Since moving to Louisville, I’ve been lucky to make friends with someone I consider to be an amazing artist and an even better friend. I met Patrick Jilbert in 2011. I bought a painting of his on my first visit to Louisville in 2009, and I liked it so much I commissioned him to paint me another. That first initial meeting solidified a friendship that continues to this day.
(Below: a typical Jilbert doodle from his art blog - - - an interview on his artwork to come…)
This year has been crazy, and lately I’ve been saying YES to some pretty daring activities. One thing you may not know about Patrick is that he’s an explorer and one heck of a photographer (follow him on instagram or flickr and see for yourself). A few weeks ago, he invited me to explore an abandoned community in Charlestown, IN called River Ridge. Below is a photo he took from an old, abandoned house onto the old water tower in the neighborhood.
Below is a bathtub in another abandoned house… Someone said (on instagram) “it looks like someone harvested a kidney there.” Indeed, it was Creep Deep…
I take pictures, but I don’t consider myself an artist per se… I just like keeping archives of where I go and what I do. I’ve been inspired to know Patrick because he has an adventurous spirit and a fantastic eye. I’ve also been able to “discover Louisville” (cough cough, I know…dorky) in a way that I never imagined through him… He is what you’d call an urban explorer. He pokes around in places that some are afraid to go, and he takes beautiful shots that document his experiences… Below, see a bell tower in a local church…
If you’re looking to see parts of our town that you’ve never been brave or creative enough to find (it’s not a knock, people - we don’t all have time to explore our sweet city), you should totally follow Patrick Jilbert’s blogs and flickr. He’s in the process of creating his own urban explorer blog with photos and helpful tips of how to become an explorer yourself. In the meantime, enjoy his photos and his unique perception of Louisville and the surrounding areas. And buy his artwork, people. An interview with him about his upcoming July Green Building show is coming soon…
Creep Deep Dot Com - Jilbert’s photo blog
And finally, Jilbert’s artwork/blog
I know, I know…your dance card is already loaded with Derby events - - - but I DO know this about you: you will be hungover on Sunday. And when you wake up and pound those two Advil and wonder, “what on the face of this planet am I going to eat this morning…ugh…cooking sounds like its own form of torture,” I want you to remember this blog post and go to where those food trucks are parked…
According to Nuts N Stuff, this Sunday (May 5 from 11 am - 4 pm) East Kentucky Street between Brent and Barret “will be blocked off so that you can wonder among the businesses and booths, and there will be Four Food Trucks for your dining pleasure: Red’s Comfort Foods, Black Rock Grille, Genius in a Box and the Louisville Dessert Truck… hmmmmm Bourbon Brownies.
Nuts N Stuff will be sampling the world famous Klaus’s Pretzel Bread as well as selling it. And you can count on the beer cheese too! And other samples as well. Fresh Ground Peanut Butter on crackers, Roasted Salted Deluxe Mixed Nuts and fresh brewed coffee.
They’re called the Hungover Games for a reason. There will be GAMES. Nuts N Stuff is going to have a guess how many is in the jar. The winner gets the contents of the jar or if they prefer then they can have a Gift Certificate good at Nuts N Stuff.
Besides Nuts N Stuff, other neighborhood businesses participating will be: Regalo, Artists & Craftsman, Revelry and Nitty Gritty.”
My sweet friend Paul LePree (of Ultra-Pop fame - see the new store on Barret Avenue in the photo below) will be sharing the dj spot with Clay Baker. ”I’ll be playing a little of everything,” said LePree with a smile. “Stoner metal, hair metal, post-punk…everything.”
So drag yourself out of bed this Sunday…unpin that fascinator hat…replace that suit you wore to the Barnstable Brown Party with a comfy t-shirt and shorts…and go to The Hungover Games. Eat some food. Play ping pong. Enjoy the camaraderie. Enter the ugly hat contest (so, maybe just glue some stuff to your fascinator and keep it pinned in your hair)… It will be a fun time!
The Hungover Games
Sunday, May 5, from 11 to 4.
East Kentucky Street, between Brent and Barret.
I’ll admit it…I don’t go to a lot of concerts, but I’m looking forward to this show, and I think you should check it out. This Thursday, Bill Callahan is playing at Headliners. My pal Sean Bailey of Louisville MUSICulture is doing his usual ticket giveway on his facebook page. Try for it! Details below:
A lot is going on in Louisville this weekend… Want me to plan your day?
This morning, walk to 3rd street (my favorite place for watchin’) or go downtown to cheer on the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon Runners. There is nothing more exciting than seeing smiling faces while you’re running this race. TRUST me. It got me through my first mini in 2011.
After that, go check out the 42nd Annual Cherokee Triangle Art Fair:
Their Facebook page says it all. Need to knows:
Saturday, April 27th from 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Artist booths close at 6:00
Food, beer, wine and live music continue till 8:00
Willow Park, Cherokee Triangle, Louisville, Ky, Louisville, Kentucky 40204
If you feel like drinking beer in the street, go to the Schnitzelburg Spring Walk:
According to the Facebook event: It’s that time of year again. It’s a tradition in our area. Neighbors, friends, and family gather up and down Hickory Street in Schnitzelburg for a big party. Lots of good food and music. All of the pubs in the Germantown-Schnitzelburg area have something going on. Hop around if you want. Check them all out.
The website cites Check’s address (1101 E. Burnett Street) as a nice place to start. Honestly, last year, we loaded my bag with canned beer and walked the neighborhood streets. It was a great time, and the corn dogs were delicious.
Today has the possibility of being VERY exciting! Go celebrate your city!!!
Two years ago, I met one of the greatest friends and colleagues on the planet, Mr. Eric Bookstrom (us below).
We shared a school building with our respective ESL Newcomer Academy and The Academy @ Shawnee, but long ago the doors between the two schools were closed and locked due to upsetting behavior based on stereotypes. Basically, students were being mean to each other based on differences…
In the spring of 2012, I mentioned to Eric that my students wrote 10-minute plays and I was really proud of them. ”My students are writing short scenes about animals,” he replied. ”Maybe your students could edit my students’ work and we could collaborate one day?” ”YES!” I chirped back. I love collaborating with teachers, and I love ESL students. So Eric gave my classes the short scenes, I taught my kids how to edit with both positive and constructive feedback, and our kids combined for a pretty amazing day of peer editing.
And then we realized something - - - the kids were so excited work together that they wanted to do it again - - - and then the idea was born: we decided to try collaborating once a week for an entire school year with one class. As we made plans, Eric procured a grant from Walden Theatre Company to bring acting teachers to our shared group…and Connecting Cultures was born.
The process was as follows:
1) Walden led our classes for 9 weeks in acting activities that worked our kids through long-held stereotypes and fear… They filled out questionnaires about their feelings, they kept journals about their homes and their lives, and they wrote and filmed memoirs, which they gave to Walden to use for playwriting.
2) Walden Theatre used compiled information to lead their conservatory students in writing a play about the Shawnee/Newcomer experience in America.
3) Today was the first performance at the Shawnee/ESL Newcomer Academy. They performed the show 3 times to both schools who sat together as a learning community. Students watched in awe as they listened to stories from their peers; some laughed and some cried as they recognized friends’ stories being acted on stage. And the kids who saw themselves depicted on stage (nearly every student in the collar class) learned the power of writing today…
I have a lot to say about this collaboration between the ESL Newcomer Academy and Shawnee…it’s been amazing. But that sounds too trite and too vague to hear it from me. Of course I’m proud of all of it. Eric and I want all of our students to learn tolerance, to become citizens of the world, and to be open to differences… But for me, the ultimate success was proven in a reflection from one of my tougher students who said, “In the past, I would have made fun of the Newcomer kids because they are different. But now that I’ve taken the time to get to know them, I will never do that again. Instead, when people are different, I will be patient and get to know who they are before I judge. The collaboration taught me that.”
Fact: the kids involved in the collaboration have made lifelong friendships with kids from all over the world. Fact: the kids involved in the collaboration have had significant gains in English II, and I believe it’s because their communication skills were tested in a big way every week. Fact: the kids involved in the collaboration are better at taking chances now that they’ve had theatre classes. Their bravery shows in every test they take and in every project the tackle. Theatre is important. Connecting cultures is important. Being a global citizen is important. And every one of my students understands why because of the work of Walden Theatre.
I’m still processing everything from today, honestly. But I’m SO proud of our students, and I am SO thankful to Walden Theatre for providing such a grand opportunity. Please come out and see the show this weekend. It’s free, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s important.
Click here for the event on Facebook and JOIN US.
Public performances will be held on the Nancy Niles Sexton Stage (1123 Payne Street, Louisville 40204), and all are free of charge and open to the public. Reservations are recommended.
Call 502.589.0084 to reserve or for more information.
April 27 (Saturday) @ 7:30pm
April 28 (Sunday) @ 2:00pm
April 28 (Sunday) @ 7:30pm
*I am going at 2PM on Sunday, and I will be tearing tickets at the door. COME!
Today I have a sweet success story about this pretty baby you see above:
My new roommate Priscilla found a lost dog in our Germantown neighborhood. She posted pictures on facebook and asked around, but had no luck by the time I came home from work today. Immediately, I called up my friend Erin (former PR lady of KHS) and asked her, “what should we do?” Friend Erin’s advice had us connected to the owner within 5 minutes of the phone call.
What you can do if you find a lost animal:
1) KHS takes pets, but they only do it by appointment. Go ahead and call as soon as you find the animal and schedule a time to take it in. But note: it’s a $25 fee to process/admit an animal (probably why so many jerks throw “discarded pets” over the fence).
2) While you’re on the phone with KHS, ask if anyone called about a lost animal that day. That is EXACTLY how Priscilla found the owner. He was the only one who called in - - - a very lucky find for us.
3) If you’re waiting on KHS (for your scheduled appointment time) and are feeling REALLY antsy, local vets will scan the animals for a microchip free of charge. Just call and make sure. KHS does this too, but again, make that appointment.
On the same note, if you lose an animal, call KHS and leave your information. Good people like roommate Priscilla call. Indeed, this found sweet thing was in Germantown luxary all day. P-funk even fed him, and our dogs played with him all day…
For KHS locations and hours, click this link.
My friend Daniel Duncan is the grand master of my favorite store in town: Greenhaus. I’ve written about Greenhaus before, but in a nutshell, it’s a store where you can find everything good… Vintage modern furniture, fine beer and wine, succulent plants, and delicious Cellar Door Chocolates fill the space. I’ve been known to steal wine from his tastings (sorry about that, gluggg gluggg) and to come by for, ahhhhh, 15 truffles depending on if my school day was good or bad.
Daniel’s brother Jacob Duncan, is the leader, composer, arranger and alto saxophonist of the Liberation Prophecy (check out their bio to read more great stuff about this band). DD’s Greenhaus has become the spot for the JD’s Liberation Living Room. The Libreration Prophecy’s kickstarter explains exactly what the project is about (the video is filled with super-cute kiddos), but for YOU, below is their mission statement:
“We are so excited about this music, and want to bring it to everyone that we can in 2013 and beyond. The band is filled with experienced, prodigious and congenial musicians and teachers. So, along with our mission of bringing the music to the fans, we also have a community-based mission: We want to bring the music and spirit of original and collaborative creativity, songwriting and improvisations, via seminars and concerts, to youth programs, colleges, and schools—locally, regionally, nationally and worldwide.”
(above - the last Liberation Living Room with Bonnie “Prince” Billy)
According to my good pal Jeffrey Lee Puckett, “Jacob Duncan is a musician, father and social worker with a special interest in helping troubled children. It’s a package deal for him, a collection of passions that inform and direct his life. Duncan and his band, Liberation Prophecy, are the hosts of Liberation Living Room, an inspired concert series designed for children but completely free of what’s normally considered to be children’s music.”
The concerts have been a hit, but the responses for their shows have been overwhelming… So… The way to get a ticket is to enter their ticket raffle through their Facebook page. The information is below:
The April 19th Liberation Living Room filming for free kiddo+2 guests limited seating ticket raffle will end tomorrow, wednesday april 17th, at 6pm. To enter: go to Liberation Prophecy’s Facebook April 11th’s status, read instructions and share (button at bottom left) on your page. So far, the response has been absolutely overwhelming! If you have any questions, just post here in the comment section.
****How to share the Liberation Living Room flier so we can KNOW WHO YOU ARE, and can put your name in the raffle. *****
1) Click “share” under the Liberation Living Room poster on the Liberation Prophecy Facebook page.
2) To the left of the “Share Photo” button, change the drop-down menu to say “PUBLIC.”
3) Write whatever you would like in the status and click “Share Photo.”
If you forgot to do this and have already shared, no big deal! Just share it again, and make sure it’s public. We want your name in the raffle, and we don’t want to miss anybody :) Thanks!!!
Learn how to win FREE tickets for the filming of this episode of Liberation Living Room at the Liberation Prophecy Facebook page. Tickets are for children ages 5-13 only.
Each child may bring up to two guests of any age.
To get a ticket, follow these steps:
1) Like the Liberation Prophecy Facebook page.
2) Share this poster from the Liberation Prophecy page on your own Facebook page.
3) Important: Be sure to enable your sharing setting, so we can see who shared.
4) To put an extra chance in the raffle, follow steps 1-3, and then visit the Greenhaus in Schnitzelberg to put your name in the fishbowl!
1) To unite artists of different genres and mediums in casual, yet fun and substantial conversations.
2) To commune in each other’s art and stories.
3) To promote generational connection and conversation.
4) To broaden the audiences of unconventional artistic mediums.
“The idea is simple and inspired.” -Jeffrey Lee Puckett
Read a recent article by Jeffrey Lee Puckett about Liberation Prophecy’s Liberation Living Room.
Liberation Prophecy’s Liberation Living Room
Life is complicated. Stressful sometimes. Lovely always…if you remember how lucky you are to be in this moment.
AHHHHHH, the moment.
The wall at Tyler Park looks like a waterfall of green if you look at it too fast while driving in your car. When I first visited Louisville, this park stuck out in my mind because it’s just…beautiful… It’s a small park, but it has everything you need…a place to hit a baseball with your dad, a place to run, a playground, and little patches of green solitude for thinking, reading, and participating in amazing yoga classes with your pals.
How would I describe Laura’s teaching? Real. Full of sweetness. Truthful. When I take her classes, I forget so many things… I forget that I’m in public and people can totally check out my rump when doing a downward dog. I forget that I’m not THAT great at yoga - - - I just feel like a little kid at play. That little girl in my heart who refuses to die comes out… I do handstands with my friends, I smile a lot, and I unwind. And when the class is over, I feel level.
I encourage you, whether you’re the most centered yogi in the land or the most awkward beginner who ever walked the sticky mat, come and join us on a Sunday. Laura gets to the park at 4, and often a group walks with her from her Highlands house. I meet and park there, and we go to the lower level of Tyler by the stone wall. It’s a $10 class, and it lasts until 5:30 - an awesome bang for your buck if you ask me.
Sundays - 4 - 5:30 at Tyler Park.
*I promise you THIS won’t happen to you if you go to yoga.
I’ve been a girl on a bicycle since around 2006 when my friend N8 told me he was going to teach me how to take a left on a busy Chicago street. Someone had just given me a mountain bike, and I was scared to ride it in the city even though I longed to ride everywhere I could… So, being a solid friend, N8 took me out for the day. He trained me how to ride on the busy lakefront sidewalk, how to get around Wicker Park like a pro, how to take a left, and, most importantly, how to trudge up the insane parking lot incline of Trader Joe’s off of North Avenue.
I live in Louisville now, and though it’s not as bike friendly as Chicago, it’s not hard to bike here…not at all. Lucky for us, the City of Parks project provides biking trails around the city. Last week, I braved the Riverwalk Trail to Portland with friend Priscilla.
This view never gets old…
From Germantown to Portland and back doesn’t take long…unless you want to kill some time exploring, which you totally should considering our sweet city is full of hidden beauty. We headed towards the river from Swan Street…a little down Barrett, over on Lexington… We just went until we hit water. The sidewalk was pretty empty on our ride - even at 5:00 in the afternoon - and the downtown was slowly losing the trickle of steady traffic that plagues it during the day.
Riding by water can bring peace… And the mist on my face and the sun in my eyes made me want to push on…
I teach high school in the Portland neighborhood, so I was tickled to run into, oh, LOTS of students I know…one on the trail and many on their porches once Priscilla and I hit the neighborhood streets. This familiarity made me feel happy to live in Louisville. I moved here in 2010 and have always felt lucky at the steady pulse of good friends ready to have an adventure that always seem headed my way.
This bike ride wasn’t my first rodeo with friend P, having biked with her a little to Butchertown the year before. She took me to (above) an old house facade median, and I walked the bricks and looked out of the doorway into the world before me…
(above - March 2012)
And there I was, again with Priscilla, looking into the depths of Louisville…at places where some people are afraid to ride.
Don’t be afraid of Portland.
And don’t be intimidated to ride your bike in Louisville. There’s so much to see…
The hidden squirrel on Broadway and Barrett:
The tops of old, beautiful factories:
And the view back in from the Belvedere:
I’m no pro, but I’ve taught friends in town “how to ride” and my advice comes from N8 from way back in the day:
1) Always stay 3 feet to the left of a parked car… You never know if someone is going to door you.
2) Be a dick. You’re a vehicle. Cars will pass you…just don’t taunt them. But…some of them MIGHT deserve the finger…most cars deserve it on St. Patrick’s Day parade days.
3) Always be at least a couple blocks ahead of yourself mentally - don’t zone out because it could mean your life…
4) Don’t talk on the phone on a bike.
5) Be brave. Hand signals work. Bells alert people you’re around. And, for goodness sakes, if you’re creeping behind someone who is walking and you are on your bike (esp. on the trail) a gentle “to your left” will alert said walker to get out of your way.
The more I venture out, the more I appreciate. The more I walk and bike, the more I see. And now that the sun is out, there’s no excuse not to run and play and see the hidden gems in Louisville. Whether your jam is the new pedi bridge or you’re finally going to ride the path to Portland, there is a beauty to be seen.
Bike shops you might like:
*All pictures with retro fade taken by Priscilla Summers of KoPilot Press.
I’ve been trying to remember the important things these days… Work has me so stressed out… No matter what I try, there’s always one more spreadsheet with test scores and “who hasn’t hit what standard” to make. I feel like a robot. A drone. A person who only cares about test scores and not the person - the child - the student - trying to have a good life AND complete every quiz I throw at them because the district needs results. So… I’m going back to my roots. Why did I become a teacher? To be real with kids about life; to help them in areas where I didn’t receive the help I needed as a young adult; to teach compassion and how to be a citizen of the world.
I have a collab class with a pal of mine - friend Eric - and he is one of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever met. When he has a stressful day at school, he goes for a walk around the building and spreads joy, not a bad attitude (and I am guilty of spreading my poison when I feel that I’m at the end of my rope). Eric teaches ESL. He fits the part - he’s a Peace Corps guy…a traveler…he knows a lot about STUFF. When my students are with him in the collab class, he’s just so positive and easy-going. They like him more than me - I don’t blame them - so I’ve started to watch what makes him special. And then I realized it: he doesn’t get sucked into the doom and gloom of test scores. He’s still right there caring about the kid first. Realizing this, I started getting into his groove - getting back to my roots - caring more about the person and the process, not just the results and what it says about me as an instructor. Because it’s not about how “good” of a teacher I am…it’s about teaching kids how lovely life can be with an education and a good heart.
Eric and I have a partnership with Walden Theatre - they have a Conservatory where they give acting classes to high school students - and we recruited 5 students to take classes there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’ve been carpooling like Ma and Pa Teacher, and Eric started taking the kids for tea at the Global Market on 8th Street before Walden classes. The other week, I threw caution to the wind and said, “I’m coming to tea TOO!” So I did, and he and Caleb gave me a tour. And something happened…
Above, you see student Caleb and friend Eric waiting for tea at the African Coffee Shop. Although women can go in and order, the coffee shop is a boys’ club. If you’re a girl and have manners, wait at the counter and don’t run around the tables and chairs. The tea is pretty amazing - it’s $1 and tastes better than a Chai from any fancy joint - I get mine with one sugar, but my students like it as sweet as it comes.
Yes, students. The numbers keep growing. Eric has started something magical, and I’m along for the ride: Tea at the Global Food Market has become “a thing.” And it’s lovely. Our little acting group is becoming a diversity club by accident. The play they are working on with Walden is about their collab class (20 ESL students and 20 Comp students) and their experiences together and in this country. So, during school they have diversity on the brain, after school we go for global tea and they experience something different than the American norm, and then the kids go to a few hours of acting classes in the evening.
Did I mention the tea place sells amazing samosas? $1 each. Our routine: we get a tea, a bag of samosas, and stand on 8th street eating, sipping, and talking. Kids who have never tried any food “besides Chinese take-out” are opening their minds to more than just fish samosas - - - they are learning about new cultures - different manners - new languages - patient communication. And the conversations we have - about life and food and funny things that happened that day - about music and dancing and books and…everything. Just everything. Nothing compares to those conversations. And sometimes we run into students from the ESL class at the market, and everyone hugs and says hello, and it feels like family. And sometimes I blink and smile and get quiet and just watch the interaction - the happiness around me - and I see life’s beauty for what it is…and I can’t find the words…
(Caleb and Eric by our cars snacking)
But I left you hanging (kind of). Earlier I said “something happened at the Global Market” - - - yes. Indeed.
One little thing - spending time and getting to know my students in a new way - has saved me. I can’t explain it, but these days at the Global Market are making me a better teacher. Happier. Lighter. Less worried. My eyes are sparkling again. I’ve slowed down to smell the samosas. And, to add to my joy, the test scores are going up. Of course they are…because we’re joyful again.
*If you want to take a date to the Global Market, it’s on the corner of 8th and York, on the outskirts of Old Louisville. There is a market inside where you can buy goat and camel if that’s your deal:
You will also find a restaurant and all kinds of interesting shops. Please check it out. And tip my sweet new pal at the African Coffee Shop well - he makes an amazing tea. But ladies, please mind your manners and stay by the counter/door when you order.
737 S 8th St
Louisville, KY 40203