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, 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. 


J. J. said...

Oooh, corporate sponsorship for the next skate. Ditto on the "Kermit arms". Great roundup! Will you be running for mayor next term?

M said...

Thanks, JJ. Fingers crossed for the sponsorship. That would be fun and exciting. And I don't really want to be the mayor (I had to think about that a little). I want to be the unofficial mayor who everyone likes and trusts. Not the person everyone likes to beat up. :)

Michelle said...

Yes - William Mapother in the scene in Another Earth where he played music on a saw - priceless! You know the music from this scene is here