Louisville Magazine

AUG 2014

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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24 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.14 Abit DEEPER P roximity to the Iroquois Amphitheater was not a factor in my family's decision to move to Kenwood Hills three years ago, but it certainly is one of the reasons we stay in the area. Since 2000, Metro Parks and the Olmsted Parks Con- servancy have spent more than $10 million turning the open-air amphitheater — built in 1938 through the federal Works Progress Administration — into a state-of-the-art facility, with 2,400 seats, a partial roof that protects performers and much of the audience from rain, a new stage and a year-round room for community meetings. I live just of New Cut Road from the amphitheater. In the fall, after the trees have lost their leaves, you can actually see it from my porch. Te wind carries sound in waves from the venue to my house. I've spent many an afternoon on our screened-in back porch listening to bands doing sound checks. In the last several months alone I've listened to Broken Bells, the Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, and Rob Zombie. I prefer listening to the short sound checks more than the actual shows because the music does not have to com- pete with the roar of the crowd. I'm looking forward to hearing previews of upcoming shows by ZZ Top (July 29), Rodrigo y Gabriela (Aug. 10) and the Head and the Heart (Sept. 25). Because of all the 2003-com- pleted renovations and a 2010 change in management, the Going Out by Staying Home By Michael L. Jones Iroquois Amphitheater has become one of the biggest South End attractions to people from other parts of town and beyond, each year attracting thousands to the area for concerts and fes- tivals. Te amphitheater is also a gathering spot for local resi- dents. When the weather is nice, it's not unusual to see blankets spread out on the grass outside the venue as we neighbors enjoy picnic lunches and the music bleeding out from the stage. My friend Tony and I did just that last year when the Black Keys were playing. Of course, I also pay to attend a lot of shows be- cause they are so close. My wife Melissa and I went to see Bonnie "Prince" Billy with Kris Kristof- ferson, and one of my neighbors gathered a group to go see a show by the indie-rock band the National earlier this year. During cold-weather months the stage is converted into a 100-seat "black box" theater, called Parkside Studio, where we saw a production of Macbeth put on by the Savage Rose Classical Teatre Company. For several years now, the amphitheater has also hosted a free summer movie series, showing classics like Diamonds Are Forever and Who Framed Roger Rabbit mixed with newer, family-friendly flms like Gravity, Te Butler and 42. In past years, Melissa planned our entertain- ing around the flms. We'd have a dinner party and everyone would walk over to the amphi- theater after dinner. However, because the place is becoming such a popular performance space on the weekends, the free movies have been shown mostly on Mondays this summer. We've had to fnd other excuses to throw a party. If there is a downside to living so close to the Iroquois Amphi- theater, it's the parking situation. My sister-in-law Camille is a runner who is always attending events in Iroquois Park. When she found out we moved so close to the Kenwood Drive entrance, Camille started parking in front of our house so she could avoid trafc on the way home. It is not unusual for me to wake up on the weekend and fnd her car outside the house. While that doesn't bother me, she is not the only one who does it. We always know when something big is going on at the amphitheater because our small street is lined with cars. One weekend I was having cofee in my robe when there was a knock at the door. It was a man in a full clown costume wanting to know if it was all right to park in front of the house. Te parking situation is just a minor inconvenience, so most of the residents around the park accept it without too many com- plaints. Overall, the amphithe- ater gives us more pleasure than pain. Just a few weeks ago, Me- lissa and I were trying to fgure out where to go for lunch when she remembered the Americana Community Center World Festival was going on across New Cut. I found a Guatemalan vendor who was selling heaping plates of grilled chicken, beans and rice for $5. I appreciated the hell out of the Iroquois Amphi- theater that day. The post-renovation Iroquois Amphitheater draws 40,000 people each summer for concerts and movies. Pictured: Umphrey's McGee (above and top) and the REO Speedwagon crowd. Photos courtesy of Iroquois Amphitheater

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