Monday, December 26, 2011

Tastiest Town

We're Number One!  We're Number One!

(at the moment)

At the moment, Louisville tops Southern Living Magazine's South's Tastiest Town contest. You can vote daily, and you should vote daily because we're only beating Lafayette, LA by a sliver. (Surprisingly we're leaving my old hometown and foodie paradise, New Orleans, in the dust at the moment.)

Voting runs through January 31 and each time you enter, you're eligible to win a $2500 trip to the Tastiest Town of your choice. Click on this link to enter.

What better way to ring in the new year than for us to nail down an honor that we richly deserve?

Friday, December 23, 2011

THIS... is Louisville: 1st Issue Release Party

Lately I've been cheerleading for the local Kickstarter project Menu and Hours, but Louisville has a pretty solid history backing worthy projects on Kickstarter, including Morels Food Truck and the soon-to-be-released THIS... is Louisville magazine, both of which received funds that surpassed their Kickstarter goals.

From the THIS... is Louisville facebook page:

We believe everyone has a story to tell. Louisville is a photo documentary based magazine telling the stories of real people in Louisville. 

Almost all the crew for this magazine went to WKU, we all have (or are working towards) degrees in photojournalism, so shooting documentary style is our "thing." We love it, it's our passion. The idea is to try to cover Louisville as vastly as possible.

Stories that we have started working on include refugees, people facing the job crisis, the LGBT community, people challenging the role of gender, candid street fashion, an older lady that has somehow found the fountain of youth, and these are just a few.

We are going to try to tell their stories as honestly as possible. There are so many important people that are just "everyday people" living in our community and their stories NEED to be told.

The inaugural issue of THIS... is Louisville has just hit the hands of the creators, and I have it on good authority via Twitter (@THISisLouville) that it is gorgeous. I've also heard from Maggie Huber that the magazine has been funded at least through issue two.

Watch their truly beautiful Kickstarter video and then stop by to pick up a copy and congratulate them on December 29 from 730p-? at Seidenfaden's. There, you'll be able to pick up the magazine for FREE, buy signed prints, and otherwise support this really exciting new publication. The Magnolia Photo Booth folks will also be there.

Between The Paper and THIS... is Louisville, exciting things have happened in print media in this city in 2011. Wishing both publications continued success in 2012.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Save the Date: Skate Tweet Up II: Electric Boogaloo

Even though I can barely skate, and I am going to hurt like HECK tomorrow, I had so much fun at tonight's Skate Tweet-Up that I can't wait to do it again.

Tonight's turnout was pretty small; I think some folks were scared away by the spitty rain this afternoon (although it was largely spit-free from 7p-830p while we were skating). But what a fantastic group of people!

The Jeffersonville rink is tiny and adorable. There's a hot dog/hot chocolate vendor outside. And street parking is convenient and easily found. And it's only $8 for the whole shebang-- skating AND skate rental!  I really wish the rink would stay open longer than just January 1.

So, I am planning another Skate Tweet-Up before the rink closes.

Who: YOU! This event is kid-friendly and non-skater-friendly.

What: Skating at the Jeffersonville rink.

When: December 28 from 7-9pm, apres-skate gathering at the BBC on Main Street

Where: Jeffersonville, Indiana-- corner of Market and Spring Streets.

Why: Because it's lovely and festive, and you'll work muscles that you didn't know you had-- ow!

Hope you can make it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

PAL's Iroquois HS Students & Blue Apple Players @ 21c

If you work downtown, here's an after-work, brief event that might interest you for Monday:

The Blue Apple Players have been working with eight students from Iroquois High School to develop original drama pieces inspired by the art at 21c's Cuba Now exhibit.  On Monday, December 19, these works will be performed at 21c at 530pm for free.  The program should last more or less a half an hour.

From the press release:

The mission of the PAL Coalition is to reduce the incidence of substance abuse by young people residing in the 7th Street Corridor of Central Louisville. Through this after-school club, students have taken on a community leadership role in creating strategies and projects that will reduce substance abuse and support a healthy community. These outstanding teens selected drama as one way to communicate their message. But identifying the vehicle of drama wasn’t enough to jumpstart their work; they needed someone to lead them in how to utilize drama to make their ideas come alive. PAL reached out to Blue Apple Players. 

The PAL Coalition met Blue Apple Players Education Director Heather Burns in the fall of 2010. Burns taught the PAL students acting techniques and led them through the process of how to create an original piece of drama for several projects. 

“Teaching drama with Blue Apple is unique because it allows students to bring their own ideas to the table and trust themselves,” said Burns, “The PAL Coalition have shown me a stronger focus than many of the self-described ‘drama kids’ that I’ve taught. It’s all about their personal dedication to the mission of PAL. That’s why it was time to do something really special and partner them with the 21c Museum.”

This is a win, win situation, folks. It's a great little after-work slice of culture for you, one that is bound to reaffirm your faith in teenagers and the power of art. And it would be so nice to give these kiddos a solid audience to perform to.

So please think about going. I'll be there, and I'll head straight from 21c to our skating Tweet Up, so this isn't an either/or proposition.  And look for more on the work of the Blue Apple Players in next month's The Paper.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside II: Skating Tweet Up

Last month I posted about the outdoor ice rink that opened across the river in Jeffersontownville or whatever the town is called. (sorry Hoosiers, you know me and my aversion to bridges).  Last week on Twitter, I proposed a Tweet Up at the ice rink. Our first date looked like it was going to get rained out, so we moved it.

What: Loueyville Tweet Up at the Ice Rink

When: Monday, December 19, 7pm-ish

Where: Corner of Market & Spring in Jeffersonville, IN

Who: YOU!

Why: Because it's only $8, and so dang festive!

I don't know how to tell you how to find me. I don't really look much like an acorn. But I'll try to remember to tweet what I am wearing. Just ask every short, blonde, thirtysomething who falls on her ass, "Are you Lou?" :)

If it rains, we'll reschedule. Keep checking Twitter, if it looks like the weather is going bad (@Loueyville).  If it snows, it will be even MORE dang festive!  Let's all get our Norman Rockwells on, Louisvillagers!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hungry With Questions: An App for That

Awesome Louisvillager, do-gooder, and Queen of the Louisville blogworld Michelle Jones of Consuming Louisville has kicked off a Kickstarter to raise funds for a very cool iPhone (and hopefully eventually Android) app.

Menu and Hours is just that: menus and hours. Well, it's pretty much just that. I'm guessing that "Menus, Hours, and Contact Info" was dismissed pretty quickly as a potential name.

Watch the video and let her explain why this app needs to happen. Michelle is offering generous incentives for people who pledge at the $10 level and above.

And sweet Pete, if Ms. Michelle's adorable narration of the Kickstarter video doesn't motivate you to pledge your support, you have a heart of stone.

NYE 2011: The Pass @ Butchertown Pub Studios

I'm loopy for a number of local singer/songwriters. Alex Wright, Justin P. Lewis, Tyrone Cotton, Butch Rice, Brigid Kaelin (in exile), Dewey Kincade, and many more.

But the list of Louisville bands that I love is decidedly shorter (educate me, dear readers!).

One band that I do LOVE-- my favorite band in this fair city-- is The Pass.  And they're playing a show with Nerves Junior on NYE at the Butchertown Pub Studios.

The folks at Backseat Sandbar have the details.  It's only $12 in advance, so this is looking like a very good contender for how I will spend my New Year's Eve 2011.

NYE 2011: What Are We Doing New Year's Eve?

Let's face it, New Year's Eve is kind of a bitch of a holiday. Like Valentine's Day, it's always a lot of pressure and usually little payout. (Case in point: Last NYE, I went on a date to a fancy-ish dinner and then a very lovely house party... with a guy who turned out to have a secret serious girlfriend. Not a banner way to usher in a new year, in retrospect.)

But 2011 has been a pretty good year. I've made a lot of fabulous new friends, done incredibly exciting new things, and embarked on some fairly serious soul-searching that may lead to even more new friends and exciting experiences (fingers crossed). 2011 hasn't been devoid of crises-- most notably, Roommate's heart attack back in January. But even that led both of us to some positive changes in our lives, and certainly led me to love him more and better.

While prepping to write this post, I looked back on a NYE post from 2008 and was reminded how damned lucky I am in 2011.  Back then I didn't know any of y'all-- no joke: in 2008, I had three friends in this city, Roommate being one of them. I was going through the whole cancer thing. I was living in a hotel because my house had been crushed by Hurricane Ike back in September. Dark times, dear readers.

That year, I wrote a series of posts on NYE happenings in Louisville under the header "GOOD RIDDANCE 2008;" this year, I have slightly more tender feelings toward the year that we're about to dismiss. So, I'll just label these NYE 2011.

So, Louisville, what's the skinny on NYE 2011?  What are you doing? Email me at Lou (at) and let me know. I'll post the best stuff to the blog.

Granted, some say that the Mayans predicted that this would be the last year... ever. But I'm really looking forward to 2012 nonetheless. At the very least, if the Mayans were right, I'm hopeful that they meant that the Earth would be invaded by aliens. In which case, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that said aliens are just my "real" family coming to take me home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Improvapalooza 12: Tickets on Sale!

Today, tickets go on sale for Improvapalooza 12, the longest-running improv festival in the Southeast, hosted by the Louisville Improvisors.  The event runs January 6-7 at 8pm at the Mex Theatre in the Kentucky Center. Tickets are $17.

This year's festival will include Colleen Smith of the Groundlings and comedienne Candice Brown (who has been on Torchwood-- Total nerd squee!!). Also featured are the Narcotic Farmers, an improv super group combining some of the best improvisers from the Nashville improv group Music City Improv with the Louisville Improvisors.

I covered the Improvisors for The Paper a couple of months ago, so I'm really excited for this event.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Guys, I think I just ate some plate"

This week's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me's" Sandwich Monday Blog features Kentucky's own Hot Brown. Because it is so amusing, we'll forgive them that they enjoyed the Hot Brown's at Lexington's Ramsey's restaurant, and not here at the Brown Hotel like they should have.

Highlights of the review include:

Robert: On the old pirate maps the bacon "X" meant "Here be diabetes."
Mike: Exactly. Dig here for a heart attack.
Ian: The crucifix of bacon is the least Jewish thing I have ever seen.

The final verdict that was the sandwich-- if you can call it that-- didn't live up to its visual promise, tastewise. Hope they don't write it off and instead try another Hot Brown in its native city, Louisville. A well-done Hot Brown is a party in your mouth: a sluggish, deadening, nap-inducing party that takes you two days to recover from.

Linda Golden: Photo Exhibit

Students at the Tokoin-Gbonvie elementary school in Lomé
This week the Gardiner Lane Heine Brothers will start featuring and exhibit of ten photos taken by the lovely and talented Linda Golden. The photos, taken during her time in the Peace Corps, feature Togolese women and girls.

The photos are for sale for $50 each, and all profits from each sale go to Pathways Togo.

For more information about the exhibit, visit Linda's blog, LJ Golden-- Just Exploring. Here's a brief excerpt:
The images feature Togolese women and girls, who were my closest friends during my time in Togo. They welcomed me when I arrived, showed me how to carry water from the pump (a short-lived endeavor on my part), made sure I was appropriately dressed for the mosque on the important holy days, guided me through the village (it was a small village, but I still needed help finding the middle school), and saw me off each time I said “goodbye.” They let me advise them on how to care for their children’s health, even though I have no children of my own. At least one told me she wanted me with her when she delivered her fourth child.
I'm really looking forward to seeing Linda's work. Hope you go check it out too.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Diego Garcia Ticket Giveaway!

Thanks to Diego Garcia's PR folks, I have two free tickets to his show tomorrow night to give away.  

More information about the show in my previous post, here

Want to go? Either leave a response to this post below or tweet me @loueyville and let me know why you need a night out!

I'll pick a post at random tomorrow at noon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Diego Garcia: Not Just An Atoll (Z'bar on Sat)

I don't blog all that much about music because here in Louisville we're lucky to have a lot of great music bloggers who get the job done.  But occasionally I get a press release from a musician's PR firm that kind of excites me.

This Saturday, Diego Garcia, formerly the frontman of the band Elefant, will be playing at Zanzabar. His PR people let me stream his solo album, and I was totally charmed. From the press release:

Diego Garcia has become one of 2011’s breakout new stars, with NPR calling his debut album ‘Laura’ “one of the top 25 albums of the year (so far).” The album has had an impressive response from radio, hitting #1 atWXPN in Philadelphia and #4 at tastemaker station KCRW in Los Angeles. With lush string arrangements and Spanish guitar, Diego Garcia’s poignant single “You Were Never There,” was recently featured as Starbucks ‘Pick of the Week’ (with 750,000 download cards distributed nationally). Prior to his successful solo career, Diego Garcia originally made his mark on the music scene as front man for the popular indie band Elefant.

Zanzabar is probably my favorite local venue, so I'm really excited for this show.  Below you will find a link to a free download of his song "Stay." We've been hearing Garcia a lot on WFPK; this is a fantastic time to see him in person.  Tickets are $12.  And with the kind of buzz he's been receiving, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it sells out.  Maybe you ought to get your tickets in advance, huh?  You can do that here.

Doors at 8p; show at 9p. I'll see you there!

(Keeping my fingers crossed that I might have a ticket giveaway coming your way soon.  And maybe an interview in which I ask totally absurd questions.  In the meantime, check out's article by Allison Ray.)

Personal: A Holiday Season Reminder

Even in the best of years, I'm just not a Christmas-y kind of person. When I was a kid, it seemed like holidays-- Christmas and Thanksgiving and Fourth of July-- had a Norman Rockwell sort of flavor to them. I had a big family. I was the oldest of a whole passel of kids. We lived in New England, which for some reason makes everything seem a little more Norman Rockwellish. But as an adult, I have admit that I could pretty much take or leave just about every holiday.

This year, I had a bunch of people over the night before Thanksgiving, and that felt more Thanksgiving-y than any actual Turkey Day meal I've had in a long time. New Years is overhyped and over-promised. And one of the many downsides of being childless is that Christmas just really doesn't feel like Christmas when there aren't little kids around.

But this year, my inner Grinch has been having a field day. Money woes and work angst have been amplifying each other into a feedback loop of crushing stress. In some ways, this Christmas was poised to be the least joyful holiday ever.

And I'm not saying I've figured out how to rescue it. I'm trying. Only time will tell. What I am saying is that I am going to work harder to have my long-lost inner Buddy Elf vanquish my long-standing inner Grinch.

Tonight I bopped on over to my personal Facebook page and saw that my Aunt KL posted this picture:

This is Christmas 1960. The tallest one is my dad. The other little dudes are his four younger brothers (Aunt KL is married to the littlest one). And when I saw this picture,  I was floored.

Dad died when I was three; he was twenty-seven. I was born on his 24th birthday. I think about him a lot. But I don't really ever think about him being a kid. A kid who had brothers. A kid who enjoyed Christmas. A kid who had awesome big ol' glasses that hipsters in 2011 would covet.

And my lord... if you've ever met me, you're probably freaked out by the resemblance too.

Anyway, I kind of needed that kick in the pants. Needed to be reminded to be grateful for the holiday season, regardless of the feedback loop of stress.  Needed to be reminded of how many more Christmases I've gotten to enjoy than my dad did.

So I'm going to try to do better, be merrier. I know so many people who are facing a far more challenging holiday than I am, so I need to do more than to just do better-- I need to be better.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to make some headway banishing my Bah-Humbugs by seeing Actors Theater's A Christmas Carol with The Guy. How do you bring cheer to your winter holiday of choice when you're just not feeling cheerful?  Do you have any recommendations that are bound to put some jolly in my soul?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Power 2 Give: Support the Arts this Holiday Season

I admit, I have a knee-jerk bias against just about anything that subs numbers/letters for words (unless it's the title of a Prince song).  But, I'll squash that sentiment for the rest of this post because I do love this opportunity to support the arts.

Power 2 Give (see, I just had to go back and delete "to" and replace it with "2"... sorry, squashing) works kind of like Kickstarter or Donors Choose.  It lists projects that need funding in the local arts and sciences, and you can choose which ones you would like to contribute to.  Or more precisely, from their website:

A project of the Arts & Science Council (ASC), empowers you to give directly to local arts, science and history projects you are passionate about. Nonprofit organizations post projects that are in need of funding. You help bring them to life with a gift.

What I like most about this website for this holiday season is that you can purchase gift cards in $25 denominations so that your friends, employees, family, Secret Santa recipient, etc can choose the project that they want to support.  

Many of the projects are also supported by matching gifts from local and national sources. Some organizations have opted to eschew matching gifts from corporations, which is also cool. 

I admit that I have a wee bit of a personal bias involved in this recommendation (No I'm not going to tell you what it is. I'm a woman of mystery.), but if you're not sure which organization to support, you can't go wrong with Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble.  Get those actors some damned pants!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Broadway Across America: RAIN

When I was a kid, Mama Lou always said to me, "Melissa, you never say no. Someone could invite you to a pig-calling contest, and you'd say 'Sure! When?'"

I am still waiting for someone to invite me to a pig-calling contest. I'd love to go.

But it's kind of awesome that my blogging hobby has led to me being invited to go see so many things so often.  I'm still that kid Mama was talking to-- I still almost never say "no" to an invitation. And that has served me so well so often, I hope I don't ever have to stop saying "yes."

So when the folks at Broadway Across America invited me to see RAIN, the Beatles tribute that just left Broadway and is now touring, I didn't think twice.

Confession: I'm one of those rare people who is totally apathetic about the Beatles. I understand the power behind the songwriting and the musicianship and all that, but I just don't dig the Beatles the way that (seemingly) most people do. In fact-- ghastly admission coming-- my "desert island discs" list would include the album "The Monkees" but nothing by the Beatles (seriously people, I know that the Monkees were a manufactured band, but a vast number of their songs are just... stunningly good!).

So I was kind of feeling a little meh about seeing RAIN, but I'm so glad I went.  And holy cow, if you're a bonafide fan of the Beatles, I'm sure you'd love it! Imagine seeing a fabulous cover band, then put the power of Broadway behind the production.... These men replicate the Beatles' sound impeccably and have been doing so (most of them) since the mid-80's (right around when Mama was chiding me about the pig-calling contests).  Four costume and set changes. Multi-media stuff that's both new and historic.  So well done, overall.

And the crowd... I'm still kind of baffled by it.  First of all, Roommate and I were two of the youngest people in the audience.  Secondly, some of these people (mostly women) reacted to RAIN as though the were the actual Beatles.  Hooting, hollering, swooning.  But as Roommate said, any band that can keep a group of people on their feet for more than thirty minutes has something going on.

There are two shows left on Saturday, December 3.  If you're an honest-to-goodness Beatles fan, you're not going to want to miss this.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rumor Report: Hammerheads Moving?

I hope they take the really cool shark that hangs above their door...

A little birdy (okay, it's Roommate) tells me that Hammerheads will be relocating to the location formerly known as Big Blue Country.  Sure, my last Rumor Report on Big Blue Country (that they were considering a name change to attract a more diverse sports crowd) didn't pan out. I mean, maybe they DID consider a name change, but decided against it-- who knows?

But Roommate swears this is true, and if it is that's fabulous news-- we've walked away from Hammerheads' long wait for a table more times than we've actually eaten at Hammerheads.  No more "limited seating" if they're in the Big Blue Country location... it's pretty huge.

Can anyone substantiate this rumor?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Actors Names New Artistic Director

Associate Artistic Director of Berkeley Rep, Les Waters has been named the new Artistic Director at Actors Theatre. (Take that, California! You get Masterson, we get one of yours!)

Read the CJ article here. Of interesting note: Waters directed the debut of Sarah Ruhl's IN THE NEXT ROOM (or the vibrator play) before taking it to Broadway where it won an Obie and was nominated for three Tony's. Ruhl is a favorite of mine, and this play is scheduled to premiere at Actors in January.

Want to meet Waters and welcome him to our fair city? There's a reception at Actors tonight from 430p-630p.

I don't think I'll be able to make it, so I will extend my welcome now... Welcome to Louisville, Mr. Waters! If you need any advice or encouragement, drop me a note. I'll be happy to show you and your family around, give you advice, or share what I love about this city with you! We love our theater here in Louisville; do right by us, inspire us, and push us as your audience, and we'll love you to pieces!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Salon 2011 Gift Guide by Erin Keane

I don't know what I love about Salon's Holiday Gift Guide 2011 most.

Is it that the guide is based on "the year's most memorable fictional characters"?

Is it that one of those characters is the protagonist of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot, the book club book that I just finished slogging through?

Is it that the gifts are so compelling and well-sourced (seriously, I'll take anything on the Madeline Hanna page... especially this satchel. And yes, I'd like to think of myself as "The Ivy-League Graduate that Everybody Loves.")

Or is it that the Gift Guide was compiled by your favorite theater critic and mine, the fantastic Erin Keane?

This gift guide would have caught my eye regardless, but yes, I think that it was compiled by a favorite person is what I love best about this guide.

Catching Up With Some Awesome Louisvillagers

I don't mess around when I bring y'all Awesome Louisvillagers. The awesome thing about Awesome Louisvillagers is that they don't stop being awesome. Some of this is slightly old news, but there's enough old and new news to call for a little collective post.

Awesome Louisvillager and humble reporter Gabe Bullard is now the News Director at WFPL and is once again hosting the Moth Story Slam for November (Tuesday, November 29, 8pm at Headliners. $8. (more information here). Gabe did a bang-up job in October, and we're looking forward to witnessing his hosting chops again tomorrow. This week's theme is BUSTED. 

The lovely and talented singer-songwriter Awesome Louisvillager Brigid Kaelin is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland for the year and charming audiences overseas (and blogging about her adventures daily at Red Accordion Diaries). 

(By the way, it's that time a year again... go watch Brigid's "Dreidel's Day Out"-- even if it weren't holiday season, you should check it out to give a little jump start to your Ear X-tacy nostalgia).   

Local blogger and do-gooder extraordinaire, Awesome Louisvillager Michelle Jones is getting ready to roll out her annual "One Thing I Love About Louisville" series, which she features every January. If you're interested in participating by writing a guest post for her blog, drop her an email-- her contact information is featured prominently on her blog.  Hey Michelle, would it be too meta if my "One Thing I Love About Louisville" is your "One Thing I Love About Louisville" series? (I've already been featured, actually: here's mine.) 

Look forward to a couple more Awesome Louisvillagers before the year's end. You can read all the posts in the series here. Do you have suggestions? Are you awesome? :) Shoot me an email at lou [at]

Monday, November 21, 2011

ReENTRY at Actors: More Must-See Theater

Shows like ReENTRY are exactly why I love Actors Theater so damned much. When the lights came up at the end of the show last Thursday night, the audience was quick to bolt to its feet. Not only was it good theater, acted and directed by true artists, it made the audience feel privileged to have been witness to the telling of these powerful stories.

ReENTRY is based on interviews conducted by co-authors KJ Sanchez and Emily Ackerman with more than 100 active duty and veteran Marines and their families, and every word of the script cites these interviews verbatim. The show investigates what it means to return from war, and the struggles and successes of both these returning soldiers and their families.

After the show, Sanchez and Ackerman conducted a moving and compelling Q&A. And when the actors came out to watch from an empty row of seats, my heart actually skipped a little to see them. It's so rare that such a short show (it's intermission-less) provokes such profound feelings of appreciation and investment in the performers.

The best job I've ever had in my life was teaching a writing class to veterans for the Veterans' Upward Bound program in New Orleans. I taught this class for almost three years, and this was mostly pre-9/11 (in fact, I had a class the night of 9/11... instead of canceling class, I found a television, rolled it into my classroom, put on the news, and wept and ranted with the three students who showed up for class). My vets were mostly of the Vietnam and Korean Wars, old enough to be my father or grandfather (it was almost all men, always), and every minute of the two hours I spent with them each week were the best minutes of my week. Despite the fact that both of my grandfathers and one of my grandmothers served in WWII, I learned everything I know (admittedly, still little) about what it meant to be a solider from those men. That job was such an honor and a blessing. Politics aside, spend some quality time with strangers who have given years of their lives serving this country, and you will come away transformed and inspired.

And so ReENTRY is a taste of that. Powerful (true) words and powerful performances. Definitely a don't-miss show at Actors. It runs through December 17; for more information click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Local love from Garden & Gun: Jason Cohen, Wood artisan

As you may know, my favorite magazine is Garden & Gun (even though I hate gardening and guns). If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy yet, do not get turned off by the name. The writing is super, the photography is stunning, and the subject matter screams "Louisville." I can't find an official "mission statement" for the magazine on their website, but Garden & Gun basically features articles about Southern charm with a Northern attitude (um, Louisville, right?).

And Garden & Gun has a lot of love for Louisville. The next issue features one of our local artisans in it's "Made in the South 2011 Awards" article.  The problem is, the article doesn't contain contact info, and this person doesn't seem to have a web presence.  Here's the email version of the article about JC Wood Artisan, Winner: Home Category.

Everybody in Kentucky makes furniture out of bourbon barrels, but craftsman Jason Cohen makes art. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that his studio is just down the block from Bourbon Barrel Foods, where he sources his white oak barrels. Last June, Cohen made his first stool. “The tripod shape really balances you out, and you sit differently in it,” he says. Next, he tackled the pub table, using bourbon barrel staves for the legs. “Some people think the wood is going to break because of the angle,” Cohen says. “But the wood has been trained for years to that form, and it makes it strong. It’s green when they cut it, and then they pour liquor in it. It’s almost petrified.” Sturdy as white oak may be, Cohen takes care to apply an outdoor finish, making both the table and stools durable enough to use on a porch. “The set has an old-world look to it,” he says, “but it’s contemporary too.”
Click here to see a picture and read the article. 

So, Internet Brain, anyone know where we can see any of this lovely furniture crafted by Jason Cohen, Wood Artisan?? I only have an address on Story Ave, but it appears to be a workshop, not a showroom.  Please email me if you have any info about Jason Cohen (and congrats to him, by the way!), and I will share whatever I find out with the class.

Baby It's Cold Outside: Outdoor Skating in Jeffersonville

Yesterday evening, I was bummed to see that WFPL reported that the proposed Waterfront Park Ice Rink had been put off for another year. According to the article on the WFPL website, Waterfront Park Facilities director, Gary Pepper, said, "Everybody thinks it’s a great idea. We’ve got a killer location for it. But with the economy the way it is, we’re working on a tight margin, a tight budget right now. We just don’t have the money.”

But just as soon as I tweeted my displeasure, Shea Van Hoy, editor of the News and Tribune across the river, responded with this news article: "Temporary Ice Rink Planned for Downtown Jeffersonville."

The outdoor rink, rented from an outdoor rink rental company (who knew?), will be open from the day after Thanksgiving until January 1 at the corner of Spring and Market in downtown Jeffersonville. Admission is $8 or $6 if you come in groups of 10 or more. There's no reason to worry that warm weather (we can still dream) will cause the rink to turn to slush; it's only 3 inches deep, and the company installs the same sort of chillers on outdoor rinks in Vegas.

It's great to read that they're loving on the local downtown businesses. According to the article:

The city plans several promotions related to the rink. For instance, Tuesdays will be eat local night wherein those bringing a receipt from a local restaurant can get a discount. Thursday nights will be shop local night — same drill but with a local business receipt... On Friday nights, a DJ will be hired for teen nights. Sundays will be Skate with Santa Day.

Now that we have recreational outdoor ice-skating taken care of for the season, kids, can we please start talking about my idea for outdoor hockey at Slugger Field again? I'm thinking it's time to try this charge again!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Awesome Louisvillager: Stephanie White

It's been a long time since I last featured an Awesome Louisvillager on the blog. But lately it seems like the more challenging certain aspects of my life become, the more the people in my life seem to matter. So, what better way to celebrate the good people of Louisville than by resurrecting the Awesome Louisvillager feature?

Our first Awesome Louisvillager, though, is someone I've never met! Who runs a website that doesn't really even benefit me! But she's pretty awesome nonetheless. Stephanie White runs the Louisville Family Fun website, and if you're a Louisvillager and a parent or grandparent, you should know about this site. Louisville Family Fun features discounts, contests, events calendars, and coupons all aimed at folks with kiddos.  

Meet our seventh Awesome Louisvillager: Stephanie White!

1) How did the idea for Louisville Family Fun come about? Did you always see it as a business, or did you start hunting down deals for local families for fun? 

Louisville Family Fun was born a simple blog for detailing events thought up by myself and another mom at a play date, of course.  She mentioned sharing a google calendar online for all of the events in Louisville for families, and I was interested in the blog aspect.  It was born a blog, not a business.  After traffic started to explode on the website from word of mouth, social networking, google and such, I was approached by a business about advertising.  Then, I made the decision to let Louisville Family Fun morph into a business in order to fund the machine it had become.  There is such a demand for the information, looking at it as a business helped to organize it and support it financially.  However, I stay true to my mission of finding great events for families, deals for things they need or want and informing them about anything that I feel pertain to their family lives.  To me, it still remains a ton of fun and since I have a team of writers now and someone to handle the events calendar, it's even more exciting to have people involved in the mission.

2) Social media in Louisville is a pretty vibrant "scene." I recently gave a talk at the Louisville Public Library about how social media, specifically blogging and tweeting, literally changed my life. How do you use social media in your business? How do you use it personally?

Social media is my business!  The Louisville Family Fun site is closely incorporated with Facebook and Twitter and a little bit on YouTube.  I can't be everywhere, but I try!  Social media and networking is the new wave in gathering and sending information and for my readers and business clients, it's a must in blogging.  Usually, all advertisers get some extra plugs on social media sites and they love that.  Because of social media, we provide such a cost-effective way for businesses to advertise.   I also use these sites to reach out to potential clients.  On the flip side, readers get alerts to new posts, events, deals or photos/videos of what there is to do around town.  Personally, I use social media to connect with my family and friends since I do not live close to them.  I grew up in suburban New York City and I love that sites like Facebook have reconnected me with my cousins and old friends and I can see pictures of my family nearly daily.  We also video chat through Facebook, it's convenient.

3) Why is Louisville a great place to raise a family? What are some things that are unique to Louisville that make this city kid- and parent-friendly?

I am from NY. I grew up having New York City in my back pocket.  I met my husband in college and he grew up in Kentucky.  All throughout our relationship, I knew we would eventually live in what I affectionately call "The Home Land" for him.  I was nervous because I liked living in states that touch water.  No, not the Ohio River, oceans! I like oceans!  So, when he took a job here and we moved from NC, I was a little nervous but within a month, I was sold. 

Louisville is easy to navigate with kids.  Everything is accessible and cost friendly.  There are so many options for physical activities as well as educational ones and all at different price points, including a lot of free options.  I find that in Louisville, businesses, whether they cater directly to families or not, care about kids and that makes people want to go out to festivals, participate in events and support local businesses. I see a nice cycle going on in Louisville that I have not seen in other cities that I have lived in.

What makes Louisville unique are the libraries and the parks.  The Louisville Free Public Library branches have fantastic programming for every age.  When I moved here, I did a tour of library story times.  Literally, a family can attend a different one each day and never repeat location for weeks.  At each location, the experience will be wonderfully different and the people, warm and inviting.   Also, the libraries themselves are so nicely maintained and they host special events like festivals, wonderful summer reading programs and things like scavenger hunts. I could go on!  And, the parks.  This is another venture I have taken on. I want to visit all of the Louisville Metro parks to let families learn more about them and inspire them to hit a new park next time they want a day out; forget about indoor video games or a movie.  From the quaint parks like Tyler Park to the huge ones like Cherokee or Iroquois, Louisville is most impressive when it comes to the park system.

4) Between raising two pre-school-aged kids and running Louisville Family Fun, you probably spend more time than most people in the "parent zone." When you want to have a decidedly grown-up night or afternoon out, what are some of your favorite things to do in Louisville?

I have always been involved with kids. I am a geeky math teacher at heart and by trade, so the parenting and teaching through Louisville Family Fun come naturally.  But, I am human and from time to time, I need and deserve a break.  I actually just wrote a little article that was in Today's Family Magazine this past issue encouraging parents to stop making excuses and go out, yes, *gasp* without their kids!  With my friends, I really have fun at Sips n Strokes.  We go and let loose on the canvas, laugh a lot and enjoy some good food and beverages.  I also like checking out all of the local coffee shops and have come to like Vint a lot so we will go there, share some wine or coffee and great conversation.  With my husband, our best night out on the town was a ridiculously awesome meal at Jeff Ruby's.  That is by far the place for us; I just love the decor and the food was incredible.  But, for a more casual outing, we love sports and have taken in a Bats game, and the FAT Friday Hop is fun for a more budget friendly date night.  We did that and got a bite to eat, walked around Mellwood Arts, did some people watching and got dessert.  Simple, good fun!  Also, I am just waiting for the perfect act to be booked at the Louisville Palace so I can get tickets and take him. That venue is beautiful and I don't know who that perfect act is yet, but I am waiting. 

5) What's the future for Louisville Family Fun?

Louisville Family Fun will continue to write informative reviews for families and maintain the densely detailed calendar.  That's the main priority.  Hopefully, we will continue to grow and I can keep contracting writers in order to diversify the perspective.  We will also secure more awesome prizes because people just love a good competition and the opportunity to win something fantastic.  I would love to increase the charitable aspect of the business and explore more ways to give back to local groups in need.    I also want to take the Louisville Family Fun Pass and instead of having one to cover all of Louisville, split it to create a few area specific cards.  Finally, I hope to secure some really strong sponsors in order to fund all of these endeavors.  Wow, that makes me tired just thinking about it!

Thanks to Stephanie for answering my questions. Previous Awesome Louisvillagers have included: Gabe Bullard, Michelle Jones, Brigid Kaelin, and the Fairdale Bigfoot. Check out those and other Awesome Louisvillagers here. More to come!

Land of Tomorrow: Music & Art Intersect

Andrea Stanislov's Diamond Dog

The Land of Tomorrow (LOT) gallery in Louisville is a new-ish gallery space for experimental art. They have a sister facility in Lexington.  As Michelle said on Consuming Louisville, the first time I heard of this gallery was during Idea Festival.  I still haven't been, but I am really looking forward to seeing the Expanded Music Project, which opens on November 18th with a reception at 7pm. The Expanded Music Project will showcase work that illustrates the connection between art and music. From their press release: 

Included in this exhibition will be work by Heather Cantrell, Aurora Childs, Saiman Chow, Geneva Jacuzzi, Leslie Lyons, Andréa Stanislav, as well as Raurouw, Thieves Like Us, Peaking Lights with artist Letitia Quesenberry, musician EMA with artist Jacob Heustis, and Hirsuta design firm.  

The premise of this show is to highlight the fluidity between creative forms and artistic practices.  The influence of album art, video production, stage design, graffiti and the appropriation tactics of remixing have established an ongoing conversation between artists and musicians.  This dialogue between visual artist and musician continues to play a major role, and creative forces as diverse as Elvis, The Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd, and Afrika Bambaataa have delved into the realms of the visual and the auditory to produce work that both fields accept and champion.

I'm perhaps most excited to see this installation, seeing that the disco ball and Louisville are so connected (I'm sure all of you fantastic Louisvillagers know that 90% of all disco balls are made right here-- right down the street from my house-- at Omega National Products). And, hello, Bee Gees reference? Swoon! 
The Hirsuta design firm will present a re-examination of the form and context of the Disco Ball in “Variations on the Disco Ball or, the Bee Gees Have Left the Building.”
Admission is free to the exhibit and to the reception.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holy Grale Goes All Bell's on November 15

I kind of love it when I look back on an old blog post, and it makes me laugh. That's a great way to start the day. I was looking to see if I'd ever done a really proper post on one of my favorite places-- The Holy Grale-- and it turns out I haven't. But I've mentioned it a few times, including in this post in which I rant about people on Twitter/Facebook complaining that they're "bored."

Anyway, I just love the Grale. It's one of those places that I always know will impress a friend or a date. It is literally the closest bar to Casa Lou. It's cozy and rarely too loud, even on weekends. There are very few things I like about winter (boots, my embroidered brown coat, boots, uh... yeah, that's the list), but one of those things is going to the Grale when it snows. There's something about the candlelight, the brick, the shape of the windows-- the Grale feels vaguely Leaky Cauldron when it's snowing outside.

But I digress. Again. (Maybe this is why I'm never bored: I have seven hundred thoughts in my head at any given moment. Or as Whitman says "I am large, I contain multitudes." I don't really think that I was what he had in mind....)

Back to the point... I'm also a big fan of every beer I've ever had from the Bell's brewery in Michigan. And for one day only, the Grale is going ALL Bells. Here's the information from their press release.

Bell’s Eccentric Cafe comes to Louisville
at Holy Grale (1034 Bardstown Road)
Tuesday, November 15th
starts at 4pm / Choir Loft opens at 6pm 
20+ Bell’s beers on tap!
Special guest from Bell’s Brewery, Veronica Sanders

About the event:
Turns out Holy Grale and Bell’s pub in Kalamazoo, Michigan (The EcCentRic CaFe) have something in common, 20 rotating taps! So, for one night and one night only Holy Grale will do its best to transform itself into the Eccentric Cafe by featuring twenty different delicious and exciting beers from Bell’s Brewery on tap and one from the firkin, pouring in signature Bell’s glassware, and hosting a very special guest from the brewery, Veronica Sanders. Join us for an evening of good beer and a celebration of all things eccentric.
Bell's Beers On Tap:
Bell’s Amber
Bell’s Pale
Bell’s Porter
Bell’s Lager of the Lakes
Bell’s Oarsman
Bell’s Best Brown
Bell’s Winter White
Bell’s Christmas
Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury
Bell’s Sparkling Ale
Bell’s Quinannan Falls Special Reserve Lager
Bell’s Hopsoulution
Bell’s Hopslam
Bell’s Third Coast Beer
Bell’s Java Stout
Bell’s Cherry Stout
Bell’s Expedition Stout
Bell’s Double Cream Stout
Bell’s Le Batteur
Bell’s Le Pianiste
* On Cask: Bell’s Two-Hearted

About Bell’s Brewery:
Bell’s Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with them today. The brewery currently makes over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at the Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo. Bell’s ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically – striving to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all through unique ales and beers.
For more info please email us at:

I'm NOT hoping for snow in November, but if Mother Nature has to do her snowy thing. I hope it's Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Embarrassment of Theater Riches: Le Petomane, Theater [502], Walden

I know I blog a lot about theater and have a lot of friends in local theater, but I'm still not necessarily wise to the ways of theater people. One question that's been at the forefront of my mind lately is: why does it always seem a "feast or famine" issue for local theater here in Louisville? Who decides what a "season" looks like, time-wise? Who makes these schedules? I know many of the local theater companies participate in group auditions; why is it that these same companies don't participate in a group scheduling workshop at the beginning of each year?

I voiced this concern yesterday to Roommate, and he said, "You should do it."

Turns out he misunderstood what I was saying. He thought that I was saying that someone be in charge of keeping a master schedule of what's going on when and where in theater in Louisville. Not necessarily a bad idea, but that wasn't the point that I was trying to make. I was saying that someone should be the gatekeeper of that schedule. When he said, "You should do it," my wheels started to turn, and I imagined myself in a dark leather wing chair behind a massive desk, perhaps stroking a white Persian cat, with the leaders of all the local theater groups assembled before me waiting patiently while I doled out Louisville theater calendar real estate.

So, Louisville Theater professionals, I'm just putting this out there. If you need a Godmother of Theater Calendar Dispersal, you just let me know, okay?

Because maybe if I was the Godmother of Theater, we wouldn't have the glut of absolutely fantastic theater offerings that awaits us in the coming weeks.  We could spread out our theater love a bit more. (And right before the holidays, too, when we're all paying a little more attention to our pocket books and our discretionary spending...)

The must-see theater over the next couple of weeks...

First up, we have Le Petomane's A VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL (with new special short masked piece, EN ROUTE).  I am terribly late to the Le Petomane bandwagon, I'm afraid. After years of hearing nothing but good things about them from friends and from the LEO Best of's, I finally got to check out 5 THINGS, their most recent show, and write an article about them for The Paper. And now I'm a believer. I have to admit, I liked the three people from Le Petomane that I interviewed so much that I fretted about seeing the show. I wanted them to be as smart and fun and funny on stage as they were in person, and they were... in spades. From their press release:

A Very Special Holiday Special features all you would expect from a Le Petomane season-appropriate outing: snappy tunes; a giant atomic beast crushing cities; baffled scientists pointing skyward and shouting. And a message of love. It isn’t Plan 9 from the North Pole; it isn’t Rankin-Bass’s Godzilla; but it’s not far away.

A VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL runs from November 9-20 (dark on the 15th) at the Bard's Town Theatre at 730p. Tickets are a sliding scale of $8-$20. For more information visit:

My work with The Paper also led me to interview Mike Brooks, the director of the second of Theatre [502]'s shows, HUNTER GATHERERS. And I had a similar "I like you so much, please don't suck" feeling when finally seeing the show. Again, Mike is smart and thoughtful in person, and his directing absolutely did not disappoint.  Theatre [502]'s third show launches at the Parkside Studios inside of Iroquois Amphitheater November 11, 12, 14, 18, and 19 at 8pm. BROADSWORD, directed by Amy Attaway, is billed as a "Heavy Metal Play." From their press release:

Four former friends have gathered to mourn the puzzling disappearance of one of their own. What dark secrets of their heavy metal youth still scrape and bang in the basements of their lives? Their childhood dreams of rock and roll glory long fallen by the wayside, the former line-up of the shoulda-coulda-woulda band find themselves in an awkward, maybe even sinister reunion gig. Richie disappeared late one night leaving nothing but the smell of ozone - or was it sulfur? - and his partners in rock may hold the only key to his salvation. Now, pitted between two mysterious strangers, the guys must decide: do they have the strength to burn out, or will they just fade away?

I saw the joint Theatre [502]/Le Petomane staged reading of IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE at the Parkside Studios, and I'm so excited to see how they use the space (it's a climate-controlled space on the Amphitheater stage) for a full production. This is another don't-miss-it show. More info at

Is that not enough for you?  Wait! There's more!

From the Walden website:

Phantom Band is Walden Theatre’s latest Slant Culture Series play. A laboratory for new plays by rising playwrights that feature complex teen characters, the Slant Culture Series encourages young actors to seek inspiration from a fresh, inward angle. Previous selections include The Disappearance of Daniel Hand by Dan O’Brien, My So-Called So-Called Life by David Murray, and the powerful, tragic When In Disgrace (Haply I Think on Thee) by Damon Krometis.

I saw and loved SO-CALLED and WHEN IN DISGRACE, and I'm a huge, huge fan of the Slant Culture Series because of it. I always try to make it out to as many Walden plays as possible, but that this play is also directed by Alec Volz makes this a must-see for me. Performances are at Walden November 10, 11 at 8pm and Nov 12, 17, 18, 19 at 7:30p and 12 & 19 at 2pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. More info:

Three can't-miss theater productions in two weeks. Louisville, you're an embarrassment of theater riches!

(I have to admit, though, that I'm a little ticked off... all shows close by the 20th, and Mama Lou is visiting from the Northern Hinterlands starting the 21st! Booo!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Raise a Joyful Voice

I am unabashedly a summer person, but these perfect fall days are kind of messing with that.  My favorite temperature is 82 degrees, but there's part of me that thinks I could really be okay with the upper-60's if they were always accompanied by the staggering beauty of the changing leaves and the autumnal light.  It is just so damned pretty out there, isn't it?  And when it's this beautiful outside, I feel compelled to seek out things of beauty.

So, beautiful music in a beautiful space?  Yes, I would like some of that please...

The Choral Arts Society of Louisville's November concert is coming up this Sunday, November 6 at 5pm at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church (639 S. Shelby Street).

According to their website, the pieces that will be featured are:

- "Funeral Ode for Queen Mary" -- Purcell
- "Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing"
- "Magnificat" -- Bach

Tickets are $20, but there are discounts for seniors and students.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Callooh! Callay! Trader Joe's is Open!

Huzzah! The Louisville Trader Joe's is open!!

I'm not saying that I ever took a trip to Cincy just to go to Trader Joe's, but I never took a trip to Cincy without bringing my cooler.  I'm a big, huge, stinking fan of the place. If you're a single person, TJ's is a godsend.  Lots of ready-to-eat frozen stuff that is portioned for or can be easily portioned for one.  A couple of years ago, I introduced Mama Lou to the Trader Joe's in Warwick, RI-- she lives around 45 minutes away. And now she makes the drive whenever she can to stock up.

But I've managed to stay away. Nothing can turn me off of a place as fast as a nasty crowd. But my resolve is wearing thin, and I'm thinking I'll have to hit up TJ's within the next couple of days.  Here is what is always on my shopping list:

  1. Two-buck Chuck in all of its permutations. I usually come home with at least six bottles.
  2. Frozen pork potstickers. So quick and easy, and yummier than most of the local restaurants' potstickers.
  3. Potsticker sauce
  4. Lots and lots of cheese-- this is where I've noted the best price point for TJ's. Their cheese is often WAY cheaper than our local groceries. And I loves me some cheese.
  5. Proscuitto. 
  6. That lovely proscuitto and mozzarella cheese log thing... it's always at least $2 cheaper at TJ's than local groceries.
  7. Asparagus risotto and mushroom risotto (frozen). It's supposed to be a side dish, but I usually make a meal of it.
  8. TJ brand cheese crackers. Like Cheez-its, only better and healthier (or so I would like to think).
  9. High cacao-content chocolate bars. You know I don't like sweets, but 60% or above cacao-content chocolate bars are great stomach settlers when you're feeling crummy.
  10. TJ brand salad dressings... always interesting and cheaper than name-brand.
What else should I put on my shopping list, dear readers? Fresh flowers, for sure. I don't need veggies because I subscribe to Green B.E.A.N Kentucky. Leave me a comment below if you have a suggestion. Or tweet me at @loueyville.  Help me make a great shopping list for my inaugural trip to the new Louisville Trader Joe's!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

PSA: Code Red

As someone who has lived through a number of major natural disasters and has always bemoaned how difficult it was to get information, I thought I would pass along this press release from the mayor's office in its entirety: 

Louisville has a new system  Code Red  to keep citizens updated during emergencies. The system uses a variety of methods — text alerts, emails and phone calls — to warn citizens about potentially life-threatening events, including severe weather. The new service is free – but you must sign up to receive the alerts  To sign up for Code Red alerts, visit and fill out the form. Citizens may choose which types of alerts and which delivery methods they wish to receive. Citizens who do not have access to computers or the Internet may visit public libraries to sign up for Code Red. Citizens who cannot visit the library can call MetroCall 311 and have a city employee enter their information into the system. MetroCall will be helping citizens sign up for Code Red every weekday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Do yourself a favor and sign up now-- before you wish you had. You can always unsubscribe if the city gets too pesky or nosy.  But the next time we have a hurricane or an ice storm or a wind storm or a flood, I'm betting you'll be glad you signed up. 

Mobile Journalism: November 14

As someone who has tried (and failed and resorted to just tweeting) to live blog from a number of events (Bonnaroo, Idea Festival, HullabaLOU), I was very interested when this press release popped up in my email box. The Louisville Pro Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists will be hosting Chip Mahaney, Director of Digital Content for EM Scripps Company on November 14 at 7pm. Maheney will be speaking on "Mobile Journalism"-- reporting from the field with tools and technology designed for reporting and posting on the go--  at the Interactive Media Lab 124 N. First Street. The event is free and open to the public.

A snippet from Maheney's bio:

[Maheney] directs content initiatives for Scripps' 10 television stations. His mission is to grow the company's audience through better online journalism and social media. Chip is a former local TV news director and manager, working for companies such as FOX, Gannett and Raycom, in markets that include Dallas-Fort Worth, Richmond, Austin and Oklahoma City. He has 30 years' experience covering local news, sports and extreme weather, and leading newsroom changes through better technology and workflow.

For more information:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Depp + Thompson + Columbia

Phew, now that the albatross of the 600th post is off my neck, here's something fun and frivolous:

Johnny Depp (KY native) + Hunter S. Thompson (Louisville native) + Columbia University (my Alma Mater) = Yay!

Monday, Johnny Depp showed the upcoming film RUM DIARY based on the last (quasi-autobiographical) novel of the late Hunter S. Thompson at the Columbia Journalism School.

From the Columbia Spectator:


Best quote:

For the final question of the panel, Lemann asked Depp if he would ever consider playing Thompson for a third time.  “Oh yeah,” Depp said. “I wake up with the bastard. He’s always there.”

I've seen several people ask about this on Twitter, but I haven't heard a response: is any theatre in Louisville doing anything special for the RUM DIARY premier?  If you know, drop a note my way.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

600th Post: Social Media is SOCIAL

So, I've been trying to figure out something special to do for my 600th post.  But I realized that just about everything I'd want to say in my 600th post, I already said in my Technology Boot Camp speech at the Louisville Public Library earlier this month. Why reinvent the wheel, right?  So here in its almost-entirety is the speech that I gave: (WARNING: Personal stuff lies ahead...)

If the job of Official Spokesperson for Social Media ever opens up, I think I’d have a pretty good crack at the job. It’s not that I do social media particularly well; it’s that I couldn’t be a bigger fan. This may sound like hyperbole, but it’s 100% true: social media is responsible for 90% of what’s really good in my life right now. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On Twitter we use hashtags to add nuance to the 140 character messages we type. Like #fail, means that you acknowledge that what you just said paints you in a bad light. Or #tmi, means that you know that what you tweeted constitutes Too Much Information.

Another hashtag is #humblebrag.  That means you know that the accomplishment that you just tweeted about sounds like bragging, but that you understand how lucky you are.

So I’m going to hashtag this next little bit: #humblebrag

Over the past two months or so, I’ve been able to do the following things courtesy of my blogging and tweeting habits:
  1. I attended all three days of IdeaFestival with an all-access media pass.
  2. I’ve had two contests on my blog: one to give away a family four-pack of tickets to Max & Ruby Live and one to give away two all-access passes for the Louisville International Film Festival.
  3. I’ve seen Sense & Sensibility, Tom Sawyer, and Dracula at Actors.
  4. I was invited by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau to be one of two local bloggers at a dinner for national media at the Chef’s table at the English Grill at the Brown.
  5. I’ve put together a group of readers of my blog to volunteer at the Louisville Public Media fund drive next week.
  6. I’ve been asked to be a staff writer for a new local print newspaper and am working on my third article for them.
  7. I’ve had a couple really nice dates with a really nice guy.
  8. And perhaps my favorite... after reading my blog post about Rosanne Cash’s upcoming appearance at the KY Authors Forum, the director of the forum contacted me and said she liked the post so much she wanted me to be her guest at the $100 per person VIP dinner for Rosanne Cash, one of my heroes.
Granted this has been an unusual month. But a remarkable one too.

But when it boils down to it, both my blogging habit and my Twitter habit were born out of adversity.

I started blogging on September 2, 2005.  I’d been living in New Orleans for eight years, and on September 2, 2005, I was stranded in Florida with no idea if my home was destroyed, no idea if all of my friends had gotten out of the city before Katrina. I was sick of fielding phone calls and emails from concerned friends and family from all over the country-- and of repeating the same sorry story of fear and sadness and uncertainty. So I started a blog called “Displaced,” and I told everyone I knew that they could check up on me by going to the blog. That way I only had to tell each story once. It was a blog of necessity, but it became a chronicle of my life first as a Katrina evacuee, then as one of the first wave of people to return to the city after the storm, then as someone who lost her footing a bit, and finally as one of the many people who were forced to move elsewhere-- in my case Louisville-- ten months after Katrina.

Displaced consists of a little over 100 blog posts. And no joke, every time I have ever gone back to try to re-read all of those posts, I break down and stop after maybe 20. There are posts I haven’t read since I posted them six years ago. But I am so grateful that they exist.

But, as I said, I moved to Louisville under duress. I didn’t know anything about the city, and I didn’t know a single person here. And I was miserable. So my second blog, My Loueyville, the blog that got me invited to speak to you today, was likewise started as a response to adversity. One day, I decided that I was tired of being miserable, and that I had to make a concerted effort to find things I loved about this city. I started a blog that would celebrate the culture and character of Louisville.

My first blog post was about how much I love going to Bats games.

I’ve since written close to 600 posts, but for a good 200 of those I was blogging just for myself. It was only maybe three years ago that people started reading My Loueyville in earnest. My first indication of this was when Actors Theatre contacted me and asked if I wanted media passes for a show. I’ve been a theatre geek since high school, so I’d been blogging about a lot of theatre productions. Someone in the PR office of Actors took notice and looked me up. Since then I’ve racked up media passes.  Broadway Across America, Churchill Downs Entertainment, Walden, Actors. For more than a year, my blog was one of three featured blogs on the Possibility City website.

All of this was an unintended consequence of a lonely, sad woman starting a blog that she hoped would help change her mind about where she was living. And of course, it worked. I’m madly in love with Louisville. I consider myself one of the biggest cheerleaders for this city. And because of this blog, not only did I come to see the city through new eyes, but I’ve been given the opportunity to see more and do more than I would have been able to afford on a teacher’s budget.

But blogging isn’t the only social media that’s changed my life.

The blog helped change the “sad” part of this “lonely, sad woman’s” situation. It was Twitter that changed the “lonely” part. And again, my twitter habit was also born of adversity.

2008 was not a good year for me. In May, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. On September 14, while I was napping on my couch, recovering from a particularly brutal round of chemo, Hurricane Ike ripped through the city and toppled a 30’ tree onto my house, crushing it. I was fine, but I was faced with 8 months of living in a hotel while I waited for my house to be rebuilt.

If I wasn’t lonely before-- and I was-- I became desperately lonely while living in the Residence Inn downtown. There’s no loneliness like hotel loneliness. And one day, I got an email from another local blogger whom I’d never met-- Michelle from Consuming Louisville. She was writing as a response to a fan letter I'd written her, and at the end of the email, she asked if I was on Twitter. I wasn’t. I was a frequent Facebook user, and I saw Twitter as a frivolous waste of time. But because of her, I signed up and basically copied the list of people she followed.

And I started making friends.

The difference between Twitter and Facebook is this: on Facebook, you follow people you already know. High school friends, college friends, work friends. These people are or have been your friends at some point-- that’s why you follow them. On Twitter, there’s no obligation. When you follow someone, they don’t have to confirm you or follow you back. So you tend to follow people who say interesting things. And people who say interesting things on Twitter tend to be interesting people in real life. You’re most likely never going to make a new friend on Facebook-- I never have. But making new friends is kind of what Twitter is all about.

Six months after I joined Twitter, maybe less, I had a group of friends here in Louisville. That group has grown and continues to grow. And today I can say that my friends are the best, most diverse, interesting group of people I’ve known in my life. If you had told little nerdy high school me that in her thirties her social life would be as remarkable and important as it is now, she would have said you were crazy. And out of all the wonderful friends I have in Louisville, I only knew two of them before Twitter and the blog.

I’m not a computer geek. But blogger and twitter are so easy, and when things were tough for me, they my life easier. When I had cancer, I started a private blog for my family and friends called Girls Gone Bad where I posted about my surgeries and treatments. When my best friend moved to Australia while I was recovering from chemo, I started a private blog just for him called Watch My Hair Grow where I posted a picture of myself every week, so he could see how quickly I was going from bald to not-bald.

Social Media is called Social Media for a reason. It’s not about hiding behind a computer screen and interacting with the world. It’s about reaching out into the world, making connections, and finding people and places where you belong.