Friday, February 18, 2011

What is Louisville Missing?

This just happens to be my 500th post.  A better blogger would have something special planned for this post. We all know I'm not a "better blogger."  But I do want to thank you lovely, beautiful people who read this blog on a regular basis (hi, mom!). has shaped my life in Louisville.  It's allowed me to meet people I never would have met, to go to events I never would have gone to... starting this blog is really among the best decisions I've ever made.  Rock on, Loueyville.  I hope you have (at least) another 500 posts left in you.

So anyway...

Over the past couple of days the local Tweeters have been pontificating about the fact that Borders declared bankruptcy, and that we're about to lose two fairly popular (apparently not popular enough) stores.  On the chopping block are the Borders on Hurstborne and the one on 4th Street Live.

The "What do we need downtown?" question has been floating around for years, and with this two-story, high visibility corner storefront opening up, lots of people are dreaming big.  It seems inevitable that a chain store will occupy the Borders space, and many of my Twitter folks rightfully are wishing for a clothing store.  If we can get one great clothing store to anchor in the 4th Street Live space, perhaps more will follow downtown.  The first suggestions I saw were for an H&M, but when I mentioned on Twitter that Roommate wished for a Filene's Basement, I was flooded with RTs and responses.  Everybody loves their Filene's Basements.

We all know downtown needs a grocery store, and the almost universal wish is that Louisville finally gets its own Trader Joe's, but that's not the right space for it.  Parking would be a nightmare, and imagine trying to make a milk and cheese run at 9pm on a Saturday night?

There's also the possibility that they turn the space into another chain restaurant.  If they do, my hope is that it becomes something along the lines of Dave and Busters or Jillian's.  Yes, I know we had a Jillian's before I moved here-- on the outskirts of town.  But I can't help but think it would be infinitely more successful in the heart of tourist downtown.  It would be nice to give people something to do at 4th Street besides drinking... not that there's anything wrong with that, per se.

Ashlee Clark from the fantastic blog Ashlee Eats has a great post on the issue and a poll, so I'm not going to dwell too much more on this specific space.  But this specific discussion got me thinking about the bigger picture.

I've lived in Louisville for 4.5 years now: What is MY Louisville missing?  Above and beyond this one soon-to-be-vacated space... what does Louisville need?

If I'm sitting on the lap of the Great Santa Who Gives Things to Good Little Girls, my first wish is for a Cinema Brewhouse/Gastropub.  It seems like Louisvillagers have collectively decided that we'd like to emulate Austin as much as possible, right down to our "Keep Louisville Weird" campaign.  I have to admit, I've only been to Austin once, like, 15 years ago... and I was less than impressed.  That being said, when I think Austin, I think Alamo Drafthouse.  And when I think "Alamo Drafthouse," I think... heaven.  Once upon a time, there was a push for a Cinema brewpub out by the Mellwood Center.  I don't know what ever happened to that.  And I don't know why someone with a little restaurant/bar background hasn't started to the sh*t out of a Cinema Brewpub.  If we can collectively fund a vegan food truck-- way to go Morels!-- we can make this happen with the right people.

Next on the wishlist: besides a cinema pub (and Trader Joe's) the only other thing that would really raise the quality of my Louisville life on a weekly basis would be the opening of a really nice sports bar in the Highlands.  One that's not BWW or UK-themed.  We're talking lots of good beers, lots of big tvs, good pub grub.  Someplace Roommate can watch his college basketball-- multiple games on multiple tvs.  Someplace I can watch my Red Sox at the same time the Reds are playing.  Rumor had it a while back that someone was cooking up a Highlands sports bar, but that rumor has gone the way of the cinema brewpub out by Mellwood.  I have a dream, and that dream takes place in the old Barret Bar space.  Make it so, someone. Make it so.

Speaking of sports, well, y'all know how I feel about minor league hockey.  Or even NHL hockey. Somebody bring Louisville a team of mostly-white, dentally-challenged Canadians on skates please.  Please!

A while ago, Roommate & I had on our wishlist a wine bar in the Highlands, but honestly the Holy Grale has kind of filled that hole for me.  There is a wonderful little place in Salem, MA called the Gulu Gulu cafe that's a wine and beer bar/coffeeshop/charcuterie.  The have live music and movie marathons... in March, they're having a Dr. Who night every week (LOVE!).  We could use a really creative space like that.

When I travel to other cities and see the following chain stores, I get jealous:

  • IKEA (duh)
  • Trader Joe's/Jungle Jim's (of course)
  • Crate and Barrel
  • The Container Store
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Anthropologie
I can't think of a chain restaurant that we're missing... granted, Roommate is recovering from a heart attack, but I still wouldn't mind seeing a Fatburger or In N Out Burger in Louisville.   

What's YOUR Louisville missing, folks?  Email me, tweet me (@loueyville), or leave your wish in the comments. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bonnaroo 2011 Line-Up Announced

You know how Mama loves her Bonnaroo...

But I was initially a little lukewarm when they announced the line-up yesterday.  Roommate and I always debate about music festivals.  For me, the best music festivals feature a knock-me-on-my-ass-good headliner who I've wanted to see for SO LONG and a solid line-up beyond that.  Roommate prefers his festivals to feature lots of good new bands.  I want my Pearl Jam.  I want my Springsteen.

What I do not want, frankly, is Eminem.  Or Widespread Panic.  Or Lil Wayne.  Or any of the other "big names" featured at this year's Bonnaroo.  Sure I'm interested in seeing Arcade Fire, but meh.  Neil Young will be awesome, but why do we have to lump the legend in with, well, a whole bunch of other legends? I really get almost halfway down the list before I'm psyched.  My first "ooh, that's cool" outbursts came with Dr. John and then with Florence and the Machine.

Interestingly enough, two of the names I'm most excited about are favorites from previous Bonnaroos.  I can't WAIT to see Low Anthem again.  And I "discovered" Abigail Washburn (with the Sparrow Quartet, including our own Ben Sollee) a few years back at Bonnaroo.

I do like Mumford & Sons, and maybe by June I'll be as wackadoo crazy about them as 95% of my hippest friends.

And as I've admitted before...  I KNOW that My Morning Jacket are a local TREASURE.  I KNOW that.  But I cannot, cannot, cannot get over how annoying the "Yim Yames" thing is.  I just can't.  I've been trying for three or four years, and I... I will continue to try.  For the love of Louisville.  But seriously.... "Yim Yames." I know he's made of puppies and awesome, according to most of you, but seriously... "Yim Yames"?  Ugh.

Here's the full line up, which I have shamelessly cut and pasted from The Nashville Scene:

* Eminem
* Arcade Fire
* Widespread Panic
* The Black Keys
* Buffalo Springfield feat Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Rick Rosas, Joe Vitale
* My Morning Jacket
* Lil Wayne
* String Cheese Incident
* Robert Plant & Band of Joy
* Mumford & Sons
* The Strokes
* The Decemberists
* Ray Lamontagne
* Bassnectar
* Iron & Wine
* Girl Talk
* Primus
* Dr. John and The Original Meters performing Desitively Bonnaroo
* Alison Krauss and Union Station
* Pretty Lights
* Florence & the Machine
* Superjam ft. Dan Auerbach and Dr. John
* Explosions in the Sky
* STS9
* Gogol Bordello
* Beirut
* Big Boi
* Scissor Sisters
* Gregg Allman
* Ratatat
* Global Gypsy Punk Revue curated by Eugene Hütz
* Robyn
* Warren Haynes Band
* Deerhunter
* Opeth
* Atmosphere
* Old Crow Medicine Show
* Bootsy Collins & the Funk University
* Wiz Khalifa
* Matt & Kim
* Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
* The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
* Mavis Staples
* Béla Fleck & the Flecktones
* Chiddy Bang
* Javanotti
* Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers
* Loretta Lynn
* Cold War Kids
* The Walkmen
* Devotchka
* Wanda Jackson
* Neon Trees
* Portugal. The Man
* Sleigh Bells
* Amos Lee
* Best Coast
* Dãm-Funk
* The Sword
* The Drums
* The Black Angels
* School of Seven Bells
* J. Cole
* Nicole Atkins & the Black Sea
* Wavves
* !!!
* Junip
* Freelance Whales
* Justin Townes Earle
* Ryan Bingham
* Deer Tick
* Band of Skulls
* Sharon Van Etten
* Abigail Washburn
* Omar Souleyman
* Twin Shadow
* Kylesa
* Man Man
* The Low Anthem
* Alberta Cross
* Railroad Earth
* Jessica Lea Mayfield
* Smith Westerns
* The Head and the Heart
* Karen Elson
* Beats Antique
* 22-20s
* Phosphorescent
* Clare MaGuire
* Hayes Carll

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Decemberists & Justin Townes Earle @ Iroquois Amph.

Roommate and I saw the Decemberists at Bonnaroo a few years back.  I think I only hit a bit of their show, but I liked what I saw.  And I enjoy what I hear on satellite radio.  And I'm very intrigued by Justin Townes Earle, especially after his big profile in Garden & Gun Magazine.  (Seriously people? Have you still NOT subscribed to Garden & Gun? Best magazine out there right now. It's been brilliant since issue #1.  And they love us here in Louisville.)

They're playing together at the Iroquois Amphitheater on April 26.  Tickets are $36 plus tax and fees.  As of last night there were still tickets available (we snagged two), but I have no doubt-- especially based on the Decemberists history-- that this show will sell out soon.

Beam & Dafoe: Two Classic Gentlemen

Have you seen this really beautiful Willem Dafoe Jim Beam ad?  Dafoe once said, "One of the pleasures of being an actor is quite simply taking a walk in someone else's shoes. And when I look at the roles that I've played, I'm kind of amazed at all the wonderful adventures I've had, and all of the different things I've learned."

Back when I lived in the East Village of NYC, I used to see Dafoe almost every day on my walk to the West Village to work (I imagine he was heading to work to, at the Wooster Group).  I never stopped him and played fangirl, but he (maybe because he) was always so damned pleasant.  A smile, a nod, a comment on the weather, a definite acknowledgement that we passed each other at the same time in the same place nearly every day.  I'm actually kind of impressed I didn't geek out over him at the time; I've always had a big crush.  I mean seriously, he was sexy Jesus.  And he's still pretty gosh darned sexy.

Jim Beam and Willem Dafoe?  I approve.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Save the Date: Feb 25-- Young Survivors Auction

In early January, I asked my readers to consider donating to my favorite local charity-- the Young Survivors Network.  

Only 5% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 35.  So understandably, most local support organizations for breast cancer survivors cater to women more advanced in years.

The Young Survivors cater their groups and activities to women who were diagnosed at age 35 or younger.  This is their major fundraiser of the year.  The BEST thing about this fundraiser is that you know that ALL of the money raised goes to support women in Louisville and in Southern Indiana.  It doesn't get lumped into a big national pool.

The Young Survivors were a huge support to me when I was first diagnosed and during my treatment.  I no longer take part in events, but I feel passionately about giving back to this organization that helped me so much.

The auction is always fun, sophisticated, and populated by exciting, inspiring women.  And, unlike 90% of the silent auctions I attend, I usually walk away from this one with some pretty good deals!  It's $10 per person in the beautiful Frazier Museum.

Save the date.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

R&G Are Dead: Stark raving sane

Rosencrantz: Do you think Death could possibly be a boat?
Guildenstern: No, no, no... death is not. Death isn't. Take my meaning? Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can't not be on a boat.
Rosencrantz: I've frequently not been on boats.
Guildenstern: No, no... what you've been is not on boats.

I can't say why exactly, but Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead has been my favorite play since... college, maybe?  I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that in prior lifetimes, I've taught multi-month units in English classes on Hamlet and Hamlet-derivatives, including R&G are Dead. Two summers, I taught entire courses on Hamlet and Hamlet-derivatives. Some of my friends can quote Monty Python or Star Wars or Big Lebowski verbatim--   my uber-geekout of choice is R&G are Dead.  

Mostly it's because of lines like the ones above.  "You can't not 'be' on a boat."  Think about it.  I'll give you a minute...

... right?  I don't think I've gotten on a boat since my early 20's without thinking of that exchange.  

It doesn't hurt that the movie version is effing brilliant as well (though not as good as the play, even though Stoppard-- the playwright-- directed the movie).  Gary Oldman?  Tim Roth?  Richard Dreyfuss?  That's a hubba hubba cast of theatrical greatness.

But here's the thing: I've never seen the play performed on stage!  I know the darned thing backwards and forward.  It is hands down, my favorite play of all time.  But I've never seen an actual production.

... and that's why I was THRILLED to see that the Louisville Repertory Company is producing the play from Feb 3-13 at the Mex Theater in the Kentucky Center.   

... and that's why I was shocked when I saw the poster for the show.  Click on the link above.  No really, go do it. *eyes bulge out like in a cartoon*  Is this my favorite play?  "The Original Mash-up"??  "A Pirate, a Unicorn, and Hamlet walk into a bar..."  A jester with a clown nose?  I'm super happy to see that someone revised the text that goes along with the calendar.  I wish I'd saved the old text... the old description of the play made the play out to be a knee-slapping, side-splitting, screw-ball comedy.  What?

Listen, this is just me getting all English teacher nerdy and proprietary about my favorite play.  Yes, R&G are Dead is funny, but it's not a Three Stooges routine.  These guys aren't clowns.  It's an existentialist, absurdist tragicomedy... with really more emphasis on the tragic than the comic.  It's a sad freakin' play.  There's nothing clown-like about lines like:  "Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occurred to you that you don't go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one's memory. And yet, I can't remember it. It never occurred to me at all. We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squawling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, theres only one direction. And time is its only measure. "

Just rips your heart out, doesn't it?  

All this is just to say... go see this play.  You might brush up on your Hamlet first; it really is much, much more impressive if you've got Hamlet fresh in your mind (Dagnabbit!  I was going to suggest you rent the Mel Gibson version because it's really quite good for what it is. That, of course, was filmed before (we knew) he was a misogynist anti-semite arsehole. Sigh.  Well, then, I recommend the Campbell Scott version.  The movie itself is kind of a shitshow, but Campbell Scott does a stunning Danish Prince.  Stunning. And it's Campbell Scott-- delicious!)

I'm trusting that the Louisville Repertory Company just put their poster design into the hands of someone who didn't "get" the play. I'm trusting that they don't plan to strip the tragic from the tragicomedy. I truly can't wait to see this.  It's February 3-13 at 8pm with a 2pm matinée on the 13th.  Tickets are $10-15.  Cheap indeed for having your mind blown by Stoppard's brilliance.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In Which I Get to Be "Roommate"...

So it's been a little quiet around these bloggy parts.  Sorry for that.  If you follow me on Twitter (@loueyville), you know that here at Casa Lou we've been dealing with a serious health crisis.  Specifically Roommate's health crisis.  More specifically, the heart attack that he had last Friday/Saturday.

Roommate has started a new blog, Heart Attack Colored Lens, to share information with his friends and family and to generally address what it means to be a 39 year-old heart attack survivor.  Knowing Roommate, when he gets bored with talking about his health, he'll probably start blogging about other stuff-- music, movies, the Louisville scene.  And in his blog, I get to be "Roommate."

I'm biased.  But I think you should plug his blog into your Google Reader.  Oooh.  That sounds nerdy-dirty.

I tell ya, Roommate is doing great-- super good spirits, good energy, chipper on all levels-- but sometimes I feel like I'm still recovering from his heart attack.  I fancy myself something of a "writer" (at least sometimes I do), but I find it hard to put this experience from my perspective into words.  I've lost people who are dear to me-- grandparents mostly.  And I've sat vigil by the hospital beds of those that I've loved.  But last weekend there were moments-- however brief, however marginally warranted-- when I thought Roommate might suddenly wink out of my life.  Forever.  And it was literally (I know we overuse the crap out of that word, but this time it is the perfect word) the worst feeling I've ever had.

I don't think I take Roommate for granted. We do a pretty good job of reminding each other how lucky we are to have each other. But what I DID take for granted is the idea that Roommate would always be here.  Maybe not always my housemate, my partner-in-crime, my favorite travel companion, my sounding board, and sometimes my foil... but always here. Those moments when I thought he could suddenly not be here... perhaps the worst moments of my life.

So, my PSA before I get back on the blogging horse and tell you about fun stuff happening in the 'Ville and other nonsense: In the almighty words of the great philosophers Bill & Ted-- Be Excellent To Each Other.

Party on, Roommate.