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PingWi-Fi Samples Art, Seeks Street Cred At St. James Court

October 6th, 2009 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Hotels · Wi-Fi

This dirty job gig in Louisville has gone on so long, the place seems like home. I work 10-12 hours a day in the disaster recovery industry and then hit my favorite L-Ville coffee shop (Quills) … repeat.

But, luck of the draw, last weekend was my turn to take off a day. And how perfect is this? It was the final day of the St. James Court Arts Show in Old Louisville.

The festival is an annual tradition … always the first weekend in October. Fair warning: you have about 360 days to plan …

So, much like my dirty gig days, I was up before 6 a.m. and off toward the festival. But … “calm down sport” the event opened at 10 a.m. Perfect. The designated parking garage was at one of the finest hotels in the region … The Brown Hotel.

The Brown Hotel

The Brown Hotel

I decide to go brown (as someone else’s slogan goes) … and to go Wi-Fi.

In the ornate lobby of this fine hotel — built in 1923 — the living and Wi-Fi were easy. My ancient Dell climbed on the network in a flash, free of charge thank you, and I sent out tweets to the multitudes or anyone who would listen that bright and early.

The Brown Hotel is utter luxury, ornate by anyone’s standards, plush, even opulent … and they gave me what I wanted in a hotel … Wi-Fi. The only minor deduction on my scorecard was the fact that the PR team at the hotel never reached out, when I asked for Wi-Fi leads in Lew-ville. You gotta represent! — 6 pings.

So after a charming morning at The Brown, complete with a player piano (best of tunes/worst of tunes … ranging from a Neil Sedaka to more classical composers)… I was festival bound.

I parked my vehicle in the garage as advised. Earlier in the day, at another hotel, I was told the fee would be a buck-fifty. Actually, the cost was $6.50. Not to worry, I just had a dose of free Wi-Fi and was feeling quite content, if not benevolent. (At the end of the day, when I exited the garage, I was actually hit with an $11 fee for parking. And they hit me for $2 to ride the “free shuttle” …) Still not a huge deal … but there is a principle involved when a service is promoted at one rate, then jumps up considerably …)



If only I had run into one Ms. Katherine Austin sooner. She was standing on line with me, waiting for the shuttle. And again as luck would have it … she volunteers with the visitors/convention bureau and gives walking tours … That lady can go on and on about haunted buildings, bicycle trails, jug band jamborees … you name it. Well played!

I jumped on the shuttle. We took the long way … No matter what the cost, it was worth it. What a great old neighborhood.

St. James Court Art Show consists of more than 750 juried booths, scatter on the sidewalks and streets of all these great homes. Frankly? Even from an art lover’s standpoint, I could have been satisfied without all of the painting, pottery, sculptures and such.

The architectural details in the homes was enough of a treat for any sightseer. I mean … the works of art were great … but not unlike the art at any number of festivals in other cities. At this festival, the UNcommon denominator was definitely the cool residences that make up the backdrop.

The air was filled with Wi-Fi too, although as is advisable, most of the networks were locked down tight. Don’t think I din’t check. After all, it’s what I do.

In every direction, there are blocks and blocks of 2-, 3- even 4-story grand old Victorian homes and what they call ‘painted ladies” … homes all dolled up in the bright/flashy hues of a previous era.

But to reiterate. That’s right, although I luvs me some art, I would have preferred to forgo the tin man made of a vacuum cleaner … the glass skulls, the wind chimes and perfect seascape painting to get at those old houses! Quick note … keep the didgeridoos, though. I saw two booths featuring the aborigine woodwind instruments …

The one opportunity I saw to go indoors was a haunted mansion, complete with an author halking books out in the front yard. Ghostwriter … huh, huh-huh …


The artists were great though, admittedly, and there was also world-class people watching interspersed with chance interaction. My first case in point was a cranky old fart of an artist who cleverly had created photographs of objects, which appeared to spell out words: “L-O-V-E,” for example, might have been spelled out with four framed photos of a clothes pin, a wagon wheel, a broken baseball bat and the business end of a pitch fork respectively. (Can you picture that?) Fun idea!

Baubles, Boy

Baubles, Boy

Well … Initially, I gave the old guy high marks for creativity and decided to include him in my travel blog. HA! When I asked him for permission to photograph, he reacted like I was about to steal his soul with my Kodak wizardry. I explained that I would publicize his art, trying to appeal to his sense of marketing. None of it, he would have. He fired back, “Media? Who are you with?”

I threw out my chest to proudly display the logo on my t-shirt. More attitude: “Well, that don’t tell me nothing!”

That hurt my feelers … LOL!

As I turned, I told him “Oh … just never mind” and of course I wondered if he read the back of my shirt. I was wearing the style that has this printed on the back: “I just threw up a little in my mouth.” Ha … that’s telling him.

Man I digress …

Nik, Wheels

Mik, Wheels

The next older gentleman of interest was much more congenial. Mik was by far the most interesting person I met that day. He is an older gentleman, and by the length/diameter of his grayish/red dreadlocks … he is a seasoned veteran of the art festival circuit. His wandering began in South Africa and he has a nice accent that validates. His craft? He makes multi-colored leather boots and shoes … including the one on his foot that was built up about three inches taller than the mate. It seem Mik broke his leg severely, when he was 16, in Botswana. I had to wonder if a motorcycle was involved, as he posed for a few shots propped up near an SUO — scooter of unknown origin. Hats off to Mik, my braided friend … I can only imagine the tales he might spin.

Check him out:

BTW, his URL — those shoes — reminds me of what the street hustlers used to say to strangers on the streets of New Orleans: “Hey, I bet you five dollars I can tell you where you got dem shoes!” Then the curious tourist forks over five dollars to wager. The answer … “Ha .. You got dem on yo feet!”


I digress …

Let The Interpretive Dance Begin

Let The Interpretive Dance Begin

Add Some Strings

Enter Sister

Enter Sister



 Big Finish

Big Finish

Take A Bow

Take A Bow

Any way … for the art, for the architecture, for the people watching, I highly recommend this art show … with all of its colorful homes and friendly, artsy people.

All things considered, St. James Court Art Show may be the best street festival I have seen — perfect score — 7 pings.
Reluctantly, I left the festival, shelled out the bills for the bus, and hit a few Louisville points of interest on this one day away from the Dirty Gigs.

Know what I sayin?