Louisville Magazine

DEC 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.18 81 BEHIND THE MUSIC IN RESIDENCE "Mona Lisa interpretation," by Nick Brittle The living room of mixed-media artist Scott Scarboro is dimly lit. A couple of lamps cast a warm glow on the blue walls with gold trim. Nearly every inch of the room (and the remainder of his New Albany home) is covered in paintings, drawings, trinkets and pottery he has collected over the years. But hanging from a single exposed nail is a flimsy-framed painting that stands out among the rest. It's an interpretation of the Mona Lisa: her face flattened and elongated, her dark eyes a little too close together, her smile exposing a mouthful of cartoonish teeth. He acquired the painting from Louisville artist Nick Brittle 12 years ago, when Scarboro was the creative director at the Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center. "Nick was an artist who had a studio upstairs in the 'creative diversity group,' which was a group for artists, for lack of a better term, with disabilities," Scarboro says. "He came down to my office one day and needed help with making business cards, so I helped him design those and print them off. Then he gave me the painting as a thank-you, I suppose." Scarboro says that when Brittle started out as an artist, he never really knew what to draw. One of Brittle's instructors gave him a Leonardo da Vinci book for inspiration, and Brittle started interpreting works like the Mona Lisa. "It's awkward and beautiful," Scarboro says. Scarboro will be selling his large robot paintings, mixed-media fiber pieces and wooden robot cutouts at the $20 Art Show at Copper & Kings on Dec. 8. In Janu- ary, his work will be in a group exhibition at the Swanson Contemporary in NuLu, featuring audio pieces based on life on the banks of the Ohio River. — KM In the fall, comedian and emcee Howell Dawdy, the alter ego of local musi- cian Alex Smith, released the official music video for his song "Louisville." Dawdy, in a tuxedo, deadpans the chorus: "Ooh, baby, what a thrill. Living our lives in Louisville." (He pronounces it Lou-e-ville.) The video, shot and edited by Smith and his friend Drew Osborn, features over 80 different Louisville locations, from expected attractions to the "Thorntons mart on Lower Brownsboro." The song dates to 2014, when Dawdy opened a couple of shows for New Albany band Houndmouth. "I performed in St. Louis, Chicago and Bloom- ington (Indiana). For those out-of-town dates, I had this bit where I did a monologue about not liking how people from out of town always act like the town they're (visiting) is the best town they've ever been to. I made a point of saying that I wasn't going pander to them or their town," the 39-year-old says. "Then I would perform a song I wrote about their city. The twist was that the song was about how great their town was and how it was my favorite town." Dawdy wrote several "city songs" (including one about Lexington), which all featured goofy facts he found on Wikipedia or during quick Internet searches. In 2016, after being asked to perform at WFPK's Waterfront Wednesday, it occurred to him that he'd never written one about Louisville, his hometown. The "off the cuff" song he wrote, recorded and mixed in his Clifton home begins like this: "Welcome to the hometown of Nicole Scherzinger. And definitely the first place to put cheese on a burg- er. While we're at it, I think we invented barbecue, and how about lasagna's from here, let's make that true too." "I start making a beat on my computer, and then I'll start writing the lyrics and music all at the same time," he says. "For 'Louisville,' I had the hook, then I layered the beat. The lyrics were just random thoughts I had of funny things. I listed a bunch of actual areas, neighborhoods, historic sites. And then threw in Highlands Kroger." At almost two minutes in, the song takes a sudden shift. The cheerful beat becomes a dark buzzing pitch. The lyric: "I don't care for St. Matthews." "I thought it'd be another twist to name all these great places in Louisville, except one," he says. "If you're going to call out a place in town, might as well call out the place you get stuck in traffic trying to get out of the mall." — Katie Molck "Louisville," by Howell Dawdy

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