Jovon and I drove down to Louisville, KY on Monday morning – it is only about 100 miles from Indianapolis, so a short pleasant ride through farm country (so many dead deer on the road though!). We fully enjoyed the rental SUV with sunroof, although Jovon’s head was a bit pink by the time we crossed the state line.
The hotel we stayed at for the week in Louisville, The Galt House, was pretty funny – it was probably a nice resort hotel in the 1980’s, but 25 years later, seemed a bit out-of-date and kitschy. Lots of ornate wood furniture and a bar that was clear glass and housed dozens of freshwater fish. Seemed like a cool idea at first until you sat down for a drink and jumped every time a fish swam by because out of the corner of your eye it looked like a roach was running on the bar.
The hotel was huge too – two enormous towers, one with twenty-five floors and one with eighteen. The rooms were actually fine – quite spacious and if you were lucky enough to get a room facing the river, you had a spectacular view. I also enjoyed the exercise room at the hotel very much. It was on the top floor of one of the towers and faced the river, and was quite large with a ton of machines. A really nice place to work out.
Louisville definitely had much more charm than Rochester or Buffalo, but unlike Indianapolis, it did not have quite as vibrant a downtown area. I think most people work down there during the week but don’t live there, which makes evenings and weekends pretty quiet. We had a lot of trouble finding places to eat, because most everywhere closed by about 4:30pm. There was an area called “4th Street Live” that housed a few restaurants, so we pretty much made do with the restaurants there.
The theater, Kentucky Center for the Arts, was great. Not beautiful and ornate, like some of the spaces we have played, but it was very big and modern and easy to negotiate. All the dressing rooms and offices were on stage level (so our directional signs took about five minutes to put up) which makes things really convenient, and backstage we had acres of space. The local crew guys were a little slow to pick things up, but very nice, and because we had so much room backstage, our first show went off without a hitch.
On Wednesday Ryan and I went and checked out the Louisville Slugger Factory, where the famous baseball bats are made. It was really cool seeing how the different types of bats are made, and seeing all the molds for the pro ball players bats. There is a little museum that you can walk through, as well, which houses some very famous ball players’ bats, including one used by Babe Ruth, who hit twenty-five home runs with the bat (during the season when he hit sixty homers) before it cracked and broke. We also were given mini Louisville Slugger bats to keep at the end of the tour!
On Thursday, Esther, our new Lady of the Lake, called in sick. So Jamie Karen, one of our showgirls, who has been understudy for LOL (Lady of the Lake) for a year now, but has never performed because we always had a standby (Esther), made her debut that night as the Lady. And she was fabulous! Nervous as hell, but you never would have guessed it from her performance. She was funny and sang the crap out of those songs. Esther was out Friday night and Saturday matinee as well, so Jamie was able to fly her parents in from Miami on Saturday to see her perform. Our new standby, Lyn, just arrived and started rehearsals this week, so she wasn’t ready to perform just yet, but soon will be, so who knows if Jamie will get the opportunity to play the role again (especially since she is leaving the tour after Dallas – sniff…sniff…) – so it is great that she had this chance. Esther was back Saturday night and sounds better and stronger than ever.
On Friday I headed over to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, to watch some horse racing. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was content just sitting in the stands watching the horses, without making any bets (which I have no clue about anyway!). I ran into Jeff, Robert, Tony and Patrick there – and of course all those boys were betting, but I just enjoyed kicking back in the sun and watching (didn’t I say last week after going to the Speedway that I can pretty much be happy watching anything outdoors if it is sunny and I have a beer in my hand? It’s true). The track at Churchill Downs is beautiful and feels very old school, although the original building has been added on to in more recent years. The Kentucky Derby is the oldest spectator sporting event in the country (133 years old), and you can feel the history at the track. It feels very refined and mannered for some reason. All the ladies in their hats, sipping mint juleps, and the men smoking their cigars. It was a great afternoon.
It was also nice to relax and try and forget about the stresses of work. There’s been a lot of unrest amongst the crew the last couple of weeks, people coming and going, and discontent about how things are organized. It doesn’t really involve me at all, only in that I am friends with most of them, and so I like to be a shoulder to lean on, or someone they can vent to, but all of that can start to wear after a while. It would just be so great if we could all work together well as a team without all the little factions and problems. I just feel bad for the people who are affected negatively – it makes me sad. And that has all been dragging me down a bit this week. I also, as much as I want to be a friend and someone they can talk to, I don’t want to get dragged into the middle of the unrest. So I am trying to step back from it all and just hoping that things will calm down and come together soon. For my friends’ sakes. I just want everyone to be happy and have fun working together.
So the weekend was the weekend – four shows. Ken took Jovon and I out to eat at the Bristol on Saturday between shows, which was nice. I had crab cakes (I’m finally over my crab cake overdose from Baltimore) and we shared a piece of Derby Pie, which is a Louisville specialty. It sort of looks like pecan pie, but tasted to me like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. The filling is chocolate and it has walnuts on top. Yum.
We also spent quite a bit of time at a cajun fast food type place called J. Gumbo’s – partially because it was one of the only places open downtown, but also because the food was really good! I had their jambalaya, and also their bumblebee stew, and their drunken chicken over the course of the week. Right now they only have franchises in Louisville, but are looking to open more around the country, so keep an eye out for them. I definitely recommend them.
And now I am on a tiny plane headed for Houston. We left about an hour late from Louisville and I’m not sure how all of us and our luggage are all crammed on here. I am in row 12, which is the second to last row. That’s how small the plane is. Hopefully we will all arrive in Houston (and our luggage) safe and sound.
Finally, here’s a fun (and gross) question that was circling through the company yesterday – it all started when Paula and Tony were watching Elaine stir the bucket of mud make-up which is used in the earlier scenes in the show – “Not Dead Yet” and the scene in which we first meet Galahad. Now, the mud in the vat looks a bit like dog poop, so Paula says “what if that was dog poop we had to put on our faces?”. Then the question got around, “How much money would you have to be paid to put a mud masque on your face made of dog poop?”. Well, it started out in the millions, and then started dropping. I can’t tell you how big a debate this became throughout the entire company. I settled on about $10,000 to put poop on my face. The lowest was Kevin Crewell, who said he would do it for $300. So now Paula is taking up a collection of cash, and a collection of dog turds, and is going to make Kevin keep his word. Will he do it? We will see.
So how much would you have to be paid to put a dog turd masque on your face? 🙂