A COMEDY TONIGHT!

Comedy of Errors

 

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Saw a production of Kentucky Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors in Central Park last night in Old Louisville. Matt Wallace’s merry band of players brought this hilarious play of mistaken identity to vivid life on the outdoor stage. Even if you don’t understand every single word of the Elizabethan tongue you will have no problem following the action.

Kudos to Matt Wallace for his fine directing and stage blocking. Many scenes were staged to look like paintings or tableaus. And the costumes! Divine. Colorful, flowing, rich, sensuous materials; candy to the eye and music to the ear. All against a color coordinated set dominated by brown with white furniture, windows, doors, and lattice works. Baskets of brightly colored fruits and vegetable accented the tables.

At no time did the action drag. As one character leaves the stage another enters, usually talking.

Really liked the Greek dance at the end.  A nice grace note to end upon.

All in all, it was a Comedy Tonight!

 

MY NEW DIGS

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In a few days I will be moving into my new digs located in Old Louisville. I’ll be moving there from St. Mathews which is in the East end of Louisville and rather tony, if you get my drift. This will be my fourth move since I moved back to Louisville in  2012 maintaining a life long habit of moving every few years.

First I lived in the Highlands, which I loved, then out Westport Road which is even further to the east, and now, finally getting back to my roots and a more urban environment, Old Louisville.

Old Louisville is a historic neighborhood in central Louisville nestled between Downtown Louisville and The University of Louisville. It is the largest preservation district in the United States featuring almost entirely Victorian homes mostly made of brick. With its wide avenues, beautiful treelined streets, and magnificent mansions it is truly a wonder to behold.

Old Louisville also sports a number of fascinating and interesting taverns, bars, and grills, and an odd assortment of restaurants. And I have been having quite a time exploring the area. Here are a few snaps of my new digs, and my new neighborhood.

See you in the hood!

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Mag Bar

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Fourth Street Tavern

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Vis-a-Vis

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Granville Inn

 

Garvin Gate Blues Festival

Photo Essay

The Garvin Gate Blues Festival is held the second weekend in October in historic Old Louisville. It’s a two day festival featuring performers both national and local that celebrates blues music. This event attracts both a multiracial and a multi-generational crowd.  It has a 29 year history and is still going strong.

Featured here is the band Tweed Funk hailing from Milwaukee.

Bikers, Booze, and Blues

Garvin Gate Neighborhood

Pet Friendly

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Tweed Funk

Smokey Holman

Andrew Spada

Eric Madunic

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Dave Schoepke

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A Face in the Crowd

 

Julius Caesar

Shakespeare in the Park

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An excellent production last night of Julius Caesar. It comes at a most propitious moment in time. Lots of parallels to what is going on in our own political landscape. Director Matt Wallace continues to produce some of the most exciting Shakespeare that you are ever likely to see. I have been going to see Shakespeare in the Park since the 1970’s and I can say without reservation that it just keeps getting better and better. The acting is first rate, the direction and staging are superb and the technical aspects such as lighting and sound are first class. Kudos to the costume designer! Kentucky Shakespeare continues to break records for audience attendance. Do yourself a favor and catch one or more of the shows this season. Keep Will Free!

BETH HART IN NASHVILLE

At the Ryman Auditorium

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Beth Hart killed last night (3/10/2017) in Nashville at the storied Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Killed in the sense she slaughtered her material and slayed her audience. I have  never seen a performer so committed to her material as Beth Hart. She has a power and a force that will blow you away! She simply gave it all she had. She is one of the best blues singers I have ever heard and she just keeps on getting better.

Beth looked great in a sparkly mini dress and high heel shoes which showed off her toned legs to great effect. She wore sheer nylon stockings with seams down the back. How sexy was that? She must be eating right because her tiny waist, beautiful skin tones, and irrepressible energy were much on display.

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And the music! She has a great band around her including her guitar player who has been with her for 17 years. Beth writes a lot of her own material and there is as story behind each song which she generously shares with the audience before she delivers the goods. The audience loves Beth and she loves them back!

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When she performed the song  California, which is a paean to the one she loves, who should appear from behind the black curtain but her husband, who rushes up behind her and hugs her close and kisses her neck and we are swept up in the moment of an emotional highlight.

Throughout the show and on numerous occasions I was moved to the point of tears and the goose flesh was in motion.

She will be appearing in at the Louisville Palace in Louisville, Kentucky on March 19 as part of the Jimi Hendrix experience. I’ll be there.

 

 

 

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

A Movie Review

 

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The movie, I Am Not Your Negro, played to sold out crowds recently at the Speed Cinema here in Derby City. This movie comes at a most propitious moment in time when the American Negro is again under assault by the white ruling class now that the alt-right has taken over the White House.
It is a timely tale told by Samuel L. Jackson in the words of the brilliant novelist James Baldwin in a documentary filmed by Raoul Peck. It has been nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary. The film is based on Baldwin’s work, Remember This House, which details the civil rights movement and assassinations of his close friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film expands on the work and brings it up to date to modern times and the Black Lives matter movement.

It is a powerful film well worth seeing.

RESIST

Word of the day: Resist

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Protesters at a Rally for American Values in Louisville, Kentucky

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Protesters at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky

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Greg Fisher, Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, gave a speech in support of immigrants and refugees, but stopped short of declaring Louisville to be a sanctuary city.

Fanny and Alexander

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I had the opportunity to watch the wonderful Fannie and Alexander (1981), written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, last night at the Speed Art Museum Cinema here in Louisville, Kentucky. This is the first time I’ve seen it on the big screen since it first came out in 1981. It is a sheer joy to behold. It is perhaps Bergman’s greatest film, The Seventh Seal not withstanding. This is the most autobiographical of all of Bergman’s films and pretty well sums up his life and work.

Scrumptiously and lovingly photographed by Sven Nykvist, every frame is a visual masterpiece of beauty and composition for which he won an Oscar for Best Cinematography. The film also garnered three other Oscars nods including for Best Art Direction, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Costume Design. Bergman was nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Director.

 

According to the film notes the movie turned out to be extremely expensive and difficult to make. In terms of scale Fanny and Alexander became Bergman’s largest ever production with a cast of 50 actors. He shot over 25 hours of film. A made for TV version was pared down to five hours in length then he set to work putting together the feature film. Bergman’s first attempt came in at four hours. He tried again and got it down to 3 hours and eight minutes. Still long but manageable. The film is shown with an intermission which we did not take at the Speed Cinema.

Bergman said in his autobiography that after Fanny and Alexander there will be no more feature films for him. Feature films are a job for young people, both physically and psychologically.

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According to Bergman the film had two inspirations. One was a picture from the Nutcracker depicting two children huddling together on Christmas Eve waiting for the candles to be lit on the Christmas tree. The other was Charles Dickens. The bishop in his austere and pure house and the Jew in his antique store filled with old furniture and magical incantations and creatures. The Children are depicted as victims.

Fanny and Alexander are brother and sister in a bourgeois Swedish theatrical family. The film starts off on a snowy Christmas eve and is perhaps the most lavish and beautifully filmed Christmas celebration ever. The movie takes place in Swedish provincial town in the early years of the 20th century. The two children, Fanny and Alexander, are growing up in the bosom of a large, happy, extended family.  Their father, who is the stage manager of the theatre the family owns, dies unexpectedly.  Later, their mother remarries a stern, authoritarian clergyman. The juxtaposition of the vivacious theatre family with that of the dour, cold, and authoritarian bishop’s family could not be more stark and has its roots in Bergman’s own history. His father was a clergyman.

 

There are ghosts in the film which only Alexander can see. He is also prone to telling the most outlandish and imaginative lies for which he is severely punished at one point by his stepfather.  Alexander is also the master of the magic lantern with which he enchants his sister on Christmas Eve. It is not too far a leap to see the budding genius of Ingmar Bergman taking shape in the form of the young Alexander.

 

The movie is divided into three parts as in a three act play. We might remember Ingmar Bergman is as well known as a theatrical director  (at least in Sweden) as a film director. In a scene in the third section, Emily says to Helena. “I am reading a new play by Strindberg called A Dream Play and there is a perfect part in it for you.” Oh, no,” says Helena, not that misogynist!” “Oh but this part is perfect for you…” and off they go to talk about their next project and adventure.

I remember reading in Bergman’s autobiography how he struggled with A Dream Play when he directed it. He went on at length about the difficulty he had in staging a certain scene. When he finally found the key to his conundrum he was relieved but he also extolled the virtues of meeting the challenge. When I watched the above described scene I had to smile remembering that passage from his autobiography. I am most certain that no one else got the reference but me but for me it was another piece of the puzzle fitting together nicely and another dot connected.

Everything is here: Love, Sex, God, and Death. Now we know where Woody Allen gets it from. Actually, we knew all along that Ingmar Bergman has been a major influence on the films of Woody Allen.

This is the film against which I judge all others, a bench mark if you will,  and most others pale by comparison. That is why I am mostly disappointed with the current crop of films coming out of Hollywood these days.

Speed continues to bring to Louisville the best of the best movies and I couldn’t be happier.

 

 

PAJAMA GAME

Top Ten Reasons Not to Wear Pajamas Out in Public

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Man in his pajama at China Star in Louisville, Kentucky

  1. It’s Public!
  2. If you are sleepy get a room!
  3. It looks awful.
  4. No one will take you seriously.
  5. I can’t stop laughing.
  6. Nobody cares what you wear to bed.
  7. It’s just a little too comfortable for you.
  8. It’s just a little bit too uncomfortable for me.
  9. No one want s to see those little black moose (meece?) run up your red fuzzy leg.
  10. Too late I’ve already been incensed!