Archive for May, 2008

Music This Weekend, May 30-June 1

Posted in Happenings, Lexington, Music, Music This Weekend on May 30, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Hey there dear readers, we decided to bring back a feature we haven’t posted in a while, namely Music This Weekend, an incomplete guide to good stuff to hear (and see) in Louisville and nearby cities. And what a weekend we’ve got, so let’s get started!

John Hiatt Ear X-Tacy

Tonight at our other place of employment, the excellent ear X-tacy Records, Mr. John Hiatt will be playing a free in-store at 6 PM. Ear X-tacy’s located at 1534 Bardstown Road, in the Highlands. He’ll also be on WFPK in a few minutes (if we publish this post after noon, sue us), so check that out as well.

Nightwish

Metal fans will be glad to note that Nightwish and Sonic Syndicate are playing Headliners tonight at 8 PM. Headliners is located at 1386 Lexington Road, and tickets are available at ear X-tacy, by calling 502-584-8088, or at the door for $25 ($26 at ear X-tacy while still available).

Mudhoney

Saturday night brings a whole bucket full o’ good shows all over town, and at a variety of price points. We’ll be seeing Mudhoney (above photo from subpop.com), Detroit’s Easy Action and Louisville’s own Phantom Family Halo at Headliners, where the show starts at 8 PM and costs a whopping $15 ($16 at ear X-tacy).

Bodeco Flier

Later that night, there’s also a blisterin’, ear-bleedin’, whiskey-drinkin’, great time of a show at the Pour Haus, as Bodeco marks a triumphant return from a nine-month gigging absence. Local heavies the Glasspack and Lexington newcomers Nightshades open, $6, with doors at 10 PM.

The Teeth Flier May 31

The Teeth and Lee Van Cleef will play the Rudyard Kipling Saturday night to boot, with doors at 10 PM and the entry a low, low $3.

Kark Flier

Nearby to the Rud, at the excellent Sixth and Oak art space (still no name?), the Sapat-related psychedelic ensemble KARK plays with Lexington/Louisville noise duo Caboladies, Lexington synth duo Sick Hour (Robert and Trevor from Hair Police), and Cleveland’s Sam Goldberg. The show starts at 9 PM, and there’s a $5 suggested donation (gas is expensive for touring bands, don’tchaknow?).

Speaking of Lexington, Caboladies and Sam Goldberg will play the Void Skateshop there on Sunday with Street Narcotic (try googling that!) and Three Legged Race. Details are at charlesmansion.org.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff to get out there and see! So we hope to see you out and about this weekend!

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Not Only Are Kentuckians Racist, We’re Polluters Too

Posted in Economics, Environment, Kentucky News, Lexington News, Louisville News, Politics, Transportation on May 29, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

C-J Traffic Photo

(above photo of yesterday’s traffic from the Courier-Journal)

Just when you thought that the post-primary spotlight on Kentucky in the national media might go away, guess what? Our state is back in the news due to the heavy “carbon footprint” that Louisville and Lexington add to the atmosphere (from the C-J):

Residents of Louisville and Lexington are among the worst contributors to climate change, according to a study of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

Researchers with Washington’s Brookings Institution blame factors such as sprawling development that encourages driving rather than walking, biking or mass transit, and the cities’ reliance on cheap, coal-fueled electricity.

Its list — which measured carbon emissions per resident based on per capita emissions from residential and highway energy use in 2005 — puts Lexington at the top of a list of offenders, and Louisville fifth.

Thankfully, Louisville Metro government is on hand to give a good spin to our filthy habits:

While the ranking could be a public relations issue for leaders trying to attract industry and new residents, Louisville has made strides in recent years to improve air quality, add cycling lanes and begin a detailed study of the city’s carbon output, said Bruce Traughber, the city’s economic development director.

“We’ll know by the end of the year, early next year what our strategies are going to be,” he said. “We’re going to push forward and we’re going to have an impact.”

The other cities with the largest population-adjusted “carbon footprints” — Indianapolis, Toledo and Cincinnati — have the same energy patterns that contribute to high emissions.

“These areas tend to use a lot of relatively dirty fuels for their electricity,” said Andrea Sarzynski, a Brookings analyst and study co-author. “So we know the Appalachian region, for instance, relies fairly heavily on coal,” which produces more carbon than other energy sources.

So what are we, as a state, doing to address this mess? A tax credit! Sweet!

The General Assembly earlier this year passed legislation that includes incentives such as tax credits of up to $500 to help cover the cost of installing insulation, energy-efficient windows and other features.

Last month, the state’s largest homebuilders began a program to encourage environmentally friendly homes.

The Brookings Institution recommends a range of policy actions on the federal, state and local levels to help cities reduce their carbon emissions.

They include promoting more transportation choices such as mass transit and developing parcels closer to city centers rather than promoting urban sprawl.

No real word in the article from either city or state officials about improving Louisville’s or Lexington’s public transit systems, of course. Perhaps we’ll have to wait for gas to be $8, maybe $9 a gallon ’til then. But wait, we’ve actually signed something pledging a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions?…

Louisville and Lexington are among five Kentucky cities whose mayors have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ climate protection agreement, striving to meet or exceed the Kyoto Protocol’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Jackie Green, an activist who supports increasing access to public transportation, said that he believes the Brookings finding underscores his belief that Kentucky law should allow gasoline taxes to be spent on public transportation.

TARC still has no dedicated funding we can depend on for operations year in and year out,” he said.

Building new roads, such as the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, won’t help cities reduce their carbon footprint, Mark Muro, public policy director for Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, said.

Traughber defended the project, saying that economic development and reducing carbon emissions are part of a balancing act.

“If we can’t move freight across the Ohio River in an expeditious fashion … you may have a little lower carbon footprint, but you’ve got a lot lower standard of living, and I’m not sure that’s where the citizens of Louisville want to be,” he said.

Ah, the old “lower standard of living” canard. While the prospect (heh) of not getting to go to Rich-o’s or the Georgetown Drive-In would suck, guess what? We ALREADY HAVE BRIDGES ACROSS THE OHIO. It’s ridiculous that Traughber even flouts the idea that the Ohio River Bridges Project should be the only “public” transportation initiative for, what, the next thirty years? Maybe if the project wasn’t so BLOATED with cost overruns there’d be more money to spend on, say, light rail? Louisville’s public transportation (or more accurately, lack thereof) is a problem NOW, and the local government’s failure to lead on this issue for the pasty twenty, maybe even thirty years is appalling. Wake up, Jerry. We’re gonna need something more than just some East End bridge and a bus that crosses it once an hour.

/RANT OVER

Whew.

Jefferson County’s Unemployment Rises, State’s Falls — But What About UPS-DHL?

Posted in Economics, Kentucky News, Labor, Louisville News, Transportation on May 29, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Flood Photo

(above famous photo by Margaret Bourke-White swiped from www.masters-of-photography.com)

Business First Louisville is reporting that unemployment in Jefferson County and some surrounding counties rose in April:

Unemployment rates in Jefferson and neighboring counties were up in April, compared with April 2007.

The unemployment rate in Jefferson County increased to 5.5 percent in April, from 5.1 percent a year earlier. It was 5.8 percent in March, the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training said in a news release.

Bullitt County’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.5 percent from 5 percent a year earlier, while Oldham County’s rate increased to 4.6 percent from 4.2 percent and Shelby County’s rate increased to 4.9 percent from 4.1 percent during the same period.

Woodford County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, while Jackson County was the highest, with 10.6 percent.

The state’s April year-over-year unemployment rates were up in 67 counties, down in 47 counties, and remained the same in six counties, the OET said in the release.

However, the Courier-Journal reports that the overall Kentucky unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent (from a Business round-up):

Kentucky’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent last month, the state Office of Employment and Training said yesterday.

The March rate was revised to 5.7 percent and the April 2007 rate was 5.5 percent, the state said. Short-term layoffs accounted for more than half of the 3,400 job losses last month, the state said.

“Even though the job climate is weak, Kentucky’s economy is showing some resilience,” said Justine Detzel, the office’s chief labor market analyst.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, added 1,500 positions in April. The manufacturing sector lost 2,600 jobs, mostly from the durable-goods sector.

So it’s not really clear what either news means, since of course Jefferson County is the most populous county in the state. Will Kentucky follow Jefferson’s lead? We’ll see. Meanwhile, the C-J is touting the possible UPSDHL deal as a boon for both economies, job-wise:

A planned deal for UPS to fly and sort packages in the United States for rival DHL would generate up to $1 billion more a year for UPS and result in more jobs for pilots and ground workers in Louisville, a company spokesman said yesterday.

“The majority of our air volume comes through Louisville,” home of the all-points UPS sorting hub, Worldport, “and this would be no different,” UPS spokesman Ken Sternad said.

Though it’s not yet clear how many jobs might be generated, Sternad said, “There’s no way we’re going to handle the anticipated volume without adding to our capacity. And that means people.”

“The exact breakdown of volume that we get from them will determine how much of it comes through Louisville,” he added, “but it’s safe to say that a large portion of it, likely the majority of it, would.”

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said the DHL-UPS agreement could provide “some real opportunities for Louisville.”

What’s In the Weeklies? Week of May 28

Posted in Drink, Louisville News, Media, Music, What's In the Weeklies? on May 28, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Welcome, once again, to another installment of What’s In the Weeklies?, where we take a look at Louisville’s two major weekly newspapers, so you don’t have to. The big news of the past week is LEO‘s acquisition by a Tennessee media group. How will the sale affect the quality of the weekly? Read on, dear reader…

LEO May 28

LEO Weekly, May 28, 2008 issue:

Overall Score: 31 points

Velocity May 28

Velocity Weekly, May 28, 2008 issue:

Overall Score: 20 points

Well, LEO still pulls out a win, despite what must’ve been a strange week for remaining staffers there after the sale to SouthComm. We also really appreciated Stephen George’s tribute (of a sort) to departing LEO editor Cary Stemle. That said, we haven’t seen a print edition yet (we’re working off the online version, with Velocity as well), so we don’t know entirely what changes are in store. Additionally, the online LEO has a few strange moves — literally, where some sections aren’t published in their usual spots. And the Gannett Watch feature has this gem of a nugget of a mis-edit (in a discussion of walkouts by workers at two Gannett papers in the UK):

Gannett, which owns The Courier-Journal and also prints LEO, had not issued an official response as of LEO’s press deadline. The strike ended Monday. [emphasis ours]

We know it’s been a confusing week over there, but surely someone should’ve caught this!

Okay, rant over! As always, please feel free to comment! Especially as regards stuff we don’t cover in the weeklies, such as theater and film coverage.

CORRECTION, 11:40 AM: From Stephen George’s comments on our post (he’s the LEO‘s editor, of course):

To clarify the Gannett Watch: That is not a misprint or error. LEO is printed by Gannett at its huge, new, shiny press behind the Courier-Journal building. That does not mean LEO is published by Gannett, of course. Just a nuance of the business-speak, I think.

Well, that certainly makes the rivalry between the two weeklies a little bit weirder, but hey, c’est la guerre. Thanks, Mr. George, for the clarification.

LEO Weekly Sold to Tennessee Publisher

Posted in Labor, Louisville News, Media on May 22, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

We’re late to this story (since we’ve been at work all afternoon and evening), but might as well post it anyway: the LEO Weekly has been sold to a publisher in Tennessee (from the Courier-Journal):

The Louisville Eccentric Observer, which since its founding in 1990 has established itself as a feisty weekly on subjects from politics to the arts, has been acquired by Tennessee-based SouthComm Communications.

Known in most circles simply as LEO, the newspaper had been owned since 2003 by Times Publishing Co. of Erie, Pa. Distributed widely in Louisville and Southern Indiana, the free weekly has a circulation of between 30,000 and 40,000 copies, reaching an average of just under 180,000 readers each month, according to publisher Pam Brooks.

Four people at LEO, including Editor Cary Stemle, will be losing their jobs. Stephen George will become Interim Editor in the meantime. Our friends at The ‘Ville Voice have three more posts on the sale here, here and here.

Cardinals Roll On Through To Semis

Posted in Baseball, Happenings, Sports on May 22, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Cardinals Baseball

(above photo courtesy of uoflsports.cstv.com)

The University of Louisville Cardinals baseball team continued their journey in the Big East tourney (hey, that rhymes) with a 14-3 stomp-athon of the eighth-seeded Villanova Wildcats (story from the Courier-Journal):

The University of Louisville’s top five hitters combined for 10 runs and 12 of the Cardinals’ 15 hits as they whipped Villanova 14-3 yesterday in the Big East Conference baseball championship.

Big East co-Player of the Year Chris Dominguez went 2 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs for third-seeded U of L (39-19), which advanced to tomorrow’s semifinals. Justin McClanahan was 3 for 5 with three RBIs.

Starting pitcher Justin Marks (8-1) allowed the three runs and struck out seven in six innings.

The Cardinals never trailed as Phil Wunderlich opened the scoring with an RBI single to left-center field and Drew Haynes followed with a double in the right-center gap in the second inning.

Louisville added four more in the third, highlighted by McClanahan’s RBI triple and a two-run home run by freshman Stewart Ijames.

Wow, that’s pretty fierce, dudes. On Friday the Cards will face the winner of today’s game between Seton Hall and Villanova in the double-elimination tournament.

What’s In the Weeklies? Week of May 21

Posted in Drink, Food, Happenings, Louisville News, Media, Uncategorized, What's In the Weeklies? on May 21, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Welcome, once again, to another installment of What’s In the Weeklies?, where we take a look at Louisville’s two major weekly newspapers, so you don’t have to. 

LEO May 21

LEO Weekly, May 21, 2008 issue:

Overall Score: 38 points

Velocity May 21

Velocity Weekly, May 21, 2008 issue:

  • Cover Story: Feeling like a cosmopolitan 0 points (OMG, LOL, a cover story on how some women like “Sex and the City” — seriously, how is this a story? “[Viewers] liked getting a peek into life in New York” WRONG — there is not a writer — much less a columnist! — in New York who can afford that many Manolo Blahniks, people)
  • Cover Art: 0 points (given that there wasn’t much to work with concept-wise, this still sure is boring)
  • Additional News: N/A 0 points
  • Additional Features: Q&A: Lauren Weisberger 2 points (“Sex and the City” and The Devil Wears Prada in the same issue? snoooooooze. Ps. again, nobody in New York lives like people do in either show/book/whatever)
  • Opinion: This Week’s Winners and Losers, Instead of judging Miley… 5 points (wow, the second piece on the unrealistic way we as society approach adolescent sexuality is actually pretty good!)
  • Music Coverage: Ike Reilly profile, Backstage at SNL with My Morning Jacket, Pokey LaFarge profile 10 points (decent music coverage this week)
  • Food/Drink Coverage: Felice Vineyards in the Bar Hopper 5 points 
  • Number of times the phrase “Metro Council” appears: 0

Overall Score: 22 points

Even with LEO publishing their Summer Fun Guide, which by definition is going to be pretty ephemeral, Velocity was stomped this week. We suppose that this may not come as a shock to some (since we have a pretty dude-centric perspective, being dudes and all), but somehow we still have a hard time understanding the “Sex and the City” phenomenon. It wasn’t that good of a TV show even as fantasy, but we’re constantly flummoxed by fans who claim it has something — anything — to do with “real life” in New York City. Much like the apartment in “Friends” or the apparent joblessness of the characters in “Seinfeld,” “Sex and the City” doesn’t have much in common with the life we — or any of our numerous friends — lived in the Big Apple. It’s fine to enjoy it as a sort of “zany” look at dating or whatever, but people, please stop pretending this show — or really any sitcom on television — has anything to do with reality. You want reality? Watch “Frontline.”

Okay, rant over! As always, please feel free to comment! Especially as regards stuff we don’t cover in the weeklies, such as theater and film coverage.