am now—we all are now—confronted with so much more to process. We’ve seen true evil. We’ve seen incompetence and neglect that is unfathomable. We have seen preventable suffering and death and despair that goes beyond our ability to comprehend.

Hopefully within the next day or two I’ll be able to start this blog properly—to use it to disseminate information about my plans, about the status of my school, about what people can do to help those who need help. Right now I have absolutely none of that information. We are safe in Tampa, displaced but not homeless in anything but the sentimental sense of the word. Heartbroken but so lucky. Grateful for the love and kindness of our friends and family. And despairing with helplessness and uselessness.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Monkey Wrench $5 Burgers on Tuesdays!


Earlier this year, I ranted about the number of Louisville restaurants who offered as a special a "buy one, get one" (BOGO) deal.   Sure, BOGOs are fantastic for you coupled folks, but as a single woman,  BOGOs leave me hanging and feeling my singlehood in both my pocketbook and my heart.

In that post, I citied specifically the Monkey Wrench's fantastic BOGO burger deal on Tuesdays.  The Monkey Wrench, a mere 3 blocks from my house, offered a BOGO deal on their fantastic burgers-- and any time Roommate was out of town, I mourned the fact that I couldn't skedaddle on down there for a cheap-o wonderful burger.

No more!  Now the Tuesday burger deal is $5 burgers-- essentially half-priced.  $6.50 burgers if you want a fancy one.

Thanks Monkey Wrench for realizing that not everyone has someone to "get one" when they "buy one."  As Professor Farnsworth on Futurama would say:  "Good news, everyone!"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Readers' Choice

Mama loves her some Project Runway.  I hate "reality television" in general, but I don't count Project Runway in that category.  Genuinely talented people under the gun (or Gunn, as it were)-- I love it.  But the most recent episode drove me bonkers.

In an effort to avoid spoilers for all you TiVoers out there, I'll keep this vague.  But this week, Designer X created a really pretty dress that I would love to wear and won the challenge, despite the fact that, to a person, his/her fellow designers poo-poohed the dress as "too easy" and a dress that "every teenager in Puerto Rico has in her closet."  When Designer X retired to the green room and declared him/herself the winner, he/she was met with golf claps, at best, as opposed to the usual uproarious applause.

I was raised better than that.  Big Mama Lou raised me to be a gracious loser.  I think being a gracious loser is the hallmark of someone with really excellent character.  This season on Project Runway... well, these designers weren't raised right, in my opinion.

So, years ago when I first started this blog I made a goal-- to one day be a runner-up for Leo Weekly's Reader's Choice awards for "Best Blog."  I know I can't ever be THE Best Blog in Louisville.  I don't update enough, for one thing.  And I only share stuff that interests me-- and that's kind of a narrow scope of Louisville stuff.  And let's face it, this city is home to some tremendously awesome blogs run by tremendously awesome people: Consuming Louisville, Page One, Ville Voice, the Edit... to name just a few.  So this goal is an uphill battle, my friends.

That being said (which was almost the motto of my blog before I decided on: "Neither here nor there"), I've seen so many restaurants/bars/venues/theaters/etc campaigning online this year, I figure this may be the year to start my OWN self-promotion campaign.

I've worked my buns off for Loueyville this year.  Not consistently, but passionately.  And when you read my blog, you get more than just information-- I hope-- you get a little piece of me with every post.  If you read and enjoy Loueyville on a regular basis, please vote for me as "Best Blog."  You can vote every day, as long as you vote for ten categories.  It's a fun process, really, and it makes you think about all of the things you love most about this wonderful city.

And I would like to think that the best thing about voting for Loueyville is that you KNOW I was raised right.  You know that I will NOT see my failure to be included on the list as a sleight to my ego.  You know that I will not "golf clap" when people as wonderful as Michelle from Consuming Louisville or Jake from Page One and Ville Voice trounce my ass.  I will celebrate them and their work as deserving and fabulous.

But gosh, I would love to be a bridesmaid if I can't be the bride.  Even that bridesmaid that your mama made you include even though you're not very close but you're family and family should be in the wedding party.

So... please vote for me for "Best Blog."  If you're so inclined, and all that...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Awesome Louisvillager: Alisha Wheatley

I certainly wasn't one of the cool kids when I was in high school, and I don't know if Alisha Wheatley was either, but she sure is now.  By day she's running the interwebs site for Spalding U, but in her spare time, she's co-founder of Derby City IT, a former roller girl, a Lebowski Fest enthusiast, a chick with some of the coolest tattoos I've seen... and so much more.  One of the cool kids, indeed... let's face it, if you're stepmom to a high school senior, you've probably graduated to twin-sets and bathing suits with skirts-- unless you're Lorelei Fraking Gilmore... or Alisha Wheatley.  

I have a total crush on anyone who can make entrepreneurship work, so this week I give you our next Awesome Louisvillager:  Alisha Wheatley.

LOU: Tell us about Derby City IT.  What services do you provide?  What is Derby City IT's mission?

First off, thanks for including me in this series! I really admire all of these folks and am proud to among them.

Derby City IT is a two person operation that specializes in IT support and web development for local small and non-profit businesses. We basically came about when my friend Charles and I decided to merge our freelance businesses into a one stop shop for folks who have big dreams and small budgets. We each have more than a decade of experience working in the non-profit sector, which affords us a thorough understanding of the unique challenges non-profits face and the audiences they serve. We are extremely bare bones, keeping the overhead as low as possible so we can provide the most bang for your already overstretched buck. Our mission is to do good work for good people using good stewardship of resources as our guide.

LOU: You wrote your master's thesis about Lebowski Fest.  What was the thesis of your thesis and how did you decide upon Lebowski Fest as your subject?

I'd like to clarify just quickly that I took the research option for my Masters degree, so the fest paper wasn't actually a thesis, but it was the capstone project for my final class. Now that the technicalities are out of the way... :) My master's is in Media Studies from The New School. My final class was called Electronic Media and Live Performance. In that class we tried to find that line, that sometimes agonizingly thin line, between live performance and electronic media. In a realm where electronic multimedia has become so entangled with live performance, how much "liveness" is necessary for an event to count as "live." Does the presence of electronic media diminish or elevate the liveness? With this floating around in my noggin, I decided to study Lebowski Fest as a recursive live event, a temporary community of live performance inspired by a mediated object. I was fascinated by the fact that this live event, inspired by a media object, featured the live appearance of the actual man who served as inspiration for a character in said media object. The thought of it all made my media-nerd brain sizzle and pop with glee, so it seemed the obvious choice for my project.

LOU: If you could change Lebowski Fest in some way-- here in Louisville-- what changes would you make and why?

The folks at Lebowskifest HQ made a wonderful change this year. They set it up so that the event, in its entirety, could be enjoyed at one location. That made a huge difference in the flow of events and made for a really exhaustingly fun weekend. My only request would be that it not be so hot, but I'm just a wuss when it comes to heat.

LOU: You have a pretty great "day job"-- why did founding and working for Derby City IT appeal to you?

I do have a great day job, but when Derby City IT first formed, my co-founder did not. Joining forces has allowed him to craft his dream job. Combining our strengths was also a boon to our existing freelance clients who needed more than either one of us alone could offer. I like being able to better serve them, and help them reach their goals. I also have to admit that the thought of being president of my own company was more than just a little attractive. :)

LOU:  Finally, what is the best thing about living in Louisville?  

Mint Juleps. KIDDING Hands down, the best thing about this town is the people. I am constantly amazed by the depth of compassion, creativity, talent, ingenuity and support in this community. I'm getting a little choked up over here just thinking about it.

Contact Alisha and learn more about her and the business through the Derby City IT website

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

End of (My) Summer Wrap-Up

I know the weather says otherwise, but the end of summer is here.  Mama's summer, at least.  Starting today, I'm back at work full time for The Man.  Sure I joked during the spring that my wee-tiny promotion that goes into effect this week means that I'm The Man now, but it was just that, a "joke."  Despite the fact that I love my Meatspace job with a burning passion, I think it's a universal truth that whether it's an average Monday or the first day back at work after two months off, grey clouds hang over the heads of those who are yoked to a job that dictates their freedom, their bedtimes, the number of glasses of wine they can consume on any given night.

Roommate is a freelancer, and I know that those of you who are self-employed have your own host of woes when it comes to your jobs.  But my #1 beef with being a working woman is losing my spontaneity. A few days ago, I was lucky enough to have lunch with a group of fantastic women-- several of whom are Awesome Louisvillagers already.  And it made me powerful sad to know that that would be the last time, until next June likely, that I'd be able to be a Lady Who Lunches.

At the beginning of the summer, I made a "to do" list for the upcoming months, but when I upgraded to a new computer, I didn't bother to transfer the list over to the MacBook.  I know myself well enough to know that no matter how much on that list I accomplished, those un-done "to dos" would haunt me.  So I've been winging it this summer.  For good or for ill.

Here are some thoughts on the Summer of Lou, including some of those done and undone "to dos."
  • Monitizing the blog:  I'm not even really sure what the word "monitize" means.  But I know I had on my list something along the lines of:  "look into how you can make some $ through"  Yeah. Didn't really happen.  I thought about it, truly I did.  But I never really went the distance.  I printed business cards in an effort to "legitimize" myself.  You might be seeing some of those pop up at local cafes sometime soon-- I have 500 of them.  I am occasionally adding Amazon associates links, but I haven't seen a penny from that.  Or the Google ads. Sure, I'd love some kind of sugardaddy/mummy, especially when webhosting renewal time comes around, and I have to shell out a couple hundred from my own pocket.  But in the end, I don't really relish the idea of putting my hand out.  And this summer, especially, Loueyville did something almost as good as put change in my pocket: it "paid for" dozens of adventures and evenings out in the form of media passes, free tickets, and being put "on the list."

  • And thanks to in part to Loueyville and in part to Louisville, I pretty much had the most fun summer I can remember.  Rocket-ass heat and all.  Charlie Mars, HullabaLOU, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde.  Free stuff like Waterfront Wednesdays and 4th Street Live's Blues Travelers show.  Discovering music at Zanzabar.  Loads of movies at Baxter.  Late nights at the Back Door.  Cool(ish) evenings outdoors at O'Shea's or Flanagan's.  TONS of Bats games.  (go Bats!)  It's just been fun.  Fun, fun, fun.  Often at the expense, ahem, of the "grown up stuff."  The lawn and "garden."  The housekeeping.  The planning for the upcoming Meatplace job year.  The major household DIY projects that were on my buried "to do" list.  So this is my mea culpa to myself:  Lou, you're gonna hate yourself in a week, when you have a long year of hard work ahead of you, and you spent your entire summer having fun.  All play and no work makes Lou a bit of a mess. Live with it, sister.
  • If I can finish revising my "serious" writing project by the end of the weekend-- only 75 more pages to go!-- I will have reached my goal of having an agent-ready manuscript by the end of the summer.  This goal didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped in some ways, but in other ways, it was very affirming to see how close I've been to being ready all this time. Long-time readers may remember that I used to be a voracious writer, and then chemo punked my noggin and made it impossible for me to concentrate for any length of time.  It was very nice to mark my return to (fiction) writing this summer, first by attending WRW in the early summer and then by ending my summer working on the manuscript in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
  • Good travels this summer, speaking of Cuernavaca.  WRW took me to lovely Owensboro, KY for ten days.  Family and friends visits took me to New England for two-plus weeks.  Got to see the town where I was born and the town where I spent the first 8 months of my life in Hanover and Lebanon, NH respectively.  Got to visit with my college roommate and her lovely children in Stowe, VT.  A few days on the Vineyard with my aunt and uncle and mom.  A visit with Grandma Lou, the coolest, most beautiful 87-year old you'll ever meet (if you're lucky) outside of Boston.  A visit with Big Mama Lou in the hometown.  
Today at the Meatspace Workplace, they had one of those nasty "ice breaker" activities.  And my "neighbor" was supposed to interview me on the following topic:  "Of what are you most proud?"  Nice.  I don't have the go-to answers: kids or a family.  I'm not particularly proud of most of my personal relationships-- although it does make me insanely happy that I enjoy Roommate's company as much now as I did when we first met eight years ago, despite the fact that we're exes.  There's no massive achievement in my life that I can point to.  The fact that I survived my cancer gets chalked up to my doctors, nurses, and modern science.  The fact that I've survived other difficult times gets chalked up to the support of the people around me and Jim Beam.  

This was my answer:  I'm most proud of the fact that I've been doing the same job for eleven years, and I still wake up most mornings happy to go to work.  I'm most proud of the fact that despite a lot of pressure to not be a teacher, both personal and financial, I still am.  I still love the kids.  I still love what I do.  I still strive to be better every year.  I still believe that what I do is important.  And even though I'm not ready to go back to the Meatspace Workplace, I'm excited for the new year.  

Happy end of summer, y'all.  Hope it was a good one for you too.  And I hope you all can say the same about what you do to bring home the bacon.  We should all be so lucky.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Advanced Warning: Slice of the Highlands Sept 23

We're still a more than a month in advance of this particular event, but I wanted to make sure you fine readers marked this event on your calendars.  Slice of the Highlands is the perfect storm of pizza, beer, wine, my neighborhood, and one of my favorite charities.  Sounds like, too, the event may go a little way to declare a victor in the "Pizza Wars" of the Highlands.  Unscientifically, of course.  But it will certainly give some restaurant certain bragging rights.

From the website:

The Original Highlands Neighborhood Association (OHNA), along with its Charitable Partner Gilda’s Club Louisville are happy to announce “A Slice of the Highlands,” a compelling pizza competition and silent auction event aimed to raise awareness and funds for  these organization and to put on a whimsical (yet competitive) event that draws neighborhood participation and goodwill.  We are grateful for our beer and wine sponsors, Kentucky Ale and The Wine Market, respectively.
In addition to the pizza restaurants already on board, the planning committee invites any and all pizza restaurants in The Highlands to participate.  Awards will be given for People’s Choice as well as Critics Choice.  Pizza competitors include Papalino’s NY Pizzeria, Famous BoomBozz Pizza, Spinelli's, Bearno’s, and ZA’s.  More competitors may be added.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Ticket purchase will include pizza from all the pizza competitors, beer and wine tastings, dessert, live music and the right to vote for your favorite pizza.

The event will be held at the Church of the Advent from 630pm-900p on September 23.  Don't forget that the event also includes a silent auction-- bring your checkbooks and help support Gilda's Club.  (Do people still HAVE checkbooks?  I haven't seen mine in months!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Late notice: Excellent Music at Skull Alley this Saturday (Aug 14)

Back from Cuernavaca, kids!  And while this heat... the less said about it the better, actually... it's always nice to be home.  One of the reasons it's nice to be home is that I just love doing stuff in my city.  Tonight, weather permitting, we're hitting Late Seating on the roof of Actors Theatre.  Saturday and Sunday, we'll be going to see our #1 Louisville Bats beat (hopefully) their biggest competition Columbus Clippers.

That being said, I might nick out of the Bats game a little early on Saturday to catch Cheyenne Marie Mize and Thomas A. Minor & the Picket Line at Skull Alley.  The Spinning Leaves are also playing, but I don't know anything about them.

Thomas A. Minor & the Picket Line rocked my world at last year's NuluFestival.  And Cheyenne Marie Mize is a local with a gorgeous voice who's been a member of or played with Arnett  Hollow, the Carter Family, Bonny Prince Billy, and Ben Sollee.  I've been wanting to check out Skull Alley for a long time.  I'm a little iffy about the "All ages" thing, but you shouldn't be.

Saturday, August 14th
w/ Thomas A. Minor & The Picket Line and The Spinning Leaves
Skull Alley
1017 East Broadway
Louisville KY
$5 / All Ages

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Awesome Louisvillager: Fairdale Bigfoot

Image from Consuming Louisville
I am thrilled beyond belief to have been able to land a celebrity of this magnitude for just my third edition of Awesome Louisvillagers.  Unless you've been living under a rock for a year (and the Fairdale Bigfoot has, literally, been living under a rock in Jefferson Memorial Forest), I'm sure you've heard of the Fairdale Bigfoot.  This erudite and hirsute soon-to-be-internet-phenom first appeared in Kenny Mahoney's backyard motion-detecting hunting cam in September 2009 and has been regaling us with his charming tweets and thought-provoking advice ever since (I don't know about you, but FDBF's advice always provokes thoughts  for me!).  We here at Loueyville (um, that would be me) were so sorry that FDBF has opted to retire his column at the end of his first year.  But it sounds like he's got some interesting projects in the works, and I'm sure October won't be the last we hear from him.  

LOU:  Fairdale Bigfoot, you first came to public attention in September of 2009.  Shortly thereafter, you joined Twitter as @FairdaleBigfoot, and shortly after that you became a regular advice columnist on Consuming Louisville.  Tell us about your early years.  What were you doing before you came to prominence on the internet?  And what made you decide to go public?

Fairdale Bigfoot is one of the New Hampshire Bigfoots, and his early life was fairly routine for a simian monster of that stature: private tutors, prep school, Ivy League, rowing team, speed addiction, commune, travel, house in the suburbs, cult, retail, uncredited cameo in The Big Chill, you know the story. Fairdale Bigfoot moved to Fairdale in the late 80s. Fairdale Bigfoot spent most of his time playing with model trains and starring in the occasional blurry video.

Fairdale Bigfoot first became interested in writing after sending several multi-page letters to editors of various newspapers and producers of movies. The highlight of this early period is a 4,000 word essay to the producers of Congo, written on a piece of an IKEA box. That one generated some early buzz in the law enforcement community and really made Fairdale Bigfoot think about his prose.

Going public last year was a matter of necessity. Fairdale Bigfoot was caught on tape in a Fairdale resident's garden. You see, Fairdale Bigfoot thought he saw a Twix next to the tomato plants. It turns out it was a 5th Avenue bar, but by the time Fairdale Bigfoot realized the mistake, a hidden camera had snapped a picture. Fairdale Bigfoot decided to use the incident as a little free publicity to start the column. The choice of Consuming Louisville was obvious, as Fairdale Bigfoot and CL's editor Michelle were in the same book club, until Fairdale Bigfoot got kicked out. (Because apparently in that book club, it's okay to insult Flaubert, but not okay to throw a tray of cucumber sandwiches through a window.)

LOU:  I subscribe to Fox Mulder's motto:  "I want to believe."  (Or maybe I've just always been a big fan of the Monkees' song "I'm a Believer") Ever since I was a wee Lou, I have refused to discount the possibility that cryptozoological creatures exist.  Thank you for giving us believers something to hang our hats on.  Now that we know Bigfoots/Bigfeet walk among us, can you tell us what other cryptozoological creatures are "real" and which are fabrications of active imaginations?  Are there other creatures we call "cryptozoological" that you're in touch with?  Do any live in Kentucky?

That is not his motto. That is just a phrase on a poster in his office. If phrases from posters were our own personal mottos, then Fairdale Bigfoot has a few creedos. "Is it Friday yet?" "You want it when?!" and "Styx."

There are multiple cryptozoological oddities in the world, and many of them live right here in Kentucky. We regularly meet for Civil War reenactments, barn dances, rollerblading and trips to Benihana. We can really knock back the teppanyaki. As far as the others' identities, they prefer to remain secret. That may not last for long, though, as a certain swamp monster of Shively has high hopes for his screenplay.

LOU: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself from a biological perspective?  Where do you fall on the evolutionary family tree?  How are Bigfoots/Bigfeet ensuring their posterity?  What does the genealogical future hold for you?

Fairdale Bigfoot cut down the evolutionary tree and carved the trunk into a model train. Prospects for more bigfoots seem unlikely, as most female sasquatches are "not really looking for a commitment" right now. In fact, most female humans tell Fairdale Bigfoot the same thing. They say they wouldn't get together if Fairdale Bigfoot were the last bigfoot on earth...which he almost is.

LOU:  When Obama became the first "post-racial" president, I had high hopes that Louisville would have the first "post-species" mayor.  In late 2009, you announced your candidacy for Louisville mayor.  Even had t-shirts printed out.  But after a few months, you pulled out of the mayoral race, and I was disappointed, as were many of my readers.  Can you tell us why?

After all those years on the Mondale campaign trail, Fairdale Bigfoot was confident he step out from behind the scenes, but the podium was too daunting. It brought back bad memories of throwing coffee at interns and slashing Mario Cuomo's tires. Fairdale Bigfoot didn't want to bring that side of himself back from retirement.

LOU: You're set to retire from the advice column business in October, and while we all value your privacy, I was wondering what kinds of things you'll be up to in the future?  You will be missed, no doubt.  We hope you don't fade back into obscurity.  

Let's just say the Shively Swamp Monster isn't the only one who has high hopes for that screenplay. Look out, L.A. Executive Producers, Fairdale Bigfoot is coming for you.

Contact Fairdale Bigfoot for advice while you still can at and visit his weekly advice column at Consuming Louisville (the link will lead to back issues of his column in case you've got some catching up to do).  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Awesome Louisvillager: Michelle Jones

There were several people I had in mind when I started "Awesome Louisvillagers."  But numero uno (I'm in Mexico, remember) was Michelle Jones of Consuming Louisville fame.  There are few bloggers (at least locally) who are so universally beloved.  And while I try very hard to maintain my relative anonymity (and Michelle and I started our blogs within months of each other), let's face it, Michelle plays her cards much closer to her chest.  I am so lucky to also count Ms. Jones among my friends, and even more lucky that she was willing to answer some pretty personal questions for this installment of "Awesome Louisvillagers."

LOU:  Michelle, I have been a Michelle Jones fangirl ever since I first stumbled across Consuming Louisville.  I don't know if you remember this, but our first personal communication consisted of me writing you an actual "fan" letter.  In my opinion, you're the whole "Awesome Louisvillager" package: nifty, innovative, AND kind.  What inspired you to start Consuming Louisville, and why do you think it is (I have no numbers to back this up, but it seems a reasonable estimation) the most popular culture blog in the city? 

First, the fangirl thing is completely mutual. You are awesome and I love you. The precursor to Consuming Louisville was a site called Consuming Indy. When B was close to finishing her residency in Indianapolis she started getting inquiries from hospitals and practices up there. I was afraid that she was going to get a job offer too good to turn down and we were going to be living in Indianapolis forever. It would be fair to say that Indianapolis and I didn't get along. The vibe and culture of the city just wasn't right for me but I figured if we were going to be living there for a long period of time I would have to figure out a way to be happier there. So I started more actively seeking out the independent shops, galleries, restaurants and other cultural things that are really important to me. I decided if I was looking so hard for those things that at least a few other people had to be looking for them as well so I should share that information on the interwebs. Thus Consuming Indy was born.

The day B accepted a job offer in Louisville I bought the domain name for Consuming Louisville. I couldn't wait to get back home to write about all the amazing things going on here. With Consuming Indy I was searching really hard to find things, with Consuming Louisville I knew I'd be overrun with great things to write about it and instead my role would be a bit more like a curator.

What popularity Consuming Louisville has is due to three things I think. The first is consistency. Week in week out month after month I publish Consuming Louisville. Except when I'm on vacation (and even sometimes then), when I'm observing religious holidays or federal holidays I'm adding new content to Consuming Louisville very nearly every week day. People know they can expect new content. The second is passion. People know I love this city and I write about things I think are good and worthy of more attention. I'm upfront with my biases (both pro and con) so I think readers have a good idea of what I'm about and over time readers have figured out whether they generally agree with my assessments or not because there is enough. The third is diversity in content. Although the name leads some folks to think Consuming Louisville is only about food I publish about everything from Hummingbird Festivals to sci fi conventions and from Louisville based Etsy sellers to art shows at tattoo shops. So I think there tends to be a little something for almost everyone on Consuming Louisville.

LOU: I know you're a Louisville transplant, and I also know that you just bought and fixed up a home.  How did you end up in our lovely city, and do you think Louisville is going to be your "forever home"?

I moved to Louisville when B came to medical school. She's a few years older than I am and we met when I was an undergrad. I transferred to UofL, she went to med school and the rest is history. Well almost. After med school we lived in Memphis and Indianapolis before we came back home. When B finished her residency we were pretty free to move anywhere we wanted and we made the decision to come back to Louisville, it's where we want to be. It's the place we've always been most comfortable and happiest. It's big enough to have all the amenities we want and small enough that we feel we can really be part of and contribute to the community in positive ways. So yes, I definitely plan on Louisville being my forever home. Plus after we bought the house I swore I was never moving again.

LOU:  You're a "Louisville Connector."  I'm not really sure what that means or what the "job" entails.  Tell us about the Louisville Connector program and what it means to you and what the program means to the city.

I'm incredibly proud and honored to have been chosen a Louisville Connector.  I have a very non-traditional work life and a very non-traditional definition of career success. It feels like a victory for independent creative types and geeks everywhere that someone like me ended up on a list with such company as the mayor and Gil Holland. That being said I'm not sure what the job entails other than to keep on keeping on. Meaning it's inspired me to try to be even more proactive in not only doing good in our community but to also help others do good as well. For a long time now I've been looking for a mentor, someone who understands my life goals and can help guide me. I'm still looking for that mentor but the Connector program has helped me understand that I can, at least in a small way, be a mentor to other folks even though I totally still don't feel like a grownup. 

What I hope the Connectors program eventually means to the city is that a strong network develops among the Connectors and we help each other multiply the good we are each doing exponentially. I want us all to get in a room where individual Connectors say "This is the cool project I'm trying to get off the ground or that I want to support, who can help out?" Then hopefully that person is stampeded by other Connectors who can do just that. That hasn't happened yet, but I'm hopeful it will, if not with my class of Connectors then at least with future classes. 

LOU:  You're also a "do-gooder" in so many senses of the word.  Tell me about some of the "do-good" projects you're most proud of and about some of the "do-good" projects in the works.

The do-gooder project that I'm all kinds of in love with right now is a volunteer program through JFCS called "Shabbos Friends." Once a month volunteers, myself included, visit nursing homes or retirement communities to welcome Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) with the Jewish residents. It's a tiny little thing to spend a couple hours a month doing but it is so rewarding. I know the folks I visit enjoy it but truthfully I am so enriched by the experience I almost feel like I should be paying someone to get to do it. 

A couple of my favorite do-gooder projects were ones we did for the library. Consuming Louisville readers were so generous both during the "Libraries are Free but Books Aren't" book drive and the bake sale we had last year. I've actually been thinking it's time to do another bake sale just because it was so much fun. I'm not sure if it will be another library fundraiser or if it will support another organization but I'm thinking early October will be a good time for it so I can make all sorts of pumpkin based treats (mmm pumpkin)! 

I'm still trying to get a do-gooder project off the ground for "Let Them Tweet Cake." I've stalled out in raising money for it but essentially we're trying to help senior citizens stay connected to friends and family though social media tools. We want to pair up smart, tech savvy women with seniors to be, basically, their personal internet coach. From Facebook to YouTube to good old email there are so many free tools to keep folks connected we want as many people to have access to them as possible. We just need a little bit of hardware since nursing homes, retirement communities, etc don't tend to have open access computers for residents. 

LOU:  Here's a personal question, but to me, it's one of the things that makes you so "awesome."   I know you're about to celebrate your 15 year anniversary with B.  I'm a little older than you are, but too often when I spend time with my coupled friends, I come away thinking, "I'm glad he/she found someone, but I wouldn't want their kind of partnership for myself."  That's just not the case when I spend time with you and B.  As far as I'm concerned, you two share a relationship that we should all aspire to.  What is the secret to your success?

What a wonderful question. Yes, B and I have been together for very nearly 15 years. It's funny that you ask this questions because we actually talked about this today at lunch. There are many pieces that fit together to make our relationship work but I'll tell you what I think the three most important ones are. 

1. We genuinely enjoy each other's company. From the very beginning we've always had a really good time together. We laugh a lot, we have a ton of inside jokes and we have no reservations about being completely and totally silly together. To say it another way, not only do we love each other but we also really like each other. 

2. She is the best person I've ever known. She has always raised the bar for me to be better. To learn more, to be kinder, to recycle more, to stop throwing my clothes in a pile in the bedroom floor, whatever. It's not by guilt or nudging, it's by example. Her commitment to her patients and how genuinely she cares is an incredible inspiration. I think it's terribly important to be with someone who makes you want to be better, who makes you want to try harder. 

3. We are committed, there is no "out." We aren't the same people we were 15 years ago when we first met. We've changed in who we are, what we do and things that are important to us but through all of those changes we knew that being together was the one thing that would never change. Yes of course love is a feeling but it's also a choice. We choose to be together everyday, we choose to love each other. Even through fights or rough patches we know that we've chosen to be with each other so whatever it takes to fix things or make a situation better is what we're going to do. 

For example she works crazy long hours that frustrate me. I know though that her work makes her happy and I know I'm never going to leave. So I have to look at the situation and say "ok, that's not changing and our status as a couple isn't changing, so what can I change to make myself happier?" and then I go from there. And from her side of things I went from being a-religious to religiously observant after we'd been together for a decade. That was a huge change in our life but we both knew that even with such a change we would be together, leaving just isn't an option. So we worked through it to find a way for my religious observance to enrich our life together instead of being a burden for her. 

If you were to ask B what the secret to our success is though her answer would be much simpler. She'd say "Crusty edge, soft middle." Meaning she likes the crusty exterior of bagels and bread while I prefer the soft middle pieces. So I give her my crusty edges and she gives me her soft center. In other words our likes compliment each other.

You can read Michelle's blog at: Consuming Louisville
And her tweets at:
And Michelle encourages everyone to volunteer with JFCS!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Three Great Things I Did Last Week

Thing One:  It's quickly becoming gospel in Casa Lou that midweek shows at Zanzabar are worth seeing.  The setting is intimate, the music is fantastic, and the folks behind the bar are delightful.  I'm only sorry that pretty soon, I won't be able to hack midweek shows when my Meatspace job returns.  This week, we caught the dreamy duo, Kaiser Cartel from Brooklyn.  Not only was the show wonderful, but the duo were really sweet people.  It's always nice to see musicians in a venue where you can chat them up after the show.  Zanzabar has some interesting-looking shows lined up for August.  I hope I have time to hit at least one more before I cease to be a lady of leisure.

Thing Two:  If you'd told me that I would genuinely enjoy the "Jersey Boys" show at the Kentucky Center  as much as I did, I would have told you that you didn't get my taste.  I'd heard too many times that your average "jukebox musical" was just a flimsy plot holding together crowd-pleasing songs.  Let me tell you, "Jersey Boys" pleased their crowd and then some.  I'd never seen a mid-act standing ovation before.  But the best thing about "Jersey Boys" wasn't the vocal gymnastics of the uber-talented cast, but the sad and sweet plot of the Four Seasons' rise to fame and eventual unravelling.  And who knew that the actor, Joe Pesci, as a boy, played an integral role in the formation of the Four Seasons!? (As they say in the script, "Yeah, that Joe Pesci.")  If you like the Four Seasons' music, you really have to go see this musical.  And if you don't like the Four Seasons, think about going anyway.  I was really blown away.  Another great job by Broadway Across America.

Thing Three:  You're probably tired of hearing me tell you to go to a Bats game... but we went twice this week, including last night when they beat the #1 Columbus Clippers in 11 innings.  Our boys are on a ten-game winning streak, and are trying very hard to make it to the Wild Card game.  Saturday, last year's boy of summer, Homer Bailey, was back on the mound for the Bats after playing most of the season with the Reds.  He's recovering from an inflamed shoulder.  We also happened to be at the July 27th game where the Bats took Charlotte to town, winning 19-6, with at least one RBI hit by every starter.

For the next nine glorious (hopefully) days, I'll be blogging from Mexico.  Or not blogging, depending on how glorious it is.  Mama hasn't had a "real" sit-by-a-pool-and-decompress vacation in years.  Sure, last summer was the summer of Newfoundland and Labrador, but we didn't stay in the same place two days in a row.  It was a great trip, but it was a lot of work.  And earlier this summer I hit up New England, but that too was a lot of traveling around and-- more taxing (but delightful)-- visiting people.

I have a couple of really fabulous "Awesome Louisvillagers" interviews to post while I'm away.  (Seriously, these are fantastic!)  Feel free to send me nominations for Awesome Louisvillagers, by the way... my list grows longer every day!

Take care of Louisville while I'm away!

HullabaLOU Round-up: Last Post

Okay, it's been a week, and tomorrow I leave for my "real" summer vacation, so this is as good of a time as any to put a period at the end of my HullabaLOU reporting.  Here, in no particular order, are some final thoughts on HullabaLOU:

  • One of my favorite things about music festivals is discovering new bands.  When you go to Bonnaroo, you're given a little pocket-sized booklet as soon as you enter the gates.  This book-- besides having some really great articles and even some coupons for fest vendors-- features bios of all the bands.  This is a brilliant idea.  Helps the new, unknown bands gain an audience (I remember going to see a band my first year just because they were from Knoxville-- where @etammoor & I lived for a summer-- and they were in a tent, and it was hot).  Jazzfest sells their booklet-- well worth it, especially for the coupons.  And the industrious New Orleans monthly music bible, Offbeat Magazine, has vendors outside the gates of Jazzfest every day, giving away their phone-book-sized version.  I would have seen more new bands if I'd been clued into who they were.  And it's genuinely a nice break to go find a shady corner somewhere during the heat of the day and have something to read.
  • I saw exactly four children at HullabaLOU.  Teens galore.  But only four little kids.  I saw lots of oldsters, including a surprising number of people with walkers and/or oxygen tanks.  But music festivals should speak of "community."  And community includes kids.  Bonnaroo and Jazzfest feature kids' activities and even musicians geared towards the kiddos.  HullabaLOU should do something about this.
  • We're a foodie city, but you wouldn't have known that at HullabaLOU.  Sure, there were a number of local vendors.  But the food court was not memorable by any stretch of the imagination.  Again, at Jazzfest I budgeted at least $25 a day for food and was more than happy to spend it to taste food from restaurants that I normally couldn't afford to go to and have food that was only available at Jazzfest.  In the slower hours of HullabaLOU, it seemed like there was a beer/booze vendor for every four fest-ers.  Maybe they should consider giving that real-estate to more food vendors.
  • Anyone know who designed the Dave Matthews Band HullabaLOU poster?  It was gorgeous, and I can't find it online.
  • Ok, he he, my funny Ben Sollee story.  (And understand, I totally am giving the guy the benefit of the doubt here.)  So after his fantastic set in the blazing heat, Sollee came up to the Media Center, and I happened to bump into him at the food buffet.  Reminder:  I am quite possibly the shyest person in the world, so it to herculean effort for me to muster the courage to speak to him.  Which I did.  Complimented him on his show, stammered a bit, and then he engaged me in conversation about first the buffet and then the festival.  I explained to him that that day's fest (Kenny Chesney) was very different than the previous day's fest (Bon Jovi).  And he said, "Which one (Chesney or Bon Jovi) do you prefer?"  I stammered for a moment and then said, "Well, neither is my cup of tea, but I have to say-- Bon Jovi kinda rocked." And he walked away.  No comment, no smile, no nod of understanding.  Just cold walked away, leaving me holding a plate of chicken fingers and my pride.  Was it me (sweaty little awkward mess)?  Was it Bon Jovi?  Or was he just done with the conversation.  Who knows?  But when people ask me why I'm so shy... yeah, this is why, folks. UPDATE:  See the comments for Sollee's very kind response.  All a big ol' miscommunication.  
Again, thanks for tuning into the "All HullabaLOU All the Time" portion of this blog.  I really enjoy covering events in depth-- I've done the same thing with IdeaFestival, Humana Festival, and Bonnaroo before, and it's always been fun.  But back to picking and choosing my topics for now.  And thanks for the Churchill Downs Entertainment folks for making it possible.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.