churchill downs

Merry Derby, Uncle!: Place your bets, don your hats and mint your juleps—your 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby is this very Saturday.

So here’s your day before check-in.

The Washington Post tells you the who, what, where and when of it all. The why is up to you.

The New York Times tells you who they think will win in the piece entitled, “Here’s Who We Think Will Win.” Nyquist and Mo Tom make both experts’ lists. ESPN says, though Nyquist is favored, the race is still “filled with uncertainty.” USA Today profiles all 20 horses in the race.

CNN Money gives you the “Kentucky Derby by the Numbers.” Of note: $138 million in legal bets last year, $12 million at Churchill Downs.

CNBC wants to give you “10 things to know before you go.” The list includes a few revelations, like “Pay to Park” and “Bring Money,” closing out with “Don’t be scared to bet” and “Wear a Hat.”

Speaking of, New York Magazine has “All Your Kentucky Derby Hat Questions, Answered.”

And if you’re going — or even if you’re not — Forbes says Churchill Downs now has a brand new, handy dandy mobile app that lets you do most everything, ensuring you can sit in a crowd while still avoiding human contact at every possible turn. You can buy and scan your own tickets, order food for pick-up or seat delivery, scout your horses and the like.

The app is available now on iTunes or the Google Play Store. 

Construction workers today began moving the Confederate monument at Third Street on the campus of the University of Louisville. | Photo by Boris Ladwig.

Construction workers today began moving the Confederate monument at Third Street on the campus of the University of Louisville. | Photo by Boris Ladwig.

Monumental Decision: The Boston Globe, FOX News, The Huffington Post and Inside Higher Ed report a judge in Louisville has blocked the relocation of a Confederate monument on Second Street at the University of Louisville.

On Friday last, Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville president James Ramsey announced the relocation of the monument, a 70-foot statue in tribute to Confederate soldiers erected in 1895. On Monday, Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman blocked the move at the request of Everett Corley, a Republican and real estate agent running for Congress.

Proponents of the move say the monument glorifies the Confederacy, thereby glorifying the ideology of the time, institutionalized racism and slavery in particular. The statue is a symbol of an ugly time and no cause for celebration. Especially in light of…

Mayor Fischer:

“The stain of slavery and racism that this monument represents for many, many people has no place in a compassionate, forward leaning city.”

President Ramsey:

“…does not symbolize the values of our campus community or that of a 21st century institution of higher education.”

Opponents of the move say the statue is a part of our history, should be somberly acknowledged in respect to those who lost their lives — classified as veterans since 1958 — and that we can’t continue to sweep history under the rug.

Mr. Corley:

“It is a political version of book burning.”

And a select few argue the middle ground, suggesting the monument be moved to or near a museum where it can maintain its historical significance without representing an endorsement or celebration of yesterdays still lingering in the distance of tomorrow.

That last take is far too reasonable to gain any traction.


Chicken Fingers: It’s been awhile since we’ve descended into the dark labyrinth that is the KFC laboratories, the den of madness that brought you the fried chicken corsage and the gold-plated chicken bone necklace. This week, we are beckoned to return past the point of reason, as The New York Times, NPR, FOX News, New York Magazine, CNBC, Teen Vogue and The Mary Sue report the company has ventured back into fashion.

Edible nail polish. Edible nail polish based on the “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan, currently available in Hong Kong in Original Recipe and Hot and Spicy flavors.

I’ve watched that video 23 times now. Still no idea what’s happening. It’s hypnotizing, confusing, disturbing and the most aggressive hand dance I’ve ever seen. I think it may be parable as performance art. I don’t think she’s really beatboxing and she sure as hell isn’t concerned with her Rubik’s Cube. Both are symbols of life’s futility. It’s like Macbeth’s “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…” only with very specific thumb choreography.

The Times quotes Anna Mugglestone, marketing and communications director for Ogilvy & Mather Group in Hong Kong as saying, “Yes, it is actually a real thing.” Which you know, “No, really,” isn’t always the best platform from which to launch.

And I’ll just say what I always say with the wearable food: not good hygiene.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders | Photo via WLKY

I Mean, I’m Not Going to be Ignored: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in town this week as part of a Midwest campaign swing. Slate covers his stops in Bloomington, South Bend and Louisville. Seth Stevenson anticipated covering a campaign on its last legs but instead found a candidate still winning skirmishes and in it for the long haul. In fact, one such victory came while he was speaking in Louisville. The Guardian has video of him catching the news he’d carried Indiana while stumping here in Louisville.

Here’s the full video of his rally by the river:

Lawrence 80s apocalypse

Apocalypse Now: “Captain America: Civil War” opens today, which means it started showing last night around 5:30 p.m. or however it works now. Reviews are favorable, and there’s at least one British guy in there, so my odds of Megan seeing it with me are high.

But that also means rival superhero movies have to turn on the charm, so time for another “X’Men: Apocalypse” trailer, starring your own Jennifer Lawrence, says TIME, The Huffington Post, Variety, Collider and the loathed E!

Not only starring Jennifer Lawrence, mind you, but she’s the one who shared it on her Facebook page.

I’m told, by people who find themselves in the position to make such statements, Justin Timberlake just gave you the song of the summer, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”:

It’s no KFC hand dance party video, but it’ll do.

It’s for the new DreamWorks movie, “Trolls.” Video has all kinds of cameos throughout and reminds me that while my decade-plus crush on Gwen Stefani still lingers, so does my concern about her driving and sense of direction, or lack thereof. She appears to be making one big circle, but sometimes it’s the journey more than the destination. Maybe that’s what the song is telling us. You can’t stop the feeling. Or the car.

So May 4 is Star Wars day or some such. “May the 4th be with you.” Daisy Ridley used the occasion to recognize Star Wars: Force for Change:

Speaking of, have you seen this?

Boba San

That’s right. It’s a Boba Fett samurai. A Star Wars samurai mash-up. That sound you just heard is my inner 12-year-old’s brain exploding all over itself as two of the greatest designs in the history of anything come together like so much peanut butter and chocolate geekery.

Megan wisely asked, “That’s kind of expensive. What does one do with something like that?”
“Well, you just sort of look at it mostly.”
“And then…?”
“Well, you…Because…I don’t know.”

Which is why I will not own the Boba Fett samurai, because Megan is smarter than I am. But at least one of you is going to want to know that thing is out there.

Reader Mail:

Your trip to England looked amazing. So proud of the turnaround of Kentucky Shakespeare. The global press loved you guys. Where was the local news?

Love the column, by the way. It’s my Saturday morning ritual.

Well, I don’t know. I know Insider dropped a few mentions; I can’t speak for anyone else.

Also, you said the magic words, Beth. “Love the column” gets you a response pretty much every time.

But while we’re here, let me do a couple of things. Lot of people made that trip possible. Some prefer not to have me drop their names, so I won’t. But the whole trip, as I said a few weeks back, would not have been possible without the support of Catherine Fannin-Peel and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who are about the most generous and hardworking people you’re going to come across. And you may know Catherine—she’s from Louisville and went to school just up the way in Hanover. She was the driver of this particular ship and put all the pieces in place for pretty much everything we did, from our time in the big Shakespeare vaults and archives, to our walk in the parade, to our appearance on the BBC. You don’t really get anywhere without your friends, and Cait and the Birthplace are about the best friends you could have. All that coverage your referring to is in large or in whole due to them.

The other “while we’re here” will bring us full circle. On Saturday, Churchill Downs had their big opening night on Saturday, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Fund for the Arts. The Fund also presented its inaugural Awards in the Arts, sprinkled all throughout the night. Also sprinkled throughout the night, a bevy of artists of all disciplines, creating for the patrons. Also, sprinkled throughout the night, rain.

But one of the arts groups present was, of course, your Kentucky Shakespeare. And right about 8:57 p.m., this happened:

Shakespeare Derby Flash Mobbed! Choreography by the lovely and brilliant Barb Cullen, who also choreographed the dance performed on the BBC.

That’s the last of the Kentucky Shakespeare “In Other News…” crossover for a bit, requested or otherwise.

At least until the season opens next month.

See you next week.