Kentucky Bourbon Festival
Get this — the U.S. Senate designated, by unanimous vote, the month of September “National Bourbon Heritage Month.” Oh, happy days. So it’s perfect that the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown gets the festivities started this week. Events for everyone — drinking age and not — are planned throughout this five-day festival celebrating all things bourbon. Art exhibits, Bourbon Trail tours, dancing, live music, food, drink, cooking classes, ghost tours, children’s activities and even a game of horseshoes are planned to give you something to do between sips of Kentucky’s finest. Make your state proud and pay tribute to one of its most shining exports. —Sara Havens
Bardstown, Ky. (various venues)
Thursday, Sept. 13
Stan(hope) and deliver
Hot on the heels of his first comedy special on Showtime, Doug Stanhope is building steam as a stand-up comedian, which of course means that he won’t be performing much longer. “You’re only considered successful in this business if you’re not doing stand-up anymore. People say, ‘You don’t have a sitcom? You’re not doing movies? You’re a failure as a stand-up,’” Stanhope said in an interview.
Stanhope is known for chain-smoking, hard-drinking performances that sometimes border on confrontational. While some comedians focus on the banality of life, he tackles taboo subjects like abortion, Internet predators and drugs, which can alienate some audience members.
“I work very few comedy clubs now, but that’s the one thing I do miss, getting bachelorette parties that come in and have no idea what they are there to see. As much as that’s why I left comedy clubs, I do sometimes miss it; that awkward strain of people thinking they are going to get Jay Leno or something and instead you get me.”
With breakout success just over the horizon, catch him now before he’s gone. —Jason Bugg
The Pour Haus
1481 S. Shelby St.
$10; 9 p.m.
The IdeaFestival, which returns this week, includes too much to encapsulate here. Some cool names from the list of artists, writers, scientists, creators, techies and more: New York Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristof, arguably the most consistent voice on the ongoing tragedy in Darfur; Barrington Irving, the first person of African descent and the youngest person to fly around the world solo; Laurence Gonzales, whose book “Deep Survival” explores why some people survive difficult situations and others do not; and neuroscientist and author Jeffrey Schwartz, who will discuss the latest thinking about the brain and the mind. There’s plenty more, plus some star power — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who’ll actually be here, and legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, who, according to IF literature, will be “beamed-down” and appear “live” and life-sized from a remote location, able to achieve eye-to-eye contact and interact with participants. Some events are free but others involve a fee; an event pass is required regardless. The festival’s Web site is the place to go for the details. —Cary Stemle
Friday, Sept. 14
Kentucky Girlhood Project
Ladies, welcome to your childhood. The Kentucky Girlhood Project, originated by artists Laura Parker and Jill Frank and funded by a Kentucky Foundation for Women grant, features visual art, music and performances by contemporary women artists on the theme of what it’s like growing up female in Kentucky.
The opening is at two locations, Glassworks and Actors Theatre. A portion of the visual art is on display at Glassworks. If you can’t make the opening, the work can be seen through Sept. 21. Music and performances plus more visual art are at Actors (the art there will be shown through Oct. 1). All artwork is for sale, with 90 percent going to the artist. A TARC trolley is available to get you from one venue to the next, making this the ultimate traveling cultural event. —Jo Anne Triplett
815 W. Market St.
Free; 8:30-10 p.m.
Late Seating at Actors Theatre
316 W. Main St.
$10 ($5 with ATL ticket stub); 10:30 p.m.-12 a.m.
‘The Magic Flute’
Story ballet: The notion conjures visions of ballet’s past, including adaptations such as “The Nutcracker” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — both choreographed in 19th-century Russia by Marius Petipa, known as the father of classical ballet, and also in the 20th century by George Balanchine, who ushered in neoclassical ballet through his work with the New York City Ballet.
In the 21st century, choreographers like Mark Godden are putting a new spin on established stories. This weekend, his ballet version of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” opens the Louisville Ballet’s season. After its 2003 premiere at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, critics noted Godden’s work for its contemporary feel, cinematic sensibilities and wit. While the wit is part of Mozart’s music, it also comes to this ballet through designer Paul Daigle’s funky costumes and sets, which echo the style of the 1960s.
Meanwhile, Godden’s brand of storytelling keeps his work in demand. Ballet Memphis premieres Godden’s choreography for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Oct. 27. —Elizabeth Kramer
Whitney Hall, Kentucky Center
$21-$76; 8 p.m. (Fri.), 2 & 8 p.m. (Sat.)
Saturday, Sept. 15
Poetry from around the world
Once again International Translators’ Day is staring us in the face. This occasion is usually celebrated on Sept. 30, also known to Catholics as the feast day of St. Jerome, the man who translated much of the Bible into Latin more than 1,600 years ago. This year, however, Borders, Sarabande Books and In Every Language, a translation and interpretation service company, is moving the merriment ahead by 15 days — by playing host to a poetry reading, in English, of works originally written in a foreign tongue. The event was the brainchild of In Every Language CEO Terena Bell and colleague Carol Reeves. The readers, who come from throughout the community and include everyday citizens and luminaries like Dawne Gee of WAVE-TV and Jefferson District Court Judge Angela Bisig, will read an array of works, including some by (AUTHOR), (AUTHOR) and (AUTHOR). —Elizabeth Kramer
400 S. Fourth St.
Free; 3 p.m.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 16
Doulas, or midwives, of Kentuckiana will gather for this free celebration* that’s as educational as it is fun. Booths set up by the Birth Care Network, The Nursing Station, Kentucky Midwifery Taskforce and other organizations give you the skinny on doulas and their role in childbirth. Then kick back with music by Dan Boone & Molly MacCormick, Janis Pruitt, ?John Gage with Fernando Moya, Tim Krekel? and ?the triple threat that is Leigh Ann Yost, Andrea Davidson and Teneia Sanders. —Mat Herron
Willow Park/Cherokee Triangle neighborhood
*$10 suggested donation; 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 19
I have the freedom to write porksnot. Or nail puss. Or naval-chafing. What are you gonna do about it? I suppose you don’t have to keep reading, but you can’t sue me or even behead me for such atrocities. Otherwise there’d be no Velocity, would there? Only kidding. I have a point here — and that’s freedom of speech, the wonderful First Amendment right we all use on a daily basis. And it’s time to celebrate this right — the folks over at Bellarmine University’s Institute for Media, Culture and Ethics are playing host to “Freedom Sings,” a live multimedia performance celebrating freedom of expression in America. The 90-minute touring film details three centuries of censored music in the United States and encourages the audience to take a fresh look at the impact of freedom of speech.
Gene Policinski, “Freedom Sings” narrator and executive director of the First Amendment Center, will be joined at this showing by co-narrator and Newseum producer Sonja Gavanker. Expect free and open discussion. —Sara Havens
Frazier Hall, Bellarmine University
Free; 8 p.m.
Through Sept. 27
Asian Film Series
The Crane House’s Asian Film Series has gone through a couple of venue and format changes in recent years, but it still stands as one of the best film events in Louisville. Partially, this is because they consistently choose movies that vividly evoke exotic places that so few of us will ever see. But the Crane House also just chooses good films. These aren’t first-time features by well-meaning but unskilled filmmakers. The movies they bring here are the well-regarded products of global auteurs.
This year’s Film Series will be just three movies, each running for a week at the Village 8. “The Way Home” (through Sept. 13) is a Korean film about a child from the big city who travels to the still-undeveloped countryside to spend time with his grandmother. “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles” (Sept. 14-20) is a more subtle drama/travelogue by Zhang Yimou, the visionary behind “Hero.” And “Beautiful Country” (Sept. 21-27) is about a Vietnamese child who journeys to the United States to find his father. —Alan Abbott
Village 8 Theatres
4014 Dutchmans Lane