Comedy Caravan goes to hell: ‘The Beast Show’ honors radio animal ‘Uncle’ Ron Clay

BY NATHAN THACHERA stroll down recent memory lane is in order. Think of any old Louisville 9 a.m. in 1981. Just imagine how bland and spiritless those mornings would have been without Uncle Ron Clay’s “Morning Sickness” radio show on WQMF there to cheer you up and challenge your mindset with his charmingly perverse brand of humor.

Summer Guide Listings: Field trip!

Here’s a handy list for local and regional festivals. Time to get your favorite T-shirt air-brushed. Might we suggest a unicorn busting through a rainbow?GREATER LOUISVILLEMAY26-28 — Abbey Road on the River: Belvedere, Beatles tribute featuring 75 bands over nine stages, noon-11 p.m., prices vary, (216) 378-1980 or www.abbeyroadontheriver.com.27-28 — Kentucky Reggae Festival: Water Tower, River Road and Zorn Ave., 2-11:30pm, with Caribbean cuisine and market, children’s activities and reggae music, $5, 583-0333 or www.bisig.com.27-28 — Fleur de Lis Festival: Waterfront Park, Sat. 10am-8pm, Sun. 10am-5pm, celebrates city’s French heritage w/ with an outdoor market and garden, music, art, jewelry and collectibles, 267-5074.28-29 — Family FunFest: Churchill Downs, 11:30am, with kids’ activities, rides, games and face painting, $2, 636-4400.

Summer reading: Mysteries and histories

Is there such a thing as a “summer book”? Maybe not. It’s just as easy to schlep Mikhail Sholokov’s “And Quiet Flows the Don” to the beach or swimming pool as it is to bring along the newest Carl Hiassen (“Hoot,” Hiaasen’s ecological caper targeted at young readers, was released in paperback this spring, $6.50, Yearling Press).

Forward, ho: Holloway leads MTL to new heights

It’s hardly news that arts groups in Louisville and beyond have struggled to bring in audiences and meet budgets in recent years. And while there are no panaceas on the horizon, one organization has been making an upward climb in recent years.

Summer Game Faces

NAME: David, Melissa and Madison AllenAGE: 47, 29, and 2SPORT: Cycling (All are members of the Southern Indiana Wheelmen*)OCCUPATION: David, owner of a cabinet business; Melissa, senior actuarial analyst/underwriter.MOST IMPORTANT MUSCLE (to do what you do and why): The heart muscle. It helps with the hills.SHINING MOMENT: David and I completed the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) in 2005 together. (RAIN is an annual 160-mile ride on the Historic National Route 40 sponsored by the Bloomington Bicycle Club. For more information, visit www.bloomington.in.us/~bbc.)WORST INJURY: No serious injuries as of yet.PERSONAL SPORT THEME SONG: “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow.FAVORITE SUMMER EVENT: The Old Kentucky Home Bicycle Tour, a two-day ride from Louisville to Bardstown and back. (This year’s tour is on Sept. 9-10. For details, go to www.okht.org.)FAVORITE AREA SUMMER SPOT: Riding in the Sellersburg, Ind., area, with its nice country roads.

FARMERS’ MARKETS

For more info on local farmers’ markets, go to www.kyagr.com (Kentucky Department of Agriculture) or www.localharvest.org.

Crop circles: Area farmers’ markets help sustain local communities

BY PENNY PEAVLERVisit many of Louisville’s farmers’ markets during the summer months and you’ll likely find homegrown fruits and vegetables and rows of freshly baked bread alongside handmade soaps, bouquets of summer blooms and even quilts. Often people fill these markets to select fresh produce from the growers’ harvest, which vendors display in boxes, baskets and bowls. Other vendors offer recipes and samples of produce and baked goods. Sometimes local musicians play. Many of these markets carry a charm that a supermarket can rarely match, and shopping there can be an adventure.

Summer movies: Hope beyond the crap

Summer is traditionally the time when the crappy blockbusters are foisted upon us. Nevertheless, there are always some gems to be found if one is willing to dig below the surface. While there are noteworthy films in all categories, summer films are still mostly for kids, of course.

Hit, man: Sunny days ahead — new Bats ready to heat up

Something new for the Louisville Bats this summer — hitting!At least that’s what the team and fans have been expecting. It just hasn’t happened yet.The Triple-A baseball club has been mired in a long losing streak through the cool, rainy days of spring, with run production noticeably lacking. Kind of like the past two seasons when the Bats floundered to losing records because the lineup was populated with banjo hitters (no offense to banjos) who couldn’t hit, and especially couldn’t hit with power.

The crux of the matter: As passions for rock climbing rise, so do concerns about nature in the Gorge

 When the weather warms — and it is warming — we can expect full-on sun and steam ahead in this river valley. This week, LEO shows you all the options to plunge into summer action — from taking in the majesty of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge to rowing on the Ohio River to grooving to summer sounds at area concerts to relaxing with the best in summer reading. In LEO’s 2006 Summer Fun Guide, photographer Ross Gordon takes readers to the Gorge and gives breathtaking views of climbers on the area’s rugged cliffs while reporting on efforts that these climbers and others are making to preserve the natural beauty and heritage of Kentucky. Look further and see where Bill Doolittle hits on what he thinks is ahead for the Bats this season. And finally, check out the area farmers’ markets where purchasing local produce helps support regional farmers and neighborhoods. —Elizabeth Kramer, special projects editor