Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Riddance, 2008!

Lou and Roommate dragged ass on their New Years' plans after their southern friends bailed on coming up to the Ville. As a result, we missed a chance at Avalon's yummy-sounding, and extremely reasonably priced, $75 pp dinner seating at 930p. So, we'll be kissing 08 behind at Bearno's by the Bridge with Butch Rice and an open bar. (Mama needs to remember to pace herself...)

Mama's keeping it simple this year with resolutions like:

... develop a skin care regimen appropriate for the 30-mumble-mumble year old that you are. No more of this scrub your face with $3 soap shit.

... write more. Both on Loueyville and in "the real world."

... take some classes. In what? Dunno. Just classes. I have 12 months to figure that one out.

... talk to more strangers. Seriously. If some crazy lady starts a meaningless conversation with you at Heine Brothers or Molly's this year, it very well may be Lou.

I wish you all heaps of comfort and joy in 2009. No matter how good your 2008 was (mine blew), I hope your 2009 is even better.

Off to tart myself up for Irish New Years' at Flanagan's.

Kisses, y'all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

MMJ on EW for ROO08

Loueyville's own My Morning Jacket is listed alongside "The women of Mad Men" and Viola Davis from Doubt (which I just saw an hour ago-- amazing movie) on Entertainment Weekly's "15 Great Performances of 2008" list.

Unfortunately for me, I heard but did not see the performance listed-- their 12am performance at Bonnaroo 2008. Faithful readers will remember that I went to 'Roo 2008, but it was less than two weeks after my first major surgery and I was definitely out of my gourd to even go (but I'm glad that I did). I had retired to the tent by midnight on that night, so I caught only the beginning of the show and only the audio.

Good job, hometown boys. Stay humble!

Friday, December 26, 2008

CW: All Cissy All the Time

I'm assuming that since I haven't read about this in any of our local media blogs, this issue is a very localized issue. But ever since 12/23-- maybe earlier, the local CW station on my television (and all tvs in the ResInn) has been frozen on a tableaux of Cissy Spacek in bed, hovering over the prone body of some man. I IMBD-ed her and still cannot, for the life of me, figure out which movie it is.

Both Roommate and Big Mama Lou have said, whilst channel surfing, "Huh, that station was on the same scene last time I was flipping through the stations." Because of Lou's intimate relationship with the toob this past week, she was able to set them straight, pronto.

I'm not sure why this is blog-worthy. A little crazy birdie inside my head wonders: maybe so few people watch the CW that no one has actually noticed.

Anyhoo, today (well, yesterday, if we're being honest) is Cissy Spacek's birthday. She's a Christmas baby. And I hope that somehow she knows that she's gotten more face time than Hannah Montana, at least in this little corner of Loueyville, over the past few days. And that's both hard to do and rather nifty.

Thank you for the well wishes over the past week. Surgery went well, but Mama's still feeling kind of crappy. Big Mama Lou came in from the Northeast to take care of me and celebrate the holidays, and she's taken a lot of my time and attention. I should be back on the case next week.

The friends from Florida cancelled on New Year's, so's everything's changed and up in the air. Very sad. Very sad. Hope y'all will keep sending suggestions.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quills-- A little birdie told me mid-January

This past weekend, I bumped into one of my favorite baristas (os?) from the late, great Quills Coffee and Books, and he said we could look forward to seeing the new Quills open at the location on Bardstown next to Flanagan's sometime in Mid-January. This is hugely welcome news.

(Hopefully my Ike-crushed house will "re-open" around the same time!... sigh, probably not)

I told my Quills friend that, while I've been seeing a few other coffee shops since July, I'd been unable to forge a meaningful relationship with any of them.

And truly, before I got sick, I did have a very meaningful relationship with Quills; I went there at least four or five times a week. Quills was indeed my "second home" for a year or so, and I have missed it terribly-- especially since I've been displaced from my "first home," too.

Which meant that when I started reading posts like this and this about my favorite coffeeshop's "Christian underpinnings," this godless heathen was aghast. Yes, Mama can be a bit oblivious to her surroundings at times, but aside from the occasional Bible-reader or even the occasional Bible-study group that I saw there, I had never noticed any blatant religiosity about the place or about the wonderful people who worked there.

I'm looking forward to having them back.

... on another note, my already irregular blogging may get more irregular for the next week or so. Surgery tomorrow, hopefully with a much better rebound time than the last one. But if I'm down for longer than I expect, happy holidays and much love!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Open Letter to Local Business Owners

My dear purveyors of good stuff,

Right now, I live in a hotel. And before you ask, the answer is: No, there's nothing glamorous about living in a hotel. I used to think living in a hotel would be sexy. Manny Ramirez lived in a hotel the whole time he played for the Sox. Kelsey Grammar's character in the tragically short-lived sitcom "Back to You" lived and loved in a hotel room. Heck, it worked for Zack & Cody for three seasons until they took their game onto a cruise ship. (Please don't ask how I know this. Let's just say that convalescing makes strange TV bedfellows. FYI: Dan Savage brilliantly eviscerated said show on This American Life last year, claiming Zach and Cody were turning his son into the worst kind of heterosexual.)

Alas, the Residence Inn is not the St. Gregory from that mid-80's Aaron Spelling show starring Brand Walsh's dad/Babs's husband (are they still married? is anyone still married?).

Last Friday, I came home from work to find that the housekeeper (and yes, having a housekeeper IS sexy-- that's the best thing about hotel life) had left a flyer for 32nd Annual Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour on my coffee table. And when I went downstairs to check about my mail, there was another full-color flyer for the Home Tour displayed on an acrylic stand. And I thought, "Oh how nice. I'm a little broke right now, but I can always hit it next year."

A few hours later, it dawned on me that I've been living in this *&^%^&* hotel for almost three months now-- Ooohh! No, today is my three month anniversary! I've now lived in a hotel for 1/4 of a year. Sigh.-- and that was the very first piece of local advertising I've seen pass through the doors of the joint. Sure, there's the obligatory "brochure shelf" tucked out of sight down an unused corridor, but the Home Tour folks put that full-color photocopied, attractive, festive ad in my face-- both in my room and right on the front desk-- all weekend long. And if I hadn't been a Villager, hadn't known that I'd have another chance to go at the 33rd Annual Home Tour, I would have jumped at it.

At least a couple times a week, I'll be hanging in the lobby or waiting in line at the front desk, and I'll hear some tourist or business person ask for dinner recommendations. If they're looking high end, the answer from the front desker is always the same: Jeff Ruby's. If they're just looking for something to fill their bellies, the front desker always directs them to... you guessed it: 4th Street Live.

Sometimes I stick my nose in. Sometimes I don't. I almost always stick my nose in when I hear folks mulling over dinner options in the elevator or in the hallways. (This takes a lot of effort as Mama is painfully shy around strangers.)

There are lessons to be learned here, Owner friends. First of all, there are 140 guest rooms in the Res-Inn. If the Home Tour people paid 15-cents per color copy, that meant that they spent in the neighborhood of $21 to blanket my hotel and get a brochure into the hot little hands of every single person staying at the hotel that weekend. A single, day-of-purchase ticket for the Home Tour was $30. If one Res-Inn resident hit the Tour, the Tour still made $9.

There are approximately 17,000 hotel rooms in the Louisville Metro area. That's a lot of color copies, sure. But if you're having a special event and you can share the cost with other businesses (Trolley Hops and Bardstown Aglow and Buy Local First and Louisville Originals folks, I'm looking at YOU), you've got quite the captive audience in hotel dwellers, whether they be tourists, businessfolks, or townies like me.

Secondly, if you're a local business within comfortable walking distance of a hotel, why don't you drop off some discount coupons for the front deskers to give out to arriving guests? It's only because I'm such a 'net nerd that I discovered the ill-fated Park Place's awesome Happy Hour deal. Heck, if Park Place had put a little ad in every Res-Inn welcome packet saying: "Hey, we're a high end eating establishment, but you can enjoy fine cocktails and appetizers at half price EVERY DAY and eat and drink like a classy person for the same price you'd pay at TGIFridays" they might have lasted a bit longer. Likewise, it's only through active interweb hunting that I've found out about the daily deals at the BBC Taproom and Artemesia. You don't even need to make it a discount coupon. Why is there no 1/4 page b&w photocopied flier on our brochure rack advertising BBC's daily specials? That's nutso!

And finally, I love me my front desk friends. They're a super sweet group of folks. I have no doubt whatsoever if you, Local Owners, scratch the front desk folks' backs a little, they'll scratch your backs A LOT. Just after Hurricane Ike, I was in a Highland coffee shop (Highland Coffee, to be exact) and a woman from one of the neighborhood Irish pubs came in and handed the baristas coupons for free beers on a particular night. I was behind her in line, so I didn't hear everything she said, but it was something along the lines of: we're thanking our neighbor businesses because we had power and were able to serve food during the dark days and our neighbors sent a lot of business our way. Aw. That's classy, folks.

There are approximately seven or eight people who work the front desk at the Res-Inn. Give them each a gift certificate for $25 at your eating establishment (you know they'll spend more than that). Give them a 25% off coupon for your store. If you're a tourist attraction, let them in free. And don't just do this once-- do it aggressively-- there's all kinds of turn over in the service industry, and you want to keep YOUR business at the front of their minds.

I'm still sick about the fact that I've seen six restaurants within walking distance of the Res-Inn go belly-up in the past three months: Primo, Market on Market, Melillo's, Jenicca's, Park Place, and Browning’s (she intones the litany of the dead). I’m trying to do my own broke-girl part by signing (and abiding by) the LEO’s Shop Local pledge. As soon as I’m finished with my work (if you can call this “work”), I’m heading over to Wild and Wooly to submit my 10 Buy Local receipts to enter their Holiday Passport contest.

But Local Owners, you gotta put yourselves out there a little more. Us Loueyvillagers don’t want to see you croak. We don’t like driving by the Spaghetti Warehouse (or whatever it’s called) and seeing it full to bursting, while 301 Bistro across the street has empty tables. It’s not that we don’t like the Warehouse—it’s yummy and cheap. We’re not unhappy that 4th Street now has a Panera Bread, as long as Panera doesn’t put Toast in jeopardy. Lou will probably end up spending her New Year’s Eve at one of 4th Street Live fine establishments. So, I’m not anti-chain. I’m just pro Local, for all the reasons one should be.

Rant over.

Lots of love,

Bluegrass Hotel Project

When I first found out I was moving to Kentucky (I make it sound like it came as a surprise, but it was me who made the decision to move), the first thing I thought of was how happy I was to be moving to the "bluegrass" state. Back when Roommate and I were an item, and he lived in Tennessee and I lived in NOLA, my favorite parts of visiting him were getting to see great bluegrass music live.

I naturally assumed that my new life in Loueyville would be chock-full of hot, sexy, live bluegrass. But... not so much. I take some of the blame. I haven't been very good about tracking down the good stuff. But I find it funny that when I mention loving bluegrass music to my students, they react like I'd just declared my love for polka.

Anyway, the Bluegrass Hotel Project was announced today at the Jockey Silks Bar at the Galt House. It seems like it should be a bigger deal than the few paragraphs the CJ devoted to it.

Named after the Bluegrass Hotel, a Victorian mansion in Cherokee Park where
many of the musicians used to stay, the project will highlight a time and place
when musicians from around the country flocked to Louisville to play bluegrass.

The project will include a two-hour television documentary to be broadcast
this time next year, a CD, DVD and a book. It is being produced by former
Bluegrass Alliance member Bill Millet.

Sam Bush, one of the musicians on hand today, said he had his own place to
stay when he moved to Louisville from Bowling Green at the age of 18, but he
stayed some nights at the Bluegrass Hotel. He said he and the others were
at the press conference “because we all had a great experience when many of us
moved to Louisville in the early ’70s.”

Sam Bush was/is in town? Hopefully he'll be back on March 6 when the Galt House will be hosting a festival/concert to celebrate the project.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

$20 Art Show @ Mellwood Center Tonight

I remember the good ol' days when I used to buy my "art" at mall kiosks and from sidewalk vendors, when my "fancy" art was the poster that was--gasp-- nicely framed. Simpler times, my friends, simpler times.

While my taste has improved, my income... well, not appreciably. And that's why I love me some $20 Art Show goodness.

Last Downtown Trolley Hop, U of L hosted one such show in the Noir et Rouge Gallery at 333 E Market. I scored a gorgeous, framed oil painting by one Matthew Wallace, and I can't wait til I'm back in my house to put it on my wall. (And Matthew, honey, you hurry up and become a big and important star in the art world so I can hock that puppy on Ebay and retire early, ok?)

Tonight there's another such show at the Mellwood Art Center from 6p-9p. I learned my lesson at the U of L show; I went around an hour into the show and 75% of the stuff was sold. (Matthew, honey, I'm not saying that yours wouldn't have been my first choice anyway. It probably would have.)

Go early. Buy art. Feel festive.

BTW, as Michelle noted earlier on Consuming Louisville, there's a new-ish letter press in town, housed at the Mellwood. They were out at BBC during the Trolley Hop, giving away free coasters with Hunter S. quotes on them. Hound Dog Press will also be at the $20 art fair. All Mama wants for Christmas is funky letterpress business cards from Hound Dog Press. It's only $95 for 100 cards. Sniff. I've been a good girl all year long. Please.

Maybe if she bats her long lashes at the very cute boys who own the joint, she'll get a discount. Or one of the cute boys! Either one would do!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good Riddance 2008: Prime Scene

Not really MY scene, but I thought I'd add it because the venue is so pretty. Prime Lounge on Main St downtown is hosting J-Dub's 7th Annual NYE Party.

It's $30 and that includes a cocktail and a champagne toast.

Here's the flyer:

Good Riddance 2008: Bearnos and Butch by the Bridge

Bearno's by the Bridge is pretty smart in that they're offering free shuttles to area hotels. You couldn't pay me to be behind the wheel in this city on New Years' Eve. Honestly, I would rather not even be on the road. Louisvillagers love their drinking then driving, alas....

The NYE Party is 8pm-2am and includes: "Music by Strumbeat, Butch Rice and DJ Larry. Open bar, buffet, champagne toast, party favors." The cost is $80 pp or $130 per couple.

I haven't been able to find out more info about the food that they're offering, but they're primarily a pizza place.

I like this particular location-- right by the river bridge. I like Butch Rice, too. You can hit his website at or his MySpace page here. Kinda low key for a par-tay...

Good Riddance 2008: Asiatique Asian Fusion

Asiatique is a hot swanky restaurant in the Highlands. I've been twice and the food is always awesome. The price is right, foodwise, but alcohol is not included. And I'm way confused by the 2 hr table limit... but this is the 2nd best food option I've put on the list (next to Proof).

From their website:

Asiatique will feature a four course dinner for $65 per person. This price
does not include alcohol, tax or gratuity. Reservations made and
seated before 6:00 will be $45 per person. All seatings are for 2 hours
from the reservation time and are subject to additional
charges for reservations seated past the 2 hour limit.

You can check out the yummy menu

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good Riddance 2008: Blues is Alright for 2008

Stevie Ray's Blues Bar is the closest drinking establishment to our hotel. They're hosting a NYE party, but right now their website is a little sparce for information. Here's what it says: Table is for (4) people and are $150, this includes guranteed seat, 2 bottles of champagne, party favors and a night with The Predators. We only have 32 tables to sell...this night always sells out, last year all tables were sold before the week of Christmas.

It's hard to find out much information on the Predators-- googling "Predators Louisville" was a bit unproductive. But I did find this video. They look like your standard white guy blues band.

Thirty-two tables makes it seem like it would be a nice, manageable night.

Pros: Cost; I've yet to have a BAD time at Stevie Rays
Cons: the Blues seem appropriate til Midnight, but it would be nice to kick off the year with something more upbeat. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Good Riddance 2008: You Can't Not Be On A Boat

Rosencrantz: Do you think Death could possibly be a boat?

Guildenstern: No, no, no… Death is “not.” Death isn’t. Take my meaning? Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can’t not be on a boat.

Rosencrantz: I’ve frequently not been on boats.

Guildenstern: No, no. What you've been is not on boats.

I just went through this very same discussion with my students the other day when we were talking about "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" by Walt Whitman. You can't "not be" on a boat because even if you're totally still, even if you're asleep, even if you're dead, if you're on a boat, you're still moving. (technically, I said, you could be docked and not moving and I get that; it's the thought that counts) We'll have this same discussion when we talk about Huck Finn next semester-- not only are they on a raft and therefore always "be-ing," the raft is rudderless, so they're at the mercy of the stream.

Thought I'd interject some philosophy/lit into the discussion.

What better way to begin a new year than to be NOT "not be-ing" on a boat??

The Spirit of Louisville Riverboat is hosting a New Years' Gala from 10p-1am. Includes dinner and costs $55. Doesn't sound like there are any drinks involved. I have seen talk of live music in regards to this, but I haven't been able to find out who.

Pros: Profoundly symbolic

Cons: Probably a lot of grannies-- I do love grannies, though

Good Riddance 2008: 21c

My gut told me to omit this one because though I would reaaalllly like to go, it's also reallllly expensive. But how could I omit this option when the first sentences of the press release for the 21C New Years party speak so directly to my experience???

I may have to bring a flask of my own hooch to defray the cost! Drinks at Proof run about $8-12 a pop. If you were to do this, it might make sense to stay there, $$-wise.

Pros: One of my favorite places in Louisville. Great food. Cool environment

Cons: Will start 2009 in the hole! Bound to be wicked crowded.

The official press release says:

December 31, 2008
Let's face it, 2008 was a bummer. Bail yourself out of that funk with your friends at Proof on Main and 21c Museum Hotel.

If you'll be watching the ball drop elsewhere, Proof invites you to dine
from our signature Proof favorites. Our ala carte menu will be offered from
5:30pm to 7:00pm.

Beginning at 8pm, Chef Paley will offer diners a special pre-fixe tasting
menu. Enjoy four courses and a sampling of Proof sweets before heading
downstairs to a rocking party at 21c. Local favorite Hay DJ will be providing
the tunes in the atrium-turned-dance-lounge. The co st is $121 per person and
includes a four course tasting menu, party favors, and a champagne toast at

Stuck with prior dinner obligations? Join us in the 21c Lounge, created
solely for New Year's Eve, complete with DJ, dancefloor, balloon drop, and space
to kick back and sip bubbly. Eleven dollars and a new or gently used backpack
will get into the party, with the goods going to support Blessings with a
Backpack. (We'll let you in for $21 if you come empty-handed, but c'mon, pick up
a backpack! There are kiddos out there that need your help.) A cash bar will be
available and, of course, a champagne toast at midnight underneath the glow of
disco balls.

Easy Cinderella. There's no reason to rush home when the clock strikes
twelve. Your fairy godmother must have been looking out because 21c is offering
the deal of the century. For just $365 per couple, enjoy the pre-fixe dinner at
Proof, the party at 21c, and a luxurious room to call home for the night. Throw
in late check out plus a little continental breakfast to soak up last night's
fun, and 2009 is already looking up.

Good Riddance 2008: Vernon Club

I didn't even know this place existed-- I knew the bowling alley was there and have always wanted to go, but I didn't know there was a club attached. The reason I'm suggesting this is that the Tim Kreckel Orchestra is pretty cool and I lurve the website. It doesn't seem to have any food or drink attached to admission, but I thought I would include it because it kind of speaks to my aesthetic. Before you reject it, at least poke around the website.

Pros: Guaranteed good tunes
Cons: Unknown quantity

Good Riddance 2008: Not Jenicca's

I'm still feeling crappy about the closing of one of my favorite restaurants/wine bars last month. But it looks like the Jenicca's sisters aren't shutting the door on New Years. From the address on the invite, it looks like it will be hosted at Mayan Cafe down the street.

I'm not a huge Bond fan, but I am a fan of dressing up (at least I hope I'll be feeling like dressing up... hmmm... and although it will require a shopping trip because all my dress up clothes are in storage). I don't know if you're able to reserve a table, but here's the official email invite, email to find out:
The theme is the 1971 James Bond - "Diamonds are Forever"$20 cover, which includes one signature drink, small plate selections and a champagne toast at midnight. 8pm - 2am.
Dj - Jason Clark will be spinning movie themed music. Diamond are Forever will be projected on the wall. Come as your favorite James Bond character from the movie!!! Shoot us an email if you are planning to attend. or
Pros: bound to be a cool crowd
Cons: unknown quantity-- could be loud and crowded (uh, then what isn't on NYE?)

Good Riddance 2008: Sound Your Barbaric Howl Over the Roofs of Downtown

Ever since we "moved" downtown, Roommate has been saying that he wants to go to Howl at the Moon. In my mind, it's just a step up from karaoke, and I am no fan of karaoke. My rule of thumb about this kind of thing has always been: "would I want to date someone who I met at X?" And the answer for Howl at the Moon is "most likely no." (unless said person -- hopefully a Johnny Depp/Mike Rowe/Ira Glass/Craig Ferguson combo-- had been dragged there against his better judgement).

That being said, I can think of no better time to go to Howl at the Moon than New Years Eve: a night about spending time with good friends, not a night of trawling for hot dude action. It's pricey, but they do seem to pack a lot of stuff into the cover price.
When I lived in New Orleans, I used to be able to abide the "dueling pianos" at Pat O'Briens only when I was seriously in my cups, you know? But when I WAS in my cups, "dueling pianos" suddenly became a pretty good, fun idea... so who knows?
Pros: At $100/pp you're guaranteed seating, and that's a big deal on NYE. Open bar. Free buffet.
Cons: Uh, it's Howl at the Moon. Sorry, I'm still not sold on the "fun" quotient here. That being said, with a few of the open bar drinks under my belt, I'd probably have a great time.

New Years Haps 2008-2009

To quote the New Years' Eve press release from 21c, "Let's face it, 2008 was a bummer."

Heck yeah. Mama had a crapola year for the most part. Breast cancer. The smooshing of Casa de Lou during Hurricane Ike. All the attendant stress and questioning that comes hand-in-hand with suffering two big blows like that in the span of a couple of months.

On the sunny side, Lou is going to spend New Years 2008-09 celebrating the fact that 2008 could have been a MUCH bigger bummer than it was. The big "C" could have been much, much, much worse. The house smooshing looks like it will yield a bigger, better kitchen... some day. And 20 days after New Years Eve, we'll usher out Mr. It's Hard Work and usher in Mr. Yes We Can. Whoopee!!!

And on the sunny side, it looks like Lou will be hosting guests for New Years, so we're looking for something to do. If I had my 'druthers, I'd just host a party at my house, complete with a gigantic bonfire in which I and all my loved ones could bring all their 2008 baggage and burn it in a cathartic orgy of renewal and release. Alas, my house has neither electricity nor a bathroom... So I'm looking for the next best thing.

I'll be sharing my New Years' Eve research with you in a special series. If you have ideas or information, please either email them to or add them to the comments!

Bring on the hope, bring on the change, good riddance 2008!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bonnaroo 2009 Dates (and passed over again)

Bonnaroo 2009 dates announced today: June 11-14. Although I am well on my way to feeling better these days, Lou can't help but be a little sad that she won't be classified as "handicapped" this year. That was some convenient stuff! The 'Roo people are offering a "5 payments of $50" deal through Dec 31; get it if you can plan that far ahead...

In other music news, Britney Spears announced her US tour dates today. No Loueyville. So sad.