Thursday, August 28, 2014

Irish Exit makes its ... exit.

Matt McMahan reveals all on Facebook:

Well....four years in the making... The Irish Exit has been sold. We've pissed off a lot of people. We've made a ton of friends. But the time has come to let it go. The new owner is changing the name , concept and all. Wish Cyle the best of luck. And now on to the opening of Charlie Nobels Eatery + Draught House in Sellersburg , Pride bar + lounge downtown NA and we also we be announcing the location for Big Four Burgers New Albany soon too!!!

I'm told the new owner will open an Italian bistro called Don Vito's.

Personal note: I still believe a solid American-style Irish pub would work here. And a downtown taqueria. But I think two Italian joints are one too many. Just my opinion, nothing more. The market will decide.

ON THE AVENUES: On the blood red atavism of social media.

ON THE AVENUES: On the blood red atavism of social media.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Long ago, when both of us were considerably younger, I was drawn to the artistry and musicianship of the Who’s Pete Townshend owing to his determination to be articulate in contrast to rock music’s less thoughtful cultural propensities.

Townshend was, and perhaps still is, searching for proper context, as might be phrased something like this:

“Now, stop applauding so I can explain to you what this song really means. How can you understand anything amid all that screaming and drooling?”

Consequently, it’s both pedantic and refreshing to contemplate milieus that bear at least a trace possibility of being edifying and educational, because posterity surely will record that the current era is one of unceasingly vapid entertainment, no longer balanced by anything remotely substantive.

Then again, perhaps I’ve been spending too much time surveying America’s latest vast wasteland, social media.

Of particular interest to me lately has been the practice of mob-baiting on Facebook, a phenomenon I’m sure has a buzz phrase attached to it, although I’ve taken to describing it as “throwing raw meat to the piranhas.”

It begins with individuals collecting “friends” as the basis for an ideological mailing list, one designed to function as a repository for fans and sycophants, not the sort of genuine friend with whom one might periodically agree to disagree. Businesses do this, too, but more on that in a moment.

With the viewing (not “reading”) audience thus secured, the next step is to contrive stimuli calculated to jerk knees. Any such content need not be factual; in fact, the more emotionally untethered and intellectually ridiculous the better: “Obama,” “Koch brothers,” “atheists” or whatever else serves as alleged content sufficient to push all the pre-programmed cultural buttons in gorgeously choreographed cadence.

The reaction is swift and decisive. As the propagandistic raw meat is waved in the general direction of starving dogs, they react as Pavlov’s mutt might have predicted, by flailing, thrashing and foaming at the mouth. “Atta girl” … “those bastards” … “kill the infidels” … and so on, and so forth. I’m actually softening the vicious tone of the attacks.

There you have it: It’s Facebook, your Personalized Piranha Feeding Device. Just add a chosen enemy, click, and watch as the water turns blood red … and you become your own cult of personality.


As the decline of literacy becomes ever more depressing, and with imbecilic auto-entertainment sufficing for the majority – sadly, I’m probably not overstating the case – then how might those of us in the minority seeking some semblance of idea-compelled existence move forward with living a life of authenticity?

The answer eludes me, but I’ve been trying my best to locate the thread in what seems like a room filled with screaming, angry people. Speaking only for myself, authenticity means being myself; yes, there’ll be cynicism, profanity and a caustic tone, though not to the exclusion of intellectual honesty and constructive suggestions.

Authenticity means it might take a good long while to sort through issues and problems, because they tend to be what they are owing to their fundamental difficulty, not a simplicity that’s too good to be true.

I think that authenticity involves forcing oneself to step outside the circle of the like-minded, and to listen to what others are saying, preferably those who have experienced the world in a different way, from a different place, and with different eyes and ears.


For a very long time, my inner world has been engaged in a struggle to apply the concept of authenticity to my working station. Beer is my life, but “craft” beer lost its grip on authenticity so long ago that the narrative may be impossible to reclaim.

Once upon a time, better beer was about a thought process. It was about teaching and educating, illustrating the whys and wherefores. In the current age, “craft” beer has devolved into hedonism, masturbation and ephemeral trend chasing – on the enthusiast’s end. It’s just another form of entertainment, miles wide and millimeters deep; like the bike lanes in my hometown, “craft” beer begins and ends nowhere, and is connected to nothing in a wider, inter-related world.

Meanwhile, “craft” brewers adept at the imperatives of capitalism are busy constructing a new boss that looks suspiciously like the old. The late historian Tony Judt reminds us that capitalism isn’t about a small, artisanal brewer making really good beer. Rather, capitalism is about brewers selling a great many units of beer. There was a time when “craft” beer thrived on refuting this statement. Now, in many ways, it doesn’t even bother trying.

Full disclosure: I’ve lived varying forms of inauthenticity, too, and it would be foolish of me to deny it. Still, if it’s all about the beer, then it needs to be all about the beer. If the beer itself isn’t authentic, how can anything else spawned by it be authentic? My own company continues to explore these and other questions in an effort to find answers that constitute greater authenticity than previous ones. We haven’t succeeded, and we haven’t failed. We’re in that most dangerous of places in robber baron capitalism: The middle.

Why do we even bother with thinking?

Perhaps instead we might expediently gather the hungry piranhas, and lob some raw meat into the scrum, as one of our fellow local breweries did on Facebook just last week, when it inelegantly savaged a customer for an innocuous complaint, and was loudly applauded by a fawning, obsequious mob of home slices echoing Tim Rice’s lyrics in Jesus Christ Superstar: “Crucify him!”

Watching all this, I wanted to vomit, but it would have passed unnoticed amid the agitated, ricocheting saliva. I elected to go against the grain, and swallow.

Well, if that’s authenticity, you can both have it and keep it. If that’s what is meant by taking over the world for “craft” beer, then it’s a world you can exploit to your heart’s content. I may have helped in this world’s creation, but I no longer recognize it, nor do I require self-aggrandizement of such magnitude in my daily life. The one redeeming factor about the words “fuck ‘em” is that they are multi-directional.

I’m older now, but my determination to be articulate in contrast to “craft” beer’s less thoughtful cultural propensities is greater than ever. Fortunately for me, my list of personal needs does not include applause, drooling or raw meat. What happens next is anyone’s guess, although it’s certain that something will.

You are encouraged to log off Facebook for a few minutes and go for a walk, accompanied by your own thoughts.

Learning remains barely possible that way.

Mayor Fischer issues a challenge. Whither ours?

As a resident of New Albany, should I classify this piece as brilliant, or just beat the rush and go fetch the irony sickness bag?


Mayor Greg Fischer called a surprise meeting with the press this morning asking everyone to come together as a community and “shut the fuck up.” Over the last few years as Mayor, Fischer has challenged citizens to walk more, ride their bikes to work and to eat healthier. After just a week of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the death of comedian Robin Williams, Mayor Fischer says he was inspired to challenge his neighbors, colleagues and people across the country to shut the fuck up.

“It’s really starting to get out of control,” said Fischer. “It’s not only online. Everywhere I look I just see more and more people that should shut the fuck up.”

Fischer says there’s no charity or sponsors, this is just a good old fashioned challenge.

“Look if you want to donate some money to a charity, then do so privately,” said Fischer. “There’s nothing more to my challenge than everyone simply relaxing, sitting on their couch with their loved ones, maybe watching some Cheers or Roseanne, and just shutting the fuck up.”

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 33: Another fine day on the Spring Street Entrance Ramp.

The heavy truck pictured above, as it rumbles down the Spring Street Entrance Ramp early this morning as though to herald the imminent arrival of thousands of like-minded, pass-through-city toll evaders, area-wide, intent on everything EXCEPT pausing to gaze in wonderment at the political luminaries populating Hauss Square ... well, it's the 200th photo in a series. That's a tiny fraction of the daily chaos that City Hall stubbornly refuses to acknowledge.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fear the gorilla: After all, Harvest Homecoming's business plan has never been designed for inclusivity.

Yesterday we recalled the wonderful annual experience of an alien spaceship landing in the middle of downtown, with nice orange-shirted functionaries showing us a book entitled, "To Serve Man".

Fear the gorilla: Harvest Homecoming's head honcho demands downtown merchants "understand what the festival is all about."

Following are selected comments from the Fb discussion that ensued. I've rendered names into acronyms and highlighted NAC staff comments.

Harvest is a great idea that could be a huge boon for local business if only those involved, or the city that sanctions it, would ask "how can we do this better," rather than stating "learn to like it our way" out of hubris and apathy.
22 hours ago · Like · 1

Thanks Roger the gorilla made my morning. A few observations: 1. Loss of revenue for about a week for a small business is huge. 2. Why no effort to supply frontage for said businesses? Don't they bring in revenue year round for the city? 3. Why not move the whole thing over the flood wall and not block business frontage at all? 4. Why is it the cities responsibility to cover the nut of churches and non-profits? Churches and non-profits already get the benefit of not paying taxes and they are constantly having events for themselves. 5. Perhaps a weeks amnesty from taxes to compensate for loss revenue?
22 hours ago · Edited · Like · 4

Here's a solution, cut out all non-local, for-profit crap vendors, spread the festive out one more block down Market Street and 4th street, and leave openings along the way so attendees can shop in the local stores.
22 hours ago · Like · 4

It is sad when non-profits forget what they are there for, and get too big for their own good. It would seem to me that the greatest good from having the event is to get people into downtown New Albany, and to see how things have positively changed, and to spend money in the local stores. If not, then why even have it?!
22 hours ago · Like · 1

It’s not just four days of booths, its four days of miserable business, that drives my regular customers away. Four and 1/2 if you count the loss of Wednesday business after 5:00 when the streets are shut down. We have never made up any extra business during HH that offsets the loss of of regulars. We made a conscious decision to not get a booth this year. I don't think I should pay rent for the space in front of my store, and I don't believe access to my business should ever be cut off for the benefit of another business, whether they are for-profit or non-profit.
21 hours ago · Like · 6

Roger A. Baylor
MWB has it; that's basically my view, too. Reform, not eliminate. The problem with imposing an entirely different business model over the existing one is that they contradict each other. And make no mistake: Downtown businesses are not asked, and are not part of the conversation.
21 hours ago · Like · 3

Honest the event has gone down hill greatly from what it was in the past. Booths in the past had handmade art, craft, goods etc. Now it's mostly junk that looks like it came from the dollar store.
21 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Not to mention, you won't improve your relationship with downtown merchants by telling me to understand your point of view, with no concern for my point of view.
21 hours ago · Unlike · 3

Jeff Gillenwater
It would be interesting to see what would happen if downtown businesses ever organized.
21 hours ago · Unlike · 1

To think that the City of New Albany is exempting their business owners from any input about the event just floors me. It's like calling up your neighbors and telling them your having a party and people will be parking in their yard, using their pool and bathroom facilities and sleeping over for a few days. Don't like it, screw you!
21 hours ago · Like · 1

Roger A. Baylor
Existing downtown businesses would benefit from a looser, more dispersed HH model. But HH benefits from a form of "monopoly" borne of concentration. It can't go on, but City Hall is terrified. Seeing a pattern yet?
21 hours ago · Like

I know St. James Art Fair in Louisville has a board that qualifies booth applicants to see if they bring positive aspects to the event. New Albany apparently allows anybody with a check.
21 hours ago · Like · 1

When I was working in City Hall, or as I like to call it , the Portal to Hell, I learned very quickly that during Harvest time HH rules the city. All city officials are supposed to just step back and cater to their every need and whim. It even stated on vendor permits that the permits did not cover the booth days and that the permit holders would have to pay for a separate booth rental/permit from HH to ply their wares in the downtown area. Furthermore, HH never has to go to the Board of Works and Safety to have the street closures approved and permitted, they don't have to pay for any of the over-time for the clean-up or security provided by the City and they are allowed to hang street banners where other organizations are prohibited to hang them.
21 hours ago · Like · 1

Jeff Gillenwater
When citizens, businesses, or other groups go to the City to ask about using public space and are told they have to get permission from a private, non-elected, non-accountable, third-party, there are obviously issues. Eventually, someone is going to have to push the conversation along via civil disobedience. It would be helpful if the business/property owners most directly impacted would do it en masse.If HH doesn't have to go before the Board of Works to secure the space in front of your building for that time period, then neither do you, right?
21 hours ago · Like · 3

Don't feel bad guys. It's not just downtown businesses, as they put off other local businesses as well. I work for New Albany Broadcasting, and not only do we not get any media buys to promote the long week of events, but we were not allowed last year to even have a float in the parade!! What the heck is that all about?
18 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
That's a hoot, TC. 20 years ago or so when I worked for what was just transitioning from a local cable station, we used to shoot a bunch of the events and show them on the local access channel for free. But then a fledgling ProMedia contracted with HH to shoot some of those events. When we showed up in community service/journalism mode to do what we'd done before, HH honchos tried to kick us off public property claiming they had granted exclusive rights to ProMedia. This "authority from thin air" crap has been going on a long time.
18 hours ago · Like

There's a community dialogue about Harvest Homecoming's clash with changing times. Harvest Homecoming won't instigate it. The newspaper currently is cowering somewhere in Jeffersonville, and the city has shown that it is abjectly terrified of becoming involved with modernity in any form.

Jeff's right: Local businesses must be the agents of change. To do so, we must organize, reject the antebellum Bob Caesar mindset, and not be afraid to break a few eggs in pursuit of an omelette. I suspect we refrain because so many among us are hesitant to be viewed as radicals, but as we see in New Albany on a daily basis, conservatism merely yields the same tired results, over and over again.

On the Stroad, Ferguson and the predictability of auto-oriented decline.

And what is a stroad?

A STROAD is a street/road hybrid and, besides being a very dangerous environment (yes, it is ridiculously dangerous to mix high speed highway geometric design with pedestrians, bikers and turning traffic), they are enormously expensive to build and, ultimately, financially unproductive.

Now, on to Ferguson, Missouri. As the author observes, he cannot comment on the racial aspect, but can offer a few ideas about how we Americans so enjoy designing for decline.

Stroad Nation, by Charles Marohn (Strong Towns)

We can’t over-simplify the dynamics of all that has happened in Ferguson, but it’s obvious that our platform for building places is creating dynamics primed for social upheaval. The auto-oriented development pattern is a huge financial experiment with massive social, cultural and political ramifications. It is time to start building strong towns ...

... What I see with Ferguson is a suburb deep into the decline phase of the Suburban Ponzi Scheme. The housing styles suggest predominantly 1950’s and 1960’s development. We’re past the first cycle of new (low debt and low taxes), through the second cycle of stagnation (holding on with debt and slowly increasing taxes) and now into predictable decline. There isn’t the community wealth to fix all this stuff -- and there never was -- so it is all slowly falling apart.

Decline isn’t a result of poverty. The converse is actually true: poverty is the result of decline.

The Warehouse to reopen as Pride Bar + Lounge.

Get the scoop at the official Fb page.


ON THE AVENUES: Learning from the Warehouse.

The Warehouse Bar is closed. Will it be back?

The Warehouse generates a tsunami.

"New Albany's first LGBT bar is now open."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reinstate Pete Rose? Even I have to admit it's time.

What's on the agenda for 1609 E. Market Street?

Hmm, a new 210 (Liquor, Beer & Wine Retailer ... Restaurant ... Incorporated Area).

Mike Kopp didn't mention this one last week.

Who has the scoop?

Fear the gorilla: Harvest Homecoming's head honcho demands downtown merchants "understand what the festival is all about."

We understand, all right.

Harvest Homecoming is about Harvest Homecoming, and if any further proof is needed that city government has done less than zilch/nada/nothing to address this recurring issue since last year's complaints ... well, here you go.

Merely note that Jeff Cummins proposes not trying to understand the point made by downtown merchants, but to insist they understand that all those non-local food and trinket vendors represent "nonprofits and churches"?


How's that Harvest Homecoming reform program coming along, anyway?

The head honcho of New Albany's Harvest Homecoming; Jeff Cummins takes over leadership of huge New Albany festival, by Chris Morris (of course; N and T)

(Jeff) Cummins said two areas he wants to improve on as president is the relationship with some of the downtown merchants who have voiced concerns about how booth days hurts their business. He also wants to recruit more volunteers, and try to get more youth involved in the festival.

“I want to try and get downtown merchants to understand what the festival is all about. It’s not just four days of booths, it’s about allowing nonprofits and churches who get to set up booths and for many, make their budgets for the year,” he said. “It’s about the college scholarships, all the free kids events. Some don’t understand, but many do.

“The Harvest Homecoming Festival is not just booths — it’s about giving back and giving New Albany the opportunity to show off a little. If they [visitors] don’t visit a business during the festival, there is a good chance they will come back.”

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Tear It Down," Sayeth the Councilman, Part 5: The ghost of Orwell enjoys a pint at Haughey's Place.

Perhaps by the end of the week, the city will have finished with the demolition of the old Haughey's Place tavern building, and of course, the world won't come to an end.

However, certain illusions perhaps are best terminated, the sooner the better, and that's why I've posted exhaustively on the topic today. No one else will; might as well be me. Let's begin with a classic of restrained understatement.

There are obviously intertwined matters of transparency, "advise and consent" and planning, and the 922 Culbertson imbroglio has exposed considerable and ongoing deficiencies in these areas. 

First and foremost to my mind is City Hall's seemingly pathological desire for secrecy and control. It is an administration seeking always to conduct business by means of carefully sanitized, upbeat press release -- long after the details have been squared away safely behind the scenes ... and I'm phrasing this mildly.

If readers believe I'm exaggerating, then think of it this way: Can you imagine City Hall as currently constituted conceding error or uncertainty on any topic, in any way?

That's what I thought.

As 3rd district councilman Phipps's comments in today's series illustrate, the council as currently constituted shares much of the blame for the condition of non-transparency. The council's president tends to run its affairs as though he were the mayor's appointed whip. Due diligence on the part of council has been almost entirely absent amid huge expenditures, as with the aquatic center. Individual members veer wildly back and forth between contradictory self-definitions:

"We're here to do something; no, wait, we can't do anything at all. We can't decide, so we'll ward-heel ... unless, of course, we don't."

The inevitable result in terms of practical effect is little more than old-fashioned party machine politics, and it reeks of paranoia and cliquishness. It squelches ideas and outside-the-box thinking as effectively as a one-party dictatorship -- which quite frankly, it is.

As pertinent questions of the sort prefacing participatory democracy continue to go largely unasked, both by a newspaper that exists solely to entertain at a 4th-grade level, and by elected officials meekly willing to toe the party line -- whether actively or passive-aggressively -- substantive dialogue is subsumed by vapid buzz-phrases:

Quality of life
Public safety 
Fundamentally better

These are merely three of the recently minted ways of evading scrutiny and intellectual honesty by what amounts to modern variants of Orwell's newspeak.

Specifically, I find City Hall's "public safety" position v.v. the doomed building at 922 Culbertson to be flagrantly insulting. The city's outmoded one-way arterial streets are more unsafe by the day, and nothing is done to correct or even address the situation aloud. The recent onslaught of heavy truck traffic has exacerbated an already ugly scene, and City Hall's reaction has been to lock lips and fold arms even more tightly.


Because it must wait for Jeff Speck's political cover to confirm the daily lesson of its own sets of eyes, and that, my friends, is political cowardice.

Consequently, public safety currently means one thing, and one thing only: Just demolish as many buildings as possible, and triumphantly point to this quasi-suburban standard of vigilant cleanliness as City Hall's equivalent of fascism's ability to make the trains run on time:

"We're orderly in the city, folks. We're eliminating the unsightliness. Look at the nice grass where once a slumlord reigned. Come here and invest -- not that we'll be doing anything to make investment fruitful after the rubble is hauled away."

Naturally, these were rampant slumlords untouched by the city's "enforcement" arm over generations of inert passivity ... but let's not urinate in the broth, quite yet.

Yes, of course unsafe buildings need to be addressed, by demolition if necessary.  

No one denies that, but what needs to be addressed concurrent with their escalating demolition is what happens when they're gone. Urban areas need density to function as intended, not suburban standards of cul-de-sac green-space propriety. We have hundreds of weedy holes in the urban fabric, but what we don't have is a plan to sell, give away or rebuild on them.

The fact that every such debate as 922 Culbertson's conjures from scratch a different, ad hoc response should tell the scattershot tale clearly enough. After all, "redevelopment" has a prefix that suggests new beginnings, not merely efficient bulldozing.

Where the hell is the plan? You DO have one, right? You ARE aware of modernity ... please?

And so the newspaper put the worst possible photo of 922 Culbertson on its Fb page, and asked whether the building should be saved. 

Maybe, maybe not, but nothing should be done until Mayor Gahan tells all of us (a) what happens to the vacant spot in terms of redevelopment, (b) what happens to all the other vacant spots, and (c) exactly who has shown interest in the vacant spot such that the building's removal suddenly has become so important that the mayor himself is involved with the decision. In this context, I asked Habitat for Humanity whether they sought the space, and once again, they've answered "no."

Jeff and I tried to ask these questions of Councilman Phipps, and were surprised to learn that he has become the evasive politician he professes to loathe.


I'd just appreciate a yes or a no to those questions I ask that offer these two simple options. This doesn't mean I personally dislike my councilman, or intend to write mean things on his locker at school. It does mean that I'm quite disappointed that his now-evident personal zeal to demolish 922 has blinded him to the numerous larger issues, but I can only pitch the ball and hope someone hits it.

And yes, the public safety argument at 922 Culbertson is a red herring of epic proportions. If public safety were the overall municipal objective, we wouldn't have one-way arterial streets slicing through these same residential areas, undermining all the purported advantages of rampant demolition.

It's plainly hypocritical, but at the moment, it's all we have.

For now.

"Tear It Down," Sayeth the Councilman, Part 4: "I say do the work for which you're being paid."

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Jeff wrapped and tied the 922 Culbertson conclusion, and a discussion ensued. I'll let the participants speak for themselves.

And there you have it, folks: In 20 minutes, I just did more due diligence, provided more information, in terms of potential uses and impacts of corner stores and small, neighborhood commercial structures than the entirety of our city government has done in the past year. My councilman says: It's ugly. Tear it down. I say do the work for which you're being paid.

Greg Phipps
Maybe you should run for councilman next year.
2 hrs · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
Such a cop out, Greg. This passive-aggressive stuff is old already.
2 hrs · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
But this is how it goes: any number of citizens ask rightful, highly relevant questions. You get offended that you're tied to such, and jump in on a personal umbrage note claiming all is well and above board. Those questions, though - today and many times before- such as they address actual processes that impact the city and our lives in it, are duly ignored. There is no explanation, no justification offered, no anything in terms of regular communication, desired outcomes, strategy, nothing.. If you're offended by being mentioned as complicit in silence, how are the rest of us supposed to feel?
13 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
Jeff, the city council has no control over what happens to that building, those decisions are made by the administration and or redevelopment. I didn't make the statement in anger, I'm serious if someone else want to step-up and run for council I will gladly step aside.
12 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg, very gently: And you abdicated whatever bully pulpit a councilman might possess by advocating the building's demolition, and to my ears, a tad flippantly. Jeff's question about due diligence is very appropriate. In this and other situations where decisions are being made behind closed doors -- as seems to be this administration's default setting -- if your brief does not include promoting transparency, then what exactly does it contain?
12 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
Pretty much what I was about to say.... and add that specific concerns about maintaining and promoting small, neighborhood commercial structures very much falls under council purview, especially in a district where they readily exist in neighborhoods designed to function with them. Likewise for many other issues that end up ignored as part of any number of closed-door dealings. If you're going to criticize Landmarks about not being proactive... I wasn't joking in the slightest when I mentioned here that my 20 minute output was more than could be attributed to the City, even with so many full time staff and part-time elected reps supposedly engaged.
12 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
I mean, if you're not raising concerns about the mayor touting tearing down a commercial building to implement "secret" plans in your own neighborhood, what would be objectionable enough in terms of process to warrant speaking up? Those corner stores don't represent some comparatively ancient, 19th century way of thinking (though we could learn from that, too) but rather they were viable, contributing parts of higher functioning neighborhoods through the 60s, 70s, 80s. Our neighborhoods are weaker without them and removing that potential completely is difficult to justify, or at least should be.
11 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
Roger: If I were aware of a plan that would be detrimental to the neighborhood, I would speak up, this is not the current case. Jeff: I'm not opposed to corner grocery stores, but I don't see people beating down the door to locate one in New Albany, if they are out there, there are plenty of abandoned building waiting to be developed. The bottom line is that businesses locate based on profitability not the desires of a select group in a neighborhood. I stand on my earlier statement- Tear it down.
11 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg, are you aware of a plan, any plan, for this and/or other rapidly escalating vacant lots? Thanks. Your use of the word "detrimental" prompts my follow-up.
11 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
I have listened to the concerns of those in the immediate vicinity of this building and the majority are in favor of demolition. No one has stepped up with a complete plan to totally renovate the building. The only proposal has been to stabilize the building, then it may set empty for years before a complete renovation occurs if ever. So you criticize me for not listening to people, now when I publicly take a stand, after listening to constituents, then you criticize me "for listening" to people.
10 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
A short time ago, no one was beating down the door to invest anywhere in downtown or midtown New Albany and, should anyone have wanted to, there were plenty of empty buildings available. Personally, I'm pretty glad they're still there and being near fully used.
10 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg, I'm not doing any of that. I'm not talking about the building. I'm talking about the vacant space that will be there when it's gone, and the hundreds of others we have, sitting there, doing nothing -- holes in the fabric. I'm trying to learn if ANYONE in the city has a plan for these, and that's why I'm asking you NOT if plans you heard have been detrimental, but whether there ARE any plans at all for it? City Hall hints at such. Habitat for Humanity denies they're involved (I just asked them on Fb). Why are we knocking down all these buildings if there's no plan to utilize the empty space? Recall that Redevelopment begins with "re".
10 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg: And all of it is conducted in an atmosphere of military-level state secrets. I'm sick of that, and I'm sorry, but you should be, too.
10 hours ago · Like · 1

Greg Phipps
Even if there were not a plan, wouldn't an empty lot be better than a crumbling dilapidated building? Such a lot could be used for in-fill housing.
10 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg: Yes, it could. So what's the plan for in-fill housing?
10 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg, and speaking to Jeff's point -- in the absence of questions and verification, the extent to which it is crumbling and dilapidated isn't really known. And, if it could be stabilized and used later, isn't this the very essence of sustainability?
10 hours ago · Like · 1

Jeff Gillenwater
This "plan" has been announced as a secret. If it truly is a secret, there's no way to judge if what's coming is better than what's currently there or could be done with the current structure. If it's not a secret, than others are responsible for helping to keep residents in the dark. Wouldn't it be better to actually market the current structure in a sincere effort to see what the possibilities actually are before declaring it dead? Why would infill housing be better than rehabbing the current structure?
10 hours ago · Edited · Like

Greg Phipps
Roger: When that lot becomes vacant, I will push for in-fill housing.
10 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
Roger: Stabilization with a plan would be great, but stabilization without a plan or definite time table perpetuates an eye-sore that affects the quality of life in the area.
10 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg: Why won't you answer my question?
10 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
It's not the role of the council to announce plans, that's the role of the players who are involved.
10 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
Jeff: I can't imagine a plan that would be worse that what's there now.
10 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
A) You've created a classic false dichotomy between the building as it sits now and whatever else might be put there. B) So you know what the mayor's plan is and won't tell us or you won't acknowledge if you know what the plan is? It's a simple yes or no that speaks directly to the trust issues I mentioned earlier.
10 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg: Which plans? The plan for the single corner building, or the comprehensive plan for the numerous vacant lots we're creating? Can I accurately say, "Councilman Phipps concedes that he is aware of plans but cannot specify which plans he is aware of, and will not comment further?"
10 hours ago · Edited · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg, if you cannot answer a simple yes or no question clearly, then you quite obviously have become the politician you profess to loathe. I'm sorry for you if that's the case, but I'm sorrier for the rest of us.
10 hours ago · Edited · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Greg ... wait, but if the councilman's job is not to take any part in the decision-making process reserved for mayor and redevelopment, have you not usurped your own job description by canvassing neighbors for their opinion? Might we then judge by the tone of your disdain for this particular building that you've actually played an active role in advocacy which isn't any of the council's business? And what of these recurring arguments about "public safety" coming from an administration that will do absolutely nothing about unsafe traffic on streets in residential neighborhoods? Isn't this a "quality of life" issue, too? Is it EVER the job of council to ask City Hall to explain the hypocrisy -- or is that what Roger does?
10 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1

Jeff Gillenwater
And to think this whole conversation started by questioning my assertion that the process surrounding this building had been corrupted.
10 hours ago · Unlike · 1

Roger A. Baylor
Jeff: When the reply to every question is, "But it's a shitty old building and it must come down," I'm not sure there WAS a conversation.
10 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
Roger & Jeff: This will be my final statement in this matter- there is no plan at this point. Roger: You know I support two-way traffic and I will whole heartily support funding when the Speck study is completed.
10 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
So, after significant back and forth, Councilman Phipps says Mayor Gahan is lying about there even being a plan and then won't say anything else? I know you're sticking with "Tear it down", Greg, but how about calling for honesty, at least as it pertains to your/our district?


There may be a part 5 if I have time.

"Tear It Down," Sayeth the Councilman, Part 3: A civilian's due diligence as to 922 Culbertson's possibilities.

Part 1
Part 2

As the plot thickened, Jeff did something absolutely unprecedented, and far outside the customary "business as usual" box that one might be forgiven for imagining that it is prohibited by New Albany municipal ordinance.

He offered numerous cases in point from a wider world to show how the 922 Culbertson discussion might have been proceeding had it been (a) transparent and involving the neighborhood, and (b) not emphasizing squalid "business as usual," which has a way of being, well, usual.

Here they are.

Study: Older, smaller buildings better for cities (AP)

"While small, older buildings might not make for an impressive skyline, they may be better for cities than massive, gleaming office towers, according to a study released Thursday.

Neighborhoods and commercial areas with a mix of older, smaller buildings make for more vibrant, walkable communities with more businesses, nightlife and cultural outlets than massive newer buildings, according the National Trust for Historic Preservation's study."


New Focus for Redeveloping and Revitalizing Communities (CPHA Baltimore)

"This means that a previously unoccupied, or poorly maintained, historic building is more likely to be developed into a place that could benefit the community and local economy, such as a locally-owned coffee shop, a renovated corner store, or a well-maintained home.

Strengthening existing communities prevents unnecessary building of auto-centric shopping and business centers in rural areas, which negatively impact the environment, and causes people to flee existing communities. If residents can shop locally and walk to work in their neighborhoods, communities will be more stable and sustainable."


Detroit's West Village becomes hot spot for restaurants, revitalization, by Amy Haimerl (Crain's Detroit Business)

"That was in the glorious fall weather of last October, and the two walked the streets looking at Georgian Revivals, Tudors and a passel of other historic properties tucked way in the area. In their ramblings, they came across a commercial space at Parker and Kercheval streets.

'There used to be an old party store in it, and we kept looking at that space and saying, 'Oh damn, that would be such a great spot for a more upscale bodega like you see on every corner in New York,' ' said Kirby, 26.

And since Drought goes through three tons of organic produce a week, the two knew they'd have access to excellent fruits and vegetables to build a market/bodega around. (Bodega equals party store in the local parlance.)

Kirby and James started rehabbing the space in November — using $1,200 worth of credit card points James traded for Lowe's gift cards — and are planning a soft launch party April 3.

As they make plans for their grocery, a recent open house drew more than 20 people to 1417 Van Dyke St., all of whom were hoping that their business would be selected to move into the location.

'Things have evolved here,' said Hurttienne of The Villages CDC. 'That evolution has led us to the point where 1417 Van Dyke can do an RFP for a business to move in. That feels like a huge thing. It's just tremendous.'

That property is owned by Alex Howbert, a third-generation West Village resident. He is working with Practice Space to find the right business tenant for the Victorian house, which once housed a grocery that his father and uncles frequented."


The (hi)story of a corner: Community and revitalization at Tower Grove and Manchester (The Grove)

Guy Slay is a firm believer in collaboration and the strength of such collaboration in driving a neighborhood to success. The drivers include the Grove Community Improvement District and its roles in marketing, infrastructure and security initiatives, the other investors, developers, and business owners in the neighborhood, as well as all his tenants.


Corner Store Revitalization Project (City of Edmonton)

There’s been a shift in Edmonton’s retail landscape away from local community and neighbourhood shops. Shopping malls, mega-commercial strips, and power centres with stand alone big-box format stores dominate the shopping landscape.

This shift has drawn people away from shopping in their own neighbourhood at local corner store businesses and small local shopping centres. As a result, there’s been a decline in the number of neighbourhood stores and businesses, and a physical deterioration of many residential shopping sites.

The purpose of the Corner Store Project is to explore the actions the City might take to revitalize small neighbourhood shopping sites in mature neighbourhoods.


"Healthy Corner Stores as an Economic Development Strategy" (Healthy Corner Stores Network)

Corner stores are a convenient food source in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the country. Most corner stores sell packaged foods and beverages of minimal nutritional value, alcohol, and tobacco products, with few healthy or fresh options. However, these small-scale
stores have tremendous potential to improve community health and promote economic development.


Sparking Community Revitalization (White House)

"In 2010, the Obama Administration launched the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), a partnership across various federal agencies to combat the lack of access to healthy food by provide financing for developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, and farmers markets selling healthy food in underserved areas. There are currently 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, living in neighborhoods without full service grocery stores and limited access to fresh, healthy food.

In addition, in 2011, the Department of Treasury provided $25 million in grants to Community Development Financing Institutions to fund healthy food initiatives and the Treasury’s New Market Tax Credits program includes 50 companies that expect to generate $461 million for HFFI activities. The Health and Human Services Department awarded $10 million to community economic development corporations to develop grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, farmers markets, and other innovative initiatives to help revitalize communities. And U.S. Department of Agriculture continues their work to improve access to healthy and affordable food across the nation through various agency programs."


Part 4 is on the way.

"Tear It Down," Sayeth the Councilman, Part 2: "Just how has this been a corrupt process?" Hint: Secretive nonsense.

Part 1 is here.

The Facebook discussion began at the newspaper's page, and then shifted to Jeff's. Here's the tip-off:

More obstinacy and secretiveness in the face of possibility and resiliency with my elected district representative (who, like me, lives nearby) characteristically silent on what has been a corrupt process from the beginning.

And voila! The layers began peeling.

Greg Phipps
Just how has this been a corrupt process? I say tear the damn thing down!
18 hours ago · Like

Greg Phipps
The city has spoken to numerous investors and has worked with historic preservation in seeking funding to save the structure. I have spoken to many in the neighborhood who live around this eyesore and most are in favor of tearing it down. Historic preservation needs to be more proactive rather than reactive. They wait until the 11th hour to save building then panic. Not all old building are historic and worthy of saving.
17 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
And "tear it down" is where you started, Greg, so when the City said $300,000 to stabilize to basic code compliance (an absurd number), you didn't question it. When the City did next to nothing to advertise the property as available or seek proposals and then declared no one was interested (based on that same $300K number), you again said nothing. And why is this building caught up in the $250,000 ask in the first place? Because Gahan and company are being obstinate, more interested in the ongoing Horseshoe feud than in actually salvaging the building. Why do you accept that City has a "plan" for the property but refuses to say what it is? Given that you're getting your preferred outcome, you've invested nothing in this process and implicitly supported ongoing, secretive nonsense.
17 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
"The City has spoken to numerous investors..." Which ones? How were they notified and/or selected? What terms were they given for the property? Are those terms available to anyone? That should all be public knowledge, and would be if the process were even a smidgen honest and transparent. Do you even know?
17 hours ago · Like

Greg Roberts
Jeff, Do you want to buy the building?
17 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
That's an impossible question to answer given the level of secretiveness thus far. Can you answer my questions above? What are the terms? Can you point me to where the City has publicly advertised them? In your opinion, are they realistic?
17 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
So, you guys really don't know if the property has ever been broadly and publicly marketed, what the asking price was, or what if any stipulations or incentives were attached? Seems strange to publicly defend the integrity of a process you can't really...See More
14 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Crickets they be chirping. All I want to know is: Where's the plan to fill all these holes we're making? We do have a plan, right?
13 hours ago · Like
Roger A. Baylor


Part 3 is coming.

"Tear It Down," Sayeth the Councilman, Part 1: The rudderless newspaper squanders another 922 Culbertson opportunity, but an informative chat occurs, anyway.

Where to begin?

The newspaper's new web site is utterly atrocious, and we must wade through interminable human interest photos and vapid sports stories before coming anywhere near "harder" news, evidently because subscribers desperately need the fluff they want, rather than the facts they need -- but hey, we can't fix modernity, can we?

The worst part is that all previous newspaper links that might help tell the 922 Culbertson story are broken, and so we start from scratch, just like the city seemingly does with each and very decision it makes, all of which are taken in the void, divorced from previous experience, principled commitment or future planning, and never with the assistance of the very best in contemporary book-reading.

The newspaper's latest skim-over leads things off.

CLOSING TIME: Old Culbertson Avenue tavern likely to be demolished

NEW ALBANY – A former tavern along Culbertson Avenue that was constructed in 1880 is slated for demolition as early as Wednesday.

Last week, the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County failed to take action on a $250,000 proposal to establish an endangered places revolving loan fund ...

... Mayor Jeff Gahan and New Albany Building Commissioner David Brewer said the structure would be salvaged if a new owner stepped up with adequate funding to refurbish the property.

How much such an undertaking would cost has been debated, as the estimates initially discussed by the city and Indiana Landmarks were a sizable range apart.

Then, as is its recent habit, the newspaper linked to its web site and asked a simplistic question, presumably designed to increase traffic flow and dribble farthings into the publisher's accounts.

Notice that the photo chosen (above) places the building in its worst possible light, and try not to act surprised.

A brief discussion began.


Charity Codey Drake
Not worth it. May be historic or not. In the end if it were that important it would have been taken care of all along. NA gets goo hung up on historic.
August 23 at 9:46am · Like

Ann Breeden Reed
If the bones of the structure are good.....absolutely! If not, it comes down.
August 23 at 10:39am · Like · 1

Roger A. Baylor
Not before the mayor tells us (a) what happens to the vacant spot in terms of redevelopment and (b) who has shown interest in the vacant spot such that the building's removal suddenly has become so important that the mayor himself is involved with the decision. The public safety argument is a red herring. If public safety were the objective, we wouldn't have one-way arterial streets slicing through residential areas. City Hall runs from that one, and embraces demolitions. It's plainly hypocritical.
17 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
Some fun facts about 922 Culbertson Avenue: Up until 2013, it was an active property like any other, with a single owner since 2004. At the time of foreclosure just one year ago, the loan amount in question was $86,700. The county's own assessor currently places the property's value at $138,200. Since June, the City has been the legal owner, able to sell it for any amount. Per the City, however, it's suddenly an eminent danger to the community and can't even be given away despite the fact that the City has purchased and held distressed properties for years in the recent past.
13 hours ago · Like

Jeff Gillenwater
Despite the City's dubious claims of diligence, this property has never been broadly and transparently marketed with clear, publicly knowable terms of sale and/or expectations. Review all the previous articles. Ever see the price or terms of sale listed anywhere? Ever see an explanation as to where the absurdly expensive $300,000 repair estimate came from? Any explanation as to what's actually wrong with the structure or what specifically is needed to address any code concerns? Nope. Does any of that sound like the actions of a group genuinely working toward reuse of the building? And, as Roger mentions, why are plans for the property being held secret if they expect, as stated, the neighborhood to be pleased? That doesn't make any sense, either.
13 hours ago · Like

Roger A. Baylor
Consequently, the questions that MIGHT be asked if journalists were not extinct boggle the mind.
13 hours ago · Like · 1

Roger A. Baylor
But from the start, the newspaper has chosen to frame this story like a wrestling bout -- who's winnin', who's losin' ... look at that, Verle, a folding metal chair is in the ring.
13 hours ago · Like · 1


Part 2 is next.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shells still explode in Belgium, one hundred years on.

In 2002, I hired a battlefield guide for my beer tour group. We were staying in Ypres (Ieper) and attending the hop festival in nearby Poperinge. The guide's explanation of unexploded ordinance recovery (and periodic explosions) almost a century after the fact paralleled this one, and I'll never forget it.

Now it's actually been a century.

Belgians Share Their Land With War’s Reminders; A century after hundreds of thousands died around Ypres, their remains are still being found, and shells are still exploding, by Suzanne Daley (NYT)

YPRES, Belgium — The padlocked cage beside the driveway on the Butaye family farm near this town in western Belgium is almost full of rusting bombs again. Since January, Stijn Butaye has collected 46 mortar shells on his family’s 100 acres, World War I munitions he found among the sugar beet and potato fields, sometimes with the help of his metal detector.

Mr. Butaye’s father, Luc, won’t even plow two of his fields for fear of what the blades might hit. Not long ago, a neighbor riding his tractor ruptured an aging shell, and the explosion sent shrapnel through his windshield, tearing off a chunk of his ear.

“You don’t know what could happen,” said Stijn Butaye, 26, who has built a small museum beside the barn with hundreds of items — including shoes and eyeglasses and razors and a perfectly preserved gas mask — that he has found on his family’s property. “We just use that land for grazing the cows.”

In Lowell, Massachusetts: "Watch those signs and look both ways!"

Dubuque, too.

City officials have said the traffic pattern switch will make downtown streets easier to navigate and safer for pedestrians, particularly in the developing Millwork District.

We just spent two nights in Dubuque in early August, and had no idea the change was afoot.

It's always worth recalling that as Develop New Albany drags its feet on the two-way issue, terrified not so much of endangering its non-profit tax status as offending the likes of Bob "Antediluvian Non-Urban" Caesar, DNA's parent organization celebrates its 12th year of advocating what DNA is too timid to grasp.

Many factors combine to make main street economically successful. One important, but often overlooked, aspect is the traffic pattern. One-way streets are efficient but they are not customer friendly for people coming downtown to shop two or three times a month. For these infrequent visitors, the downtown circulation system needs to be as easy to use and as easy to understand as possible.

Following is the example of Lowell, Massachusetts. To be fair, not everyone favors the change, these generally being the sorts for whom any alteration of routine is pretext for wailing.

Watch those signs and look both ways! Four downtown Lowell streets open to traffic in two directions, by Lyle Moran (Lowell Sun)

LOWELL -- When Leon Kay of Dracut heads to downtown Lowell to visit Brew'd Awakening Coffeehaus, he typically takes a right off of Bridge Street onto Merrimack Street and then loops around on one-way streets to Market Street.

But on Saturday morning, Kay was able to take a quick left off of Merrimack onto Central Street and then turn right onto Market to get to his destination because of the two-way traffic that went into effect yesterday.

"It made it a lot easier for me to get here," said Kay, 28. "I think it makes a lot of sense."

This Tuesday evening: Sustainability in Motion, a "talk & walk" led by Claude Stephens of Bernheim Arboretum.

I'm looking forward to Bank Street Brewhouse's participation in the 2015 New Albany Public Art Project. The theme of  sustainability is perfectly suited to a city currently engaged in one of the most extensive programs of structural demolition since Nicolae Ceausescu's 1980s Romanian heyday.

Don't forget: The Carnegie Center's 18th Annual "A Taste for Art & History" fundraising event will be held on Friday, September 5, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Please join us this Tues. August 26, from 6:00-7:30 PM, for Sustainability in Motion, a "talk & walk" around New Albany, led by Claude Stephens of Bernheim Arboretum.

Beginning in the spring of 2015, the Carnegie Center will place new public art installations around our city through the New Albany Public Art Project: Today & Tomorrow Series. Each year, we will focus on a theme that impacts our community today and we are happy to be working with Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest ( to present the theme of sustainability in 2015. In order to provide artists with information about the theme of sustainability and to encourage a conversation on this topic in our community, we will be presenting a series of programs about sustainability with Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. These programs will be open to artists who are interested in applying to the 2015 Public Art Project, as well as members of the public.

On Tuesday August 26, from 6:00-7:30 pm, beginning at the Carnegie Center, the public is invited to a “talk & walk” about sustainability with Claude Stephens of Bernheim Arboretum. Every action ripples out with implications that effect our air, water, soil, energy and community; the playground of sustainability. This short informal chat, followed by a leisurely stroll through the community around the Carnegie Center, will focus on “reading” the urban landscape with an eye toward options for a more sustainable future. Come help us envision a future where we live in better agreement with nature as we explore a shift from sustainable to regenerative thinking. Claude Stephens is the Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. As an ecologist and educator Claude is excited about a future where ecology and economy work in partnership.

The program will begin with a 30-minute conversation about sustainability at the Carnegie Center, which will be followed by a 45-minute walk around downtown New Albany. For anyone who would like to continue the conversation informally, we will end the walk at a local restaurant. This program is free, but reservations are requested (please call 812-944-7336 or email

Thank you and we hope you'll join us on Tuesday!

Laura Wilkins, Director of Marketing & Outreach

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The way Ed Delahanty died.

A morbid topic, perhaps.

I made note of the Delahanty story a while back, then forgot to post it. During the course of doing so, I chanced upon this area at The Baseball Cube: Recent Player Deaths.

For every Tony Gwynn or Bob Welch, there's a Billy McCool or Tom Veryzer -- a player who may have graced one's baseball card collection (with multiple untradeable duplicates), or made a memorable play at a game witnessed decades ago. They too served, didn't they?

111 years ago today, baseball experienced one of its weirdest deaths, by Craig Calcaterra (Hardball Talk)

I’ve written about old Ed Delahanty before. The other time was when I named him “The Most 19th Century Player of All Time.” Part of the reason he won that title is because he starred in the 19th century, mostly, and because of the way he got his big league callup: he took the place of a Philadelphia Quakers second baseman who died of friggin’ typhoid fever. The only thing that would make that transaction more 19th century is if Delahanty himself was activated from the disabled list following a bout with dropsy.

But the other reason he was the most 19th century baseball player? The way he died.

Four photographs by David Modica, now at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Last winter, there was a top-notch exhibit at the Carnegie Center.

Of Place at the Carnegie: An "antidote" to the tyranny of our white bread Bicentennial.

Reminder: "Of Place" at the Carnegie, through January 11, 2014.

Subsequently, I purchased four of the black and white photos being shown in the exhibit by David Modica. Yesterday I finally got around to mounting them at Bank Street Brewhouse. The iPhone photos below are fairly horrendous, but at least give you an idea of the appearance. Note how in two of them, reflected colors from the BSB interior lend a certain weirdness. All four are silver gelatin photographs. 

Little Chef at Night, For Edward Hopper 2009

Hugh Bir, Jr., Market Street 2013

Say Cheese! David Thrasher 2013

Primal Scream, Bank Street Brewhouse 2013

How much lactose really is in cheese?

I'm borrowing the link from Judy Schad, as this is an important issue in the Confidential household. The missus is lactose intolerant, and several years ago, Will Eaves (formerly of Lotsa Pasta) informed us that many cheeses would do no harm, as explained below.

Knowing this has opened possibilities for her. She's still not a prolific cheese-eater like me. If not for the language, I could be a Frenchman insofar as cheese is concerned. However, it makes dining easier.

Got lactose? (Janet Fletcher's Planet Cheese)

... But here’s what many lactose-intolerant people don’t know: When milk is coagulated for cheese, 98 percent of the lactose is removed with the whey. And in all but a few cheeses—high-salt ones like feta—the remaining lactose is quickly consumed by bacteria in the cheese.

“I can confidently say that bacteria-ripened, surface-ripened or mold-ripened cheeses that are not known for an intense salty flavor (think feta) will not present a problem for lactose-intolerant consumers,” Jeff told me. “By the time these cheeses reach store shelves, residual lactose will have been fermented by the microbes in the cheese.”

Friday, August 22, 2014

The NABC Weekend: BicenPk concert finale, Eh Cumpari, Five Foot Fish and Beers Across the Wabash.

Ladies and gentlemen, the inimitable Tony Beard's art.

NABC bids adieu to Friday night concerts downtown, and we're pumped about the annual beer fest in Lafayette on Saturday. There'll be Progressive Pints elsewhere in town and on the road, and here's the overview.

FRIDAY the 22nd

Tonight is the finale of the 2014 Bicentennial Park Summer Concert Series. Because three bands are booked tonight to make up for the rainout on August 8, the music is likely to continue until at least 10:00 p.m. Production Simple provides the overview:

Join us this Friday for the next and final installment of our Bicentennial Summer Concert Series in beautiful downtown New Albany. Our FREE and family-friendly summer concert series concludes Friday, August 22nd, with performances by Humming HouseBookshelf, and Nick Dittmeier. Gates open at 5PM, and music starts right around 6PM. For more details on this fun and all-ages event, please visit:

NABC will be there to offer accompaniment to the music. Our recently updated selection is Naughty Girl, Action! Pale Ale, Community Dark and Frankensteiner. The latter is our newly released Hefeweizen, or Bavarian-style, wheat ale.

On a season-ending note, and in response to a question I received, please know that NABC donates a portion of its events/catering beer sales after costs and taxes to Rauch Inc. and Open Door Youth Services.

Also, remember that when patronizing Bank Street Brewhouse before or after the show, or any other time, Wick's Pizza will deliver anything on its food menu to BSB, and give you a generous 20% discount on the order. We're appreciative to Wick's for this generous standing offer, which might well be the finest deal in town.


Speaking of pizza and music ... Bank Street Brewhouse welcomes Eh Cumpari Pizza and Five Foot Fish on Saturday night.

Eh Cumpari is a start-up mobile wood-fired pizza maker. He'll begin around 5:00 p.m.

Five Foot Fish is a band, and the music starts at 8:00 p.m.

As an aside, last Saturday's second in an ongoing series of pop-up restaurants at BSB (Danny Joe’s “Nashville Style” Hot Fried Chicken) was purely bonkers. 165 lbs of fried chicken was spoken for long before 7:00 p.m. Thanks to those who attended, and I hope you got food before it was gone. Chef Dan Thomas is contemplating an October menu of German fest food, so stay tuned ... and come early.

SATURDAY the 23rd: NABC on the ROAD

We’re headed north for Beers Across the Wabash in Lafayette, Indiana, and this year there is more excitement than ever because it’s the debut of People’s Republic of New Albania. NABC collaborated with People’s Brewing Company to brew this Bavarian-style Zwickelbier, which will debut at Beers Across the Wabash at both our tents. It also will pour at NABC’s two New Albany locations in late August.

Also on Saturday, August 23, NABC will be present at this year’s Brew at the (Louisville) Zoo. It appears that tickets already have sold out, but I'm sure the secondary market as yet thrives.

SUNDAY the 24th 

Bring a picnic basket, pack in carry-outs or order delivery, and pair our Beers of Proven Merit with the very best food from local eateries ... well, at least those open on Sunday. Always remember that Indiana does have carry-out beer sales on Sunday: At Hoosier craft breweries. For carry-out wine on Sunday, visit our friends at River City Winery or Indiana's many other artisanal wine makers.

To be reminded of why Indiana's alcohol laws governing beer temperature and daily availability came to be, visit the Indy Star: Will Indiana ever expand Sunday alcohol and cold beer sales?

Cafe 27 is no more? Restructuring reportedly is underway.

(8:30 p.m.: I've altered the banner to reflect seeing a Fb posting earlier, in which it is implied that the new menu is Cafe 27's new menu. To be honest, I'm not sure which is Liquidz, which is Cafe 27, and whether Who remains on first. It is very confusing)

Ever since last Friday, when a Fb friend reported Cafe 27's impending closure, I've been trying to gather information. It has been foggy, so here is what can be discerned.

Cafe 27, as constituted since opening in May of 2013, is no more. This from Chef Zack Wolf's page at Fb:

Just to let everyone know. I am no longer the chef at Cafe 27, nor do I have any more affiliation with that place. I am moving on to bigger and better things and will be keeping everyone posted as I transition into something more stable. I want to thank everyone I met, worked with, and served over the past year. It was my pleasure to work with all of you, and serve Southern Indiana some great food! I will be staying locally and will hopefully be keeping some of the loved menu items into my next venture. Keep checking back as I will update as more info becomes available!

Given that Liquidz, the club/bar component, is ongoing, there remains a food menu. It was posted just last evening at the Cafe 27 Fb page (the Cafe 27 web site is gone).

Please bare with us while we are restructuring... We still have great homemade food, just a much smaller menu . Will we be building up the menu as we grow. Please join us at liquidz tonight for Lindaz Lazer city karaoke and DJ S DOT starting at 9:00

The new menu was pictured:

Last weekend, a Twitter friend close to the situation suggested that the owners of Cafe 27 might be negotiating with representatives of Le Gallo Rosso, an Italian eatery in Louisville that closed earlier this summer (lease issues, if I recall). Mike Kopp confirmed this rumor earlier this week at the merchant mixer meeting. Now I'm told this is off the table, and that the Le Gallo Rosso people are looking elsewhere in New Albany.

Is there such a thing as an Italian/Irish joint?

To reiterate something I've written previously, downtown business conditions have been rocky this summer. Vectren has been dynamiting sidewalks since winter, and the Main Street Deforestation Project has disrupted traffic. The Big Four Bridge has shifted attention to Jeffersonville. Best of luck to the Cafe 27/Liquidz folks as they plot new courses. I know how hard that can be, believe me.

These Cafe 27 posts at NAC provide an overview. Note that Jackson's is no longer with us, either.

June 22, 2009

Information, please: Jackson's Seafood and Liquidz Bar & Grill.

September 8, 2012

Cafe 27 opening to be pushed back a bit, says Chef.

May 26, 2013

Cafe 27 opens for business on Memorial Day.

July 2, 2014

New Cafe 27 business hours.

"Naked in the Garden of Allah" by ... that's right ... Chicago.

The group Chicago has a new album, and my guess is that whatever your opinion of the band, you weren't expecting a song like this to be on it.

I like the song. Robert Lamm still can do that.

Of course, clips like this one are the real deal: Chicago - Live at Tanglewood (07/21/1970) [Full Concert]. Thanks to Ed for the link.