Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Best Place You Weren't This Weekend

Hearsay told me that I missed something big when I missed the Dashboard Confessional/Louisville Orchestra concert in 2009. Now I can say for certain that each empty seat in the Kentucky Center's Whitney Hall tonight represented someone who truly missed out on an Event. With a capital "E."

I'm not particularly good with organization, so I may rescind this statement at a later date (though I doubt it), but I'm thinking that the Calexico/Airborne Toxic Event concert with the Louisville Orchestra tonight cracked my "Top Ten Concerts Ever" list." It was sublime. It was a joy. It was a frigging brilliant risk on the part of the Louisville Orchestra to invite these two, relatively little-known bands to participate in their "No Strings Attached" concert series. And what a pay-off.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Et Tu, Kenny G?

Several days ago the HullabaLOU Festival announced that Richard Marx had pulled out of the line-up, breaking the hearts of middle-aged, mullet-headed women all throughout Kentuckiana.  You know, I'll say this for the guy (who has, actually, gone on to quite a far-ranging career as a music producer):  The mere mention of his name immediately conjures up memories of slow dancing at school dances.  I'll have "Hold onto the Night" in my head for the rest of the day.  The things that I do for you, Loueyvillagers.

Yesterday, I got a press release from the Louisville Orchestra saying that Kenny G. had pulled out of the Valentines Day Pops show for unspecified reasons.

Why are all the 80's smooth balladeers pulling the plug on their Louisville shows?  

From the press release:

"The Orchestra was in immediate contact with top artist agents and representatives in New York and Los Angeles to find a replacement.  Given the very short notice, and need for such an artist to have symphony charts, nothing suitable has been found to date. 
"I guess, in this case, the 'g' is silent, but the show will go on," commented Pops conductor Bob Bernhardt, showing his trademark humor.  "Kenny G was to perform on the second half of the concert.  We are working now to put together a dynamite Valentine's event for our audience.  Perhaps we can get Mr. G back in Louisville in a future season."
Details for the final Valentine's concert will be posted on the Louisville Orchestra's website in the coming days.  Ticket holders for the concert are being contacted by the orchestra to make them aware of the program change.  All tickets for the February 13th performance will be honored."

That Bob Bernhardt is one funny guy.  

I'm still thinking about going to the Airborne Toxic Event/Calexico show this Friday. I just wish tickets were a little bit cheaper.  Anyone interested in going with?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here She Comes, Miss America

One of my shameful sins is my addiction to Entertainment Weekly Online.  I don't hit up the TMZs or the Perez Hiltons of the world.... I'm not interested in gossip so much as I'm interested in American Pop Culture.  And's many blogs deliver just that in little bite sized nuggets.  (Oh, and if you're a LOST fan and you DON'T read Doc Jensen's coverage of everything LOST, you're missing out on genuine, academic semiotic analysis of a brilliant show).  

Anyhoo.  This is just to say that over at they're handicapping this weekend's Miss America pageant.  And Ms. Kentucky gets a mention as one to watch.  She is pretty adorable (she's in the first video from :46 - 1:18). We here at Loueyville wish her the best of luck.  

That being said, I knew one of her runners-up pretty well, and that young woman would have made an awesome, super quirky Miss America-- have we had a hot nerd Miss America yet?  It's about dang time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hullaba--what the hell? SEATS?

So I happened to be board-browsing the eBays and noticed that there are a bunch of Hullabaloo tickets on sale. They seemed to be posted by the same seller, but the tickets were different prices. Why? I wondered.


Oh please, please HullabaLOU organizers, please email me and let me know that you're not having a "festival" with seats. Where people sit down. On their butts. To watch a "festival." Your website doesn't offer any glimpse into this. But, friends, "seats" mean ONE stage. One stage means... uhhh... not a festival.

Please tell me that this is a scam artist selling fake tickets for fake seats that don't exist because the idea of SITTING IN AN ASSIGNED SEAT FOR A "FESTIVAL" is OFFICIALLY the Worst Idea Ever!! (I take it back, the NYT thing still is the WORST idea ever.)

UPDATE: For all you doubters out there, New Orleans Jazz Festival is held at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs. Churchill Downs is actually two acres BIGGER than the New Orleans Fair Grounds. And Jazzfest has 12 stages!

UPDATE II: Newsman extraordinaire, WFPL's Gabe Bullard, tells me that HullabaLOU will have 5 stages and 65 bands. So then what's with the seats? You have assigned seats for one main stage but can wander to the other 4? Gah, I hate it when I'm at a play or a sporting event or other seated thing and the people in the middle of the row keep getting up to get beer or pee or something. The other four stages don't appear on the map. And I still say that any "festival" that's encouraging butts-in-seats is encouraging a very laid-back (in a bad way) vibe. Maybe they'll put only "old folks" bands on this stage? For the boomers with knee problems? And mathwise: 65 bands, divided by 3 days, divided by 5 stages= approx 4 acts per stage. Is this a short festival? Are the bands doing 2 hr sets? How many people are truly psyched for 2 hrs of 38 Special? All this being said, I do feel better that there are five stages and not just one. 5 stages indeed a festival makes. But this seats thing may not be the WORST idea ever (that's the NYT going pay-per-view, in case you've forgotten), but it still seems like a might bad idea.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mama Needs a Date II: ELLA at ATL

I signed up for Google Analytics a little while ago, so now I can track how many hits gets every day. It's weird and makes me feel very self-conscious and very narcissistic to check it, so I don't very often. And for something I put SO much time into, the numbers are kind of meh.

But, I find it HI-LARIOUS that since I started using Analytics, my post with the MOST number of hits was "Mama Needs a Date" posted on Dec 8, 2009. And the funny thing-- or not so funny thing-- is that Mama didn't get a date. Mama had to ask a friend. (We had a great time, so no big deal, of course, but still... um... yeah.)

So this time I thought I would ask in advance. Actors Theater has decided that I'm media-- can I get a "woo hoo" from the crowd?-- and has granted me two media tickets to see the soon-to-open production of ELLA. The tickets are for the 7:30p show on 1/28... and Mama needs a date.

Sure, I could friend-source this date, but I thought, in honor of my #1 post, I would reader-source it.

Here's the thing... this isn't a DATE. I'm not so bad off I've resorted to hocking myself on the intertubes. So, this is gender neutral. We can grab a drink before or after or something, but I'm not going to walk you home or try to hold your hand. Just a good time at the excellent Actors Theater with a fellow lover-of-Louisville.

If you are interested, email me at And I will pick, totally at random, a winner on Wednesday next. I promise you I won't spam you with emails-- I'm too lazy to make a mailing list-- so your email address will only be used to notify you if you've won.

(I'm also inspired by the fact that I had a "blind date" with a Twitter friend tonight, and it went smashingly. Of course, he is-- for very good reasons I knew in advance-- "just not that into me," but a good time was had by all, and we'll do it again. Yay new friends!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Sorry, this has nothing to do with Louisville, and I apologize for the hyperbole.  Something about this weather and Haiti and the MA Senate loss and this weather and just January in general has made me feel like a teenager all of a sudden.  I feel like curling up in my bed and sobbing my eyes out because "nobody likes me" and "it's all so unfair" and "you just don't understand."

I know? Right? 


But this headline actually made me swear out loud-- and LOUD-- "New York Times to Charge for Articles Online."

To quote my inner angsty teen: "OMG. OMG. OMG. Are you serious??"

Why do I have such a strong gut reaction to this WORST IDEA EVER?  Because back in 2005, I swore I would never, ever read the New York Times again.  Because 2005 was the dark days of the failed "Times Select" experiment where you could read a select few articles online but had to have a paid subscription to read more.  And 2005 was Katrina.  And I was starved for information.  And 95% of their Katrina coverage was behind the "Times Select" wall.  And I didn't have any money because, well, I was evacuated and living in limbo. And I would get so mad, every day, when I checked the NYT and find that all the best information was pay-per-view.

And I didn't read the NYT again until I moved to Louisville and found out just how bad the Courier-Journal was. (And by that time, "Times Select" was over.)

And I do think I am prepared to say that I will indeed boycott the NYT again if they do this.  The article says they won't start til 2011, so we have 11 months to hope that they realize that this is the WORST IDEA EVER,.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BOGO: A Rant

So, it's another chilly, yucky night here in Louisville, hot on the heels of another chilly, yucky day, and I'm crankier than usual. Despite the awesome weekend spent with my best friend, Cousin Lou, and the four day week, I feel like I did two days of work today at my meatspace job, and I'll have to tackle the same workload tomorrow.

And all I really want right now is to bundle up in my big puffy down coat and head on out to a local eatery and have me some beers and comfort food. It's Tuesday, so the logical choice would also be the closest: Buy One Get One Burger Night at the MonkeyWrench.

But the problem is obvious: I'm flying solo tonight. There's no "get one" option for me. Sure, maybe back in the 90's when I had an awesome metabolism and food flew through me like mercury, leaving no trace on my gut or my hips, I might have been able to scarf down two burgers. But now, I can barely finish one.

And this just seems to always be the case for discounts on food here in Louisville. Every year, I buy the Entertainment coupon books, and almost all of the restaurant offers are BOGO. Today the Louisville Originals had their several-times-a-year discounted gift certificate sale. Ignoring the fact that it's nigh impossible to actually snag the certificates to the more popular restaurants unless you log in right when they go on sale, the certificate dollar amounts (which don't cover drinks, usually) are too high for a single diner. I couldn't possibly spend $50 at Avalon, by myself, without drinks (include the drinks, and that's another story entirely). often features gift certificates at 80% off, but most of the certificates require a $35 minimum purchase, before drinks.

All of this is fine and good when Roommate is in town. When he's around, we pretty much do most evening stuff together, and that includes dinner. But-- and it makes me a little misty just thinking about it-- 2010 may very well be the year that our seven year cohabitation draws to a close. And then I'll be a solo diner more often than not.

I know what you're going to say, Dear Reader. "Get some goddamn friends, Lou!"

2009 was the year that I finally got some friends, thankyouverymuch.

The point is that I like being a solo diner. Sometimes, more often than not actually, there's nothing better than a pint and a burger in the company of a good book.

Just last night, I actually lied to Big Mama Lou and told her I was "meeting friends" for dinner and a late movie. I had no intention of meeting friends. I hadn't even made the offer. But Big Mama-- though she's been single since 1977-- thinks I'm weird for enjoying my own company so much. To the best of my knowledge, Big Mama has never gone out to dinner alone-- at least not in her hometown. And I know for a fact that she's never been to a movie theater alone.

So, this isn't a "Poor Lou doesn't have anyone to play with" rant. This is a rant about the fact that discount restaurant offers don't work for us singletons (oh, I hate that I just typed that word) because they're created with couples (or more) in mind. Let's face it, us solo diners are also obviously living in single-income situations-- who needs to save money more than solo diners?

Last Friday, I took advantage of Dragon King's Daughter's nightly late night happy hour (10p-12p) where they have a large menu of discounted sushi. It was lovely, and I'm going to do it again very soon. But, only after I ordered my drink (hot sake) did the bartender tell me that I could take home the rest of the $10 bottle of wine that was on sale. So, that's a solo diner win. But their ginormous sushi rolls are a bit of a challenge for one stomach. One isn't enough and two is too many, and when you have sushi it's really nice to have a couple of different things to eat.

What's the solution? In a perfect world, I'd love to see sushi restaurants in general, and Dragon King's late night menu in particular, offer half-rolls. It's a total win for everyone. For the single diner. For the adventurous diner who doesn't want to commit to a full order of a roll he/she hasn't tried. For the restaurant for any number of reasons. Just a thought.

And BOGO restaurants? How's about just saying half-off? I promise you, Monkeywrench, give me a half-off burger, and my bar tab will make it worth your while. And all you discount restaurant gift certificate folks, would it kill you to include alcohol? Or to create different options for the single diner? $20 for one person? $35 for two?

My tummy is growling. Off to figure out the food situation. And despite having hundreds of bucks in gift certificates and coupons at my finger tips, I'm sure I'll pay full price.

The Greatest: On Stage in New Jersey

While procrastinating at work today, I came across an interesting New York Times article about a World Premiere production of a play called "Fetch Clay, Make Man" at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ.  According to the director of the McCarter Theater, Emily Mann, the play is about "about the surprising (but true) friendship between champion boxer Muhammad Ali and vilified former Hollywood actor Stepin Fetchit.  It [examines] identity, manhood and the public image of two exceedingly different men."  In this production, Fetchit is played by icon, Ben Vereen.

This weekend was Ali's 68th birthday.  I sure hope someone at ATL or some other local theater is keeping an eye on this production.  The NYT review is good but not glowing.  It would be fabulous to stage this production in Ali's hometown-- maybe even in his own theater?  Just a thought.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18, 2010: Go to an O'Shea's Pub on 1/18.

Seriously... all three of the O'Shea's family pubs (not including the one downtown that hasn't opened yet) are sending 100% of proceeds to Haiti on 1/18. That's O'Shea's, Brendan's, and Flanagan's.

Go. Have a beer. Stay for dinner. Spend $$ and raise $$ for the Hatians!

TDWL: Michael C. Hall & Hodgkins

UPDATE: As Linda mentions in the comments below, this is actually NOT a NTDWL post, it's totally a TDWL post. Michael C. Hall has been married for a year to his co-star, Jennifer Carpenter, who is a Louisville native and a Sacred Heart graduate. (And my favorite character on Dexter). I totally forgot that I too have heard rumors of the couple hanging out together around town. Anyone know if there is truth to the rumor that they own a house on Cherokee? I'm so happy that this reminder allows me to blog about Dexter and Hall to my heart's content. Thanks, Linda!

So, one of my better Christmas gifts this year was Season 3 of "Dexter." Roommate (he's on Twitter now @etammooR) gave it to me because we just started watching Season 1 before Christmas. 2010 has been a very Dexter year. We're through Season 2 (after every episode in Season 2, we said, "How the HELL is he going to get out of this one??" You've got to love a show that makes you ask that EVERY episode.). But Roommate is out of town, so Season 3 is burning a hole in my coffee table (and my mind). Hurry up and get home, Roommate. We've got some serial killer to follow.

Anyway, y'all know me. I'm cancer girl. Had cancer... blah blah blah... doing much better now... blah blah blah. But this week Michael C. Hall announced that he had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Hall is the actor who plays Dexter and who played David Fisher in what is probably my favorite TV show of all time, "Six Feet Under." And tonight, Hall took home a Golden Globe for "Dexter" Season 4. He appeared at the ceremony in a wacky black stocking cap, looking rather... sickly, honestly.

I know this is a local blog. So pop culture news is not apropos. But, as a breast cancer survivor, I hear a lot of criticism about the fact that the Pink Cause has raised SO much money, but so little progress has been made. Hell, sometimes I'm the gal leveling that criticism.


My dad was diagnosed with Hodgkin's when he was 17. Massive doses of radiation/chemo bolted him into remission long enough for him to think he was okay, go to college a year late, meet my mom, marry her, and conceive me. But several months into Mama Lou's pregnancy, Dad's remission ended. Doctors said he wouldn't live to see me born. But he did. I was, in fact, born on his birthday.

And he died when he was 27, when I was 3. Of Hodgkin's.

Doctors said, when he was 17 and again when he was 24, that he had a single-digit chance of living five years.

But now, Michael C. Hall's chance of surviving Hodgkin's is 90% or higher.

I need to say that again, just for myself. Hodgkin's survival rate now is 90% or higher.

Back when Dad was diagnosed, it was single digits percent. They didn't even put a number on it because the words "single digits" were dire enough.

So... I'm just saying. I get pissed off about the pink Snuggies too. I do. But I totally benefited from all the cancer research that has been done over the years. My breast cancer was not the same breast cancer that the previous generation had.

And my dad's death sentence is, for Michael C. Hall, just... not... anymore.

If my poor dear dad's cancer hadn't reared it's awful head back in the 60's and 70's, but had managed to hang innocuous til the 80's and 90's, it's quite possible that I'd still have a dad.

Anyway, seeing Michael C. Hall on the Golden Globes tonight stirred all kinds of porridge inside me. Good luck and best wishes Dexter/David. I am, indeed, a huge fan. And I'm hoping you'll end up being the "face" of "how far we've come" because of cancer research. Single digits to 90% in 30 years. Thems are good maths.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Crummy Day in Louisville

Today Louisville lost an advocate and cheerleader, way, way, way before her time. Francene Cucinello died today at age 43 of a heart attack complicated by an aneurysm.

I'm posting this without (much) commentary because I was not, by any means, a regular listener of Francene's program. Nor do I know a whole lot about her. She aired weekdays at 9am, which is normally when I am at work.

That being said, last year (well, late 2008), when I was on a leave-of-absence from my meatspace job to finish up my cancer treatments, I had gawdawful insomnia. Late at night, the only thing that could keep my brain from spinning out of control and into scary places was listening to COAST TO COAST with George Noory. (If I haven't made it clear before, let me make it clear now: Mama is a total conspiracy theorist and a huge believer in all things cryptozoological. In fact, Mama is waiting for the Mothership as we speak. And how else could you explain her fascination with @Fairdalebigfoot?)

And George Noory was on the same radio station that Francene was on in the morning. So when my alarm went off-- and I continued to set my alarm, even though I had nowhere to go-- I would wake to Francene.

Methinks she was more conservative than I am (but she couldn't have been THAT conservative, as she was a dear friend of Jake at the Ville Voice and for whom I feel tremendous sympathy). But I liked her. Quite a bit.

And of course, anyone who dies at age 43 of such shocking causes makes someone my age (still in my 30's) consider our mortality. And the general worth of our lives. And if there is any consolation in this-- and there really isn't-- it's that Francene died beloved by so many. She is being remembered for the impact she made on this city. For her faithful listeners and fans, her worth is unquestionable and the impact that she had on their lives and our city is indelible.

So despite the fact that I was not one of her listeners (although I did read her columns in the LEO), I'm still roiled by her death. And I am so so sorry for her friends, family, and fans. And I'm sorry for this city. We've lost a great one. It's hard to get your head around, especially in a week when all of the news has been hard to get your head around.

Ugh. This world, this life, is so hard sometimes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Good Day, Sun Shines

I just got this spam comment on my other blog.  I had to laugh.  There's been so much bad news lately, that I can't believe that the intro to this email made actually made me smile.  

Good day, sun shines!
There have were times of hardship when I felt unhappy missing knowledge about opportunities of getting high yields on investments. I was a dump and downright pessimistic person. 

A lot of this week, I have felt like I AM a dump and downright pessimistic person.  But being called "sun shines" made me feel so much better.

Hope you're having a great day, sun shines.  Sometimes it's the little things that make the big things feel less dreadful.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To borrow a phrase*: "This is why we can't have nice things"

C'mon Louisville, really? A Kentucky-based KISS cover band had almost $10K worth of gear and props stolen right before they're about to hit the "big time." Well, cover band "big time." Which can mean only one thing: VEGAS.

According to WLKY, KISS Army's trailer was stolen with all the gear inside. They have suspects-- two guys who showed up at a resale shop, trying to unload some of the goods. But the goods themselves are still missing.

Steve (who withheld his last name), who plays the Peter Criss role in KISS Army said:

"Here we are, right around the corner from creating our finest moment in our history, and to have someone potentially derail that is heartbreaking... We're starving and striving at the same time. We can't afford to have something like this happen."

Good luck to the 18 year old band!

Read the full coverage at WLKY (via

*Phrase borrowed from Jake of and @cattleprod

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Walker's Paradise

I have always said that I live in the "best" neighborhood in the city. Not toniest. Just best. And one of the qualities of "bestness" that I rank super-high is Walkability.

The website allows you to input any address-- I think anywhere-- and using Google technology the site determines what kinds of businesses and services you can walk to and then spits out your Walkability Rating. When I put in my address, my rating is a 91/100. According to the website, that means I have it better, walk-wise, than 99% of all Louisvillagers. Click here to see how they rank the neighborhoods (I live in #7).

Louisville comes out pretty good with an overall rating of #15 on the most walking-friendly cities. Click here to see which cities are MORE walkable than we are, and which ones aren't. Some of it doesn't feel very intuitive. LA is #9? Long Beach is a city? People walk in Austin? I thought they were required by law to drive Vespas.

One more reason to love Louisville!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Small Kindnesses

I'm kind of irrationally devoted to this city. Sometimes I think I'm such a huge fan of Louisville because I never intended to leave New Orleans. Sure, I had a choice. I could have stayed, but my options there were limited and lousy. And Louisville chose me. I didn't choose this place. My current meatspace employer tracked me down and literally booked my plane ticket up here without asking me first. The guy who hired me said, "Don't judge it before you see it." And he was damn right.

So sometimes I think my crazy love of this city is because it found me. And it was just the right place to go during a terrible time in my life, when I felt exiled and rootless and pessimistic.

So when people talk trash about Louisville, sometimes I bite their heads off. Sorry guys.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But there are simply some empirical facts about Louisville that make this a great place to live. One of those is that we (I now count myself among you) are a city of really nice people.

I've been hibernating all weekend. Roommate is out of town, there's snow on the ground, and it's gawdawful cold (one of the few things I loathe about this city). So when I was forced to leave the house to go to Walgreen's to buy a lint brush, I was none too happy about it and decided to "reward" myself with a trip to Starbucks. (I know, I should be patronizing our locals, but folks keep giving me Starbucks gift cards, and I live on the cheap).

I stocked up on stuff at Walgreen's and went over to the Starbucks on Baxter. Roommate and I spend a good deal of time there, and we know someone who used to work there. It's pretty clear that it can be a challenging place to work for a number of reasons. High traffic, some incredibly wacky patrons-- especially in the winter-- etc.

Anyway, it was slow, so I went right up to the barrista (is there a male form of that?-- barristo?), and said-- as I always do, "How are you?" He responded, asked me how I was, and I don't remember what I said. Maybe "cold" or maybe just "fine." Then I ordered a venti Peppermint Mocha and started digging in my wallet for my gift card.

And the barrista/o said, "You know what? Because you were civil, because you're a nice person, you get a free drink."

I argued for a moment, but he waved me off. I asked him if he'd been having a particularly bad day, and he said, "No. It's just nice to have civil customers." An off-duty barrista chimed in that she agreed-- it wasn't a particularly bad day, but nice customers are always appreciated. The barristo made my drink, wished me a good evening, and sent me on my way.

And he sent me on my way feeling like eleventy million bucks. Even though I don't think I really did anything all that nice. Even though I was no more "civil" than I ever am. Even though this free Peppermint Mocha that I just finished was probably undeserved in the grand scheme of things. He made me feel terrific, a feeling that hasn't worn off in the two-plus hours since it happened.

Thank you, Starbucks Man, for the free drink. Thank you much more for making me feel awesome. And thank you double that for being an example of the kind of nice people we have in this city.

I love this place.

A night at the theater: ATL's "Crime & Punishment"

Whenever I meet someone who is new to the city, one of the first pieces of advice that I offer is, "Buy season tickets to Actors Theater."

Here are the reasons I typically give:

(1) When you buy season tickets, it's really hard to NOT use them. You've kind of committed yourself to anywhere from 3-9 plays. And that means a guaranteed 3-9 nights out. It's a luxury. I forces you to take a break and do something really nice for yourself. And if you're like me, and you're on a budget, you'll probably get tickets for weeknights. And what's nicer than being forced to take a break in the middle of the week.

(2) Again, if you're on a budget, take the plunge, buy the season ticket, and as the season wears on you'll forget the little sting to your bank account, and you'll feel like you're getting "free" nights out. (Trust me. It's all about the attitude.)

(3) If you say "Louisville" to your out-of-town friends, they'll say "Derby." Press them further, and they'll say "Slugger." Press your more cultured friends, and they'll say "Actors Theater." Or at least they'll say "Humana Festival." Because Actors is nationally respected, and we should all be proud and grateful that we have the Humana Festival.

(4) Finally, a night at Actors is always time and money well-spent. The plays I've seen (I've been a subscriber now for three seasons) have ranged from good to "I can't believe I just saw what I saw" amazing. Jaw-droppin', stranger-huggin' good.

ATL, at least temporarily, decided that I was "press," so I was super excited to receive two tickets to Friday night's production of "Crime & Punishment." I was even more excited because that meant I could give my subscription tickets to two friends who are just madly in love with Dostoevsky.

And I think that's something that you should get your head around if you go see "Crime & Punishment" (and you should). Russian writers are particularly polarizing, Dostoevsky especially. Some people are loopy for Russian epics. And I'm just not one of them.

This radically pared-down adaptation was directed by Sean Daniels, the Associate Artistic Director of Actors, and was presented in the round in the Bingham Theater. It featured three actors who never left the stage during the 90-minute production. Louisville's Jessica Wortham played a handful of female characters, but the two male leads-- Nick Cordileone and Lou Sumrall-- remained Raskolnikov and Porfiry throughout.

Cordileone's manic, paranoid performance was particularly riveting. I know it's not entirely kosher to compare actors to other actors, but one of the most compelling performances this year on TV was given by Jeremy Davies on LOST. Watching Cordileone's emotional collapse was like watching Davies's poor, tormented Daniel "Twitchy" Faraday dissolve into mania. The urge to rush from your seat and comfort the poor Raskolnikov, even when he was at his most threatening, made every moment of the climax difficult and uncomfortable. (in a good way).

The set design, by Tom Tutino, is dramatic and stark. There are essentially no props and no set pieces. Throughout, an ax is ominously embedded in the center of the "stone" stage, its handle askew, making the whole stage look like a creepy sundial. The actors move around it like its not even there. Large Russian icons ring the ceiling of the theater. Enormous onion dome-shaped lights hover over the stage and press down periodically as the pressure on Raskolnikov mounts until one, terribly brief but brilliant moment when they are used to gorgeously dramatic effect.

My Dostoyevsky-loving friends thought it was "amazing." (By the way, apparently there are a number of accepted spellings for the author's name: the ATL website uses one and their program uses another. I'm shaking it up in this post.) But I think that, because they read the book-- and loved it, their understanding of what happened on the stage was much more nuanced and fleshed out than mine was. I came away feeling kind of lukewarm.

Mostly, I wanted to ask questions. The onion dome lights, for instance. What a powerful moment that was when they were used to the full effect, but they were such a dominating presence in the staging for only 30 seconds of "wow." And, as I mentioned before, there was no stage dressing at all except for a couple of doors that rose pneumatically from the stage, again for mere moments. Why? Is there something symbolic about the doors? About the Russian iconography? I'm not really sure I understand the crime itself, to be honest.

After the play, we all went to the new-ish Louisville Beer Store (which deserves its own blog post and will get one soon-- love it!) and jawed about the play and the book until I felt like I had a clearer understanding and fewer questions. The reviews of this play have been fairly uniformly excellent, and my friends were moved and impressed. Maybe my lukewarmishness all boils down to not really being a fan of Russian literature in general?

But I started this blog post with "why you need to subscribe to Actors" because, in the end, a lukewarm night at ATL is an awesome way to spend an evening. Especially when you're with good, smart friends.

Crime and Punishment runs through 1/31. Adult tickets are $25-45, kids' tickets are $10. It's pretty intense, so it isn't recommended for kids younger than 11.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Loueyvillager Powers Activate: Outdoor Hockey In Louisville?

Everything about this picture makes me happy. It's hockey. It's the Bruins. It's Boston. It's FRAKING FENWAY....

Oh Lordy, you gotta love that. Well, okay, you don't. But I do. I'm originally from just outside of Boston. I was raised by a family that lists "Red Sox" as their religion on their Census forms. The best thing that happened to me when I had cancer was that I survived. The second best thing was that my favorite uncle took me to a Sox game at Fenway as a get well gift.

Tonight Fenway is hosting their second hockey game of the season. The first was the Bruins (who won) in the Winter Classic. Tonight is a BC-BU game. At least two of my cousins are going. I am seething with jealousy. You know how much Mama hates the cold, but if I lived in the Boston area, I'd be there looking like Randy from "A Christmas Story." The pain would be more than worth it. Fenway + hockey = harmonic convergence of awesomeness.

All this prompted me to start looking into local hockey. I started this morning on Twitter and found out that U of L does, indeed, have a hockey team. I had always assumed that Louisville had no hockey to speak of because if the city did have hockey, we'd all be talking about it. Right? We're a sports-lovin' city, and hockey is pretty much the best sport imaginable. Right?

Turns out the U of L hockey team has a very limited schedule-- only 8 local games listed on the schedule. They play at Alpine Arena. And they play HALF their local games at MIDNIGHT. I don't know what to make of that. Half of me thinks it's fabulous-- like Rocky Horror for sports fans. Half of me is totally bummed out. Where's our next gen of hockey players going to come from when we can't take our little dudes to hockey games? (And by "dudes" I mean that gender-free. Some of the coolest hockey players I've met have been women.)

My solution?

Dear Slugger Field,

Please take a gander at what Fenway is doing this winter. I know they're still not sold on making hockey a permanent part of their schedule, but everyone I know in the Boston area is madly in love with hockey at Fenway. And you, Slugger Field, are gorgeous and perfectly suited for outdoor hockey. And seriously, what else do you have going on during the winter? We need to generate some support for hockey in Louisville. And Louisville sports fans could really use something new to get excited about. It's a marriage made in sports heaven. (Usually) our winters are more mild than Boston's. Sure the wind whips off the river, but if Fenway fans can hack it, then we certainly can. Hell, we've got kids out sledding today, and it's negative eleventy-billion degrees out.

Slugger Field, Louisville Bats, Mayor Uncle Jerry, etc... what can I do to help you make this happen? Mayoral candidates-- what's your platform on outdoor hockey? I'm on a mission from God here. Or from Bobby Orr.

The next U of L hockey game is midnight on 1/22. Let's meet there to discuss how we can bring this kind of awesomeness to the winter of 2010-11.

Yours in the goal for the city,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mike Linning's Cocktail Sauce: Another local product I can't live without

Not too long ago, I blogged about Bluegrass Soy Sauce. Since then I've bought at least two more bottles. Love that stuff. But there's another local condiment I just can't live without.

Roommate and I try to always keep shrimp in the freezer. It's just such a lovely, and relatively healthy, treat to defrost a couple handfuls of shrimp and scarf down an ad hoc (and cheap!) shrimp cocktail. A couple years ago, we were buying cocktail sauce at ValuMart and decided to check out the local stuff. Mike Linning's Cocktail Sauce is far and beyond the best cocktail sauce I've ever had. I don't know what makes it so good-- but it's thick and spicy and somehow kind of "meaty."

Never been to the restaurant, but their cocktail sauce has put it on the "must visit" list for next summer.

You can buy the cocktail sauce in most local groceries or online, here.

Bah! Curse You JCPS and Your Fancy Getting Out 1 hr Early!

Yeah. I'll be at work all day, thanks for asking.

But seriously, I don't know if I've seen a prettier snowfall.  I just stopped one of my classes 10 minutes early and made all the kiddos go to the window and look out at the snow.  It was the most behaved and quiet I've seen this particular class all year.  It's that stunning.  

I sure do hate the cold and the idea of winter in general, but as long as I am inside and warm as a muffin somewhere, I do love me some snow.  Heck, you'd have to be the Grinch to not to love this kind of snow.

Anyway, I ramble. 

I wanted to bring to your attention this great event at the Frazier Museum that Michelle at Consuming Louisville posted about today.  It's Holiday Happy Hours celebrating Black History Month with Opera and free drinks and snacks.  I'll let her fill you in on the details.  

And... have you ever had something TOTALLY innocuous, something that has nothing to do with any part of your life, make you so unreasonably annoyed that the feeling of annoyance itself makes you crazy??  I feel that way any time someone utters the word "Octomom." Everything about that situation/person/circus is wrong.  

Well, I also feel the same way anytime I see the name "Yim Yames" in print.  I once Twittered asking for the story behind the change from Jim James to Yim Yames, and most responders claimed it was a joke that had taken on a life of its own.  But now any time I see the name Jim James, I also see "or Yim Yames."  WTF? ("why the face?") 

I know.  It's so silly for me to feel this way, but the whole Yim Yames thing has sworn me off this particular person and everything MMJ . I don't know him.  I don't know almost anything about him.  I have almost no knowledge of the band.  But I irrationally and without any basis in truth or reality think that the "Yim Yames" thing makes this guy sound like a pretentious turd.  It's like when Prince changed his name to that symbol only 100 times worse because (a) that was a pretty great symbol and (b) his name was Prince, for goshsakes, and it wasn't a stage name.  

Yes, I know Jim James is a fake name too, so why should my knickers be in a knot about "Yim Yames"?  I told you it's irrational.  AND "Yim Yames" is just lousy to say (unlike the word "Yemen," which is my new favorite word to say these days... and that's probably the only good thing you can say about Yemen).  

Anyway because of my batshit reaction to this name, I will not be blogging about (or going to) the upcoming Louisville is for Lovers shows.  But that's okay because as usual, Backseat Sandbar has you covered

Now go out and go sledding!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Everybody's writing about the cold...

... so I won't.  Y'all know how I feel about it.  And I won't write about the potential "Snowpocolypse 2010" because I don't want to jinx us.  I know I've only been back at work for three days, but I could use a snow day.  Who couldn't?

But I did just about pee my pants when I read the following line in the New York Times:  "It was so cold in Florida, freezing iguanas were seen falling out of trees."

I shit you not.  I just had to share.  Stay warm, 'Villagers.