Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ohio Valley Wrestling: the most fun you can have on a Wednesday for $5

Did you see Chad Deity? Jamin Olivencia was part of the cast. 
Ohio Valley Wrestling is probably the most fun you can have for five bucks on a Wednesday night.

I'm a fan of anything that could be considered "spectacle." But I wouldn't have thought that could extend to wrestling if it hadn't been for Actors Theatre's production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity last season. That play, which is easily the best play I've seen in Louisville– perhaps even anywhere, humanized the sport and reminded us how much of an "art" it really is.

The thing with wrestling is that you really need to go with a guide. I'm sure after a couple of consecutive visits, you'd pick up on the mythology, but if you go and don't have someone to fill you in on the soap opera, I think it wouldn't be anywhere near as fun.

I was lucky enough to tag along with Louisville actress Leah Roberts, who has been a bunch of times and who knows some of the OV wrestlers. Without her Cliff's Notes version of the rivalries and stereotypes, I would have floundered.

While I could now provide the Cliff's Notes of the Cliff's Notes for a companion, I'm still way fuzzy on the details.

The super duper good guy seems to be a veteran with a prosthetic leg (who is actually a veteran with a prosthetic leg– that's not his character). He's just partnered with a long-haired Mohamed Ali, who is Middle Eastern/Latino and

There's a bad guy named Paradise who is a flamboyant gay character (but in real life is a straight guy named Billy).

There's a syndicate of militia-types called "The Coalition" who, despite their flag-waving, hawkish, U-S-A personas are still the bad syndicate.

From the website:
Thanks for visiting the online home of Ohio Valley Wrestling, the official developmental territory for TNA Impact Wrestling! This is a place where the newest rookies of pro wrestling, other top talent from across the country, and future TNA Superstars come to "learn the ropes" of the squared circle before heading to the world stage! You can have a chance to see the stars before they're stars!

OVW Owner Danny Davis has had a hand in the training of Mr. Anderson, Matt Morgan, TNA Knock Outs ODB, Tara and Mickie James, CM Punk, John Cena, and Randy Orton just to name a few! Danny Davis is also well known as a former professional wrestler himself having wrestled as "The Nightmare" in USWA and NWA. He was also once a manager for Jerry "The King" Lawler.

OVW is excited that the stars training here have an opportunity to be featured on OVW TV and live events, making this the only full-time training facility in the country also providing weekly broadcast TV.

Admission is $5– bring cash; there's a $1 surcharge for card payments. And the concessions offerings are similar to a movie theater, but way, way cheaper. I had a perfectly serviceable cheese hot dog and a can of Diet Coke for $3. Popcorn is just $1.

Shows are at Davis Arena: 4400 Shepherdsville Road. Doors at 630pm and start at 7pm. The arena is deep in the heart of a warehouse/office complex. So have sharp eyes and follow the signs.

Monday, May 27, 2013

If you want to sing out, sing out: Le Petomane performs their Greatest Hits in concert

I am so lucky that the people I love are so genuinely talented. It makes endorsing their events so guilt-free.

A little less than two years ago, I was assigned to write an article for The Paper about Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble's show "5 Things." I'd heard of Le Petomane, heard amazing things in fact, but had never seen them.

For the article, I went to a brainstorming rehearsal, observed their process, met Greg and Abigail Bailey Maupin and Kyle Ware... and fell in love. With all three of them. And their process. And the production. And the Le Petomane concept.

And soon thereafter, I fell in love with Kyle Ware for real.

Le Petomane is one of the best-regarded theatre companies in Louisville. Except for their occasional adaptation of Shakespeare, all of their plays are ensemble-written from the ground up, including the songs. The original music has often been the highlight of their productions-- think They Might Be Giants style smartness with a theatrical bent.

So for the final show of their 9th season, they are reprising their greatest musical hits for a two-night concert next weekend. I'm told they'll be wearing custom-made jumpsuits a la The Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family.

They've chosen the best of the best songs from their productions-- songs that can stand on their own with little context. So don't worry about being a Le Petomane newbie; you'll still "get" it.

The six-person ensemble will be joined by the musical stylings of Brian Lilienthal and the ubiquitous Scott Anthony.

From their press release:

By popular demand, Le Petomane closes its ninth season with a one-weekend-only event: a live concert evening featuring a ridiculous number of original songs from the ensemble’s past shows.  

Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble drew upon songs from nine seasons of original, new work to create an evening of audience favorites. Le Petomane's Concert-ed Effort will feature live music by Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble members Heather Burns, Tony Dingman, Abigail Bailey Maupin, Gregory Maupin, Kristie Rolape and Kyle Ware, along with special guest ringers Professor Scott Anthony and Dr. Brian J. Lilienthal. 

Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble was named Best Theater Troupe in the 2010 and 2011 LEO Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards, and has been described by The Courier-Journal as "simultaneously...hysterical, physical and thought provoking." 

Performances at The Bard's TownMay 31 at 7:30 p.m.June 1 at 7:30 p.m.Tickets$8 – 20 at our cheap and reliable sliding scale*
Contact Us@LePetomane.org or 502-609-2520 for show reservations or more information, or find them on Facebook. For pre-show dinner reservations, please contact The Bard’s Town directly at 502-749-5275.

* a word or two about the sliding scale: one pays what one a) thinks fair and b) can afford; we make a reasonable amount either way. The low end is no higher than the price of a movie ticket; the high end is not such an issue - as a non-profit we will gleefully accept any amount above $20 one cares to give, and will cheerfully provide a receipt of said donation for tax purposes.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My IL Digest: Our Local Box, Happy Birthday Park, brilliant kids, the Churchill Downs bugler and more

Gabe Bullard in the deserted infield at Churchill
There's so much to love about my job with Insider Louisville

Sure there are drawbacks to every job. 

This one's pretty high-stress at times. Sometimes I find myself climbing the stairs to my office in the morning thinking, "Okay, you're not trying to cure cancer. Things shouldn't have you this worked up."

And as we all know, the comments-section of online journalism is where simple human decency goes to die. We're lucky at IL to not have too, too many trolls, but I assure you, my email in-box is a much thornier place than the comments section. (Really, we all can't agree that a childrens' museum might be a nice thing for the city? You disagree so heartily you have to get ugly about it? Think of the children!)

One of the things that bums me out about my job– and I'm sure all journalists, online, print and otherwise, feel the same way– is how ephemeral it is. I'll pour time and research and effort and care into a story. And at best it booms for a couple of days and gets passed around social media. At worst, it gets some reads and the quietly sinks down the homepage into the archives.

And that's sad. I guess it's a little bit about ego, sure. But it's more about the fact that these people that I report on are doing such remarkable things that I wish these pieces had a little more staying power. 

(Note: all links lead to the full article)

Like Dan Campbell and Jason Lee Menard of Our Local Box, a startup subscription box that is delivering a package full of Kentucky-made goodness to doorsteps across the country every month. I met them at Tony Boombozz, where the idea for their venture first germinated and listened to them wax passionately about ecommerce and buying local. 

Like Marsha Weinstein, who may be one of my new favorite Louisvillagers, who founded the effort to get a Happy Birthday Park installed on Fourth Street to honor the composers and educators Peggy and Mildred Hill. It had been a while since I last chatted with someone who shared my passion for US Women's History. And she brought some pretty serious deficits to my attention. 
According to Marsha Weinstein, there are over 2,400 historical markers in the state of Kentucky. Sixty of them commemorate the lives and accomplishments of women. A quick search of the database of historical markers in the state finds that Weinstein was probably being generous in her estimate. Of all the public memorials and artwork in downtown Louisville, none are dedicated to women.
I eventually confirmed this last fact with the department of Public Art. We have art designed by women (very little) but nothing honoring women. Weinstein is a powerhouse and a passionate advocate for women and girls. It was an honor to spend an hour picking her brain. 
Like Anthony Perry and Susana Almaguer Martinez, whom I didn't speak with but wrote about. These two Louisville high school seniors have 4.0 averages and a remarkable resume of acheievments. They've both been accepted by the Gates Foundation to receive Gates Millenium Scholarships– full rides to the schools of their choice. Perry, from St. Francis, will go to UPenn. Martinez, who has only been in the US for 2 years and attends Seneca, will be going to USF. 
Like Steve Buttleman, the official bugler of Churchill Downs, whom Linda and I interviewed on Louisville, Not Kentucky. The story about our behind-the-scenes adventures at Churchill Downs' Opening Night is one of my all-time favorite stories, I think.
Sometimes, of course, it is all about me. Right? Even though I was sick and cranky, I think my recap of who's going to be performing at the State Fair is still pretty dead-on. Again, pissy comments, but not not fun. Likewise, my rundown of what wasn't allowed at Churchill Downs during the Derby. Jeffrey Lee Puckett of the CJ did it better (video!) later, but I did it first. 
Those articles are just from the past 10 days and represent only a quarter of what I wrote during those days for IL.
I was also interviewed by the fabulous Erin Keane for WFPL's news special on the Great Gatsby and Louisville. The two of us went in search of Daisy Fay's house in the Cherokee Triangle. It was a lovely way to spend a lovely spring morning. You can listen to the story at the link. (you can pick up my part at around 10:00, but if you're into Gatsby at all, don't miss the whole special from the start). Spoiler alert: We didn't find it. We don't think anyone can. That wasn't a journalism-thing. It was a former-English-teacher-thing. But still, part of a good couple of weeks.
Thanks to all of you who bring me great stories or who ARE great stories. You make my life and job so much better.