Wednesday, September 28, 2011

House Concert: Dayna Kurtz & Danny Flanigan

This weekend, Tara Anderson (sometimes local NPR host, freelance writer, and local Moth producer) and Alex Wright (doctor and singer/songwriter) will be hosting NYC singer/songwriter Dayna Kurtz for a second house concert.

Roommate and I were lucky enough to catch the Anderson-Wright's first house concert for Dayna, and it was a fantastic night. Great food, great conversations, fabulous music.  This time around, they're adding Danny Flanigan to the mix.  And if we're lucky, maybe Tara and Alex will join one or both of them.

The concert is at 7pm on Saturday, October 1 in Norton Commons.  It's $15 a person (cocktails and munchies included), with all proceeds going to the artists.  I think the cap is at 40 people, and the concert was more than half full last time I heard.  How often do you get to hear a nationally-touring NYC artist in someone's living room?

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

IdeaFestival 2011: It's a Wrap

It may very well take me a week to finish my recap of this year's IdeaFestival. I told myself I'd just write a couple of words about each presenter, but a half hour into the post, I've only touched on two.

So in the meantime, I'll leave you with this, my highlight of the weekend. The folks at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted a dinner at the Brown Hotel's English Grille Chef's Table for out-of-town media. 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.

Thank you so much to the LVCB and Chef Laurent for being such great ambassadors for the city. (And thanks too for the personalized "Official Bourbon Taster" chef's jacket!) I spent a lot of time with out-of-towners this weekend, and to a person they absolutely LOVED Louisville. Good job, city!

PS. I had no idea that the Chef's Table existed, but it does! And you can have dinner there too. Check out the link above for the English Grille. Chef Laurent is a charming host.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ticket Giveaway! Max & Ruby Live!

So, bad news for Spongebob Squarepants lovers, huh? Turns out that exposure to fast-paced, flashy cartoons makes little dudes' short attention span even shorter. But what's interesting about the study is that one of the other test groups had kiddos watching a slower-paced, calmer show from PBS, and those kids did okay on their memory tests.

Max & Ruby is one of those slow, calm cartoons for kids. And guess what, Louisville? The widdle bunnies are coming to town.  Max & Ruby: Bunny Party is a stage show for children.  Here's the story, according to the press release:

It's a surprise party for someone special, and bunny siblings Max and Ruby have a-million-and-one things to do before the big event. Join in the fun as they embark on a musical bus ride to East Bunnyhop General Store, where they deliberate on what to buy for the Super Duper Special Birthday Guest. Max & Ruby never quite want the same thing and their plans always collide – with hilarious results!

The show is on October 9 at 1p & 4p at the Louisville Palace Theatre.  Tickets are $19-$28.50 at

But, dear readers with wee ones, I could hook you up with four tickets to the 4pm show!  All you have to do is tell me in the comments what your favorite cartoon was as a kid. I'll pick a winner at random on October 1.

My favorite? I'm sure I could come up with a better answer if I thought about it longer, but I really, really dug Muppet Babies.

Best Week Ever

I'm not counting on the fact that my "mean reds" have been banished. But tonight I'm a little giddy; this is "happy" like I haven't felt happy in a while.  And it's all due to the fact that I have embarked on a week-long journey that has the potential to be the Best Week Ever.

It all started with the final Waterfront Wednesday of the season, tonight.  They Might Be Giants put on a joyful, silly show that I'd been looking forward to since their performance was announced in late spring.  I've loved TMBG since I was in high school.  The band opened with "Birdhouse in Your Soul," a song that I quoted on my high school yearbook page (my school was so tiny that each of the 36 seniors got their own full page in the yearbook).  I met up with a bunch of friends; I danced and sang along.  And what a fraking beautiful night, Louisville.  After four days of nearly unrelenting gloom, we had clear skies and sundress weather for Waterfront Wednesday.

If you missed Waterfront Wednesday, you still have time to hop on my "best week ever" ride.  Here's how:

I took two days off from my Meatspace Workplace to attend IdeaFestival.  And the best news is, my workplace considered the request "professional development" so I am not burning personal days. IdeaFestival is in full swing and there's still two and a half days of the event.  As I have always said, IdeaFestival may very well be the most wonderful time of the year here in Louisville.  Read my love letter to IF circa 2009 here.  I have been granted a media pass to the festival, so expect a bunch of blog posts and a flurry of tweets from me about IF over the next couple of days.  But don't just stay tuned to the blog-- GO! experience IdeaFestival for yourself.  Individual tickets are available for each of the events; some events are free. Check out the website for the schedule and for ticketing.

Thursday night, after all the great sessions at IdeaFestival, is one of my favorite IF events: the Taste of Innovation.  Michelle at Consuming Louisville has a great post about this year's event.  It's $30, but I have been to three Tastes of Innovation, and I swear it is worth every penny.  This year it is being held at Millionaire's Row at Churchill Downs-- how lovely is that?  And my date for the event is none other than Ms. Michelle from Consuming Louisville.  As I said: Best Week Ever.

Friday is another full day of IdeaFestival sessions.  Then Friday night I get to go to dinner with some of the festival presenters and national media thanks to the Louisville Convention and Vistors' Bureau.

Saturday-- again, IdeaFestival stuff-- concludes with the NULU Festival, the IF "after party." Yes, I love the Jug Band Jubilee, but NULU Festival ranks high on my list of favorite annual festivals.  Check out this blog post from the year that a nigh-monsoon squashed the end of the festival.  The headliner for this event is a band that might be my favorite local band: The Pass.  Check out the NULU Fest website for more details.  The event is from 2pm til 11pm.  Unless a monsoon occurs.

Sunday I rest.  Because that's what you're supposed to do. IdeaFestival is over.

Monday I am back to work, and normal life resumes.  But Monday night, the Kentucky Authors' Forum is producing an event at the Kentucky Center where Rosanne Cash will be interviewed by Nick Spitzer. I will be tweeting/blogging about the event, thanks to the delightful folks at the Forum.  Tickets are $20 or $100 for a VIP dinner.  I couldn't be more excited about this event.  Cash is not only an amazing singer-songwriter, she's a transcendently beautiful thinker.  If you're on Twitter and not following @rosannecash, you're missing out.

Tuesday: Again work.  But Tuesday night the Moth comes to Louisville.  Another fantastic night in Louisville.  The Moth Radio Hour has long been one of my favorite NPR programs.  And this particular iteration is being produced by one of my favorite people in the world.  Tickets are $8 in advance.  Visit the Headliners website for more details.

This week might be the Best. Week. Ever.  Maybe it will chase the mean reds away?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Love This City: Me & the Mean Reds

Confession: I have been in unholy funk lately.

Back when I was in high school, my favorite movie was Breakfast at Tiffany's. I was a really different person back then (weren't we all?). I bought the VHS tape and nearly wore it out.  But in my twenties, I just stopped watching. It lost its glow. I no longer believed that being charmingly dysfunctional was attractive and my ticket to the tunnel of love. I'd lived in New York City and visited Tiffany's, and it had not soothed my soul. In fact, Tiffany's bummed me out-- looking at $250 keychains while working three jobs to make the rent just made me resentful.  And let's face it, it's hard to get past Mickey Rooney's portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi, right?

But when I get in these funks, I think of Holly Golightly (gosh, was there ever a character name as delightful as "Holly Golightly"?). 

I don't have the blues; I have the "mean reds."

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly
: No. The blues are because you're getting fat, and maybe it's been raining too long. You're just sad, that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Yeah, Holly. Yeah I do. 

But let me tell you something, Louisville, the one unflinchingly good thing in my life is you. You're full of interesting and exciting things to do, and you're full of people who are kind and thoughtful and lovely to be around. 

I mean, it's hard to articulate exactly why I've been in a funk. (Which is why Holly's definition of the "mean reds" really speaks to me.) Seriously, just look at how I spent my weekend:

On Friday night, Roommate and I took in Actors Theatre's production of DRACULA. I went last year, but this was Roommate's first time. It's not entirely my cup of tea, to be honest, but both of us came away wondering the same thing: why in the world do locals pay exorbitant prices for cheesy haunted houses as a build-up to Halloween, when they can go see DRACULA at Actors? I'll be honest; I'm basing my knowledge of haunted houses on the few I saw in my youth. But I remember them being pricey, cheesy, and quick. DRACULA is scary, superbly produced, and a couple of hours long. 

On Saturday, we went to the Jug Band Jubilee, which is quickly becoming my favorite annual festival. It was a gorgeous night to be on the waterfront, and I bumped into some of my best friends in the city. After the event ended, a bunch of us went over to the (I'm still calling it "new") BBC on Main Street. I am a sucker for iceberg wedge salads, and the BBC has the best one in the city-- and it's only $5.99. It has both bleu cheese and ranch dressing, and the bacon crumbles are generously portioned and really tasty (this from a woman who is totally over the whole bacon fad). THEN (yes, it was an Energizer Bunny night), a couple of us went to one of my favorite bars downtown-- Al J's in the Galt House (is that Paula Abdul on their website?). I love looking out over the river at night. And I both love and feel bad for the fish in their fishtank bar.  The drinks at Al J's are well-made and among the most reasonable I've had in a hotel bar-- around $7.50 for a Manhattan.  

And Sunday, I got to interview the subject of my upcoming article for the October issue of The Louisville Paper-- Mike Brooks. Mike's one of the co-founders of the much-lauded new theater company in town, Theatre [502]. And he's intense and smart and funny and amazingly contemplative (you'll just have to wait for my article to hear more). But this guy is, like, the opposite of the "mean reds;" this guy is the opposite of "afraid for no reason." Seriously-- and pardon my crassness here-- but you have to have huge effing balls to start a new theatre company in this economy. And he and his friends just got it done. Inspiring.

So many good things. And so many more coming up. In fact, the next few days are shaping up to be utterly brilliant. More to come on that soon.

I still have the mean reds. But they'll pass. They always do. And no matter how funked out I get, Louisville, I'm never so funked out that I forget how much I love you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Louisville Film Fest Giveaway! Party on, Dudes!

I'm super excited to announce that thanks to the fine folks at the Louisville Film Festival, I have two passes to the October event to give away to my faithful readers and Twitter followers.

Here's how to win:

Hop on the Tweetybox and tweet me AND @LouFilmFest the name of a film that was integral to your youth that you're worried the youth of 2011 will not be exposed to.

I'll choose a winner at random on September 28. Only one entry per Tweety person.

As a high school teacher, I know that kids these days are still watching the good ol' John Hughes staples. And no self-respecting parent is letting their children hit puberty without sitting them down and making them watch the Star Wars trilogy (the good one).

But I do worry that Keanu Reeves' entire oeuvre has made parents forget just how terrific he was back in 1989.

So my answer would read: @loueyville, I worry that kids these days aren't getting enough Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventures. @LouFilmFest

Because my students think I've lost it when I pronounce the philosopher's name "So-Crates."

Update: So far we've had nominations of:

  • @loueyville, I worry that kids are missing "Meatballs." Shouldn't they learn early that "it just doesn't matter!" if they win? @LouFilmFest -- from @eekshecried
  • @loueyville I worry that kids won't know about Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Such a flawless expression of the simple joys of youth @LouFilmFest-- from @lesil
  • @loueyville, I worry that kids these days aren't getting enough of "the sound of music." @LouFilmFest-- from @freeyourheart
  • @loueyville @LouFilmFest The movie from my youth that I think todays youth will not be exposed to is "This Is Spinal Tap"-- from kycubsfan
  • Today's youth need to know about Rain Man (R). @LouFilmFest @Loueyville from @zepfanman
  • @loueyville @LouFilmFest No laughing: I'm afraid today's youth won't be properly exposed to Star Wars. The new stuff just isn't the same. :/ -- from @erin_mcmahon
  •  I wonder if anyone under 40 has or will ever see "Out of Africa." Not funny, but neither is life sometimes. :)  from @MsPaulaBurba
  •  I worry that kids are missing "Major Payne". Tough love, is the best love. No tears, no excuses.  from @KdeLost
  • I'm worried kids today won't know what a Truffle Shuffle is or where "Hey you guyyyyyys" is from    from @EvanWinkle
  •  , I worry that kids won't see Blade Runner. So many great things about that movie. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rosanne Cash: Kentucky Author Forum

The only time I've seen Rosanne Cash live was in the mid-90's in NYC at the Bitter End or the Bottom Line (I can never get those two straight). She was playing in support of her album 10 Song Demo, but all I really knew about her was that she was Johnny Cash's daughter and that was good enough for me.

I must have been feeling flush at the time. After all, I was working three jobs just to make rent and ramen noodles at my East Village apartment. There was never extra money for things like concerts at clubs, unless my friends were in the band and my name was on the list.  And as I was living with a musician (sometimes two or three depending on who needed a place to crash), that wasn't all that unusual.

But I was definitely not on the list for Rosanne Cash, and I'm relatively sure I'd never heard her music before that night.  But it was love at first listen.

And from that night for the next couple of years-- a move to Tampa, then a move to Baton Rouge, then a move to New Orleans-- 10 Song Demo was on regular rotation in my cd player. Some song or another from the album made it on every mix tape/mix cd I made for every boy or man I dated. I vaguely remember wallowing over a broken heart listening to "Price of Temptation" on repeat and singing my heart out through sobs.

I can still sing the entire album by heart.

Flash forward a decade and a half. Now @RosanneCash is probably my favorite celebrity I'm following on Twitter.  From her mock feud with @SusanOrlean about who exactly is Mrs. Colin Firth to her Hurricane Irene tweets from "Zone B" in Manhattan, I've fallen even more in love with her. She's smart, funny, and responsive to her fans.

I enter into evidence her tweet from ten minutes ago:
Flipping channels: Miss Universe 2011, Tea Party debate, Hoarders. I'm confused. Which ones are the potential world leaders?
9/12/11 9:42 PM

And now she's coming to the Kentucky Author Forum at the Kentucky Center in two weeks in support of her memoir, Composed (which I tried to pick up at Carmichael's this weekend, but it was nowhere to be found).

The last Kentucky Author Forum featured Billy Collins interviewed by Garrison Keillor, and it was utterly delightful.  As I mentioned in that blog post, both Collins and Keillor are polarizing figures, but I adore both of them.  This time, the interviewer is Nick Spitzer, host of American Routes, one of my favorite NPR music programs.  

I'm not on the list again for this Rosanne Cash show.  And instead of working three jobs, I work one and some odd jobs to make mortgage and a more well-balanced meal plan.  But that one job yields only a teacher's salary, so $20 is still a bit steep for an hour-long visit with Ms. Cash.  ($100 gets you a VIP experience including dinner with Cash and Spitzer.)

But I will be there.

On a side note, last night Roommate and I saw Le Petomane's 5 THINGS, finally.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  I desperately wanted the show to be good after spending a couple of hours with the actor-writers for my preview for The Louisville Paper; I liked all three of them so much, it would have been awful if the show had been just so-so.  Trust me, it is not.  It is, as I'd hoped, brilliant.  And you'll be so sorry if you miss it.  There are four more shows-- Sep 14-17.  Go go go.

The relavent tangent is this: 5 THINGS is a play that is a play on the whole "desert island discs" concept.  If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have five albums to keep me company, 10 Song Demo, would be one of them. Even though, as the characters in 5 THINGS realize eventually, all of the songs are already with me... in here. *taps her noggin*

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Paper: Le Petomane article

Just an update to today's post:

The whole article about Le Petomane's "5 Things" is up now at The Paper's website.  Enjoy.

Always Comedy: Le Petomane's Season Opens.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to sit in on a rehearsal for Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble's original comedy 5 THINGS. If you've picked up the September issue of The Paper, you'll see the article that came out of that afternoon. Unfortunately, that article isn't online yet and 5 THINGS opens today at the Bard's Town Theater. So, I asked the lovely The Paper folks if I could reprint an excerpt here. This is the short version... the version in The Paper is twice as long...

5 Things is being put together with butcher paper and duct tape on a peeling plaster wall. There will be a script, eventually. There’s always a script, eventually. But right now it’s just Sharpie on butcher paper.

Abigail Maupin, co-founder and Artistic Co-Director of Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble says the process is a bit like “magnetic poetry,” and it’s an apt analogy. The storyboard, if you can call it that, is taped over and rearranged a half dozen times in the two hours I spend in Le Petomane’s rehearsal space.

Before they start rehearsal for the three-member show, Abigail Maupin, Greg Maupin, and Kyle Ware give me a rundown on the plot. 5 Things is about three retail workers-- one each from a bookstore, a record store, and a video store-- who’ve been marooned on an island. As you might guess from the title, it’s a riff on the “Desert Island Discs” party game. Each character has been allowed to bring “5 things” to the island. Over the course of the play, they explain and justify their choices. But how did they get there? Is it a voluntary marooning (after all, “5 things” implies some planning)? Greg smiles and says, “You’re asking all the right questions.” And then he doesn’t answer them.

Rehearsal isn't rehearsal so much as a brainstorming session. All three members have already explained the ensemble's "group think" or "hive mind," and now here it is at work. Sentences are rarely completed (at least by the person who started the sentence). The actors often seem to be speaking in code.

Two hours of focused artistic imagination. Almost no side trips or digressions-- how often does that happen when you put three smart people in a room and light a fire under their creative process? At the end of the rehearsal, when they say that they hope I’ll come see the play, I respond: “Are you kidding me? Of course, I’m going. I’m dying to know what this play is really about!”

Abigail and Greg Maupin founded Le Petomane in 2004. “I think I was there for Le Petomane's first show in Louisville, back when the ensemble numbered two: Greg and Abigail themselves,” says David J. Loehr, artist-in-residence at the Riverrun Theatre in Madison, IN and purveyor of the website “That show began with nearly 20 minutes of near silence, except for the audience's laughter.”

Le Petomane has since grown to six members, and productions feature varying combinations of performers. In the course of a Le Petomane season, cast members change, venues change, styles change. There’s one thing that doesn’t change. “Always comedy,” says Abigail.

“As the ensemble has grown, it's been exciting to watch them develop their aesthetic,” says Loehr. “It's more than just ‘new wave dell'arte,’ whether it's an original, experimental ‘tango noir’ like Ban: An Appeal or a wildly inventive adaptation of Midsummer Night's Dream for a cast of six, multiplied by the clever use of masks. They maintain a balance, designing shows for modern sensibilities with classical underpinnings.”

Loehr adds, “They also played ukuleles before ukuleles were cool again.”

The only instrument better-suited to a desert island than a ukulele is, of course, a lobster claw harmonica (“I got it in Maine!” says Greg, as though that explains... anything). Based on only two hours spent watching Le Petomane’s creative process, I cannot confirm that either will make it into the final product. But based on only two hours, I’m reasonably certain that the final product will be some strange kind of genius.

5 Things is the first show in Le Petomane’s 2011-2012 four-show season and will be the first show they’ve launched at the Bard’s Town Theater. Performances are September 7-12 and 14-17 at 7:30pm. Tickets are on a pay-as-you-can sliding scale, $8-$20. For tickets, visit: or call 502-749-5275. For more information on Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble and their upcoming season, visit their website at

Red State: One Showing on 9/25

It's rare that I ever post about anything I wouldn't be caught dead at. But I'm always happy when Louisville lands a limited-release film, no matter what it is.

Arty Louisvillagers complain about the fact that many indy films pass us by.  And soon, Dreamland Film Center may answer those Louisvillagers' prayers. But I lived in New Orleans for eight-plus years; and it's a considerably bigger and superficially more arty city, with almost the exact same draw for indy movies.  One quasi art house cinema-- Canal Place-- in the Quarter, which is currently showing Planet of the Apes, The Help, The Debt, Sarah's Key, and Midnight in Paris. Sound familiar? Yep, that's pretty much what's playing at Baxter now.

I'm not saying that there isn't cause for complaint and room for improvement. But a lot of the smaller indy films do make their way to Louisville. Remember Roommate's comical dust-up with Magnolia Films? Another Earth-- still playing at Baxter, go go go-- and The Big Uneasy?

Oh hey, what was the point of this post?  Right-- limited release movie that I want to promote but would never see...

September 25th at Baxter Ave Theater, Red State, Kevin Smith's controversial political horror (those two words go together now better than ever) movie will be screened, followed by Q&A simulcast via satellite and Twitter.  I am not a fan of horror movies, nor am I a fan of Kevin Smith.  But there you go.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dreamland Film Center: A USEFUL LIFE

Looks like Dreamland Film Center, the uber-indy new micro theater, is moving beyond "soft opening" events pretty soon.  They announced their first multi-run film today on Facebook; it's an Uruguayan film called A USEFUL LIFE, and it's part of their Global Lens Series.

According to the Facebook page:

Global Lens returns with Uruguay's A Useful Life, a modest pocket-vest valentine of a film, dedicated to cinephiles everywhere, about the joys and limits of being in love with movies. Jorge Jellinek stars as the manager of an arthouse cinema in Montevideo who is forced to confront the "real" world when his theater goes out of business.

Showings will be at 7p & 9p on September 8-10.  It's $3 if you're a Louisville Film Society member and $7 if you're not.  The Louisville Film Society lists several upcoming events for Dreamland.

I have high hopes for the Dreamland Film Center.  This 75-seat venue could be exactly what Louisville film aficionados have been hoping for.

The Word 'Jubilee' Makes Everything Happier

Last year I made a fairly public promise to attend the National Jug Band Jubilee, and I did follow through on that promise. And honestly, I had an unreasonably fantastic time.  As soon as I saw the fliers for this year's Jubilee, I did a little happy dance of anticipation.

The 2011 Jubilee is Saturday September 17 and features 9 national jug bands from noon til 11p at the Brown-Foreman Amphitheater.  Admission is free, and this year's festival is going to be recorded for a future Kentucky Homefront radio show on WFPK.

One of the things I loved most about the Jubilee is that it attracted a pretty diverse group of (given, mostly white) people. There were people for whom jug band music is part of their heritage. There were a ton of Bardstown Road hipsters on their Vespas. The similarities in dress, however, made a casual game of "Facial Hair: Ironic or Authentic?" preeeetty darned difficult.

Jug band music is billed as "America's Happiest Music."  And if you've ever been to the Jubilee, you'll understand why. There's dancing and storytelling and crafts and good comfort food and beer.  People bring their whole families-- multiple generations. And y'all know how I feel about music outside, especially on the water?  Heaven.  Here's hoping the weather shapes up before then.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Launch Party for September The Paper

The September issue of the new Louisville indy paper, The Paper, comes out tomorrow, and the folks behind this 'good news' publication are having a launch party at Please and Thank You on Market St. during Friday's Trolley Hop.  Swing by and pick up a copy and visit with folks from The Paper and their contributors.

It's been a long time since I wrote something for print, but this issue of The Paper features my article about Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble and their upcoming production of 5 THINGS.  I haven't seen the final version, but I'm looking forward to it!

I'll post more about 5 THINGS later this week, but mark you calendars: the production starts September 7 at the Bard's Town Theatre.  I haven't been this excited about a theater production in a while.