• The Beatles tribute festival Abbey Road On the River, which is being staged in Louisville for the first time, gets my vote as the Surprise Event of this month, if not this year. Three days of Beatles tribute bands, films ("Imagine," "Hard Days Night"), special events ("Tea With Louise Harrison") and lots of collectibles booths, plus however many thousand fans show up will have certain folks all atwitter. Think about all the "sightings" there might be, as at least some of the members of one or the other tribute bands might well go about in full gear, just for a lark. While it's not as colorful streetwise as the Hot Rod show, it will bring yet another group of folks with money to the Derby City, and that will certainly make the Metrocrats happy as all get-out.
Should you want to know more, log onto www.abbeyroadontheriver.com.
• The run-up to Derby is beginning to look pretty much like normal, with the usual features on hats and horses, parties and pate as well as hip and hop. Fortunately, sweet old Mother Nature puts on the best show in Kentucky in the Spring, even if the tree pollen gets heavy enough to drive asthmatics and allergy suffers indoors. It's one of the reasons folks tend to stay around these parts and come back here after they've gone away. That and fall.
Have a safe and happy Derby, don't drive drunk and leave the rent money at home when you go to the track - they didn't build the brand new Millionaires Row with profits from the restaurants.
• About the time that you begin to think that having some kind of taste in music is important/cool/what have you, I suggest surf over to this site www.chthonicionic.net/bile/, plug in your favorite band / song / CD name and click: invective-by-machine. This site demonstrates how utterly meaningless most music reviews really are and how easy it is to be really, really nasty. Here's to you, Howard Stern.
• While surfing the web recently, I came across a most interesting site, which features an eight-minute video "history" of how the New York Times goes offline in 2014. A bit of speculative fiction, except that every last bit of it rings very true as it proceeds. I dropped it into my "Just Because You're Paranoid" bookmark category. You can take a look here: www.broom.org/epic/.
• For the irrepressible street performer/busker in you, take a gander at www.performers.net, which has mostly links to all manner of things of interest to those who busk. Unhappily, the city authorities in Louisville has always taken a dim view of busking, requiring anyway who wants to perform in the street (and accept money for it) to register with the police and pay a daily fee. That works - it suppresses street performers. As a replacement, for a while the city hired "buskers" to sit in designated places and play. A bit of money for the few who got the gigs, but not really the same thing.
I have long suspected that this anti-busking attitude developed because of the black "jug bands" that used to appear on the street during racing - and particularly during Derby - seasons. Just the sort of folks that the Derby crowd doesn't care to see. But I could be wrong and would be interested in learning the facts, if anyone knows them.
Speaking of jugbands, watch for some verrrry interrresting developments in the very near future. Really.
• You Know You've Made It When Dept. When you get a full-page writeup in the New Yorker Magazine. Slint achieved this difficult feat in the April 11 issue. Read it here: www.newyorker.com/printables/critics/050411crmu_music
• I've managed to get invited to a couple of the juergas (parties) staged at Flamenco Louisville on Frankfort Avenue, both times in the company of Meghanne Moss, my rather attractive granddaughter. (She gets me in the door. I'm thinking she should go with me to Main Street Lounge and Petrus - no prob at the door that way.) Anyway, as for the Flamenco bashes, they're a blast - lots of floor-stomping dancing, pretty women in colorful outfits, vino, interesting people to talk to. I keep intending to get down to the Tuesday night lessons and learn some flamenco but, unhappily, I'm out on Mondays and Wednesdays already. (We need more nights in the week.) You can find out more at www.flamencolouisville.com/
• Irrational Fear lead singer Lynn Elliott was in a very serious car wreck on Wednesday, April 13. She is currently in serious but stable care in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital with numerous broken vertebrae, ribs and a broken pelvis. Irrational Fear's publicist suggests that fans interested in offering expressions of support click to the guestbook on IF's website at http://www.irrationalfear.biz.
• Apparently, Lisa's Oak Street Lounge is back up and running after being dark for a while. Tuesday nights feature an R&B/Soul band called Uncle Herman's Kings of Love. Lamont Gillispie and the 100 Proof Band is back on Wednesdays.
• A friend called me recently and asked me where I referred anybody asking about live country music. I confessed to being mostly stumped: a drive to Scottsburg gets you country a couple of nights a week but Louisville has only Coyote's, which books Nashville country/pop most of the time. My friend then reminded me about Hugh Bir's Cafe in New Albany, where Hugh and his band play all kinds of country on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It's a proto-typical country bar - friendly folks, including Hugh and cozy.