I was hiding in the shade as much as I could. It felt unusually hot for a September day, but it was Louisville, and Midwest weather is always a force to be reckoned with. And the crowd was out, tank tops and all, shorts and skirts and concert t-shirts.
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If you didn’t know who you were looking for, I’m not sure you would’ve even noticed him standing there on the sidewalk. Pacing back and forth along the curb, a phone pressed to his ear, he had a black cap pulled tightly over his head, black jacket, black shirt, black pants.
Chef Michael Symon seems like the kind of friend you’re excited to see when you run into when you see each other on the street. A smile on his face, a spring in his step, he is a regular on television and at food and wine festivals across the country, always jovial, always within reach.
Simon Van Booy has a way with words. A way with people, really. An observation of life that builds on a page like the slow, calculated movements of the constructs of an igloo. His stories offer a richness to life’s every day instances – love and loss, birth and death, the climbing and the falling of dreams.
Developed in the early 2000s, after a string of successful coffee shops made Joe Johnston a local celebrity of sorts, it is an oasis in the desert, an agricultural Utopia. A working farmland sits at the heart of the property, with Joe’s Farm Grill, a small Farmer’s Market, and a coffee shop (packed with yoga Moms and strollers at 11 am) perched on one side.
As a Midwest kid who grew up in a faith-heavy community, it almost felt a little sacrilege to read Christopher Moore’s Lamb. The story of Jesus’s teen years as told by his best friend, Biff, Lamb spins the story of the Messiah’s early life, before the healing and the leading and the fishes and the whatnot.
Bret Anthony Johnston’s outward appearance oozes fiction writer. You see his thick-rimmed glasses and often solemn photos and you think, Yup, this is what they’re all like. But Johnston (whose name sounds a little like a member of a boy band, doesn’t it?) is so much more than the scarf-wearing stereotype you might associate with the typical writer.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bartender extraordinaire.
More like Jeffrey the Grouch when I first met him in the Denver airport years ago.
If the name of a comic’s album gives us any insight into what to expect in his comedy, then Myq Kaplan’s albums titles are supremely helpful. There’s his most recent album – “Small, Dork, and Handsome” – along with “Meat Robot,” and “Vegan Mind Meld”, to name a few.
I’ll admit when Ian Karmel announced he was leaving Portland, a part of me panicked. It’s not that Portland doesn’t have other great comics – we certainly do (Sean Jordan, Curtis Cook, Jen Tam, Barbra Holm, to name a few) – but Ian was my surefire indication that a show would be funny.
The fact that we even have Bridgetown Comedy Festival today can be owed to comedian Matt Braunger (and co-founder, Andy Wood). Braunger, who was born and raised in northeast Portland, describes himself as “…a lightning-rod of awkwardness…” in one of his specials. His humor is grab-a-beer-with-a-friend relatable, and he bursts with energy on stage.