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2.26.2021, No. 43

“February is winter’s fever blister” —  Louisville Magazine, February 1993


You should read C-J education reporter Olivia Krauth’s story about the JCPS school board’s modified-mid-Zoom plan to reopen pandemic-shuttered classrooms in March, approved by a dramatic 4-3 vote last night. Now, elementary students who pick the in-person option will attend at school not every day but twice a week, with three virtual days (same as middle school and high school).


Krauth’s Twitter (@oliviakrauth) is consistently one of my favorite reads. At like 9:30 p.m. last night she was live tweeting the school board’s Zoom:


The time has come.


Damn, this from (board member Chris) Kolb: “This plan is the first time that I have felt that (superintendent) Dr. Pollio being a white male has led to a poor and inequitable decision. This plan is not what is best for disadvantaged students and their families.”


The JCPS reopening debate, in a nutshell: We need details, we have questions, we have concerns.


Her dog made a guest appearance, could not decipher what its stance on reopening was from the tone of barks.


Today Krauth posted this picture, writing, “In case you didn’t realize how heavy the reopening vote was last night, this was the reaction to Joe Marshall’s yes vote.”

Support the C-J.

2. WFPL arts reporter Stephanie Wolf has another great piece, this one about “Promise, Witness, Remembrance” at the Speed. From April 7 to June 6, the exhibition “will reflect on Breonna Taylor’s life, her death at the hands of police and the city’s racial justice protests.” Allison Glenn, a curator at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, only agreed to guest-curate the show after talking to Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother. “I come…in solidarity with the family of Breonna Taylor, in solidarity with the community of Louisville,” she told Wolf.


Tomorrow is two weeks from March 13, the one-year anniversary of when LMPD officers shot and killed Taylor in her own apartment during a botched raid. Stephen Reily, who last year announced he’d be stepping down as director of the Speed at the end of March 2021, was one of several local arts leaders Dylon Jones interviewed last fall for this magazine discussion. Since then I’ve thought a lot about something Reily said: “We started talking about March 12 and 13 when, over about a 24-hour period, we all had to confront decisions to serve public health by closing our organizations. I’m haunted by the fact that that was the same 24-hour period where Breonna Taylor was killed.


“Because of our traumatically induced heightened awareness and accelerated focus on racial equity, we have to move faster in having our field reflect the diversity of the communities we serve in every way.”


Support WFPL.

3. My friend Jay Gulick, managing broker and partner at Kentucky Select Properties, sends out a newsletter of his own, and he recently wrote, “If this sentence were a new house listing it would be gone before you could finish reading it.


“This is a bit of a ‘perfect storm’ seller’s market we’re experiencing: historically low inventory, historically high demand (particularly in lower price ranges favored by first-time buyers), historically low mortgage rates (giving buyers more purchasing power and fueling bidding wars).” He’s seeing buyers waive home inspections and make over-asking-price cash offers. “There is considerable speculation,” he writes, “that warmer weather and COVID immunity will hasten the number of houses coming onto the market.”


Re that current low inventory: He mentions that the Louisville market had 1,980 active listings as of Jan. 15, compared with 3,383 at the same time last year. One house listed in the low $300,000s had 54 showings, 22 offers and sold well over the listing price.

4. In last week’s “Five. Oh. Too…” I mentioned Paul Owen, the 85-year-old retired Actors Theatre scenic designer who died Feb. 12. My friend and former coworker Julie Crutcher, who’s married to former Louisville Magazine owner Dan Crutcher, used to work at Actors and wrote, “Paul Owen was a genius and the kindest man ever. We will all miss him like crazy. Through all the Humana Festivals I survived with him, I never once saw him lose his temper. EVER. And he had more shit going on at one time than anybody.”


I sent Julie the opening to Owen’s March 2004 cover story, by Lewis L. Gentry:


One night, years ago, the entire crew at Actors Theatre was enduring a particularly tense technical rehearsal just before the opening of a play. It was crunch time, and the work didn’t end until midnight. Everyone, then-producing director Jon Jory thought, went home.


Just as he was climbing in bed, it hit Jory that he’d left his black shoulder bag in the theater’s lobby, his wallet inside. So he pulled himself out of bed, put his clothes back on and by the time he got to the theater it was 3 a.m. He grabbed his bag and was about to leave when he saw light under a closed door to the theater. He went inside to check. The hall was empty — except for scenic designer Paul Owen. He was still there, tinkering.

5. Minutes after sending last week’s newsletter, Chris Kenning, who works for the C-J and contributes to the magazine (Read. His. Ed Lee. Profile.), forwarded this Business First story about how the city’s chief financial officer, Daniel Frockt, will join Bellarmine University July 1 as VP for finance. Kenning wrote, “The city has just been de-Frockt!”


Support Business First.


A little something from the LouMag archive.

This week, while flipping through 70 years’ worth of LouMag bound volumes for a project I’m working on, I stumbled on the September 1993 issue and the cover line “Lunch w/ Rush.” The story documented the 20 or 30 “Dittoheads” who would gather at three cafeteria-style tables every weekday to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on 840 WHAS, over lunch at a (since-closed) restaurant on Fifth Street called the Old House. In what had been nicknamed the “Rush Room,” the fireplace mantel held two framed portraits of Limbaugh (who died last week, Feb. 17, at age 70). Bruce Allar, who would go on to become editor of Louisville Magazine (and hire me as a staff writer in 2007!), wrote:


Someone, a wag with a sense of humor no doubt, placed three burned-out candles on the left. The far-right candlestick is the only one still able to flame.


I look around at the all-white crowd. All but three are men. Some appear to still be in their 30s, but they sit with the arms-folded sternness of middle age. The only black person present buses the dishes.


I overhear one man quipping that the only way to begin cleaning up the nation’s mess is by blowing up Washington. That one elicits some laughs.


My tape recorder takes in this harangue amidst the clatter of silverware on plates. Then a funny thing happens: The batteries die. When I get back to the office to write up this story, playing the tape in a recharged machine, Limbaugh’s voice begins to change — speeding up, becoming increasingly high-pitched and manic, until it degenerates into inaudibility. I must own a liberal-Democrat tape recorder.


Bruce talked to several of the Dittoheads (whose political stances “can be summed up by the phrase, ‘Yeah, what he said’”):


Most say Limbaugh’s just an entertainer.


That’s exactly what scares me: an entertainer who takes himself seriously.


A maskless Chris Mack (say that three times fast) appeared in a recently surfaced 33-second clip celebrating U of L’s Dec. 26 win over UK during a holiday gathering at his home. Shouldn’t the Cards coach replace the in his last name with an and become Chris Mask?


OK, I’m sorry, I’ll stop it with the last-name jokes. Seriousness from here on out. No more Frocktin’ around.

Josh Moss
editor, Louisville Magazine

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