⏱️ = 3-minute read (or so)
“Orlando. Orlando, Orlando, Orlando. Orlando.” — not a quote but something I made up just now because a few weeks ago this newsletter’s subject line opened with the word “Orlando” and I’m wondering if that’s what led to the higher-than-average open rate.
KERTIS Creative uses the Louisville Magazine office, and the other day hundreds of coffee cups showed up, part of the KNOW Homelessness campaign they’ve been working on with Access Ventures. Throughout August, coffee shops in Louisville and Southern Indiana — Heine Brothers’, Bean, Coffee Crossing, Full Stop Station, KentJava Bar, Mickey’s, Pearl Street Game & Coffee House, Quills and the Safai Coffee Bar inside Logan Street Market — will use the cups to educate the community about homelessness, with illuminating data such as: 80 percent of people experiencing homelessness are temporarily homeless due to sudden changes in their lives.
I keep a long list of local stories I want to share in this newsletter, and the coffee cups bring to mind this C-J column from February, with the author, Marcus Stubbs, mentioning Louisville’s eviction rate that’s double the national average (what happens when pandemic-instituted eviction moratoriums expire?) and the need “to change the narrative when perceiving individuals who are homeless.
“As human beings, as citizens, as caring neighbors we must ask ourselves how did this happen and what are we willing to do about it? Our neighbors, fathers, mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters, sons, co-workers, colleagues, nieces, nephews, veterans, refugees, a domestic-abuse survivor, a person with a disability, and, yes, you are at risk.”
2. In the last few newsletters, I’ve shared content from our next print issue (to be published this month), and here’s more of what workers from our local food-and-drink service industry had to say:
What has the past year or so taught you about the service industry?
“This industry is the heart and soul of America.” — Patrick Roney, Ashbourne Farms
“It made me realize just how lax every restaurant job I’ve ever had has been with keeping up with cleaning.” — Leah B-B, Naïve
“After being out of work for four months, I had the chance to be away from the service industry. At first it was a welcome change, but I began to miss the fast pace of a restaurant. Luckily, I was called back to the bar much earlier than most. I realized how much I value those small but powerful human interactions. The exchange of stories and ideas makes us feel connected as human beings.” — Frances Leary, Galt House beverage curator
“Don’t take your regular customers for granted.” — Lisa Imrie, Buck’s
“That I love the service industry. Even if sometimes it doesn’t love me.” — Lexxx, Black Jockey’s Lounge
“The service industry has a high turnover rate because the people who work in service aren’t seen as real people. We are cogs in a machine that has proven it cannot survive without us but will do nothing to keep us either.” — Carrington, the Cafe
“Drastically underpaid.” — Joel Halbleib, Hive and Barrel Meadery
“The service industry fuels our communities, and is the heart, guts and muscle behind everything we love in our neighborhoods. They gave and risked everything to help the rest of us cope with the pandemic. Their willingness to work kept the rest of us going. They brought normalcy, function and comfort to our lives, while risking theirs.
“I remember taking a dark early-morning walk down Bardstown Road in April. The streets were silent except for a few runners. I saw bus drivers with homemade masks on, dutifully working the early morning shift. I walked past a few coffee shops and saw baristas braving the virus to turn on the lights, mop the floors and grind the coffee for the day. I was comforted by these normal daily things going on around me, and then I was overcome with emotion when I realized how much these individuals were risking to do their jobs and serve the community. I think the pandemic made exchanges with someone in the service industry much more personal. Our world needed that.” — Meaghan Thomas, Pinch Spice Market
“We’ve been allowing less than we deserve for too long.” — Katie, Jack Fry’s
“It’s fickle yet somehow loyal. Very strange industry.” — Chaz Tyra, Morris’ Deli
3. Please read my friend Chris Kenning’s C-J piece “How pandemic isolation sent drug overdose deaths soaring in Kentucky” (with an ending that left me teary-eyed). He writes, “Figures compiled by Kentucky’s medical examiner, the state’s Injury Prevention & Research Center and other agencies this week showed 1,964 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2020, a whopping 49 percent increase from 2019.” Kenning mentions a man who has struggled with addiction, especially while isolated during the pandemic. “I tried the Zoom recovery meetings online,” the man said, “and I just couldn’t benefit from them.”
4. Did Mitch McConnell write a tribute to the late C-J editor David Hawpe or a tribute to Mitch McConnell?
5. My grandpa, Stan Lamb, died seven years ago. Today would’ve been his 90th birthday.
In 2007, my first year in Louisville, he and my grandma drove down from Kokomo, Indiana, to visit me at my apartment behind Day’s Coffee, on Edenside Avenue across from St. James. “Well look at that!” my grandpa marveled, admiring the church’s dazzling brickwork.
One of my earliest memories of my grandpa is of him launching a shot put in the side yard of the house where I grew up in Cincinnati. To me, that iron sphere was a boulder. By 2007, his walk was more of a shuffle, and we moseyed down busy Bardstown Road. While my mom and grandma shopped, my grandpa and I sat on benches, taking in the window display at Carmichael’s and the smells emerging from restaurant kitchens and the weird traffic lights. After meeting Bri at her apartment, a one-bedroom in a subdivided house on Cherokee Road (“Well look at that, Bri! You live in a mansion!”), we made our way to the Ramsi’s patio for dinner. My grandpa loved a balmy late-spring breeze, and the one we had that evening let us linger at the table for almost three hours, the waning afternoon becoming dusk becoming night. He smiled. “Josh,” he said, “this town is like a resort!”
A little something from the LouMag archive.
Last week, Louisville Ballet artistic director Robert Curran reminded me that the ballet’s upcoming season, beginning with Swan Lake in November, will be its 70th. That made me think of this cover, which I included in an archival project earlier this year.
Curran said: “When I start by just looking at the image, I’m reminded of its origin story — the famous ‘Toe on Egg’ poster by (the late) Louisville-based graphic designer Julius Friedman. Julius was definitely a legend, and this poster ended up with a life of its own, showing up in the background of films and collected by people all over the world. He probably could’ve picked up and moved anywhere and been successful, but I appreciate that he made the choice to stay here, in the town where he was born — that he saw the artistic promise and vibrancy here.
“Of course, I also can’t help but see the precariousness of this cover image, even in the original design (which had an uncracked egg). I imagine the dancer connected to that foot, inside that pointe shoe — the strength of that impossible, improbable dancer lifting herself up enough to balance. To keep the egg from shattering.
“Ballet can seem precarious — as a career, as an art form, as an institution. But to be a ballet artist requires incredible strength. And to survive as a ballet company, especially for 70 years like Louisville Ballet, requires so much tenacity, vision and commitment, both from the company and from the community that supports it.
“Julius was definitely on to something, in his original poster design and in his love for the artistic community of this city. I may not be a lifelong resident, but I understand why he stayed. This past year has been tough, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit it. But I’ve felt so lifted up and supported by this community — both inside and outside our studio walls. I’m left feeling like Louisville Ballet, with this support, is anything but fragile.”
Reader Kristen Miller emailed me the other day about Call Me Kat, that FOX sitcom set at a fictional Highlands cat cafe — you know, the show I watched for the Louisville references (“burny-throaty” bourbon!), the one I somehow find myself writing about in this newsletter AGAIN. (SORRY!) “Saw this in a copy of Vanity Fair a few weeks ago and thought of you,” Kristen wrote. “This is the very definition of boundless optimism.” At the top it says “For Your Emmy Consideration.”
“I mean, how do you think that conversation must have gone in the FOX promotions department? Hey, we’ve got all this budget left over from when no one cared about the Emmys during Covid. What should we spend it on?
“Um, give it to the cat lady, I guess.
“In a way,” she wrote, “I have to appreciate their confidence.”
Let us all head into the weekend with Kat-like boundless optimism.
editor, Louisville Magazine