Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gunnar Does Louisville Proud on Project Runway

We recently lost Wil Heuser from BIG BROTHER. Despite not having watched BB since the first episode, I oddly managed to tune into the show RIGHT as Wil was being voted out of the house a couple of weeks ago. He made a graceful exit, and from what I've heard, he was a pretty good guy for the whole run.

But now Louisville Reality TV fans should shift their loyalties from #TEAMWIL to #TEAMGUNNAR.

This might be my least favorite season of PROJECT RUNWAY ever. I think I saw less drama in 13 years of teaching high school than I've seen in this season thus far.

Last week's episode was the worst ever as designer Ven Budhu verbally and emotionally abused his "normal-sized" model, Terry Herlihy and somehow didn't get "Auffed." Even though he was horrid to her! Even though he's more than a "normal-sized" man himself! Even though he made her look like a sad piece of hard candy. Dreadful.

I sure hope my boyfriend Tim Gunn doesn't hug him when he's eventually booted off the show.

Anyway... there's a Louisville connection. I was super glad to read this article where Terry says that Louisville designer, 22 year-old Gunnar Deatherage, defended her and looked after her. According to MSNBC:

"Gunnar actually stuck up for me, and he spoke to hair and makeup that day and explained to them what was going on," Herlihy revealed. Part of the challenge includes the designers telling the hair and makeup folks how they'd like their models to look. "(I understand that) they didn't really take Ven's directions of what he wanted my hair and makeup to be. So I'm very thankful for Gunnar. And that wasn't aired on the show, and I wish it was."

Gunnar was first cast on Season 9 of PROJECT RUNWAY, but was "auffed" in episode 1. He was brought back to Season 10 and is hanging tough this time around.

Thanks, Gunnar for making Louisville look good. We are some of the nicest people on earth, and I'm so happy to see that kindness on a national stage.

Good luck, Gunnar! I'm now #TeamGunnar all the way.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ross Dress for Less Birthday Giveaway!

It's my birthday week, so I thought I would give one fabulous blog reader a present! Because that's the way we do things here at My Loueyville.

Back in July, I was lucky enough to be contacted by the good folks at Ross Dress For Less to attend a blogger event the day before the opening of their first Louisville store, located on the Outer Loop. They treated me and my podcasting partner, Linda, to a nice breakfast and then a tour and a bit of shopping at the Jefferson Mall location.

If you're not familiar with Ross Dress For Less, it's a store a lot like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Stein Mart that offers brand name and designer clothes at a discount. They carry clothes for women, men, and kids. They also carry shoes and accessories, housewares, luggage, and bath products, all at a 20%-60% off.

When Linda and I visited, the store was staffed with super helpful and cheerful people. It was really well-organized, and the prices were fantastic. I got two dresses, a shirt, a towel (don't ask) and a pair of pants for around $50, and honestly, I've been wearing the heck out of all of those clothes since I bought them.

I pretty much only shop at discount stores or sales racks. Mama Lou taught me the ways of the bargain huntress at a very young age, and I balk at paying full price for any clothes or shoes. So I'm coming from a place of experience when I say that Ross's prices seemed to be considerably more reasonable than its competitors.

Y'all know me and my inside-the-Watterson ways, so the Outer Loop is a bit of a field trip for me. Even so, the next time I need something snazzy to wear to an interview or a meeting, I'd definitely consider making the trek.

Speaking of interviews and meetings-- see what I did there?-- my biggest birthday wish is to get Chipman Creative really up and running.  I've signed my first ghost blogging contract and started on my first editing project, but I have a long way to go.

So, to celebrate my birthday, I am giving away a $25 gift card to Ross Dress For Less in exchange for YOUR best words of business wisdom.

Here's how it works: Either comment on this post or email me at lou [at] with your sage bit of business advice-- it can be a quote from someone famous, or it can be your own juicy nugget or lesson learned. I will choose a winner at random on September 4th (the day after Labor Day-- appropriate), and Ross Dress For Less will mail you the card directly. Easy peasy.

Advise me, people!

I love giving stuff away. Thanks, Ross! Happy birthday to me!

(Also, if you want to win an even bigger gift card, Ross is having a Back-to-School contest on their Facebook page. You can enter it here:

Disclaimer: I think I pretty much covered it in this post. Ross lured me and Linda out past the Watterson with breakfast and gift cards and a really big tote bag, and Ross is providing the prize for this post. But I wouldn't have written this or agreed to offer a gift card to a reader if I didn't like the place. All sentiments in here are totally genuine. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Louisville Grind's Loueyville Lobstah Roll

Photo by Louisville Grind
This is Possibility City, indeed!

Never in a blue million years did I imagine that someday I would have a sandwich named after me (or my blog). I feel like a New Yorker who has just discovered that she's been immortalized on the menu at Carnegie Deli.

This weekend at the Douglass Loop Farmers' Market (8/25 from 10a-2p), the Louisville Grind Food Truck will be serving a limited number of  Loueyville Lobstah Rolls. A "limited number" minus one, that is. They're saving one for me.

The story:

Last March, the Louisville Grind Gourmet Burger Food Truck launched a successful Kickstarter campaign promising gourmet burgers, seasonal specials, and vegetarian items. I didn't know Liz & Jesse Huot, but I gladly backed it because... gourmet burgers, of course.

I've since met Liz & Jesse a number of times, and it turns out they're just lovely people. And the business seems to be doing great, serving delicious food out of a stylish truck. I smile every time I see them, whether I get to talk to Liz & Jesse or not.

Last week, @LouisvilleGrind posted on Twitter that at this Saturday's (August 25) Douglass Loop Farmers Market, they would be debuting a fabulous Maine lobster roll on a brioche. And my little New Englander heart just soared. I've been home twice this summer, but only when my grandmother was dying. Lobster rolls are such joyful food for me; I didn't feel like eating a lobster roll when I was so, so sad (although... in retrospect, it might have been a good idea to be good to myself like that). Anyway, this was looking to be the first summer of my thirty-mumble-mumble years that passed without me having at least one (or usually a dozen or more) lobster rolls.

But, purist that I am, I did tweet back to Grind that a true New England Lobster roll was served on a cheapo hot dog bun. Not the kind of buns you see around here. A true New England hot dog bun looks more like a folded piece of Wonder bread than a roll.

And a little while later, they tweeted back:

The rest is history. 

Thanks Liz & Jesse! I'm going to take lots of pictures of your menu and send them back to my New Englander family. I don't think any honor I've ever earned will impress them as much as getting my name on a lobster roll! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Episode 3 of Louisville, Not Kentucky is up!

Look what we can do, Louisville!

Episode 3 of the "Louisville, Not Kentucky" podcast hosted by Linda Golden and me is now up on our Tumblr & on SoundCloud.  

In it we discuss:
And most importantly, the last five minutes were recorded live at the Kentucky State Fair.  The two of us and Awesome Louisvillager, Gabe Bullard,  spent eight hours traipsing around the fair... let me tell you, we did the fair right! So much fun. A conversation with Freddie Farm Bureau that gets into legalese. Sounds of the Nerveless Nocks stunt show. Linda checks out the biggest veggies. A show-stopper from the Civil War musical. Gabe & Linda brave eating fried Girl Scout cookies! And the world's loudest rooster (not really, that's hyperbole).

We have so much fun. We probably edited out 5 minutes of just us laughing at each other. Looking forward to Episode 4!

Monday, August 20, 2012

NETSocial 2.0 Returns Tuesday 8/21

I have long professed my love of Twitter. It changed my life. Vastly improved it. Put me in touch with an amazing group of locals who share my loves and interests. They've become my "real life" friends, and my circle is ever-growing.

It also put me in touch with amazing people whom I probably would never have met under other circumstances. People who have become like family.

To whit: Richard Meadows, my Twitter Godfather. If you don't know @kycoffeeguy, you should. He's been a good friend and a big cheerleader for me. And he seems to have his fingers in a lot of fabulous puddings lately. So when he promotes an event, I am pretty sure it will be great. Unfortunately I can't make it (Ronnie Millsaps), but I'll let Richard's words explain what NETSocial 2.0 is.

Tuesday August 21 - 6:30 PM
Hometown Pizza - 4041 Preston Highway, Louisville, KY 40213 to look over their menu
They have a full bar and Falls City on draft.
RSVP - message on facebook or e-mail

NETSocials were started in the late 1990's and ran until the mid 2000's. Now it is time to pick them back up and get even more people involved in having some good food and using your technology to its fullest. The idea behind NETSocials was to meet other geeks and nerds, everyday computer users and new people, out side of work for some sustenance and cross pollinate ideas to make your user experience better. The reason to bring them back is there are so many more people now using technology who need that informal help. Get a simple question answered or show off an Easter Egg.

This is a BYOD and order your own food meeting. Bring a web site address to share with everyone. Bring you questions and there will be someone there who can answer it or point you in the right direction. Call up a friend and invite them to come with you.

Kickstarter: Good Folk Fest

If you follow me on Twitter (@loueyville), you know that I am on a mission when it comes to Kickstarter projects.  I've backed several local Kickstarters. I can't give much... I'm on a limited budget these days. But when something really good-- and local-- pops up on Kickstarter, I am in.

As I said, I'm on a mission. And when I say that I am "in," it's conditional.  I will back your project on Kickstarter, if I believe in it. But I will NOT back your Kickstarter-- not even if you're my BFF or you have a project that I would likely champion--  if you've never backed anyone else.

Give a little. Get a little. It's just good karma.

I have been a fan of the Good Folk Fest for as long as I have lived here. I attend. I support. I buy stuff. I cheerlead.

But when Scott Scarboro, the high priest of the festival, posted a Kickstarter and encouraged me to contribute, I noticed that, despite I was already a fan, he had backed zero other projects. I emailed him with my concern. And less than 24 hours later, he'd backed another project.  And I immediately backed his. What an awesome response!

Good Folk Fest is a fantastic event, and I am proud to be a Kickstarter backer. If you've ever been, or think it sounds great, pledge a little money and help them meet their goal.

From the Kickstarter page:

Good Folk Fest is an event where new materials and techniques merge with older traditions and take on the forms of art and music. The term folk has been around for a while and has been used to describe all kinds of art and music. In the context of this festival, We are celebrating those people who might come to mind when you hear the word folk but bringing attention to those who have similar esthetics and passions, bringing to light the parallels in thought processes, craft and creating. How has the modern age determined the materials we use to express ourselves? Do crafting traditions still exist and are they being handed down to future generations?

Good Folk Fest is a three-day festival of contemporary folk art that will take place from November 2-4th, 2012. Good Folk Fest happened in 2006-2008 then had a break while we searched for another venue. This year marks the return of the festival which will be held for the first time at the The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage on the corner of 18th St. and Muhammad Ali Blvd. in Louisville, KY. It will feature over 80 visual artists and 24 performers.

The goal of this kickstarter campaign is to raise the funds needed to help cover the production cost of this event. These funds combined with income from artist booth fees and ticket sales will be used to advertise the event, venue rental, audio/video needs, staging, performer fees, commemorative shirt production etc. Our goal is to raise $4000 to cover our basic needs. Any money raised over this $4000 - and any money raised through ticket sales, once all expenses are covered will go towards securing the future of Good Folk Fest 2013.

This festival is on a shoestring budget. A grassroots project.
Every little bit helps. THANK YOU!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Venture: Chipman Creative

A few months ago, I decided to make a giant leap... one without a safety net. I decided to leave my 13+ year teaching career and try something new. I loved teaching. I still love teaching. But I have so many, many passions. I figured it was about time to see if I could turn some of those other passions into something... bigger.

I've been a writer ever since I was a child. In high school, I wrote my first novel-- forever lost in the great Macintosh Crash of '96. In college, I wrote melancholy poetry (who didn't?) but was chosen to study with the late, great, wicked Kenneth Koch all four years, so I must have had "something." I majored in English at Columbia, and I got my Master's in English from the University of New Orleans. I'd completed close to half of my credits for an MFA in Fiction at UNO, when the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina blew me to Louisville.

As a teacher, my passion was working with students on their writing. In my extracurricular life, writing has been my constant. I've been to countless writing workshops, retreats, and residencies. And as a result of being a teacher and student of writing for so very long, I've become a crack editor, proofreader, and writing coach.

I've parlayed those skills into freelance writing and editing work over the past decade-plus, but in a very spotty, haphazard way. Shortly after college, I ghost-wrote a YA horror novel that was published by Harper Collins (thankfully, long out of print). I edited a self-help book written by a businessman/race car driver. For years, I was the go-to editor for an annual $52million+ government grant application by a financial company in New Orleans. I've been writing freelance for The Louisville Paper off and on since the paper's inception.

When I took my giant leap, I knew part of that leap had to be finding some way to make this passion I have for writing and working with writers something more concrete.

So, welcome to the world, Chipman Creative, my new writing/editing/social media freelance business.

Storytelling has always been an integral part of my life. And I believe, passionately, that storytelling is becoming more and more integral to the decisions we make as consumers and to the way we market as businesses and brands.

When I talk to someone who has eaten at Harvest for the first time, usually the first thing they mention is what they thought of the meal. But what everyone talks about after that-- without fail-- are the gorgeous photos on the walls of the farmers who supply the raw ingredients of their meal. They talk about the giant map that tells them from which farm various ingredients are sourced. I have no ties to Harvest-- this is just an unveiled compliment. Harvest is doing it right. They're telling a fantastic story. And it's a story that builds loyalty and confidence.

I follow the blogs and tweets of my favorite businesses and brands. My loyalty soars when they tell me a good story or give me good, usable information. My heart sinks when their blogs or tweets are trite, ineffective, irrelevant, or full of errors.

In addition to standard writing and editing services, Chipman Creative offers ghost-blogging and ghost-tweeting subscriptions. I want to help you tell your story. Every business has a story to tell, whether you're a store, a restaurant, a lawyer, or a dentist. A well-written and researched blog or twitter feed can be an invaluable marketing tool.

If you follow this blog, you've been following my story and my brand... some of you for years. I hope you'll check out Chipman Creative and think of me when you have writing/editing/proofreading/social media needs.

Email me at lou [at] if you would like to see a rate sheet or my resume.

I'm super excited about this new venture. I look forward to working with you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Post: Adam Price on Family Scholar House

Guest Blogger: Adam Price
Adam Price (@wapaytick) is a Grant Management Accountant at the University of Louisville who is active with several area civic groups and an incoming member of the Fund for the Arts NeXt! Leadership Development Institute. He lives in the Beechmont neighborhood with his wife Melissa and their two dogs Maya and Louie.

It’s the summer of 2011, and I’m a finance staffer in a local affordable housing agency about to attend a meeting with a non-profit I’ve never heard of called Family Scholar House. 

As Cathe Dykstra, CEO of Family Scholar House, walks in and begins her “sales pitch” it becomes clear she’s dynamic, energetic, and believes in what she’s “selling.” Only she’s not actually selling a product or service; she’s selling Family Scholar House as a way to elevate families out of poverty through education.

As odd as it sounds, since I’m married without kids, I identified with her stories of parents balancing the demands of education against the demands of raising children. Like Lou, there was a night when my mother went to bed with a husband and woke up the single parent of two children. She tried her hardest, but wasn’t able to finish college. I was also a non-traditional student, the result of an indulgent period majoring in music and the resulting three-year “semester” I took off once I realized I couldn’t support myself playing tuba. I waited tables, sometimes 50+ hours a week, throughout my education and became the first person in my family to graduate from college.  As hard as that was, I can’t imagine how hard raising children at the same time would have been.

Within fifteen minutes of Cathe beginning to speak, I go from bored to interested to excited to suddenly realizing I want to speak up in support of HER argument. The partnership between the agency and FSH never materialized, and soon I transitioned to the next phase of my career at the University of Louisville. When I heard a FSH radio PSA asking for male volunteers, I jumped at the chance.  Since then, I’ve attended mentoring sessions, donated gifts at Christmas and Easter, and arranged what felt like hundreds of pieces of patio furniture in advance of the grand opening of one of their residence halls.  Most recently, I volunteered at Field Day, playing football and spending time with the children of program participants. I always feel like I’ve gained more than I’ve given. 

This summer has driven home that our community faces serious issues and many have mistaken complaining about those issues for working to solve them. I’ve lived my entire life in this city, and I unabashedly love it. When I heard that PSA, and remembered how excited I was listening to Cathe articulate her vision, I decided I want to be part of the solution.  Wendell Berry once wrote, “A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, (and) their trust in each other.” 

From day one everybody at FSH has articulated that the size or scope of your involvement as a volunteer is less important than the signal it sends to participants that they are part of a broader community. Their website is attached to Lou’s post, and can be accessed by clicking the ad on this page. There are too many opportunities to become involved to list here, suffice to say they come in all sizes and many of them are fun and rewarding. Please, join me in signaling to these parents that they are part of a true community. One that isn’t perfect, but cares about their success and the success of their children, and will work to help and embrace them. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Behind-the-Scenes at Actors

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Actors Theatre Generation One Board. I am one of the Social Chairs (a little funny if you know me and know that I am not exactly a social butterfly), and I manage the GOBoard Twitter feed. You'll be hearing a lot from me about the GOBoard's activities. We're pushing hard to recruit new members this season. If you're young (we don't really have a cut-off age, but 45 or younger is the unofficial "young" -- woo hoo!) and you support Actors Theatre, we'd love to have you!

This Thursday, the Actors Theatre GO Board is hosting a behind-the-scenes tour/season kick-off party. Normally, only GO Board members would be invited, but I've been given permission to extend an invite to my lovely readers. We're especially hoping to attract potential new GO Board members... so if you're a "young" (who knows what that really means?) professional (ditto) who might be interested in joining our ranks, we'd love to see you at this event!

You can find more information on the GO Board here, including more information about the many benefits of membership. But in short, for a $50 yearly membership fee, you get reduced prices on tickets and ticket subscriptions and invitations to exclusive GO Board parties and educational events. And your membership fee helps support Actors Theatre and the Apprentice/Intern company.

Thursday's event kicks off with a welcome from the GO Board Presidents and a season preview by Artistic Director, Les Waters. We'll also be introduced to the current Apprentices. Behind-the-scenes tours with Actors insiders will be available all evening. And there will be a bar and appetizers by Upper Crust catering.

Come, come, come! It will be a ton of fun. I, personally, have never had a behind-the-scenes tour of Actors (despite the fact that I'm one of the people in charge of this event!).  Hope to see you there.  Did I mention it's FREE??

UPDATE: Whoops! I forgot the times... it's from 6pm-8pm in Actors Theatre Lobby!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Earth Fare Giveaway!

I was lucky enough to be invited to tour the new Earth Fare supermarket in the Summit the day before it opened. Maria, my tour guide from the home office in Asheville, NC, was super enthusiastic and was clearly a dedicated customer as well as an employee. As she showed me around from department and department, she told me about all the stuff that she stocks up on when it goes on sale (chicken breasts and almond milk, for example). Everyone I talked to there was helpful and cheerful. Maria said they expect to employ around 80 people at first and then grow those numbers.

I loved the wall of beer where you can "mingle your singles"-- get 10% off when you fill a six-pack with single fancy beers. There's also a pizza kitchen where you can buy pies by the slice or by the whole pie. They have a hot food and sandwich bar, and the chain's first frozen yogurt bar. A charcuterie bar and a huge salad bar. Nothing is labeled local unless it came from less than 100 miles away from the store. Organic fruits and veg are displayed separate from non-organics and are washed and freshened with their own separate water supply. The "wellness" section is huge and has its own curator.

Earth Fare is a store in the vein of Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, but what sets the chain apart is how strict their food rules are. They have a "boot list"-- a list of ingredients that cannot be in food that is featured in the store. Their "Food Philosophy"is displayed prominently in the store. The "rules" include:

  • No high-fructose corn syrup
  • No artificial fats or trans-fats
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones in meat & dairy
  • No bleached or bromated flour
Impressive stuff. And dedicated-- if you spot something on the shelf that has an ingredient that Earth Fare has banned, they'll immediately remove all the stock from the shelves and give you $50.

Hey, speaking of $50, Maria was nice enough to give me a $50 gift certificate to give away to one of my readers!  

I've been trying to get a little healthier-- eat better, exercise more. For the first time today, someone noticed that I've dropped somewhere in the neighborhood of 6lbs-- very gratifying. Makes me want to keep going. So, in keeping with Earth Fare's philosophy, here are the contest rules:
  • I am looking for SUPER simple and SUPER healthy dinner recipes. Share with me your simplest, healthiest, most reliable dinner recipe.
  • You can do this in the comments section-- just be sure you include some way that I can get ahold of you.
  • You can send me the recipe via email-- lou [at]
  • At the end of the day on Tuesday, August 14, I will allow to choose a comment/email at random to win the gift certificate.
  • Only one entry per person. 
Good luck to y'all-- may the odds ever be in your favor!

Disclaimer: Earth Fare provided gift certificates for me and for a reader. That was super nice of them because I would have toured their facility and written about it regardless. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Otter Kings & Alex Wright at Hideaway Saloon

Back when I first moved to Louisville, The Hideaway Saloon-- the upstairs bar on Bardstown Road right by Leatherheads-- was a regular haunt. I'm not entirely sure when it fell off the rotation of bars, but t did, and it's been a while since I've been there.

Scratch that: I did happen to catch Grayson Capps there early this summer. But it had probably been at least two years since I'd last walked in the door. 

All that being said, it's a really great venue to see bands in an intimate setting. And from my experience, shows nearly always draw good crowds. 

I got a really nice email from a guy named Scott Steinbruner asking me to help promote the Otter King's upcoming show at Hideaway Saloon. And certainly as the President of the Alex Wright Fan Club of North America, how can I turn him down. Scott writes: 

I’m a long time reader of your blog, and I recall that you are a big Alex Wright fan. I just wanted to let you know that Alex is playing with my band (Otter Kings) and Hello Mayday from Cincinnati this Friday night at the Hideway Saloon, starting at 10pm. Having never played with Alex before, we are really looking forward to it.

More information about the show is on our Facebook event page: and our band’s Facebook page is here:

I know you don’t know us from a hole in the wall, but we are really working hard to promote the show and get as many people there as we can, so anything you could do as far as mentioning the show to your readership would be most appreciated.
Thanks, and keep up the great work with the blog! 

Done and done, Scott. Thanks for emailing!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Louisville, Not Kentucky-- Episode 2!

Oh goodness, people, Linda Golden and I have so much fun recording and editing the "Louisville, Not Kentucky" podcast... We laugh like crazy ladies. CRAZY. LADIES. I daresay we cackle.

And at some point, we're going to be savvy enough to save our outtakes. Outtakes Episode One would be the two of us just saying "ummmm" for, like, a whole twenty-minute podcast. Outtakes Episode Two would be titled "Linda Sounding Bored With What Melissa Is Talking About." I don't think she's actually bored, but you should hear the way she says "okaaaay" sometimes. Outtakes Episode Three would be "Melissa Stutters Until She Can Find The Word She's Looking For." Fan-freaking-tastic.

In some ways, podcast editing is made of awesome... you get to take your crummy-sounding jibberjabber and make it sound beautifully polished. Like Photoshopping a picture of yourself in a bathing suit.  In some ways, though, it reinforces your ingrained insecurities. Do I really sound like that? (Actually, one of the odd revelations I've had via podcasting is that my recorded voice sounds almost exactly like my cousin Beth's voice. Genetics? Whackadoo!)

I can't thank y'all enough for listening to Episode One. Being out and about around town these past couple of weeks has been crazy weird. Meeting utter strangers who've listened to the podcast?? So fantastic and odd.

If Episode Two of the "Louisville, Not Kentucky" podcast sounds a little rougher and-- let's face it-- sillier than Episode One, I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of our guest bartender for our "What Are We Drinking?" segment. Awesome Louisvillager, WFPL's Gabe Bullard (and Mr. Linda Golden) pours a mighty Tom Collins. Yep, you can definitely hear us descend into goofiness as the podcast progresses. Who knew that the band name "Jukebox the Ghost" could be such a tongue-twister??

In Episode Two you'll hear: an extended (pre-Tom Collins loopiness) tangent about me, Tom Jones, and a Samoan prince; about duck slides (and chick incubators) at the Kentucky State Fair; my report about the World Championship Dainty Contest; more about GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES from Theatre [502]; a Shark Week correction; upcoming calendar info about The Moth and HMS Pinafore at the Iroquois Amphitheater... and more.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tiny Review: Gruesome Playground Injuries

It's always a bit of a crapshoot when, as a blogger, you choose to throw your support behind (ie. write a post/several posts about) something you haven't experienced yet.

I knew it wouldn't be a mistake to make Theatre [502] July's Non-Profit of the Month-- in fact, I approached them. Every production of theirs that I've seen has been amazing. Gil and Mike and Amy are inspiring. They cast stellar actors and choose complicated and literary scripts.

But, I have to be honest, I spent all month promoting their production of GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES... and I worried a little. What if it was their first dud?

I'm so happy to report that I saw the play on opening night... and was floored.  It was SO good. Leah Roberts and Mike Brooks were perfectly cast. I've seen Leah in a bunch of plays, but in GRUESOME, she outdid herself. I laughed, I cried. Gil Reyes, the director, elevated an already poignant script with his staging.

The story tracks Kayleen and Doug from age 8 to age 38-- non-chronologically-- through their various injuries and illnesses and disorders. A two-person play is so hard to carry off, but a play with this much pain and drama... I'm stunned at how measured these performances were. Brooks and Roberts perform 95% of their transformations from age to age onstage-- stripping off clothes, applying stage make-up-- in under 60-second, perfectly soundtracked (kudos, Scott Anthony) vignettes. Reyes milked so much character out of a simple "costume changes should occur on stage" stage direction... sweet and gorgeous and brilliant.

There are three more shows. Don't miss it! Tonight (August 6) and Friday & Saturday, August 10 & 11. All at 8p at the Victor Jory Theatre at Actors Theatre. Reserve tickets here-- opening night was nearly a sell-out; I'm sure it will get nothing but busier.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Non-Profit of the Month: Family Scholars House

One of the many things I love about Louisvillagers is their willingness to come together and share ideas. The idea for Non-Profit of the Month sprang from a conversation I had during a lunch with the lovely and talented Robyn Sekula in late May. So next time you see her, thank her.

Each month for the foreseeable future, My Loueyville will feature an ad and promoted content from a non-profit that I believe in and want to celebrate.  On the website, you'll see a prominent ad and throughout the month, the blog will feature guest posts, contests, and/or special posts related to that non-profit.

I am so pleased to announce that this month's Non-Profit of the Month (NPOTM) is a cause that's near and dear to my heart. Mama Lou dropped out of college when she decided to marry my dad. From all accounts, she was kind of a wild child anyway, and maybe wasn't making the most of her tuition dollars. But when my dad passed away just a few years later, Mama Lou suddenly found herself looking to support herself and me with only a half of a BA to show to employers.

We were super lucky. We lived in New England just a couple towns over from my dad's family-- a huge, extended family: half Portuguese, half Mayflower descendants. Everyone truly believed that "it takes a village" to raise a child, and so everyone-- grandparents, uncles, aunts, great-aunts, cousins-once-removed-- helped us however they could.

I still remember the day that Mama Lou finished up her degree at Salem State College. She took her final final exam, we hopped in the car, and we drove to Florida for vacation. When I say that I was amazed by this woman, that she was my hero, I'm saying that Lorelei and Rory (at least until the last season and a half) had nothing on us. (Clicky the click if you need the reference.)

I'd venture to say that most single parents don't have such a good support system (and I would never, ever say that Mama Lou had it easy by any means... she just had help).

But what if you're a single mom or a single dad without a village? What if not having a college degree is keeping you from supporting your children in the way that you'd like to?

That's where Family Scholar House comes in.

And that's where we come in too.

Adam Price (@wapaytick on Twitter), who volunteers for FSH, nominated them for NPOTM and will be joining us later in the month for a guest post. But I'll let his nomination letter explain the FSH program:

Family Scholar House is a unique and extremely effective program that helps break the cycle of poverty. They provide numerous types of support, including housing, to single parents while they complete their college education. This not only helps the parents find the path to sustainability, but also instills a value for education and hard work in their children. They celebrate the academic achievements of both parents and their children. Of late they've added some Fathers to the program, though participants are primarily Mothers. They operate 3 residential sites, two near UofL and one close to Spalding University...

Another unique thing about FSH is the way they choose program participants. They have a very long waiting list, but rather than select the first name off of that list for housing support, they focus on those who have been active and attended workshops with topics ranging from cooking to academic tutoring. In short, they select people who have exhibited commitment and desire to tackle the enormous challenge of raising children and attending college full time in order to make sure there limited resources are utilized to their full potential.

Until August 10, you can help support FSH by dropping off school supplies for the coming school year (for both parents and kids!) at any branch of the First Capital Bank of Kentucky. Here's a list of things that they need to Help Pack a Backpack.

That's just a quick and easy way for you to get involved and help support these scholars. Throughout the month, I'll be posting other ways to get involved. Their website offers lots of opportunities to volunteer, provide childcare, tutor, or support the organization financially.

Thank you so much to Adam for nominating FSH. The ad for FSH will be up all month on My Loueyville.

Thanks too to Theatre [502] to be the first non-profit to try the NPOTM experience. And thanks to all of you who have nominated... we are, as of today, booked through the end of the year!! For information on how to nominate a NOPTM, visit this link.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Guest Post: Gil Reyes Reports on Gruesome Playground Injuries

Gil Reyes, who wrote this post, is one of the founders of Theatre [502]. We here at My Loueyville thank him and the group for being our first Non-Profit of the Month. Can't wait to see this play-- xo Lou.

Now here's Gil:

When staring at a stack of recent and relevant plays, it’s easy to decide to read the one titled Gruesome Playground Injuries first, but impossible to know that it would be the one that stayed with you the longest. It’s everything you want from the title and a whole bunch of wonderful unexpectedness too.

Yes, as a Co-Artistic Director for Theatre [502] I want to entice you to spend an hour and a half with me in early August. I want to show you eight pivotal, intimate (and possibly gruesome) moments in the lives of Kayleen and Doug, as they made their ways from the day they met on at age 8 to the day they met at age 38. But as Gil Reyes, who remembers the first time he read [end of play] and put Gruesome Playground Injuries down - I don’t want to give too much away.

So below is what I hope will be a treat for Melissa’s loyal followers and [502]’s soon to be audience: insight and foreshadowing in the form of a fictional school report card. As with theatre, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit, since a) no school would issue one progress report to two individuals and b) no school would allow the drama teacher to substitute teach science.

English: Unfortunately Kayleen will have an incomplete until she turns in this semester’s term paper. Despite being able to draw from any number of the readings, including Romeo and Juliet, The Four Loves, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and The Scarlet Letter, Kayleen insists that the broad subject of “Love” is unworthy of a 20-page paper. It’s a shame, as she received high marks in participation for the first time this year reading scenes from A Streetcar Named Desire in class for extra credit.

Phys Ed: While I cannot penalize Kayleen for being excused from the semester by her doctor, I can’t say that avoiding physical activity altogether is healthy. Still, it’s better than sitting on the sidelines all semester because of a snow cone-related concussion.

History: Doug has an exceptional memory for historical events, even recalling details from outside sources, but seems at a loss when asked to place them in the proper timeline. Have you had Doug properly examined after the head injury he suffered shaving ice at the spring carnival? Or perhaps tested for ADD?

Science: I’ve been thinking of Kayleen and Doug as two atoms in one volatile molecule. As celestial bodies in dangerously concurrent orbits. They are powerfully equal. Constantly in motion. Inexorably linked. Their existence requires balance. Their future requires timing. Their story demands attention.

If you want to know how these two crazy kids end up, you’re just going to have to come by the Victor Jory Theatre at ATL August 3, 4, 6, 10, and 11 at 8pm and catch a performance of Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph. We keep our tickets at a reasonable $15 and we welcome community engagement in the form of memberships. Check out the website for details: