Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hard Rock Rising: Battle of the Bands

Hard Rock Cafes around the world are currently hosting a contest called: Hard Rock Rising-- the Global Battle of the Bands.

Each local Hard Rock has their own Battle of the Bands, with the winners advancing to ... um... yeah, okay... I'm a little unclear about how this contest really works.  The BIG prize is that some bands are going to get to play in London, but I'm really not sure how this happens.

And frankly, voting in this contest-- which is starting on Facebook-- is a little like doing the Hokey Pokey.  But the endgame of the local contest is a biggie-- a coveted spot at Waterfront Wednesday this summer.

Here's what you need to do to vote:

1) Go to the Hard Rock Louisville fan page on Facebook and "like" it.
2) Click on the Hard Rock Rising page in the left hand column of the Facebook page.
3) Scroll through the bands, and download songs from the bands you want to vote for. FREE DOWNLOADS-- yay!
4) Voting ends February 6.

The good news is that you can vote for more than one band. The bad news is that you can only vote once AND you can only vote if you live within 50 miles of Louisville.

I'm not going to tell you how to vote, but I will tell you that I cast my ballots for The Navigators-- the band project featuring Alex Wright and Dewey Kincaid (and that song... "Get Out of Touch"... one of my favorites) and for Butch Rice, another one of the most talented singer-songwriters in Louisville.

Side note: Where the heck is Tyrone Cotton on here??-- ANOTHER amazing local singer-songwriter and an awesome supporter of other local musicians... No one comes out to support local music like Tyrone does (he's been at the past two Alex Wright shows, for example). Love him for that.

Design*Sponge Loves Kin Ship Press

My Google Reader is filled with some pretty strange stuff. Yes, I have loads of local bloggers on there and lots of Louisville news. But I also have at least a half-dozen blogs (most now dormant) that focus on LOST. A couple that focus on BSG news. I have lots of wine and booze blogs on there-- despite the fact that it's been years since I spent more than $12 on a bottle of wine.

More than anything else except local stuff, I have lots of film review and movie news blogs on my G-reader. I'm honestly not sure why.  But I read so much movie news that if a movie pops up and I've never heard of it before, I am stunned... stunned, I tell you.

[If you're wondering, my absolute favorites are Mary Ann Johanson's FlickFilosopher blog (feminist, pop culture nerd... loves her some Doctor Who... the only blog I have actually PAID to subscribe to) and Bob Chipman's MovieBob vlog (gamer, film nerd, geek, also a feminist, a pretty brilliant cultural critic... and also my cousin).]

And despite the fact that I have not an ounce of handiness or decor-intelligence in my body, next to film news in non-Louisville-related-blogs-on-my-Google-Reader, I have the most blogs about design and crafty things.

My favorite of these is Design*Sponge (despite the cringe-worthy name... I'm kind of of the mind that nothing should be called an anything sponge, unless it's a contraception).

And Design*Sponge loves our local Kin Ship Press (which, by the way, is an example of an awesome name).

Today the blog featured Kin Ship's new customized mugs.  (I love them, but I'm partial to their non-customized mug that reads "Time to Get Stuff Done."

Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge has featured Kin Ship's products before. Last July she featured my favorite Kin Ship product: their adorable pillow cases.  See the July mention here.

From the Kin Ship Etsy bio:

Kin Ship Press is Dan Davis and Hillary Harrison.
We live and work in Louisville, Kentucky.
We screenprint. Illustrate. Photograph. Design.
We like to make things.
For us and for you.

We are inspired by our family & friends, slowing down, countrysides, music, critters, and folk art--among other things.

We design and hand-print home goods and apparel.

We work hard to find and use quality fabrics and supplies that we ourselves would want

Congrats to Kin Ship for great design exposure!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lifetime Achievement for Lance Henriksen

The Derby City Film Festival's press release calls Lance Henriksen a "veteran actor known for roles in TERMINATOR and ALIENS," which is all fine and good. And truly, Bishop from ALIENS is a iconic sci-fi character.

But the television show MILLENIUM, starring Henrikson as an ex-FBI-er with the ability to see into criminals' minds, spanned three seasons and 67 episodes, featured LOST's Terry O'Quinn, and was created by the X-FILES's Chris Carter.  Damned good show.

Henriksen will be in town for the Derby City Film Festival in support of his new film IT'S IN THE BLOOD and will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Festival. Here's the skinny on this film, and its Louisville connections:

IT'S IN THE BLOOD is a feature film from Louisville natives and Ballard High School graduates Scooter Downey & Sean Elliot and is up for three awards including Best Feature Film and two Best Actor Nominations for stars Henriksen & Sean Elliot. BLOOD tells the tale of a father (Henricksen) and son (Elliot) who become stranded in the wild and must confront the horrors of their past to escape with their lives. However, this wilderness is not what it seems, and as they deteriorate, so to does their concept of reality: horrifying creatures, ghostly apparitions, is it all in their heads, or could the truth be far more terrible?

Henriksen will be participating in panels and doing a signing of his new autobiography LANCE HENRIKSEN-- NOT BAD FOR A HUMAN (how much do you love that title? tons!).

BLOOD will be screened with the short film ENDLESS at 8pm on February 18 at the Clifton Center. The Derby City Film Festival runs from February 17-19. We'll have more on the festival in a later post. In the meantime, you can check out festival information here: www.derbycityfilmfest.com.

Lots of Henriksen on Netflix Instant, but unfortunately no MILLENIUM (not on Amazon Prime or in Wild and Woolly's catalogue, either... bummer).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kentucky Homefront Fundraiser: Sunday Funday

I don't normally just cut and paste press releases, but this is already late notice, and I want to get it on the interwebs before people clock out of work for the weekend. You know how I loves me some jug bands... this is jug bands AND wine. On a Sunday.  Perfect.  Here's the press release:

Please join us this Sunday, January 29th, from 4-8pm for the 11th Anniversary fundraiser for the Kentucky Homefront Radio Show!  

Kentucky Homefront is a show featuring Kentucky's finest acoustic folk, traditional, blues, country, and bluegrass musicians, and its best storytellers. Their front porch broadcasts that air each Wednesday on WFPK at 8PM are reminiscent of radio variety programs of a bygone era. Hosted by the talented and inimitable singer/songwriter John Gage, Kentucky Homefront is recorded on the 2nd Saturday of every month (except January and July). 

You can expect a rollickin’ good time as River Bend will provide a limited menu, a full bar and is donating 15% of their proceeds to Kentucky Homefront! Also, a new guitar will be raffled off and there will be three 50/50 raffles. There will also be a “Keep the Front Porch Light Burning Bright” booth where you can buy season tickets at a discounted price.

Here is the entertainment schedule:
4:00PM - Songwriters in the Round with John Gage, Turley Richards and Mickey Clark
5:00 PM - Hog Operation
6:00PM - Mickey Clark & The Blue Northern
7:00PM - The Juggernaut Jug Band
Please join us for a great night! 

$10 suggested donation. 
River Bend Winery
120 S 10th Street

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All My Nerd Ladiez in the House!

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the meeting of one of Louisville's really exceptional women's groups. I met all kinds of fantastic women (and met-in-person some of my favorite Twitter people), listened to the advice a very wise life coach, and was pretty bowled over by the collective level of success in the room. Inspiring, for sure.

This big ol' life change thing I have going on is going to force me to do things that make me uncomfortable. One of those things is networking. Last night was awesome practice in a fairly "safe" space, but I have a long way to go before I'm cheerfully glad-handing and distributing business cards.

"Safe" spaces are funny. Last night I was telling the guy-I-am-currently-dating about that evening's women's group meeting, and I realized Let Them Tweet Cake is essentially the same sort of networking meeting. And yes, the very first Tweet Cake I attended was agony for me...

But nowadays, I don't think a thing about heading over to Sweet Surrender on a Wednesday to chit chat with a group of twenty or thirty women, many of whom are strangers. Tweet Cake has become total "safe" space for this Lou. Thems are my peoples, the Tweet Cakers.  Even the ones I don't know yet.

Are you my peoples? Are you a nerdy/geeky/tech- and media-savvy woman? Or a nerdy/geeky/tech- and media-savvy dude who is not afraid to join a women's group? C'mon down to Tweet Cake tonight at 630p at Sweet Surrender.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Calling all New England Transplants of Louisville!

If you've ever known anyone who used a lobster trap and a piece of glass to make a coffee table, this post is for you...

(Don't worry, I'll spare you all the "You know you're a New Englander when... " jokes.)

Maybe you were born and raised in New England as I was, or maybe you spent some college time in the great Northeast. Either way, you probably get pangs of homesickness every once in a while.

What do you miss?

I miss the ocean, most of all. I spent my teen years in an apartment that overlooked a cove off of Long Island Sound. I could sit in my window seat (yes, charming indeed) and watch the water for hours. When I was a kid, my friends and I didn't hang out in malls or in 7-11 parking lots; we hung out on the docks. (Hm. That sounds way more badass than it actually was.)  I miss the sounds and smells of boats and seaweed and waves.

I miss lobster. When I was a kid, my grandparents lived next door to a lobster fisherman (who turned out to also be a coke dealer, but that's neither here nor there), so we had lobster a couple of times a week during the summer.

I'm not much of a Fribble person, but I do miss going to Friendly's and ordering a grilled blueberry muffin. Does ANYONE in Louisville put muffins on the grill? If not, why not?

I miss maze-y stone walls that lead nowhere and enclose nothing.

I miss my family's North-Shore-of-Boston accent, an accent that I escaped inheriting when I moved to Connecticut at age 13. Just a couple of days ago, I showed my students a video interview with someone from Braintree, MA (a construction worker reading Whitman), and someone said, "Listen to that ludicrous accent!" And I said, "Hey, be nice. 75% of my family sounds just like that."

And although I'm not much of a donut-eater, I miss Dunks. Dunks = home.

In honor of the soon-to-open first stand-alone Dunkin' Donuts in the city, I'm putting together a New England Transplant mailing list with the expectation of future meet-ups and maybe even some contests and giveaways.

Do you want in? Miss the Northeast (I use the term "New England" loosely)? Just have a soft spot for clam chowdah and pahking your cah in Hahvahd Yahd? Dream about summering on the Vineyard?

Email me at Lou [at] loueyville.com with NETs in the subject line to be included on a mailing list for New England Transplants. Or DM me your email address on Twitter (@loueyville). I promise, cross-my-heart-hope-to-die, that I will ONLY use your email address to send you NETs updates.

I'll be posting any meet-ups or contests to Loueyville, but this mailing list will help keep y'all in the loop (and it will help me tell any potential sponsors/partners just how many of us there are!).

And while you're here-- tell me what YOU miss about the Northeast in the comments!

UPDATE: See Suzi's comments below... apparently this isn't the FIRST stand-alone DD to have opened in Louisville. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Voyage Continues: #cryptictweets Explained

"The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, I'm not quite at a hundred tacks yet, but...

If you follow me on Twitter, over the past couple of weeks you've seen me post a number of #cryptictweets about making a major life change. Now that all the people who need to know do know, I can de-cryptify those #cryptictweets.

After twelve years of being a high school teacher, and after almost fourteen years of teaching in general, I have decided it's time to make a change. So last week, I informed the powers-that-be at the Meatspace Workplace that I would not be returning to teach for the 2012-2013 school year. Today I told my colleagues and my kids.

This is absolutely NOT me saying that I am sick of teaching. I love teaching more today than I did during those first few honeymoon years. Nearly every day in my classroom is a good day, a happy day, an exciting day.  Teenagers inspire me, and I will continue to champion them in whatever way I can.

This is also absolutely not me saying that I'm sick of my particular school. The school and the school community have been very good to me over the past six years. I leave with a heavy heart.

This is me saying that I need to make a change. It's me saying that after six years of teaching my students about the Transcendentalists, maybe I need to actually walk the "Trust thyself" walk.

So, I am taking a leap without a safety net at the moment. I've given my notice, but I'm not sure what the next step will be.

That's SO exciting.

That's also wicked, wicked scary.

But, dear readers, there is once thing I know for sure*: I'm staying in Louisville.

I moved here almost six years ago because of this job. I knew nothing about Louisville. I knew the big bat, I knew bourbon, I knew Kentucky Derby.  That's all.  I came here as a brokenhearted, frustrated member of the Katrina diaspora, but over the years I've fallen in love with my new home. And now I want to see what else I can do here in Possibility City. (Boy, does that moniker take on way more meaning to me right now...)

It's partly because of this blog that I have the courage (or foolhardiness) to take this scary leap. This blog has introduced me to so many wonderful aspects of this city and to so many inspiring people. You, dear readers, have kept me excited and curious over these past four and a half years and 643 posts. I have an amazing network of friends and cheerleaders, largely thanks to my blogging and tweeting habits.  Never in all of my life have I had so many people rooting me on.

So, thank you. If you're reading this blog post, you-- yes YOU-- helped give me the courage (or foolhardiness!) to make this big decision.

I'll have more to say about this further on down the road. But, in the meantime, keep me in mind, okay? If something comes up that has "Lou" written all over it-- drop me an email or tweet me a tweet.

I'm so excited for my next big adventure (and also terrified).

In the words (word, actually. singular) of my favorite Doctor: "GERONIMO!"

*Ok, I say "for sure," but if Leonard Cohen and calls me up and offers me six-figures to be his personal assistant, I'm going to have to take him up on that. Then again... if I'm making six-figures, I can probably keep up on my mortgage here in Louisville...  so technically I will still live here, even if I'm working, you know, in a Buddhist monastery or something. 

Request for Donations: Breast Cancer Support Group Auction

Friends and Dear Readers,

It's silly to re-invent the wheel, especially when you invented the wheel in the first place.

When I sat down to write a post asking for donations for the upcoming Young Survivors Auction, I realized that I had said very many of the same things last year. And here's the thing about last year's post-- it worked! Last year my request for donations both here and on Twitter resulted in donations that raised more than $1000 for the Young Survivors. One of my proudest moments as a blogger.

The Young Survivors annual silent auction is right around the corner. It's February 17 at the Frazier Museum. I'll blog about the actual event closer to the date, but in the meantime, if you're a business owner or you make stuff or you have services you can donate to support this group, I hope you will consider doing so. It means so much to me.

Below is the text of last year's request (updated for appropriate dates). Whatever I can do to facilitate your donation, I will do. Email me at lou (at) loueyville.com for more information...

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 17.  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] loueyville.com if you are interested or if you have any questions.

And for the rest of you, mark your calendars:  February 17 at the Frazier.  A good time and a great cause.

Thanks.  Y'all rock.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alex Wright CD Release @ Monkey Wrench 1/27

Dear Fellow Alex Wright Fans,

I hope this first issue of the Alex Wright Fanclub Newsletter finds you all happily enjoying the New Year.  It's already been a great year for us fans, right?

How much did you LOVE hearing Alex and Dewey Kincaid on WFPK's Live Lunch on January 6th? If you missed it, you can catch it again on the Live Lunch Archives here. (Did you know that you can also check out the entire Live Lunch archive since 2007 on your Android or iPhone WFPK app? Totally awesome.) It's also been great hearing Alex's song "Viscosity of Trust" get so much play on WFPK.

As I am sure you know, our next chance to enjoy Alex's music will be January 27th at his Feeling the Pull CD release party at the Monkey Wrench at 9pm. Mark it on your calendars. Dewey Kincaid is the special guest.

So I've been thinking: Justin has his Beliebers, Jimmy has his Parrotheads... what should we fans of Alex Wright be calling ourselves? We'll discuss at our next meeting.

Reminder: no matter how much you "feel the pull" (see what I did there?), you should absolutely fight the urge to throw your panties on stage while Alex is performing. First of all, his wife will be there. (I know, I know... all the good ones are taken.) Secondly, it's very distracting to the performers. It's much better to discretely hand said panties to Alex sometime when he's not on stage or to stuff them (along with a few bucks) in the tip jar. Let's be on our best behavior this time, fans.

As always, you can check out more of the latest Alex Wright news, download the album, and join his mailing list at his website.

Looking forward to seeing y'all on the 27th!

Rock on!

Alex Wright Fan Club of North America

PS. No, there's not really an Alex Wright Fan Club of North America... yet. And no, Alex Wright does not necessarily endorse the entirety of this message. :)

Flat Stanley in Louisville

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I've been hosting a Flat Stanley for a couple of weeks. If you aren't in education or don't have a wee one in your family, you may have no idea what I am talking about.

Flat Stanley is a character from a book from the 1960's, a little kid who is squished by a falling bulletin board (scary, right?) who then discovers certain advantages to being "flat" including the fact that he can be mailed to far away places for vacation. Somewhere along the line some smart educators decided to use Stanley in their lesson plans as a way to teach their little kids about geography and different cultures.  Students are given a Flat Stanley to send to a friend in another city; that friend is supposed to show Stanley around, take pictures of Stanley visiting city landmarks, and then send Stanley and the pictures back to the originating classroom.

My Stanley came all the way from a kindergarten class in Needham, MA and my favorite cousin's son, James.

Even though early on in Stanley's visit my cousin told me that I shouldn't write a blog for Stanley because the kindergarten has sketchy tech... well, heck, blogging is kind of my thing.  I couldn't help myself.

For the actual project, I turned the blog into a powerpoint and send the printed slides back to Needham with Stanley (along with a box of Modjeskas from Muth's because I want James's Stanley to be everyone's favorite Stanley).

If you want to see all the fun things Stanley and I did during his visit, check out the blog Flat Stanley In Louisville. As with all blogs, posts appear in reverse chronology.

Disclaimer #1: I'm writing for kindergarteners... expect simple language and oversimplification of facts at times.

Disclaimer #2: Yes, James calls me "Missy." No, you may not call me "Missy."


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Derby Princesses 2012

Normally this wouldn't be a news item that I would cover.

But one of this year's Derby Princesses is one of my former students and former advisees. And I am so crazy proud of her and happy for her.

The amazing and wonderful Taylor Sang is a 2012 Derby Princess.  Taylor has participated in the Miss Kentucky pageant for a couple of years and in the competition has won prestigious awards like the "Miracle Maker" award.

Taylor is the joyful, lovely woman on the far left in this picture.  I wish her tons of fun and happiness during the Derby season.  And I am keeping my fingers crossed that the spin of the wheel makes her Queen!  Good on you, Taylor!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

KAAC CINDERELLA @ Kentucky Center

KAAC (Kids Acting Against Cancer) is an awesome local charity that is founded and staffed by some amazing local kids.

Their annual musical, a fundraiser for Gilda's Club and Kosair Children's Hospital, is almost always a sell-out and is always, always really fantastically done.

This production, I'm sure, will be no exception-- great director, great music director, and many returning cast members from last year's excellent HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (which is awful, but their version was as good as it could be).

Saturday Jan 14 @ 730pm at the Kentucky Center. Tickets are $20, $15 for students/seniors, $10 for kids 10 and younger.

Go. Take the kids. Support the arts. Support these great teenagers and help them raise money for these great causes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

THE TENS @ Actors Theatre This Week

I always enjoy the Actors Apprentice 10-minute plays. This week Actors rolls out THE TENS, presented by the 40th Anniversary Actors Apprentices and Interns. The show features eight ten minute plays. Best of all-- it's FREE!!

From the press release:

The Tens is the Apprentice/Intern Company’s first fully produced theatre event this season, following a series of original workshop ensemble productions created in the fall. The Tens features work chosen from Actors Theatre’s National Ten-Minute Play Contest. The selections include a diverse range of pieces written by eight playwrights: Advanced by M. Thomas Cooper; Opal by Lloyd Suh; The Dungeons and the Dragons by Kyle John Schmidt; That Noise by Dominic Finocchiaro; Hero Dad by Laura Jacqmin; The Ballad of 423 and 424 by Nicholas C. Pappas; Basement Story by Austin Bunn, and DressUp by Jane Jones.

The shows are at 10pm January 10-12, 1030pm January 13, and a noon show on January 12. As I said, the show is free, but you should call in advance for reservations. 502-584-1205

Loved You Before I Met You, Qannick

So, if you're following me on Twitter (@loueyville), you'll know that this week I have been hosting a Flat Stanley.

Flat Stanley is a paper doll who is a curriculum tool for pre-school and elementary-aged kids. In my case, my Flat Stanley belongs to my cousin Beth's son, James.

James is a kindergartener at the Chestnut Children's Center in Needham, MA. And his teachers have asked the kids to create a Flat Stanley and then send it to someone who lives in another state so the kids can learn about other places in the US. My job is to show Stan a good time and then to send him back to James with pictures and souvenirs from our time together.

Today, I took Stanley to the zoo.  We've had a damned good run, Stanley and I, but today was just about getting to see Qannick.

And she didn't disappoint.  She was beautiful and playful and curious.

I've been a member of the Louisville Zoo since I moved here in 2006, but I don't make enough use of my membership.  When I lived in New Orleans, just a couple of blocks from the Audubon Zoo, I used to go to the zoo after a crappy day at work.  Hang out with the gorillas.  Chill with the gators.  Sometimes I would bring a book and a blanket and sit all day by the orangutang enclosure and read and visit with the apes between chapters.

Now that Qannick is here and Siku will be on exhibit soon... and the weather is warming up... maybe I'll be seeing more of Glacier Run soon.

Good News Everyone, Michelle Did It!

Congratulations to one of my favorite Louisvillagers, my sister-in-blogging, and all around do-gooder Ms. Michelle Jones for busting her Kickstarter goal for the "Menu and Hours" project. She's already pushed past her initial goal of $6000 and the iPhone app has been funded. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she continues to earn pledges past the $8000 point so she will start development on the Android app as well.

This is why I love Louisville. Michelle has done SO much for this community. She truly is the quintessential Awesome Louisvillager.  And when the time came for this community to give back to her, to tell her how much we trust and appreciate her, we stepped up to the plate. I look at the list of people who have pledged to this project, and I am enthralled to see SO many familiar names.

We love you, Michelle! And we're so excited that this app will soon be available to us and will be one more thing that makes Louisville great!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Knee Jerk Reaction to CHAD DEITY

It's not often that I come home from a performance and IMMEDIATELY want to post about it. But I had such a fantastic time at Actors Theatre's production of THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY tonight that I couldn't even wait to do my research, send out some emails, and write a truly proper post.

I'm doing some research and sending out emails, so expect another post about this exuberant, joyful, exciting show.

In the meantime, don't wait for me to tell you all about it. Just go.


If there is a kitschy bone in your body, if you've ever secretly kind of sort of understood why people like professional wrestling so much, if you love hyperbole and drama and over-the-topness... you'll love it.

The actual elaborate entrance of Chad Deity is worth the ticket price. As is the dramatic set piece action in the second act.

This is to say nothing of the acting and directing... I'll get to all of that in my next post about this play.

Just go. My heart is still cheering.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Best Stuff of 2011

I totally get that 2011 will not go down in many people's books as a great year. There's honestly not too much to rave about in the grand scheme of things. But for this Lou, 2011 was a pretty gentle year. I wasn't diagnosed with cancer and then have a tree fall on my house (2008). I wasn't displaced by a hurricane and suffer a heartbreaking break-up (2005). I didn't get divorced or have a loved one die or watch as someone I cared for succumbed to addiction (various years).

So let's get this out of the way from the get-go:

The worst moment of 2011: Hands down. No question. One of the very worst moments of my life, let alone 2011... when Roommate had a heart attack back in late January of 2011. Thankfully, my BFF and partner-in-crime has been healthy ever since. But I'd gladly relive just about every horror story I've ever been through to not have to experience that kind of pain and terror ever, ever again. On the up side: I think those kinds of scares always make you love that person just a little bit more and a little bit better. (awww...)

Okay, so now on to the Best Stuff of 2011, in no particular order...

Gosh, Humana Festival is one of my favorite things about every year here in Louisville, but this year was particularly good.  I still find myself thinking about MAPLE AND VINE and EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM on a regular basis. I'm really excited about the new Artistic Director at Actors, Les Waters. And I'm looking forward to seeing how the Festival and Actors evolve under his leadership. My New Year's Wish for Actors Theater: PLEASE BRING BACK LATE SEATING!!

Speaking of theatre... this year I was introduced to Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble (which has been around since 2004) and Theatre [502] made its debut. Exemplary work by both companies this year: two more reasons why this theatre-lover loves Louisville. (And on a personal note: I'm super grateful for the new friends I've made in both.)

I was lucky enough to cover both companies for The Louisville Paper. Working for The Paper has been an absolute highlight of my year. I'm so grateful to Matt Dobson for giving me this opportunity.  You can check out the three articles I've written here. It's so awesome that The Paper is picking up a little of the slack left by the gutting of neighborhood and arts coverage in the Courier-Journal.

Happy bourbon-soaked bloggers
Without a doubt, one of the very best moments I've had, personally and "professionally" (as if this blog is anything like "professional") all year was the night that the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau asked me and Michelle Jones to represent local bloggers for a contingent of visiting bloggers during Idea Festival. We enjoyed a dinner at the Chef's table at the English Grill at the Brown Hotel.  From that post:

Five courses prepared by Chef Laurent Geroli, bourbon, wine, great conversation. Picture includes: Michelle Jones of Consuming Louisville, Baratunde Thurston of The Onion et al, Max Linsky of Longform.org, Ellen McGirt of Fast Company Magazine, Chef Laurent, CC Chapman, author & entrepreneur. 
The evening ended with me leading the group mentioned above (minus Michelle) down to the Seelbach Hotel (where we passed DJ Pauly D on the way in). There, they generously treated me to Pappy Van Winkle 23 while we poked around the Rathskeller.

The entire Idea Festival was amazing.  And this was the first year I was granted "Media" access. I took two days off from the Meatspace Workplace to attend.  Fantastic.

Of course, Idea Festival was just part of what I called "The Best Week Ever" on my blog.  That was the week that Idea Festival coincided with They Might Be Giants playing Waterfront Wednesday, NULU Festival, and Roseanne Cash spoke/played at the Kentucky Authors Forum. One of my favorite memories from 2011 was meeting Roseanne Cash, thanks to the lovely folks at the Kentucky Authors Forum, who read my post about the event and invited me to the VIP reception. Just a couple of days ago, Cash reviewed her highlights from 2011 on Twitter and mentioned the Kentucky Authors Forum gig.

The Pass @ Nulu Festival
Louisville hosted some awesome concerts in 2011. It's hard to say what my favorites were. The 4th of July Waterfront concert with Fitz and the Tantrums, De La Soul, and The Funky METERS ranks high. As did The Low Anthem at Headliners, a show that took on special meaning for me when I attended with a friend I hadn't seen in 15 years.  I'm still saying that The Pass remains my favorite local band, and I enjoyed them every time I saw them play. Headliners did right by us a bunch of times this year, including shows by Galactic and Trombone Shorty from NOLA

Blurry Gabe Bullard hosting The Moth
Speaking of Headliners, one of the best things that has happened to Louisville in 2011 is the Moth Story Slams at Headliners every last Tuesday of the month.  Originally only a couple of Moths were scheduled, but now the run has been extended because the turnout has been fantastic. Next up: the theme is "Firsts" on 1/31.

Brandon Klayko, over at the brilliant Broken Sidewalk, has a fantastic list of significant openings and closings in Louisville for 2011.  Of course the big closing news of the year was the shuttering of Ear X-tacy, a loss that I understand completely but don't particularly feel. All in all, it feels like a winning year for Louisville when you weigh the openings against the closings. We finally got a Trader Joe's after all. For what it's worth, I think my favorite new restaurant in Louisville is a toss-up between Garage Bar and Harvest. And honestly, my love for Garage is almost entirely due to the ambiance and the ham. Seriously, that's some damn good ham.

Speaking of local carnivores, Louisville became home to two of the cutest carnivores imaginable: Qannik and Siku, the polar bear cubs at the newly-renovated Glacier Run at the Louisville Zoo. Qannik immediately took the local twitter scene by storm, both with an official and an unofficial twitter feed. (Note that the unofficial one is much sweeter.)

I'm super happy to say that my favorite movie of 2011 has a legit local connection. If y'all haven't seen ANOTHER EARTH starring the brilliant Brit Marling and Louisvillager (and my celebrity crush), William Mapother, you're really missing out. I've been so glad to see ANOTHER EARTH hit so many year end "Best Of" lists, but I was really sorry that this film flew so far under the radar for the most part.  I anticipated enjoying it; I did not anticipate how much it would stick with me. Seriously, when I think of the last 30 seconds of that movie, I still have to bite my tongue to keep from swearing out loud.

We got a new mayor this year and that was big news. It seems like the jury is still undecided on Greg Fischer, but I kind of like the guy. And just thinking, in 2010, Kentucky got Rand Paul (again, sorry rest-of-the-country). So I'd say 2011 was a win in the election column.

Sure, there was a lot to complain about in 2011. Based on an informal survey of Twitter, I'd say 85% of complaining had something to do with the bridge, but you've got to love a town that copes with Shermageddon by creating words like Shermageddon and fake Twitter accounts.

And in 2011, the people of Louisville did a lot to further convince me that we live in an ah-mazing-city. To wit: back in January I posted a call for donations for a silent auction in support of a cause close to my heart (literally, I guess, close to my heart): The Young Survivors Breast Cancer Network.  And something like a dozen people-- most of whom I didn't even know-- donated. Proceeds from items donated by blog readers earned around $1000 at the auction. That's HUGE and humbling.  And I'll be hitting y'all up for donations again in the coming weeks.

But hands down the best thing about 2011 was meeting new people and cementing older friendships. And just about every friendship I've forged in this city has come to me as a result of my tweeting and blogging habits. Heck, that even includes The Guy I've Been Dating. (I'll pause as y'all let out a collective gasp... I know, I know. It's shocking. I told you, it's been a pretty good year for me.)

The big Loueyville blog news this year was that I finally "came out" as a blogger after 500+ anonymous posts (I even had my first "speaking engagement" as a blogger at the library's Tech Boot Camp). And "coming out" made meeting new people easier, evidenced by the two Skate Tweet Ups we've had over in Jeffersonville.

Speaking of Skate Tweet Ups, we'll definitely have a third now that the rink has extended their run through January 31.  And this one might have corporate sponsorship-- meaning free skating for some of y'all!! Yaaaaay! *Kermit arms*

What else will 2012 hold? Who knows? I can tell you this: this blogger is looking to make some REALLY big and really scary life changes this year. Could be very, very exciting... could be a trainwreck. :)  Keep your fingers crossed for me, Dear Readers.

And I will always, always keep my fingers crossed for all of you Dear Readers. Thank you so much for reading this little bloggy project of my heart. I love all of you people, even if I haven't met you yet. And I'm sure if I did meet you, I'd love you even more.

Let's live 2012 like the Mayans were right, y'all.