⏱️ = 4 ½-minute read (or so)
100 — number of homicides in Louisville as of Wednesday morning, on pace to break last year’s record of 173
1. Quintez Brown, the 20-year-old U of L student, activist and writer, has been missing since Saturday. He was seen at the Algonquin Park swimming pool, where security, and then an LMPD officer, asked him to leave; according to WHAS, some “people have reported that Brown was spotted at a Subway some time Sunday.” And Brown’s family believes he was seen again Tuesday at the Franciscan Kitchen. WFPL mentioned how Brown is a Woodford R. Porter scholar at U of L, “a designation for Black students who achieve academic excellence and show a commitment to strengthening and serving their communities.” The C-J quoted his grandmother: “He’s family-oriented. He communicates well with his family about his whereabouts, and this is just not normal.” And his brother: “I feel like he’s safe, but he’s not in the right state of mind.”
Brown’s stepmother told WLKY, “When he didn’t give us a call on Father’s Day, and we gave him quite a few hours to do so, that was a red flag for us to go and contact LMPD.” During a press conference hosted by the Louisville Urban League yesterday, Brown’s father said, “If you do see him, don’t let him go. Stay right there and call. … I’ll be there in two minutes. I’ll be there.”
Brown is almost 6 feet tall, weighs about 180 pounds and drives a dark-blue 2006 Nissan Sentra, license plate 827 ABK. Call (502) 574-5673 (LMPD) with any information, or reach out to Brown’s family directly at (502) 936-3860, (502) 938-7618 or (502) 936-3860.
Here’s an image of Brown that LMPD is circulating, showing him with a recently shaved head and no facial hair.
Almost exactly a year ago, Brown was one of seven Black leaders who came to Louisville Magazine for a discussion about race, which is a topic he writes about at the Courier-Journal. Here’s a picture of him from that day:
Two newsletters ago I mentioned how, in June 2019, Brown wrote an opinion piece for the Courier-Journal titled “Black people can’t swim in Louisville, and it’s putting kids at risk,” in response to the closure of public pools that summer due to city budget cuts. William Kolb, in charge of the local chapter of U.S. Masters Swimming, read Brown’s column and invited him to take swimming lessons. Brown’s piece inspired us at the magazine to publish underwater photos of adults, including Brown, who were learning how to swim.
He told the magazine, “That’s a whole different animal, learning how to float. Trusting yourself enough to not move your body and let the water hold you. So that’s where I am now, just learning how to move on my back and learning how to float.”
2. The C-J’s Joe Gerth wrote a column about Tyler Gerth, his 27-year-old godson who was shot and killed last June 27 in Jefferson Square Park, where he’d been taking photographs and participating in the racial-justice protests. Joe Gerth wrote, “A few years ago, (Tyler’s) sister, Tiffany, fell in love and married Byron Hensley. They filled their house in Lexington with a bunch of kids who Tyler loved dearly.
“Over time, Tyler and Byron talked about what it was like for Byron, growing up Black in Detroit and Paducah, and over time, Tyler decided he didn’t want his nieces and nephews to grow up in the same world that Byron did.”
Tyler Gerth’s parents and sisters have created Building Equal Bridges – The Tyler Gerth Foundation, which tomorrow will host its first major fundraiser, a 5K, beginning at the Big Four Bridge.
A year and a half ago, in December 2019, reports began to circulate about 20 healthy, free-roaming horses shot and killed atop Cow Mountain in Eastern Kentucky. Writer Jenni Laidman started reporting there not long after, and I hope you’ll spend a some time reading her resulting Louisville Magazine story, “The Haunting.”
4. Vietnam Kitchen is for sale, a fact that has the C-J’s Dana McMahan, in a wonderful piece, screaming NOOOOOOO and asking, “Is the end near?” (The listing says “current owner will train new chef for six weeks.”) This line from McMahan stuck with me: “Any given night in Vietnam Kitchen is a pretty decent statistical sampling of Louisville’s population because if there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s a deep and abiding love for mock duck and crisp green beans.”
In 2014, Anne Marshall, then a writer at the magazine, did a piece on Vietnam Kitchen, the South End mainstay near Iroquois Park, writing about owner Alex Lam, who was 62 at the time. A call to him one day during the busy lunch rush earned Anne this response: “I’m busy. Call back.”
She wrote: “Originally from Saigon in South Vietnam, Lam left in 1979, unhappy with the communist takeover of his country after the Vietnam War. He and his wife boarded a fishing boat for Hong Kong. Packed with 146 refugees, the boat had no room for passengers to lie down, only to sit. The group spent six nights at sea with just a compass and a radio for weather alerts. One night the radio announced a dire storm ahead. What could they do but endure? The South China Sea tossed the vessel — 20 feet wide and 50 feet long — in its reckless grip.
“After they’d spent several months at a refugee camp in Hong Kong, a friend with a cousin in Louisville helped sponsor the Lams through Catholic Charities. In January 1980, they stepped off a plane and onto an icy white layer of snow, a new experience for both. Decades later, the Lams have built one of those places, the kind stamped into a city’s identity, the kind that when you mention its name, those who’ve been there act like wise elders remembering first love.”
Early on, friends questioned Lam’s decision to enter the fickle restaurant business. “It scared me,” he said. “I told my wife, ‘Well, we will just do it. (And) if it (does) not work out, do something else.’”
Since 1993, Lam and his wife Kim have amassed fiercely loyal followers who attach themselves to favorite dishes such as K8, VK8, F9 — items ordered in bingo lingo because the Vietnamese names pose too daunting a challenge. (Hu Tiêu Saté, Hu tiêu Saté chay and Gà Xào Cà Ry Cay respectively.)
For our 2018 Best of Louisville awards, the last time we did a readers’ poll, Vietnam Kitchen won Best Vietnamese Restaurant and Best South End Restaurant. Inside that issue, we asked diners to answer the question: What’s your number?
Dana Morrow’s order
J4: choice of stir-fried beef, chicken or pork, with onions, mushrooms, bean sprouts, lettuce, lemongrass and peanuts.
Mike Krimm’s order
F9: chicken with green curry, green beans, broccoli, onions and potatoes.
Josh and Cecilia Wright
A chef in their hometown of Lexington recommended Vietnam Kitchen for the Wrights’ visit to Louisville.
J14: vermicelli-noodle soup with tilapia, shrimp, roasted pork and eggplant. “Funky and savory,” he said.
K4: rice noodles with chicken. And pickled lemonade, which Josh said “tastes kind of like Gatorade.”
Kimiko Muwanguzi’s order
VM5: stir-fried mock duck and green beans.
Becky Dail and Greg Zahradnik, with Willy Johnson (below)
Dail and Zahradnik went on one of their first dinner dates to Vietnam Kitchen in 1999. Now, the two eat there at least once a month.
F9: chicken with green curry, green beans, broccoli, onion and potatoes.
B1: pho rice-noodle soup with thin-sliced beef.
A custom order of noodles with veggies and tofu.
5. Dear reader: After more than a year together, it’s time for me to share a little more about myself, in the form of a fill-in-the-blank Father’s Day gift from Miles, my four-year-old. (Thank you to his preschool teachers, Miss Alisha and Miss Stacy, who wrote in the answers.)
A little something from the LouMag archive.
Of all the covers included in our recent archival project, the most controversial (at least during my time at the magazine since 2007, but maybe ever) was the one from October 2009:
Readers wrote in: “I never thought I would be embarrassed to have your magazine lying around my home, but I am.” “A cheap pink horror.” “I hope Louisville Magazine will never again look as if I purchased my issue from ‘under the counter.’” “Seems only to further contribute to the rapid decline in the moral fabric of our society.”
For the new project, I got comments from locals about every cover.
“If the editors missed the mark with this cover, they also missed an opportunity: to depict sex in an exciting, affirming light. But instead of coming across as suggestive, which appears to have been the goal, it comes across as vanilla and, worse, patriarchal, heteronormative and racist. I mean, who besides a heterosexual straight man would see an image like this and think ‘sex’? By exclusively catering to the straight white male gaze, this cover erases queer sexuality, perpetuates sexism (woman as sex object rather than subject or recipient of pleasure) and reinforces white supremacy (white woman as ideal sex object). If Louisville Magazine does another sex issue in the future, there are some amazing queer BIPOC artists and photographers in this city who could provide some amazing erotic imagery for the cover.” — Adrian Silbernagel, poet, educator, activist