Thursday, March 29, 2012

On the Big Game

I've discovered these past few weeks that, for me, college basketball is a really social thing. Roommate has been out of town for almost all of the NCAA tournament, and I just can't seem to muster the will to watch a game alone.  Or more accurately... to watch a game without him. I won't go so far as to say it would feel like "cheating" to watch a game with others-- it wouldn't, and I'd be happy to hit up BWW's with some other friends. But the thought of doing so does kind of make me miss him more than I already do. (Everybody, all together now: "Awwwww.")

That being said, I am pretty much "on the bench" for the Dream Game 2 or Battle of the Bluegrass or what-have-you. My Meatspace Workplace job has me running a high school prom that night at 9pm. So even if I could find a viewing party to crash (and I have a feeling that wouldn't be a problem), there would be no beers involved for Lou, and that's kind of unacceptable.

Not really sure where that leaves me for Saturday's game, but honestly... some of this asinine rival hysteria is getting to be a real turn-off, in general.

I was a Cards fan before I moved to Louisville because Roommate really loved Pitino, and he made me read one of Pitino's inspirational book (either that or the book was in his bathroom in Knoxville when I briefly lived there with him, and I ended up reading it on my own; I forget which). I'm less of a Pitino fan now since he had sex with That Woman, not because I think it's any of my (our, your) business what he does with his sex life but because there was so much that was just so downright sleazy about the whole situation that I really have a problem looking at him without cringing.

But the fact that I am a Cards fan had no influence over my reaction to seeing Zanzabar's Facebook post about hosting "U of L fans only" on Saturday night.  I thought it seemed like a totally reasonable idea.  This IS Louisville. It IS pretty close to campus. And when they said that they did it because they didn't want fighting, I never once thought that this was Zbar wagging their finger at "dangerous" UK fans. U of L fans can be knuckleheads too. And just a little while ago, we had a bar right here in town called Big Blue Country-- not exactly laying out the welcome mat for Cards fans.

Well, the hoo-hah that descended upon the poor Zbar on their Facebook page? Oh sweet mother of Crumb. Ugly. Vicious. And ignorant as all get-out.

I was going to go into the controversy  in greater detail, but it looks like the illustrious Kenny Bloggins has already taken on this issue.  I urge you to check out his take down of the "OCCUPY ZANZABALLS" movement spawned by this business decision.  A business decision that has been reversed.

And settle the hell down, basketball fans!

Zanzabar is my favorite place to see live music.  Their food is awesome. Fabulous beer selection. And best of all: TATER TOTS!! I'm totally looking forward to seeing Diego Garcia there again in a couple of weeks (April 14). I am sending the folks at Zbar my very best wishes for a NOT STUPID game day. I really hope that all this shizz is a bunch of online troll bluster. And I hope all this bluster doesn't scare people away from a great venue to watch the game. Godspeed, Zanzabarers!

And geez Louise, people.  All this ridiculousness, as I said, is a huge turn-off.  Instead of feeling psyched about all the attention our city has been getting from the sports world, I'm starting to feel like I wish the spotlight didn't shine so bright.  Because right now it's highlighting a lot of the idiots.

I know that this doesn't mean much coming from someone who could still be considered an "outsider." I know it hasn't happened since 1983. I know it's super duper exciting. But can our fan groups not beat up on each other quite so viciously?? -- especially not so damned publicly??  It makes the rest of us look bad.

Seriously, super fans. What do you think this city is? A dialysis clinic?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let's Go Fly a Kite: Bird For Bread Studios

This post has been long overdue. I've been following Amanda Hoffmann's blog for a very long time, and I have loved all of her jewelry designs.

Maybe it's the fact that I recently went to see Broadway Across America's MARY POPPINS, but I've been yearning to go out and fly a kite. It's just that kind of weather. I used to fly kites all the time as a kid. When I was a tween, my bedroom was decorated with an octopus kite that started on one wall and whose tentacles canopied the ceiling and spanned the four walls of my room. In science class, as a wee lass, we made our own kites. I remember thinking that my own kite flying experience made me a ringer for "best kite," but my homemade kite couldn't make it out of my hands without dive-bombing the ground. I was crushed

So when Bird for Bread studios posted a blog about Hoffmann's new kite-inspired jewelry designs, I couldn't help but feel a wave of nostalgia and NEED. I love these earrings on Etsy. My birthday isn't for another five months, but now you know...

Check her out on ETSY.

Ways to contact Amanda Hoffmann:


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

St. Charles Exchange New to Downtown

From their website.
Now I love the Back Door with the homey, Cheers-y passion of most Highlanders. But I also love gussying up and heading out for a night of beautiful cocktails at swankier places like Jack Fry's or Proof or Rye.

Bless our boozy city, but we're about to add another drinking hole on the swankier end of the spectrum.

Last week a bartender friend of Roommate's (and mine) said that he had a job interview at a place called the "St. Charles Hotel" downtown. We wanted to be happy for him, but it sounded a little sketchy. I mean, between living downtown for the better part of the year in 08-09 and spending so much time downtown going to the theater and museums and Bats games and Waterfront Park stuff... we were pretty sure we knew every hotel and soon-to-be-hotel in the downtown area. If there was a hotel we hadn't heard of... well, it was probably a little flea-bag-y.

So, as we are wont to do, we hit the Google.

How'd I miss the news about the new St. Charles Exchange restaurant and bar (modeled after an early 1900's hotel restaurant and bar... hence our friend's confusion)?

Here's what the website has to say:

St. Charles Exchange, which is slated to open in late April of 2012, will breathe new life into a formerly 3,800 sq. ft. vacant space in one of the oldest buildings in the West Main Street corridor at 113 S. 7th Street. Louisville natives and entrepreneurs Rob Frey and Amy Hoffmann Frey have partnered with family and close friends from Philadelphia to bring the new restaurant bar concept to downtown Louisville. Leading the Philadelphia-based operating team is Mike Welsh ofThe Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. who has brought in Mitch Prensky of Supper as Executive Chef.

St. Charles Exchange will embrace the history of the building and create a casually elegant environment reminiscence of a 1900’s hotel lobby bar. The menu will feature innovative seasonal variations of food classics from the turn of the century. The beverage program will celebrate American estate grown wines and craft beers and focus on a lengthy cocktail list that showcases the art of a fine mixed drink.

The early 1900's hotel style atmosphere will be coupled with the genuine hospitality that those hotels focused on in the Golden Age of service. Stay tuned and get ready for a dining experience unlike any you’ve had before in Derby city!

Very excited for their opening.  You can also follow them on Twitter @StChrlesXchange. (Note to owners.... I think you need to simplify that Twitter handle if you can. Missing letters and weird capitalization. Maybe @StCharlesLou?)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Friday Randomness!!

If you're like me, this weekend is really only about one thing: THE HUNGER GAMES. Really, I haven't this HARRY POTTER-level excited since the last HP book came out.  Yes, book not movie.  I never got all that psyched for the movies... although I did see a lot of them when they premiered at midnight. Last night, I was a responsible adult-- in bed by midnight, but my students who went to see it have rave reviews.

Here are a few bits of news to take us into the weekend.

  • Oh, right... it's not just HUNGER GAMES weekend, there's also a little basketball going on. Congrats to U of L for busting my brackets (I had Izzo's team winning the whole thing) and making it into the Elite 8. Can you tell Roommate is out of town? 
  • Speaking of Roommate... Do you read Brandon Klayko's blog, Broken Sidewalk? You should. Goodness. I kind of think he's a little bit of a magic man... how else do you explain how someone has such a great Louisville blog without even LIVING here?? Today's post about facade loans to local businesses reveals an interesting move-- Highlands Tap Room is relocating to 1058 Bardstown Road-- that's right across from Arby's by Grinstead Road. Back when Roommate and I first moved to Louisville, the Taproom was our regular hangout.  But then it got to be a weird scene-- or we finally wised up to the weird scene it had always been. But still, it remains one of my favorite outdoor drinking spots in the city. Such great people-watching from their patio. I sure hope the new location recreates that patio space. (Oh my lordy, I just looked at their website. Do they really have karaoke four night's a week? That makes this move a little less interesting to me. Sorry folks, I am allergic to karaoke.)
  • Don't forget... Humana Festival is in full force. There are currently seven plays in rotation.  Check out my reviews of  four of the plays here.  I've seen six of the seven plays, and those remain the four plays not to miss.
  • A colleague of mine just bought the Dairy Kastle on Eastern Parkway. Sounds like he and his partner are doing it right.  Check out Michelle's reviews of the veggie chili dog here. 
  • Don't forget, THE MOTH is coming around again next week.  Last Tuesday of the month at Headliners at 8pm. This month's show is hosted by the lovely and talented Awesome Louisvillager, Gabe Bullard.  The topic: Resourcefulness
Have a lovely, lovely weekend, folks.  And may the odds ever be in your favor.

(Oh, I know. But I had to.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why Louisville Is Awesome...

This a snippet of an awesome infographic was tweeted to me last night and then emailed to me this morning. The sender must have known that if anyone would agree that Louisville is Awesome, it would be me. Unfortunately, I can't get it to embed properly, but clicky the linky, and you'll see the whole thing.

Very nice work by local tech company DBS Interactive featuring ten or so fun facts about Why Louisville Is Awesome.

Do you have more reasons why Louisville is Awesome? Contact them, and maybe they'll add your idea to their infographic.

I wish I'd had this when I was sending Flat Stanley back to Boston. Miss that guy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kilimanjaro's Ginger Orange Cocktail: Summer is Here!

I know I say this all the time, but it is worth repeating: I have the most amazing friends imaginable.

This weekend I was invited to a dinner party hosted and catered by the folks behind Kilimanjaro Foods. The three-course Ghanaian meal was delicious (although I had to skip the dessert course because it contained mango) and the conversation was delightful. But next to the fantastic company, the highlight of the evening was the ginger-orange pre-meal cocktail. With the weather turning summery oh-so-early this year (I worry that the Mayans had it right, and we might be on a slow cook right up til December then-- pfffth!), I intend to pick up a bottle of Kilimanjaro's Sunrise Ginger Syrup on my next trip to ValueMarket. 

It's always fantastic to find another Kentucky Proud product to add to my "must buy" list. 

Surprisingly, although it has a number of ginger cocktail recipes, the Kilimanjaro website doesn't include the recipe for the orange cocktail. I'm guessing, based on other recipes, but once I make my own, I'll fix this if it's wrong:

Ginger Orange Cocktail
1oz Sunrise Ginger Syrup
2oz Gold rum
4oz Orange Juice
a splash of soda water

Stir and serve over ice.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dunks is Open!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Loueyville blog readers' stress shopping of the new Bardstown Road Dunkin' Donuts isn't happening.  Disappointing, for sure.

BUT, opening weekend is upon us, and there are still lots of awesome things happening at the new Dunks.  Tasha says:

We are going to be open to the public with almost all products at 50% off... Everyone is still invited to the stress test (19th), opening (20th), and grand opening (24th) where we will be giving three people coffee for a  year, a mountain bike, and much more! Thanks so much!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Teach Your Children Well

I don't have any rugrats of my own, but I teach them every day. And while many of my high school kiddos are pictures of grace and gentility, there are always a few, you know, who could've used a little more social instruction.

Hell, I'm hardly a picture of a modern Emily Post myself.

But, you can bet that if I had a wee one, this event at the Oak Room would be on my radar.

A class in basic table manners with a 3-course kid-friendly dinner at the Oak Room. Only $25-- which seems like a steal to me. Wish they didn't restrict it to 7-12 year olds.

March 23 from 6-8pm. Contact Jennifer Biesel at 502-585-9292 or

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Humana Festival Thus Far: Four for Four #hf36

Sometimes when I talk to Mama Lou on the phone and describe what I've been up to over the past week since our last phone call, she gives a long exasperated sigh and says, "You know, you don't have to go to everything you're invited to." I think she thinks at some point that advice will stick. But I kind of doubt it will.

No, I don't accept every invitation that comes my way. But I accept most of them. I'm sure even an amateur psychoanalyst would track this compulsion back to my I-was-a-teenage-nerd-and-not-in-a-cool-hipster-way days. But it is what it is.

But Humana Festival Plays are guaranteed, rock-solid, never-going-to-say-no invites. An invite pops up in my inbox, and I'm there. I'll reschedule other commitments. I get the cold sweats if there's a commitment I can't get around (I'll have to miss this year's 10 Minute Plays, for example). And that's because Humana Festival is always just that good.

That's not to say every Humana Festival play is a sure thing. I can think of a couple pretty thudding duds. But every play has the potential to be the one that you'll remember, the one that surprises you, or the one that you'll still be talking about several Humana Fests in the future.

So far, this year's plays have been great to astonishingly good. I recommend them all and three out of the four are "must sees" for certain kinds of people.

The VER**ON PLAY by Lisa Kron runs through April 1
When I work with my students on creative writing, I often have to remind them that the most intriguing stories are those that touch on universal themes and experiences. They're quick to dismiss these kinds of stories as "boring," but that's because they're teenagers and would rather write about anorexic, meth-head, suicidal twelve year olds. What's more mundane and domestic and ordinary than getting effed over by a cell phone company's customer service? Kron (who also stars as the afflicted Jenni) turns this experience into a broad comedy that lampoons first the problem at hand and then the potential solution (the support group scenes are the best) and then eventually blows it all out into an absurd full-on corporate conspiracy theory. It was the first Humana play I saw this year, and I really enjoyed it. It's since been overshadowed a bit. The promising beginning devolved into a little too much silliness at the end for my taste. But it hit some seriously funny moments and was definitely memorable.

HOW WE GOT ON by Idris Goodwin runs through April 1
This play may be the most universally likable of the four plays I've seen thus far. Although, some of the senior citizens in the audience of the show that I saw might disagree. But certainly for Gen X-ers like myself who grew up in the mid-80's in which the show is set, it is nostalgia wrapped in a contemporary ethos. This play captured a similar spirit that CHAD DEITY tapped into earlier in Actors' season. And I am still reeling from how good CHAD DEITY was. You just say the words CHAD DEITY, and I smile. Hell, if CHAD DEITY started a church, I'd be a willing congregant. HOW WE GOT ON didn't quite make that kind of devotee out of me, but it is a story that is equal parts sweet and cool. Three teens embrace the emergence of hip-hop in a suburb of an unnamed Midwestern City. It's about competition and collaboration and the creative process. Don't miss it.

THE HOUR OF FEELING by Mona Mansour runs through April 1
I've heard mixed reactions to this play, but I flat-out loved it. Most of the criticisms I've heard have been a bit nit-picky-- stuff about staging and set changes, problems that didn't seem to exist in the showing that I saw. Some of the stagey business did feel a bit... busy-- and the play would have been no less without them, but my enjoyment wasn't the least bit hampered by the slight messiness. A young Palestinian professor of English Romantic poetry juggles new-found (potential) success as a scholar in England and a new marriage to a wife struggling to find her own identity between tradition and modernity. If you're an English major and/or a Literary theory nerd, this play is a must see. It spoke so profoundly to both my undergraduate and graduate studies; although the word is never brought up, this play is about diaspora and home-- the former exemplified by Adham, the scholar and the politics of his time, the later exemplified by Wordsworth, the poet that he studies. In a lot of ways too, the play is about translation-- another theme I delved into extensively in my English degrees.  I loved the way the staging made use of supertitles and of the lead actors' varying accents to explore the importance of being understood. Really, I could geek out on this play for a while. I'd actually like to see it again.

EAT YOUR HEART OUT by Courtney Baron runs through March 31
Just typing the title of this play hurts a little. It's a little cutesy. And in the early moments of this play, the play itself seems like it's going to be a little cutesy. It's not. At all. Three intersecting narratives play out in this relatively short play that totally doesn't feel like a short play. Alice and Gabe are struggling with infertility and seeking to adopt a baby from Africa. Nance is on a first date with a suitor, the neurotic Tom, and she's also the social worker sent out to judge whether Alice and Gabe will make suitable parents. Evie is Nance's angry, bitter, overweight teenaged daughter who is BFFs with Colin, a New England boy new to town who is nursing an increasingly broken heart for the girl he left behind. Simple. Domestic. Ordinary. Again... such compelling stories. But what I wasn't prepared for was how quickly the play turns raw. Sarah Grodsky's performance as Evie is so frigging brave and dramatic (in that teenage way) that it will break your heart on the one hand and make you nuts on the other (just like teenagers). The whole cast is terrific, although I have to admit that Alex Moggridge kind of oozes charm unintentionally, making it a little hard to buy into Tom's dorky awkwardness. I've heard some complaints about the staging, but I thought that the claustrophobic nature of the three sets on one stage totally fit the oppressively intertwining nature of these characters's lives. (And... Dear Actors Theatre Costume Department: Where can a gal buy Alice's whole ensemble??-- stunning!) I think this was my favorite thus far. I don't think it's too spoiler-y if I admit that it wrecked me a little.

Schedule and ticket information available at:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fund Drive Fun Times Again!

Once again, I have volunteered to pull together some blog readers and Twitter followers to volunteer at the Louisville Public Media Fund Drive. The Loueyville time slot is 8p-11p on Thursday, April 5. I only need a small handful of volunteers to help out, so first come, first served.  Drop me an email at lou (at) Last time we had so much fun. This time, I think it's just us for that time slot... so we'll have lots of time to chat and get to know each other. Kind of like a Tweet-up... with a purpose.

Why reinvent the wheel? Here's my post from the last Fund Drive:

It's that time again, Louisvillagers.

Louisville Public Media is gearing up for their fund drive in a couple of weeks. During the past few fund drives, online personalities have repeatedly said, "Give what you can. Give what Louisville Public Media is worth to you."  

Last fund drive, I realized I really can't afford to give what WFPL and WFPK are worth to me. They are the only radio stations I listen to. WFPL is the source of  all my non-online news (and the source of much of my online news as well through their blog).  I live in a very NPR world. I probably should pledge 10 times what I actually do in order to really "pay back" what WFPL and WFPK give to my life.

But I can't.

So last fund drive, I volunteered. Gave a little human capital to the pledge drive.  And it was a ton of fun.  And it would have been more fun if I'd been with friends.

So this fund drive I'm putting a little group of Readers of Loueyville together to volunteer to answer phones at the fund drive.  If you're interested in joining us, please drop me an email at Lou (at)

If you're reading this blog, you probably listen to one of our public radio stations. So I hope you consider giving back.  If you can't join us, volunteer to answer phones on your own.  Email: for details.  You can also pledge in advance and be eligible for a drawing for a 13" MacBook Air. Just click the link or call 502-814-6565.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Patrick Wensink @ INKY on 3/9

Local writer Patrick Wensink (whom we love for many reasons even though we've never met him, not the least of which is that he and his wife named his recently-born son Walter... best. name. ever. [also my grandfather's name]) is having a book-release celebration at the INKY reading series at the Bardown this Friday, March 9.  From the press release for  BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT:

Ernest Hemingway lied and you know it. 

Back in 1933 or something, Hemingway said he’d give up elk hunting and scotch to pen a novel that weaved together a hero who’s more productive drunk than sober, the world’s worst rock band and a hamburger more addictive than meth.

Sadly, we all know how that quest ended. However, Papa’s failure is the world’s gain, finally, as Patrick Wensink has picked up this monumental boulder and rolled it up a hill called, BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT. Wensink’s second novel, BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT, kicks Hemingway’s empty promises in the ribs with a gift for Pynchonesque narration and dry humor. 

As the story’s hero, Deshler Dean, begins unraveling this other, more productive life as a drunk, rival restaurants begin a bidding war for his talents, angry vegans threaten his life and enough alcohol is consumed to give an elephant cirrhosis.

Wensink, also a member of Project Improv, proved to be an awesome interview for an article I wrote for The Louisville Paper.  I've had an electronic ARC of this book for months and I feel like a heel for not having read it yet.  But I've been just so... whoa, busy.  But based on the short stuff I have read by Wensink, the critical acclaim he's gotten seems very deserved, including a passionate comparison to Christopher Moore levied by a critic.  

According to Wensink, there is a drinking game associated with his reading, so... well, come on now, sounds like a great night, right? The INKY reading starts at 630p, Wensink will probably be on closer to 730p or 8p. 

Unfortunately, yours truly will most likely have to miss out.... wisdom teeth being yanked that same day.  Big huge sigh.  Wishing Patrick and the other readers/performers, Nicole Louise Reid and Joan Shelley, a great night too

The Paper: What's a Dramaturg? (#hf36)

photo by Brett Marshall/ Kertis Creative
Shameless cross-promotion...

But I am so proud of all the great writing that's coming out of The Louisville Paper. And I am really honored to continue to a part of this fantastic publication.

My article this month is called "What's a Dramaturg?" and it's one of my favorites. And that's because I got to interview four of the smartest and most creative women in town. Yeah, sure, fine... I don't know that for a fact, but I have my suspicions.  And, one of the Humana Festival playwrights, Michael Golamco, read the article and pronounced those women (and later me) "badasses"... so don't just take my word for it.

Now that it's Humana Festival ("most wonderful time of the year"), bone up on your theatre knowledge and learn a little bit more about what goes on behind the scenes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stress Shop Dunks! Who's in?

Normally I don't blog about national chains.  Heck, normally I try to shop/eat/drink/promote as local as possible. But lots of us New England Transplants of Louisville have been itching to get our hands on a nice fluffy Boston Cream from Dunkin' Donuts ever since we saw that Louisville was finally getting (or re-getting, it turns out, as per Suzi's post on the Northeasterner blog) a stand-alone shop.

And soon we shall, friends... soon we shall.  And some of you may be able to get your hands on those Boston Creams a little early!

The local developer, Tasha, is interested in putting together a team of Loueyville readers to be "stress shoppers" on March 19 before the grand opening.  The way it works: you get a coupon for free food or drinks (you have to order a certain thing) and put the staff through the paces.  The staff gets practice. You get free food and drinks.

The new shop is located in the parking lot of the MidCity Mall, dangerously close to Casa Lou. The grand opening is scheduled for March 20.

You in?

I'll have more information soon, re: times etc. But if you're interested and want to be included in the event,  either email me at, leave a note at the bottom of this post, or DM me on Twitter.