Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tailgating Louisville

College GameDay, Football and Bourbon

By Doc Lawrence

LOUISVILLE, KY-Few events equal this river city’s Kentucky Derby, but perhaps this week’s college football game between 10th ranked Louisville and 2nd ranked FSU is as close as reasonably possible. Louisville is a tourist’s best dream come true: world-class restaurants, pedestrian friendly sidewalks, riverboat cruises on the Ohio River, the Muhammad Ali Museum, a heralded center for new American plays and a classic American beverage.

This is planet earth’s Bourbon headquarters, the home of the classic cocktail, the Old Fashioned. Bourbon is to Louisville as Coca-Cola is to Atlanta.

Louisville beside the Ohio River
Saturday, before the kickoff, one of the nation's most recognizable sports shows, "College GameDay," ESPN's long-running, Saturday morning college football pregame show entertains for two hours. In its 30th season, GameDay’s hosts include former FSU player and Louisville football coach Lee Corso, ESPN veteran Rece Davis, former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit joined by Michigan legend and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard and former Georgia defensive lineman David Pollack. Samantha Ponder, a Florida State grad also appears each week.
Samantha Ponder

The show, a derivative of the tailgating culture, is almost totally festive and is wildly popular with local fans and a huge national TV audience.

College GameDay will have a celebrity guest with ties to Louisville to help pick the winners of the Saturday main events on the college football menu. The list of possibilities is endless. ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Hollywood’s George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence and NFL Hall of Fame great Paul Hornung are just a few with stellar Louisville credentials.


Breakfast: Noosh Nosh
Lunch: Wagner’s Pharmacy
Dinner: Brendon’s Catch 23;
Volare Ristorante;
Butchertown Grocery

Bourbon Bar: The Haymarket Whiskey Bar has hundreds of choices. Owner Matthew Landen is a nationally recognized Bourbon wizard. Best bar atmosphere this side of the French Quarter.

Distillery Tour: Peerless Distillery is located in downtown Louisville. Their history parallels the evolution of Kentucky Bourbon. It’s family owned. Chairman Corky Taylor brilliantly represents their fourth Generation.

No tour of Louisville is complete without a copy of The Bourbon Tasting Notebook by Susan Reigler and Michael Veach..

Monday, September 12, 2016

In The Heights

Sunday Afternoon in Atlanta

“The street’s a little kinder, when you’re home.”

        ~Benny to Nina from In the Heights
By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA-Hope is the theme for Theatrical Outfit this season. Tom Key, the founder and artistic director said that when he heard the brilliant cast of In the Heights  sing “Alabanzia,” (lift all things, even this thing to God’s face) he was overwhelmed with tears of hope.

From its inception Theatrical Outfit has nurtured our conscious, prompting examination and introspection while honoring institutions like family and home. The stage is a vehicle in the global community and the current production of In the Heights, transported a packed audience from Atlanta to the community near New York City’s George Washington Bridge. The dancing, singing and music became a cultural bridge from the Dominican Republic to urban America.

We’ve changed as a people since the days depicted in West Side Story. The music and lyrics by wunderkind Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) serves as an exuberant big city production celebrating street life as he lived it and the people who built their stores and their lives in his neighborhood.

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While the story is about a New York City community, there is local significance. The staff of In the Heights from director Justin Anderson on down to cast members illustrates something Tom Key told me 10 years ago. Atlanta, as the credits confirm, is loaded with great talent and this reservoir is going to get deeper and richer.

Ricardo Aponte’s dazzling choreography alternates the major on stage moments with an ebb and flow like sophisticated ocean waves. The cast is exceptional and the Rialto Center is large enough to embrace the magnificent set and project all the action. 

Atlanta’s diverse neighborhoods now have different people who speak many languages. These are components of a strong community and In the Heights serves to entertain and introduce us. Everything comes together, making you very proud to live in Atlanta, a region where the future of the arts is very bright.

In the Heights received four Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Book by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Directed by Justin Anderson
Musical Direction by Ann-Carol Pence
Choreography by Ricardo Aponte