Friday, June 29, 2012

Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau 2012-13 Marketing Highlights

You know what is pretty much the best thing in the world to a blogger? Going to a city-wide function, sitting down next to a random stranger, telling him you're a blogger, and having him say, "I read My Loueyville every morning! You're Melissa!"

Best. Feeling. Ever. (Hi Ron!!)

Today I attended the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau's 2012-2013 Marketing Plan roll-out shin-dig. I'm pretty easy to pump up (especially when it involves anything Louisville), but I have to say both our mayor and the LCVB President, Jim Wood, got me pretty damned pumped for stuff that's been going on and WILL go on in the city.

One of the things I really loved was how many times Jim Wood brought up the importance of writers and bloggers in his speech. Not just because I'm a blogger, and I'm currently on the job market looking for the perfect writing gig, but because it's nice to hear creative folks get the credit that they're due. Twice, Wood brought up the IdeaFestival blogger meet-up that Michelle Jones and I were involved in last year.

Mayor Fischer highlighted some of the great things on our horizons here in Louisville...

The opening of the Big 4 Pedestrian Bridge, which should (?) be in early 2013 (and which, Fischer predicted, would be THE place to propose in Louisville).

The Michter's and Heaven Hill distilleries opening downtown next summer (think about it... two brand new "adult" tourist attractions opening right in time for summer travel season) will really establish us as "the Gateway to Bourbon Country."

The continued expansion of the Urban Bourbon Trail.

The 2014 100th Anniversary of the Belle Of Louisville, which will be marked, in part, buy a huge steamboat meet-up on the Ohio (that means lots of steamboats and a lot of steamboat nerds-- they exist!).

The expanded outdoorsy opportunities thanks to the 21century Parks Program and the growing Louisville Loop.

So exciting!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I love everything about this poster...

"Sunday! SUNday! SUNDAY"

The sneaky kitty in the background (those of you who know me/Twitter-know me know I'm not a huge fan of cats but have been slowly changing my mind due to meeting my kitten-sister, Poppy, and getting to know my boyfriend's two ridiculously affectionate cats).

Most of all, I love the acknowledgment that you can't mention the business La Bamba, on Bardstown Road, without mentioning the best sign in all of Louisville: BURRITOS AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD.


It's going to as hot as the inside of a dog's mouth on Sunday, but this bake sale, at the Fairleigh Pet Center from 1pm-5pm, will feature free iced tea to cool you down.

Every single penny of this fundraiser will go toward funding spay/neuter programs in Louisville. Sundays are already a little old-fashiony... come support this excellent cause in this very old school way.

Buy a brownie, save a kitty.

Sounds good to me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Billy Elliot: the Musical @ the Kentucky Center


It seems fitting that my first post after the death of my musical-theatre-loving grandmother is about a musical...

Seriously, my grandmother-- Vange-- loved her some musicals. I don't know for how many DECADES she subscribed to Massachusetts' North Shore Music Theatre (side note: last I heard, NSMT was shutting down... I don't have time to investigate, but it looks like they're very much still in operation. Good news!), but it was a lot of decades.  Vange's favorite musical: MAMA MIA because it combined two of things she loved more than anything else in the world-- musicals and ABBA. Seriously, the woman loved ABBA so much that someone put an ABBA CD in her casket at the wake (my boyfriend made the gruesome joke: "I sure hope she finds some way of listening to it... maybe bumps into some avid jogger who was buried with her Walkman." Groan. But funny.).

Anyway, that's neither here nor there... the musical that Broadway Across America is bringing to Louisville this week is BILLY ELLIOT, another of the long tradition of movie musicals. At least this one was a movie about dance.

I've never seen the film, but it was such a pop culture hit, I do know a little bit about it.  Here's the story from the BAA Louisville website:

Based on the Academy Award nominated 2000 film of the same title, Billy Elliot is the story of its namesake star, a young boy in a depressed working-class mining town in the North of England. Set during the history-making 1984 miner’s strike, the show follows Billy, the youngest child of a blue-collar family that has recently lost its Mum, as he discovers his unlikely and extraordinary gift for ballet. While Billy’s father and brother take to the picket lines of the violent and life-changing strike, Billy secretly begins to study the art of dance with the help of a hard-drinking, chain-smoking local dance teacher. But as Billy blossoms and thrives, the world and lives around him continues to wither—and his only escape may be the prestigious Royal Ballet School, a place no working-class boy has ever gone, or been allowed to go to, before.

I don't know who writes the copy for the BAA website, but I kind of love the "Should I See It?" section because it is unfailingly honest.  The short answer for this musical is yes, if you don't mind your musicals on the "dark and complex side," and no for little kids under eight or so.

I'm pretty interested in seeing this. Those of you who know me know that I was a "bunhead" for most of my childhood-- took dance classes from age 3-18 and did a little choreography in high school and college. The show opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday. It's a long one-- 2hr50min with an intermission.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Personal: Brief Hiatus Part II

When people talk about "the best" person they've ever known, it's often hyperbole. I mean, how do you quantify "goodness," right?

But this weekend, I lost the best person I have ever known. My grandmother, Evangeline, died, and I am plowed under. She'd been sick for a while. And she was... heck, she was 89, so this isn't a big shock. But for most of my adult life, I have always been able to drive myself to tears and fits of morbid sorrow merely by thinking, "My goodness, what in the world is it going to feel like when I find out that Vange has died?"

And now it's a reality.

And yes, I called her "Vange." My father, her son, passed away from cancer when I was three, and for a solid decade after that, my mom and I lived a town away from Vange and my grandfather (Chip-- also my preferred nickname). And we probably spent four nights a week at their house-- my mom and I-- for dinner. And during the summers it was more than that-- they had a pool and a dock on a pond where I would stand for hours and fish (always catch and release-- always sunfish and a tiny bass now and then).

I was-- I am-- the oldest of her thirteen grandchildren (sometimes I round up to 15... I don't know why). She and Chip had five sons, and when I was born (she always told me), my dad called from the hospital and said, "We had a GIRL." And Vange said the appropriate congratulatory things, and my Dad interrupted and said, "Did you hear me, Ma? I said we had a GIRL!" And she said, from that point on, I was the girl she hadn't had.

I always felt so special to Vange. Because I was the oldest, I was brought up in a family of adults.  Hence the fact that I called my grandparents "Vange" and "Chip"-- what my mother called them.  The rest of my cousins called them the Portuguese "Vovo" and "Vovo"-- yeah, they look the same, but grandmother is "vohvoh" and grandfather is "voovoo."

But I have no doubt that Vange made ALL of her grandchildren feel like they were the most special to her. She was just that kind of person. Several times, when I was a little kid, the UPS man or the flower delivery person tried to deliver something while we were sitting down to dinner, and she invited them to join us-- and they did! She was the kind of person who, if your friend's sister who'd she'd never met just had a baby... she'd come over your friend's sister's house, bring some chocolate-chip cookies, and offer to sit awhile with your friend's sister's baby while your friend's sister took a nap.

It's hard to quantify goodness. But I can without any hesitation or hyperbole say that this woman was the very best woman that I have ever known. Or probably will know.

And there is some solace knowing that she died a woman who was SO loved by SO many.  Her goodness did not go unappreciated.

One of my favorite Vange stories...

It was shortly after Chip died-- suddenly, around 15 years ago... he was a plumber, and bless his heart, he had a heart attack while fixing an old lady's toilet-- that my cousin Beth (grandchild #2) and I stayed the night with Vange.  Somehow we ended up watching the movie JERRY MCGUIRE with her. If you know the movie, you know it opens with Tom Cruise having particularly vigorous sex... headboard blamming, big ol' holy-crap sex.  And Vange was on the couch between me and Beth.  And as the scene ended, she hugged us both close-- wait, I should say that both Beth and I had lived with boyfriends at this point... Vange couldn't be under the illusion that we were pure as the driven snow-- she hugged us close and said, "I just want you girls to know that sex doesn't have to be like that.  It can be a beautiful and gentle thing."

Friends, I'll be okay. But I can honestly say that a world without Vange is a world that has been diminished so much. I'll probably be absent from this blog this week.

Unconditional love.  I am so grateful that I had thirty-mumble-mumble years of unconditional love from this woman.  I hope all y'all have someone who gives you that.  Love them hard.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blood at the Bard: Louisville Public Media Blood Drive

I've only given blood twice, but it's not for lack of trying. I remember once, more than a decade ago, I was having a particularly bad time of things. My marriage was falling apart and things were getting super-ugly. I had just moved from a big, beautiful house into a one-room apartment. I missed my dogs; I felt very alone and really crummy about myself. And there was a blood-drive at work, so I showed up and they turned me away because I weighed less than 110 (that was a long time ago, kids). When the nice lady took one look at me and apologized for turning me away, I burst into tears. She gave me a hug and some orange juice and a cookie.

That's one thing I've learned from going to and being turned away from a number of blood drives-- people who work at blood drives are wicked nice.  I've been turned away for vacationing in Belize, for getting a tattoo (you have to wait a year), for too recently having chemo. Here are some more reasons you could be turned away

This time, though, I THINK I'm good. I certainly weigh enough. It's been more than a decade since I got my last tattoo. The kicker is that I went to Mexico last summer, and some areas of Mexico have had malaria outbreaks. Fingers crossed that they'll let that slide. Regardless, this Louisville Public Media Blood Drive at the Bard's Town sounds like a good time. 

Here's the info from their press release:

Where else can you eat & drink, meet your favorite public radio people, listen to live music, and save lives? Join us for Louisville Public Media's annual blood drive—this year with music and special guests! On hand to entertain you will be:

12pm: Kitty Slickers (
1pm: Jon Beazlie
2pm: WFPL's Erin Keane
3pm: WUOL's Alan Brandt
4pm: WFPK's Marion Dries

Grean BEAN delivery will donate 10lbs of fresh produce to Kentucky Harvest for each pint of blood donated at this drive! They'll also be on hand with fresh fruit for blood donors.

Even if you can't give blood, stop by, grab a bite, enjoy the show, and say hi to your friends at WFPL, WFPK & WUOL!

In the time it took you to read this paragraph, 3-4 people needed blood transfusions in the U.S. Donating one pint of blood takes about 20 minutes, and can save three people's lives. Join us for a fun day & make a big difference!

(Questions? Contact Laura Ellis at or 502-814-6536.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Love Louisville: "It's that simple"

I am glad that the Voice-Tribune exists for those of you who dig that sort of stuff, but 95% of the time, I feel like I am decidedly not its target audience. The party photos. The "best-dressed" contests. The fashion shoots featuring pocketbooks that cost as much as my mortgage. The tours of homes whose "great rooms" would accommodate by tiny little shotgun house. Those article make me cringe a little... conspicuous consumption and all that. 

But one thing that I really do like about the Voice-Tribune is, despite all of its "not-my-Louisville" niche coverage, the paper's managing editor, Angie Fenton, seems like a heck of a person. 

Exhibit A: This article in which Fenton speaks very personally about her heartache over the wave of violence in Louisville's West End and the connection she has with two teenaged boys who live there.

Powerful stuff. Go read it. Now. I'll wait.

See? Right. Powerful stuff.

This weekend there's going to be a street-fair-ish-type event called LOVE LOUISVILLE: BEECHER TERRACE at Baxter Park on Jefferson between 10th & 11th. Here's what Fenton's article says about it:

... Come and show love on Saturday, June 16 from noon until 3 p.m. You’re invited. The rain date is June 30, but we’re hoping that doesn’t happen to a grassroots, unsponsored event now called Love Louisville: Beecher Terrace that will occur noon to 3 p.m. and includes free food, music by DJ Z-Nyce, Sonny Fenwick’s Bubble Truck, a cotton candy machine, Santa Claus (aka Walt Queen), Dare to Care, Brightside, Baxter Station, The Brewery, Wick’s Pizza, a crew from Henryville Community Church that wants to give back the love they received when in need and so many others. All we need – all we want – are people to show up and care.

Seems like a reasonable request: Show up and care. We can do that, Louisville.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Louisville: 60

I've been gone less than two days, but I'm already homesick. This fantastic film commissioned by the "Friends of Lou" folks features sixty one-second clips of things to love about Louisville. Some of our best local filmmakers produced clips.

Out-of-towners: this is why Louisville is awesome.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Personal: brief hiatus

Dear readers,

I hate that this is my 700th post.

I am off to New England for a week or so to visit my ailing grandmother and see my family. It is likely that things will either slow down considerably or cease temporarily on this blog. I will probably still be relatively active on Twitter (@loueyville)... but maybe not.

Lots of unknowns.

In the meantime, be well and happy and enjoy Louisville without me for a little while. Go see FUTURA by Theatre [502] next weekend... you won't regret it. Go order the mussels at La Coop and get the Elvis on Bareback appetizer at St. Charles Exchange and say hi to our awesome golden David while you're down by 21c.  And soak up the sun! It's going to be rainy and in the 60's in New England.

Loads of love to y'all,


Friday, June 1, 2012

Nothing is effed? Lebowski & Paley & OIMBY

A couple of years ago, I 'fessed up to the fact that I was less interested in Lebowski Fest now that it has become something of a nationwide franchise. I called it the opposite of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)-- OIMBY (ONLY In My Back Yard), the desire for something super-duper cool about Louisville to stay Louisville weird.

As Lebowski Fest has spread to bigger cities, most of the choice musical and performance acts have been appearing in places like LA and Miami-- not in Louisville.

That being said, this year's musical line-up of Mucca Pazza, Todd Snider, and the Deloreans is nothing to sneeze at.

And in that blog post, I expressed concern that the spread of Lebowski Fests might mark a similar path for the (then-just-announced) spread of our beloved 21C's.

And what did we find out this morning? Our equally beloved Chef Michael Paley of 21C's Proof is leaving us for the new Cincinnati 21C's restaurant, Metropole.

Read my 2010 blog post about my predictions for Best Case/Worst Case scenarios for 21C's expansion. Note that under "Best Case Scenario," I list "Michael Paley stays at Proof."

This is kind of a kick to the gut. Now I have to admit, I was helping the Guy pull together his summer residency for Tourism Honors Academy last night, so I got all of three hours of sleep and may be a little more melodramatic than necessary... but I'm feeling a little "The goddamn plane has crashed into the mountain" about this.

Maybe I need a good nap and some Octopus Bagna Cauda to center myself.