Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Afternoon Randomness: OMG SNOW! Edition

[Insert hysterical snow talk here.]

This past Monday was "Blue Monday;" supposedly the third monday of January is the most depressing day of the year.  As it happened to coincide with a day off, I didn't feel the full thrust of the cosmic tug toward the dark side.  But I swear, there's something to it. Maybe it's Blue Monday a little late, or maybe it's just the oppressive GRAY that we've been experiencing in Louisville, but I'm more than a little out of sorts these days.  So what better time than a clearinghouse post of all the good things coming up here in town?

  • Speaking of Michelle Jones: Next week Let Them Tweet Cake is taking a field trip to LVL1 to build our own mintiboosts.  If you're a nerdy chick, you need to be there.  Read this great article about LVL1 in the LEO.
  • Got the blues? I do. So it's a good thing Actors Theatre is breaking out Ma Rainey's Black Bottom this week.  It runs through February 13.
  • Feel like banging your head against a wall?  How about a just a little head-banging?  I can't believe how excited I am to see Broadway Across America's Rock of Ages next week.  It's at the Kentucky Center from January 25-30, and it sounds like it will be good, pure, goofy fun.
  • There's another IdeaFestival sponsored adult spelling bee at Zanzabar next week on the 27th.
  • According to the folks at the Visitor and Conventions Bureau, we'll be seeing some additions to the Urban Bourbon Trail in the near future.
  • Speaking of bourbon: Baxter Station is now open on Mondays and features a special "Bourbon Flights & Bourbon Bites" menu.  Door prizes, visits with Master Distillers, and other special events.  This looks like it's poised to be a regular Monday night thing for yours truly!
What did I miss?  Here's hoping for snow days and blue skies and good friends and warm places for all of us... soon!  Get out there and do something fun. 

    Walden's TKAM: The Perfect Play for Imperfect Times

    You know I love me some Walden Theater.  So I'm super excited to see their production of the play version of one of my favorite books ever (probably one of yours too).

    To Kill a Mockingbird had such an impact on me when I was a 7th grader that for more than a decade whenever a friend or family member was pregnant, I lobbied passionately that they name any boychild "Atticus." When I first met Roommate and we started dating, I found out that he hadn't read TKAM, I freaked out, bought him the book, and hovered over him til he read every last word.  (He loved it.)

    It's the perfect book for imperfect times.

    Times where we're publishing revisions of classic novels and sanitizing history.  (I'm told that the Walden production does not excise the n-word.)  Atticus says: "When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, an evasion simply muddles 'em."

    Times when our government officials seem to care more about being "right" and getting their way than they do about doing what's right and finding common ground.  Atticus says:  "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

    Times when we're talking an awful lot about "civility," but not necessarily practicing it.  Again, the font of wisdom says, "It's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you."

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with Walden Theater, it's one of the premier young adult theaters in the country and an absolute treasure for this city.  Read more about it at their website.  And we live in a time (honestly, was there ever NOT a time?) when young people seem to get way more bad press than they do good press. As someone who has devoted her life to working with young people, I rise up like an angry mama lion when I hear people patently shit-talking the kids.  So if you find yourself in the "goddamned kids these days" camp or worrying about the future of America, Walden is a good place to put your concerns to rest.  These are talented, creative, imaginative, devoted young people who will inspire your faith in "kids these days."  Once you see how hard they work, you'll quit your worrying.  (100% of Walden kids graduate from high school.  They go to school all day and devote hours and hours of their after school time to classes and rehearsals-- and still have to do their homework.  88% go on to higher education.)

    I'll get off my soapbox now.  Support Walden.  Go see To Kill a Mockingbird.  Renew your faith in humanity.  

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    by Christopher Sergel, adapted from the book by Harper Lee
    directed by Charlie Sexton 

    After a black man is accused of a terrible crime, lawyer Atticus Finch and his intrepid daughter Scout have to navigate the color lines drawn in a sleepy Alabama town to defend the accused and protect the townspeople from themselves. The book, a sensitive, bold look into a small town during the civil rights era, just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

    Dates: 2011

    January 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 @ 7:30pm
    January 22, 29 @ 2:00pm

    Walden Theatre, 1123 Payne Street

    Ticket Information
    Walden Theatre: (502) 589-0084 

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Actors Apprentice/Inter Co: The Tens

    Speaking of Actors...

    This week, Actors' Apprentice/Intern Company is presenting The Tens, an evening of 10-minute plays.  Like sketch comedy, 10-minute plays are ideal for the reluctant theater-goer.  If you find you don't like something, hang in there... you'll have something new to consider in nine minutes.

    I am always impressed by the Apprentices/Interns at Actors, so I'm putting this on my calendar, for sure.

    It Takes A 'Ville @ Actors Theatre

    The first few minutes of Second City's IT TAKES A 'VILLE are a little painful, you have to admit.  You've taken off your big bulky coat, and you're enjoying that lovely fleeting feeling of liberation from your clothing (it's almost like stripping naked in the summer-- take off your big, bearskin, down-of-a-thousand-geese coat and you feel all hanky-panky, woo-I'm-nekkid!, for just a little while).  You're all tucked into your nice little seat in the round where there really is no bad seat.  You've got your nice little glass of bourbon-- you know, because you're a Louisvillager.  You're done with reading the Playbill.  Maybe you're chatting up your theatre companion, and then...

    Whammo!  These stinkin' out-of-towners from the Big City of Chicago take the stage and start maligning our fair city. What the hell do they know?  They don't live here; they don't know us.  Screw them, right?  Sonsabitches.

    Because Louisville is like your mamma, right?  It's all fine and good for you to lay out your mamma when you're talking to your friends. Human nature. We talk smack about the people we love who drive us crazy... But if your FRIEND talks smack about your mamma?  Oh no.  No no no.

    And that's what the first few minutes of IT TAKES A 'VILLE are like.  It's like listening to a friend talk smack about your mamma.  It stings. It makes you not like them.  It makes you want to punch these folks in the nose, in fact.  And then... it starts to be funny.

    And it stays funny.

    After just a couple of weeks of intensive research into our fair city, the Second City players have crafted a remarkably on-the-nose, mostly-scripted comedy. There are jokes that will stick with you (it's going to snow tonight, and the mere thought of Louisvillagers driving in the snow makes me snicker now).  And like most sketch comedy, if something isn't working for you, hang in there and the sketch will change soon.  The improv portions of the program were by far the most remarkable displays of talent.  There were a few big misses: my goodness, if they milked the joke about KY-IND relations one more time, I was going to have to stand up and shout: For the most part, we don't hate Indiana; we just don't ever want to have to go there!  Leave it alone already!

    IT TAKES A 'VILLE is at Actors through February 6.  And you really should go.  You should go if only because this is your one chance to see it (I imagine).  No one's going to produce this script again-- the jokes are too "of the moment."  It was a ton of fun, and as I said, the talent is impressive.

    Just brace yourself for that initial slap.  Hang in there.

    Donations Needed for Breast Cancer Fundraiser Auction

    Friends and dear readers,

    If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I'm a happy, healthy breast cancer survivor.  Likewise, if you read this blog, you'll know that I've gone on something of a "pink diet" (or really, "pink fast") in the past year or so.  When I was newly diagnosed and in treatment, I felt compelled to show up at every "pink" event, to walk in every "pink" walk, and to avail myself of all the fantastic free services offered in our city to cancer patients and survivors. But I always ended up getting crazy weepy at those events, listening to other breast cancer survivors tell their stories.  I'm also the kind of person who is deeply uncomfortable with the idea of being called "heroic" just because I survived cancer-- and a lot of survivor rhetoric lapses into that (the doctors were heroic; my friends and family were at times heroic; I just muddled through the best that I could).  Because I'm so shy, support groups and organizations made me snap over to social anxiety overload as soon as I walked into the door.

    But when I was first diagnosed-- like the very day that I was diagnosed-- Norton Hospital put me in touch with Megan Schanie of the Young Survivors Group.  And she took me out to lunch and told me what to expect from surgery, chemo, fake boobs, the works.  And for the course of my treatment, the Young Survivors group was a fabulous source of support to me (right down to Megan's mother-in-law who fed me and took me to treatments when my own mom or Roommate couldn't be around).

    And the Annual Young Survivors Auction is one "pink event" that I feel passionately about supporting.  First of all, it's a damned good time, and most years I come away with really good deals on silent auction goods.  Secondly, it supports a cause that truly helped me and truly helps a lot of young women.

    So if you're a business owner or your make stuff or you have services you can offer to this group, I humbly ask that you donate something to the silent auction to be held at the Frazier Museum on February 25.  It doesn't matter how small your donation is.  Goods, services, gift certificates, experiences...  And I'll make it as easy on you as possible; I'm happy to come to you at your convenience and pick up the item.  These donations are tax deductible and a Young Survivors rep will provide you acknowledgment in writing of your donation.  Email me at lou [at] if you are interested or if you have any questions.

    And for the rest of you, mark your calendars:  February 25 at the Frazier.  A good time and a great cause.

    Thanks.  Y'all rock.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    A Few of My Favorite Things: 2010

    I swear I wrote the bulk of this post on 12/31/10... I just kind of got overwhelmed and gave up.  But here it is, a day (or 4) late and a dollar short, I'm sure... my "End of Year Post."

    I don't have the attention span for making "Top Ten" lists.  I'm also not otaku enough (to use a term recently brought to light by Patton Oswald in his controversial Wired article) to be able to make a masterful list.  I couldn't name my top ten anything without scraping the barrel for the last three or four.  So instead, I give you my "highlights" post-- the best of everything this year, big or small, local or personal, noteworthy or silly.

    I'd be remiss if I didn't start out with the fact that 2010 was a relatively drama-free year for me (granted, there's still 21+hrs left).  I'd started to get a little too comfortable with the fact that I had become something of a crisis magnet.  Just in the past couple of years, I've had cancer, had my house destroyed by Hurricane Ike... if we go back as far as 2005, we've got Katrina and job loss and heartbreak and a move to a city I knew nothing about.  2010 was basically a piece of cake.  I had a surgery in February.  I had pneumonia this past fall.  A couple of deaths wrecked me.  Otherwise, we're good here at Casa Lou.  It wasn't a banner year, but it wasn't scary or deeply sad or traumatic. That's a win.

    It's been a great year for Loueyville.  Man, I love this blog and the doors-- personal and "professional"-- it's opened for me.  I've said it before, and I will say it again, I'm sure: 80% of my life in Louisville-- the friends I've made and the cool ass things I've done are thanks to this blog and to my Twitter presence.  Although I didn't make any really close friends, I had a great time meeting one blog-follower/Twitter-friend each week during my Lenten Promise.  And I plan to repeat that promise again this year.  The blog/Twitter helped me take people I didn't know to shows at Actors Theater and the Kentucky Center.  It also allowed me to have my first ticket contest and treat two great couples to the Cirque Dreams Holidaze show at the Palace this winter.  I LOVE that Loueyville is featured on the home page of the Possibility City website; it makes me so proud.  This little labor of love is a huge blessing in my life, and it's been a highlight of 2010 to keep plugging away at it.

    Speaking of the blog, I have to admit that perhaps the best thing that I have done in service to the blog is cover the HullabaLOU Festival at Churchill Downs.  I know the event lost a Bieberload of money, and I am so sorry that it will not be coming back next year (read my posts re: why I think they were wrong to throw in the towel), but I had a damned fine time at HullabaLOU.  Great performances, sometimes from unexpected talent.  Not to mention the fact that it was the first time that I felt like I was "big girl press" = free tickets, parking passes, buffets, access to performers (though I was too shy to pipe up during the press conferences).  A milestone, indeed.  And a good time in general.

    That being said, I can't underestimate the impact that having press passes to all of the Humana Festival plays had on me. I was thrilled beyond thrilled to attend every single play during the Humana Festival run.  And actually, I've hit every Actors play this year save A Christmas Story, which I caught last year.  We are so lucky to have Actors.  I am insanely lucky to have people at Actors who view my blog as honest-to-goodness "press."  Likewise the Broadway Across America folks at the Kentucky Theater.  Who on God's green earth would have thought one of my theater highlights for the year would have been Legally Blonde?! But it was! So. Hugely. Fun.

    I moved to my neighborhood, the Original Highlands, because it seemed like the best 'hood in the city.  And lo and behold, this place gets better every year.  Sure we lose a place or two (Barret Bar, I'm thinking of you!) but we gain so much more.  Papalino's and the Holy Grale have vastly improved my quality of life this year.

    My New Year's wish for 2011 = Original Highland's Neighborhood Association, please back the eff off of great places like the Grale and the Monkey Wrench and let 'em have their 4am licenses.  It's embarrassing to put the brakes on quality businesses like these.

    As I said, I can't do "top ten" lists, but I can tell you some of my favorites.
    • Music-wise: My favorite album of 2010 is Trombone Shorty's Backatown.  Seriously, I dare you to listen to the first 60-seconds of the CD and NOT want to boogie. Im-possible!  Also: Cee-Lo Green's Ladykillers.  His "F++k You" is the song of the year, in my opinion.  
    • Movie-wise: I see a lot of movies, and I know my tastes are strange.  But no movie really tweaked me this year.  Not one. Honestly, I think the best movie I saw in 2010 is How to Train Your Dragon.    
    • TV-wise: I'm still madly in love with Modern Family and Parenthood.  But you can't ever go wrong with watching an episode of Castle or the Closer.  I have to admit, for the 2010 season, I'm just loving the heck out of Raising Grace.  Man, I miss LOST something awful.
    Overall, 2010 was a pretty good year.  I'm not particularly sad to see it go, but I had a lot of great times. My Louisville family of friends is full of spectacularly smart, funny, nerdy people (yeah, I'm looking at you!), and I've enjoyed their company heaps this year.

    Bonus favorite pop culture thing: The Man of My 2010 is Craig Ferguson. He's friends with the Mythbusters, he hosted Shark Week, and he put on a hell of a live show in Cincy this year.  He has a robot sidekick, for godssake!  You can have all the Team Coco you want; I am firmly in the camp of Team @CraigyFerg.  

    And Bonus bonus favorite pop culture thing:  Nothing had made me smile and laugh as hard this year as Craig Ferguson's "Secretariat" schtick.  It never gets old.  Add a little Kristen Bell or Neil Patrick Harris to the mix, and it's sublime.  Watch here.  

    Happy New Year, Louisvillagers.  Love you guys.  

    xxoo Lou