Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of 2009: Saying Goodbye to the Oh-ohs.

My mantra for the end of 2009 has been: "well, it was way better than 2008." And my hope for the new year and the new decade is that the forward progress continues. As I mentioned, the Oh-ohs have been a decade of challenge for Mama: death, divorce, Katrina, cancer, Ike, heartbreak, job loss, and other generic disasters too personal to mention (and in no particular order). Of course, over the course of the decade I also met lots of wonderful people (including Roommate and all y'all); bought a house; found my professional "calling;" survived cancer, Katrina, and Ike; and generally grew up, a lot.

So, all that being said, I thought I would make a year-end list of personal highlights. I'm completely unqualified to pass any sort of comprehensive judgment on any of these topics. This is all about what Mama dug and didn't dig in 2009.

Musical Discovery of 2009: The Low Anthem
Lots of "Best of 2009" music lists have listed The Avett Brothers right at the tippy top. But last night I was listening to Avett Brothers on World Cafe and thought, "they're doing the same thing that the Low Anthem does, but Low Anthem does it better." The Low Anthem's version of hymn-y Americana is more haunting, more wistful, and more melodious. I first discovered The Low Anthem when they opened for Lisa Hannigan, another fabulous discovery, at the first and last show I'll ever see at the 930 Listening Room (not going there again because they're part of the Sojourn church, and those Sojourners don't like the gays.). Check them out.

Best Thing I Put in My Mouth in 2009 (beverage category): Cider Manhattan at Theater Square Marketplace.
What I said here.

Best Thing I Put in My Mouth in 2009 (food category): Octopus Bagna Cauda at Proof
It can't be that hard to make-- it's just octopus and butter and garlicky goodness, but somehow I just can't imagine going to Proof and not ordering it. I know it's kind of cliche to cite a dish at one of our city's most tony restaurants, created by a superstar chef, so on a more plebeian-level, I also adore the Yum Yum roll at Oishi Sushi on Bardstown. It really lives up to its name.

Best new TV Show of 2009: Modern Family
Modern Family gives me renewed faith in the sitcom. The pilot is easily one of the top five funniest shows I've ever seen. And I'm a huge fan of anything including the adorable Julie Bowen. I'm also really digging Flash Forward. It almost filled the Lost-sized hole in my heart for the fall.

Best Movie Money Spent in 2009: (tie) Up & The Fantastic Mr. Fox
No, I don't have kids. And no, I don't know what it says about Hollywood 2009 that my two favorite movies of the year were animated. I saw a lot of movies this year-- it will be a fun year to watch the Oscars-- but nothing stands out the way that these two movies did. I also think The Frog Princess would make my top ten list. Maybe even my top five.

Best Thing I Read in 2009: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I know it wasn't published in 2009, but I just discovered it. It wasn't a great reading year for me. I'm still getting a handle on my attention span, post-chemo. One of my resolutions for 2009 is to get back on the reading and to get back on the updating of Lou Reads.

Best Theater I Saw in 2009: (tie) Absalom by Zoe Kazan and Lookingglass Alice by David Catlin
It would be impossible to decide between these two. Apples and oranges. Absalom was memorable, thought-provoking, beautifully-acted and -staged classic theater. Lookinglass was psychological spectacle. Both were worth the cost of an Actors Theater subscription by themselves.

And that counts as my Best Local Investment of 2009 (and every year I've lived here): a subscription to Actors Theater.

That being said, the Best Louisville Evening a Very Little Money Can Buy of 2009: a night at a Louisville Bats game. Especially when it's cheapo beer night. You can easily get a ticket, have a few beers and a hot dog, and while away a gorgeous summer night for less than going to see a movie and having popcorn and a coke.

Best Crazy Decision I Made in 2009: Saying "yes" when someone I hadn't seen in 15 years asked me to spend two weeks traveling around Newfoundland and Labrador with him.
That's pretty self-explanatory. Post-cancer, one of my resolutions was to say "yes" more often when presented with wild opportunities. Matt and I had a fantastic time, were fairly easy travel companions, and saw a part of the world that I certainly never would have sought out if left to my own devices. Turns out, when your friend is just a great guy in general, a 15-year gap in your shared history dissolves pretty fast.

Best Thing that Happened to Me in 2009: Making friends
Mama's a hermit at heart. Sometimes it takes threats, guilt, and a crowbar to get me out of the house. And my anti-social-ness has been facilitated these past few years by the (occasional) presence of Roommate-- I have a built-in activity buddy when Roommate is in town. But one of my resolutions in 2008 was to "talk to more strangers," and in January, I went to Michelle Jones's "Let them Tweet Cake" event and the Louisville Geek Dinner, where I met all kinds of fabulous geeky folks and was convinced to join Twitter. Then on Valentine's Day, I accepted a "blind-datish" invitation to a gathering of theater and public radio types at Ramsi's and met even more (with overlap). And now, I am proud to say that I have something that passes as a genuine social life. It's kind of amazing how much happier it has made me.

So, what categories have I missed? What are your "Best of 09's"?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cider Manhattan at the Theater Marketplace

This is a long-overdue follow-up to my November 9 post about Jeremy Edwards of Theater Square Marketplace on 4th Street and his Cider Manhattan which won the Manhattan Experience Manhattan contest in, um, Manhattan.

Well, you know how Mama loves her Manhattans, so you better bet that Roommate and I popped on by Theater Square Marketplace a few weeks ago to try one on for size. As luck would have it, Jeremy himself was tending bar. Super nice guy and clearly knows his stuff. He also gave us a sneak peek (or taste, really) of his New Year's drink. Something cranberry-ish and vanilla-ish and fizzy and super tasty.

But the real yummo here was the Cider Manhattan, which really did rank up there as perhaps the best Manhattan I've ever had. And let me tell you, I've had a lot of Manhattans. I started drinking Manhattans when I was still flirting with bouncers so they'd let me into the West End even though I was nineteen or so. (The West End being, of course, in Manhattan.)

The best thing about the Cider Manhattan was that it tasted like a Manhattan-- just better. Even though there's a cider reduction in there and even though he flame toasts the cherry to caramelize it and make it taste like cherry pie-- it still tastes like your grandpa's Manhattan. If your grandpa was a fancypants mixologist, like Jeremy. It's rich and thick and super smooth. And while it's pricey, I'd rather pay $12 for one of his drinks than $6 for two run-of-the-mill Manhattans.

I wish the cheese plate had been half as good as the drinks. I do love cheese, and the cheeses served were pretty good, but the servings were pretty small and the meats included were uninspiring considering the fact that there's a gourmet deli on premises.

I'll be back for the Manhattans, though. And I'm looking forward to whatever else Jeremy Edwards comes up with.

Running a Tighter Ship

FYI, loyal reader,

I know I've been getting a lot of comment spam lately, so I'm trying to clean up the site a little bit. I've also added some comment moderation, so I apologize in advance for putting you good people through a few hoops before you can comment on ye olde blogge.

Don't forget, you can always email me at lou (at), and I'm a veritable chatterbox on Twitter at @loueyville. You can also find me on Facebook at Louey Ville.

loads o' love...

Happy Holidays Area Bloggers Randomness

Hey kids, Mama's home.

So sorry for the radio silence, but Big Mama Lou and I hoofed it down to New Orleans for a few days of Abita, oysters, music, and festivities. Big Mama left on the 23rd, and I enjoyed a lovely couple of days flying solo, visiting with Louisville friends also in NOLA, and spending the holidays with one of my favorite families in the world. Good times.

But not much Louisville-related new here at Loueyville. Time to start thinking about New Years' plans and resolutions. You know, the 00's (oh-ohs) weren't very good to Mama. I will not be sad to see them go, but I'm thinking I will celebrate their passing in a pretty low-key way.

Anyway, enough about me.
  • Congrats to the lovely Michelle on Consuming Louisville's new look-- sexy!-- and for getting banned at Humana for being a "web log." (My Loueyville is banned at my Meatspace workplace, which is why I almost never update during the day).
  • Also all kinds of love to Michelle for putting together a master ("mistress") Blog roll for the metro area. Check it out at: Louisville Blogs. If you're an area blogger, add your blog! There sure are a lot of us blogging away in the Ville!
  • I had to nuke my Google Reader list when I got home-- something like 900 articles to read. But I always take the time to read Consuming Louisville, Broken Sidewalk, and bits and pieces of Jake Payne's two blogs before chucking the rest of the list. Check out Branden Klayko's great article on the new Patrick O'Shea's restaurant set to open on Main Street by the arena in just a few weeks. Beautiful pictures, too.
And that's all I've got for yis for now. xo

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mama Needs A Date: U of L Women's game tomorrow

I know! The story of my life, right? 

But I received a nice little gift of two FLOOR seats for the U of L Women's game tomorrow night against Middle Tennessee State.  And my usual cohort-in-sports, Roommate, is once again leaving the city tomorrow morning.  So I need a pal.  And I thought I would give a shout out to the universe to see if the universe would deliver. 

Now, this gift was 100% unrelated to my blog habit, so this isn't a freebie that I need to be all democratic and "fair" with. This is totally personal. So I can't promise that the first person who emails me at will get to come with.  There are folks I owe favors to out there in the world, and if one of 'em wants to cash in for a free trip to Freedom Hall (I'm looking at you @mizhellion, my IdeaFest goddess), they'll get the ticket. 

This date thing is gender neutral.  And species neutral (It's crazy the stuff you have to say now that @Fairdalebigfoot is hanging out in town).   Although only one gender and species has any chance of getting past first base. Or even to first base. I'm old school like that.

Seriously though, please be laughing with me.  Mama isn't seriously looking for a date.  But if you want to go to see the U of L women play MTS tomorrow at 7pm at Freedom Hall, drop me a note at THIS EMAIL ADDRESS:  

Not the usual email address. Not the comments.  Not twitter.

I'll email y'all back tomorrow by noon-ish.  xo

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Open Letter to Local Nerd: Louisville Dude Builds "Working" Stargate

Dear Jacob Yarmuth, Loueyvillager nerd with serious disposable income,

Please invite me to your house to check out your very sweet Stargate media room. I see you have seating for two (at least). I will bring my copy of Jaws (what? It doesn't just show nerdy flicks, does it? And I've been dying to see Jaws on the big screen for years.), and all the ingredients to cook up a nice batch of Lou's famous hot buttered rum.

I play very well with others. I don't talk during movies. And I love, love, love things with flashing lights and fancy buttons.

Thank you for your consideration,
All the best,

PS. I'm single.

Check out Jacob Yarmuth's nerdtastically awesome room on SciFi Wire.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Louisville Music Fest Announcment Falls on (my) Deaf Ears

Today the Forecastle folks announced an all electronic line-up for its Halfway to Forecastle Fest Fest. And like yesterday's post re: the HullabaLOU line-up, my response is a resounding: "Meh."

I'm hardly a music aficionado, but I do love, love, love my yearly Bonnaroo trip. And every year I go to Bonnaroo, I lap up the offerings. I love a significant majority of the headliners; I treasure bumping into new and offbeat bands I've never heard of. I come away every year with new favorites and a greater appreciation for old favorites.

Likewise, I'm always deeply disappointed that I can't go to other festivals. I am always envious of folks who go to Coachella. Nearly every year, I lament not living in New Orleans still during the New Orleans Jazz Festival and the newer Voodoo Music Festival. I've been enthralled by the line-up for recent Lollapaloozas.

But HullabaLOU and Halfway to Forecastle? I'm sure to skip the Halfway to Forecastle and likely to skip HullabaLOU. Disappointing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hullabahuh? Maybe your mother's music festival. Or your aunt's.

[spoiler alert: this is seriously going to reveal my age.]

Once upon a time in a land far, far away a very little Lou lived in an apartment attached to the house of her Great Aunt Rose. Great Aunt Rose was everything the name implies. She was a large Portuguese woman, a woman of a seemingly bottomless appetite for sweets and an equally bottomless capacity for love. And although she seemed very old to Lou at the time, she was probably only in her late 50's or early 60's. Each morning, Aunt Rose chose her daily hairstyle from a buffet of nigh-identical glossy black wigs and her wardrobe from a closet full of tropical printed knee-length mu-mus, which she paired with knee socks and black, high heeled, lace-up shoes.

Aunt Rose didn't have grandchildren of her own (yet), so she liked nothing more than to spoil little Lou with peanut butter and fluff sandwiches, hugs and kisses, and cuddles on the couch while watching tv. All Aunt Rose watched were soaps (her "stories") and variety shows.

Aunt Rose loved music. Her favorites included Englebert Humperdink, Liberace, Tony Orlando, and Gordon Lightfoot. But the man of her dreams was Tom Jones. (Several decades later, little Lou, in her twenties, had the opportunity to interview Tom Jones for a newspaper. She got to tell him about Aunt Rose. Tom Jones gave Lou two kisses-- one to share with Aunt Rose. But Aunt Rose never got that kiss; she died shortly thereafter.)

But shortly before Lou left that apartment over Aunt Rose's house to move to a different state, Aunt Rose found herself another love. A love she might love more than Tom Jones. It was that "nice-looking boy from New Jersey. Bruce Springstein." Springstein... like the Jewish pharmacist at the Osco Drug next to Purity Market. When pressed as to why she liked this upstart, she'd say she liked the "Born in the USA" song and that he had "a nice bum."

So the internets are a-buzz about this new HullabaLOU music festival debuting at Churchill Downs July 23-25, 2010. You know how much Mama loves a good outdoor music festival. New Orleans Jazz Fest (held at the Churchill New Orleans Fairgrounds property) used to be my most favoritest time of the year. And this year looks like the first year I'll be missing Bonnaroo since I started going three years ago. So I was all a-dither when I saw the announcement.

And when I saw the line-up? Well, I kind of thought of Great Aunt Rose. Actually, truth be told, I thought of a different aunt. The Aunt Rose heir-apparent Aunt who loves all those classic rock bands from her youth (38 Special, the Steve Miller Band, Kansas, the Doobie Brothers) but can still wax poetic about Dave Matthew's "nice bum" when fully tucked into her wine coolers.

Sure, there's a little something for almost everyone-- a little Gladys and Al for the soulsters, a little Govt Mule and DMB for the jam banders, a little Dwight and Loretta for Mama, a little Richard Marx for... WHO?? WHO the HECK is looking forward to Richard Marx??

But you've gotta wonder who these folks consulted with when planning this festival. My big hope is that, like Jazz Fest, they'll keep adding acts right up til showtime.

C'mon organizers: let's look at festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella for line-up additions (step away from the casino tour circuit regulars!!). Maybe a little Prince? A little Leonard Cohen, perhaps? MMJ? U2? How 'bout that lovely Jewish pharmacist with the nice bum... that Springstein guy? I'm just saying. Aunt Rose would have been thrilled.