City Strobe - For sale, for real: The Rudyard Kipling

Dec 5, 2006 at 8:58 pm
Wanted: Incredibly patient entrepreneur to own 7,400-square-foot (or thereabouts) piece of Louisville’s entertainment history at 422 W. Oak St.

Entrepreneur must support musicians both loud and soft, loquacious poets, actors, actresses and bar patrons of every stripe. Staff works fingers to the bone. Previous owners, a combined age of 141, want to spend more time together. Asking price: $579,000. Serious inquiries only.

In case anyone has told you different, The Rudyard Kipling is still open and hosting shows. But Ken Pyle says he’s ready to pass the torch because of his and his wife’s health problems. And so in April, he listed the club with Paul Semonin. He is looking for a buyer.

“We’ve been kind of busy for the last 40 years,” said Pyle, who co-owns the club with his wife, Sheila. “We’re wore out. We’ve just got a lot of health problems. We want to spend a little time together before we ain’t got any time together.”

The Rud recently dropped more than $3,000 to renew its liquor license and roughly $2,000 for the down payment on the club’s fire and liability insurance. Manager Aerin Marie, who has worked there five years, said the staff hasn’t been paid regularly since the summertime, when business is traditionally slow.

Marie said The Rud’s been for sale since before she started working there five years ago, “it just hasn’t been publicly known.” A couple of independent entrepreneurs have looked into buying the club, she said, but she’s not surprised it hasn’t sold right away. “There are just so many venues open already that it’s going to be hard to find somebody, which to me is ridiculous because it’s easier to find something that’s already established.”
The business is worth the half-mil, she said, “because I know what it means to me, and what it means to the community. From an outsider’s standpoint, the neighborhood it’s in right now isn’t very good, it’s off the beaten path, and not a lot of people know about it. It’s a destination. If you’re going to The Rud, you’re going to go for a specific reason.”

The Rud’s next owner ideally will be someone with patience and money, “someone with the same vision as the Pyles,” Marie said. “They were doing it for a place for musicians and artists and theater people to just be,” she said. “We don’t put any mandates on anybody. If things get too out of hand, we’ll put a stop to it, but we don’t have artistic control over people.”

The Pyles bought the building in 1984 when it was a candidate for demolition, appraised at $475,000. “It will sell eventually,” Pyle said. “It just hasn’t sold yet.” If not, “I guess we’ll hang in there,” he said. “We certainly don’t want to give up on it.” —Mat Herron

Abucket Ghraib
Remember the blockbuster Internet movie showing workers at a KFC supplier torturing chickens to near-“Passion-of-the-Christ” proportions? That movie, in which slaughterhouse workers bashed live chickens against a wall, spit tobacco in their eyes, painted their faces, tore their heads off and did everything but read to them aloud from Angie Fenton’s “Buzz” column, prompted Yum!’s David Novak — the Donald Rumsfeld of the chicken world — to institute major anti-torture changes at KFC suppliers. Or did it? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says no. In fact, KFC’s own Animal Welfare Advisory Panel says no.

As a people, we’ve come a long way from the good old days when the last thing a chicken thought before going to that great coop in the sky was, “Uh-oh, here comes Granny with the tomahawk.” In today’s factory slaughterhouses, workers shackle birds (not just KFC-bound birds) alive, paralyze them in electrically charged water baths, slit their throats while they’re conscious and remove feathers in tanks of scalding-hot water. And some of this happens with TVs within earshot, increasing the odds that the chickens could hear those “Peace, Love, Gap” commercials.

If you’re a KFC consumer, PETA wants you to boycott the chain. And if you’re a Yum! shareholder, PETA wants your help in making sure KFC chickens get fingered humanely. So PETA took the fight inside Yum! by buying 180 shares of stock, not only gaining a voice in company policy but also giving some lucky stockbroker a great story to tell at the bar after work. As a shareholder, PETA has now filed a resolution demanding that Yum! explain to shareholders how it’s going to implement KFC’s own animal welfare recommendations — which are almost two years old and being ignored, prompting five advisers to quit in frustration. To keep abreast (pa dum pum!) of the whole chicken chokin’ saga, visit the PETA site —Jim Welp

Fat ordinance to get first reading
Metro Councilman Dan Johnson’s proposed ordinance to ban trans fatty acids — the new pariah of supposedly healthy eating — will get its first reading at Thursday night’s Council meeting. That doesn’t really mean a whole lot, other than to open the official debate, which could last a long time.

The ordinance will be read Wednesday in the Committee on Committees, and will likely be moved to the Health and Human Services Committee for discussion, said Tony Hyatt, communications director for the majority Democratic Caucus.

Johnson, D-21, announced last week he would file the ordinance, similar to one currently under debate in Chicago’s city council. New York City’s board of health is expected this week to pass a ban in Big Apple restaurants.

Both Hyatt and minority Republican Caucus director Steve Haag expect a protracted discussion. The debate will likely center around two things: the actual health effects of trans fatty acids and the role of government in public health. The latter was a marquee issue during the two-year-plus debate over the recently passed comprehensive smoking ban. Health Department director Dr. Adewale Troutman has already emerged as a supporter of the ordinance. It’s not clear where Mayor Abramson stands.

Trans fat is produced when vegetable oil is hydrogenated, or converted into a semi-solid fat. That’s done to achieve longer shelf life. —Stephen George

New Bridges Project cost: $3.9 billion
The Ohio River Bridges Project will cost $3.9 billion, according to the Project’s long-term planning report, submitted last week by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. LEO obtained a copy through an open records request. The new total is up 63 percent from the 2003 estimate of $2.46 billion, largely due to inflation.
Also new in the plan: the East End Bridge will be started and completed first, by 2013. The bridges were to be built simultaneously. The whole project is scheduled for completion by 2024.
—Stephen George

For daily City Strobe updates, visit The Lip: LEO’s News Blog. Contact the writers at [email protected]