⏱️ = 4-minute read (or so)
“Daddy, my dream came true. Silver Dollar is open again.” — Miles, my four-year-old, who likes to sit at the Silver Dollar’s long bar (still no seating there yet) and eat fries and mac ’n’ cheese after his haircut at Prop’s across the street
1. Are you a Louisville-area photographer? Do you know one? Are you a shutterbug who has always wondered how to get your work seen?
We’re still looking for photogs — all backgrounds, all ages, all neighborhoods — who can contribute a distinctive style to an upcoming portrait project, to be published this fall and led by our collaborators at KERTIS Creative. We need folks who can capture the spirit of their subjects and their environments. This is a paid commission, and the application closes 11:59 p.m. May 16, a week from Sunday. Anybody and everybody interested can apply here!
2. Bruce Allar was the editor of Louisville Magazine when he hired me as a staff writer in early 2007. (For my first assignment, a profile published that February, I remember sitting on a cinderblock hallway’s carpeted floor, in the bowels of Freedom Hall, to interview U of L women’s hoops star Angel McCoughtry one-on-one after a game.) This week, Bruce emailed me a YouTube link to the new documentary Statues, writing, “The filmmaker, Morgan Atkinson, used to write for me back in the day, but he has always been a videographer first and foremost. I couldn’t tear myself away.”
I remember reading Andy Wolfson’s 2019 C-J Sunday front-pager, a dive into John Breckinridge Castleman’s complicated history. Titled “Was John Castleman a racist whose statue deserves to come down?,” it examined Castleman’s thorny legacy, including his time fighting for the Confederacy. Statues goes even deeper, exploring Louisville’s past, Louisville’s present — our past through the lens of our present.
Wolfson described two poles: Was Castleman “an unreconstructed Confederate and an unrepentant racist — or an enlightened hero who helped create Louisville’s parks and fought efforts to segregate them”? Last June, the bronze Castleman — a horseman on his steed — came down in the Cherokee Triangle roundabout. Toward the end of Statues, the narrator, reading Atkinson’s words, is talking about Castleman — but, really, so much more — when he says: “The truth is probably found somewhere in between.”
Today, all that remains is the stone base.
Our next print issue, hitting mailboxes next week, features Louisvillians commenting on 70 years’ worth of Louisville Magazine covers. After spending so much time in the archive — after finding the truth in that the-more-things-change-the-more-they-stay-the-same cliché — I wondered: What’s one thing Louisville is missing?
Here’s how some of the cover commenters answered.
“Political courage.” — Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
“A Black middle class.” — Jecorey Arthur
“The NBA.” — Rick Bartlett
“The courage to defund LMPD.” — Tracy Clayton
“Feels weird to complain about missing something when there’s a place right near my house that serves Chicago-style hot dogs and I have yet to get one. Oh, I know: Louisville is missing a system of tubes that can deliver a hot dog directly to your living room.” — Howell Dawdy
“A proper downtown grocery store. Not a specialty grocery, not a small grocery, not a convenience mart. Just a large grocery store where you can find everyday brands, things are affordable and it’s accessible to everyone. I don’t think that’s too much to expect for any city.” — Roberto de Leon
“Bring. Back. The. Trollies.” — Michelle Eigenheer
“Meaningful interaction between the East and West Ends; mass transit; more direct flights.” — Pat Forde
“I’m not sure what it is that we are missing, but for our city to experience so much violent crime, something is going on. We have not always seen this level of violence and crime that has been displayed over the last decade or so. My heart breaks to see not only the statistics but the families that are ravaged and torn apart because of the crimes that occur. What are we missing? Why is it happening?” — Dawne Gee
“Louisville asks this question a lot. It creates such a culture of lack. Can we rephrase to, ‘What’s one thing you want Louisville to cultivate?’ And then, ‘How do you want to be a part of that?’ And then, ‘What will that really answer in us and for us?’” — Brianna Harlan
“Legal marijuana. Game-changer.” — Holly Houston
“A 2013 NCAA championship banner that was damn-well earned.” — John Yarmuth
4. Every local TV station (and even some nationals) had a piece about DCorey Johnson, the Bates Elementary School third-grader who “dazzles classmates, teachers” and “stuns on social media” with his “jaw-dropping rendition of the National Anthem.” On Good Morning America, Bates’ principal, Alecia Dunn, recounted how DCorey asked to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” during morning announcements, in place of the typical recording of the song. She said, “You could hear outside the office all the cheers. And then we walked out of my office — it was almost like he was on a parade. Every teacher was hanging out their door, we were all crying.”
DCorey told GMA that he loves Tina Turner, especially her songs “Proud Mary” and “River Deep, Mountain High.” “I want to be a singer known as a triple threat,” he said. “That means that I can do everything — sing, act, tap.”
I was gonna give a newsletter slow clap to my buddy Bobby, who hit the Medina Spirit-Mandaloun-Hot Rod Charlie Derby trifecta (the $1 tri paid $1,696.90), but instead I gotta go with DCorey by a whisker.
👏…👏 …👏👏…👏👏👏…👏 👏👏👏👏👏👏
5. I’ve been meaning to mention this for a few weeks now: The C-J’s Andre Toran, who started at the paper last fall, comes up with unconventional story ideas that have become must-reads for me. He has written about Ramadan and segregated public pools and protesters and, this week, Mother’s Day from the perspective of tattoo shops: “the classic ‘mom heart’ or mother-daughter matching tattoos, elegant flowers or re-creating the handwriting of a mother’s penmanship to honor her memory.”
And speaking of Mother’s Day, at preschool Miles answered some fill-in-the-blank questions about his mom/mama/HEY MOMMY I NEED YOU:
My mom’s name is Brianna.
Her eyes are hazel.
She can’t rest.
A little something from the LouMag archive.
The cover caption: “…a representation of Louisville’s bustling restaurant business. Sorry, we didn’t have time to count the number of customers.”
Maybe this is just anecdotal, but: Has anybody else noticed that many (most?) restaurants — on Bardstown Road, downtown, on Frankfort Avenue, in St. Matthews, all over — are displaying now-hiring or help-wanted signs? At Mussel & Burger Bar across from 21c the other weekend, Bri and I were the first-ever customers for our server. “I’ve never waited a table before,” he told us, “but they needed all the help they can get.”
The cover above is one of the 70 featured in the next print issue. Here’s what Siobhan and Michael Reidy of the Irish Rover had to say about it.
“Louisville had a bustling restaurant scene in 1962? As transplants — we’ve been here since 1987, but still — we’ve always heard that there wasn’t much of a scene until the Bristol brought bistro-style dining to town and started the independent boom in the late 1970s. What does look very 1962 on the cover is the tableside service, the white tablecloths and what appears to be a completely white clientele. It’s nothing like the Irish Rover, and yet a happy, crowded, busy dining room is absolutely the vibe of the pre-Covid Rover (the lack of Black and brown faces notwithstanding). Will we ever be a restaurant with this sort of nonchalant exuberance again — sitting close, enjoying the pleasure of company without masks, table-hopping to visit friends and family?”