March of Dimes NICU Luncheon

On Dec. 20, March of Dimes Kentuckiana hosted a holiday luncheon for families with babies in the NICU at Baptist Health. The day’s meal was generously provided by Texas Roadhouse.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Enter, Stage Right

Managing Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville Kevin E. Moore. Photo by Justin Philalack.

Actors Theatre looks ahead to a bright 2019

By Laura Ross

There’s a modesty about Louisville,” said Actors Theatre of Louisville Managing Director Kevin E. Moore, “and I said when I arrived two years ago that we’re not going to be modest anymore.”

Moore arrived at Actors Theatre two years ago from New York, where he was the managing director of the Theatre Communications Group, managing the business functions of the national organization for nonprofit theaters in America. His nationally respected business acumen was a perfect fit for Louisville’s most notable theater. Coming to Louisville gave Moore the inspiration and motivation to grow the legendary and world-renowned Actors Theatre to an even higher worldwide reputation in the arts.

“We have something special here,” he said.
“We must keep telling that story over and over to the world. I want people to know how lucky we are to have such an arts community in Louisville.”

Wrapping Up 2018

Actors Theatre, now in its 53rd season, presents almost 350 performances to an annual audience of nearly 140,000. It is recognized worldwide as one of America’s most innovative professional theater companies.

 Moore noted the success of the current season, which is well underway. “‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ was a huge hit for us,” he said. “And people really responded to ‘A Doll’s House Part 2’ as well. More people came to ‘Dracula’ than ever before, and this year’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ was so joyous and inventive. ‘Santaland Diaries’ sold well, too. For every play we do, we want people to talk about it – we want to start conversations, and with these productions we hit a homerun.”

Moore and the Actors company of performers continually tweak the plays to create more awareness of issues, contemporary conversations and entertainment value for audiences.

As 2018 closed, Actors was not resting on its holiday celebrations. As soon as Tiny Tim said goodnight, actors began arriving in early January to start rehearsals for “Pipeline” and “Hershey Felder As Irving Berlin.”

“And then, the train starts running for the Humana Festival,” Moore laughed.

2019 Humana Festival

The Humana Festival of New American Plays, now in its 43rd year, runs March 1 through April 7 at Actors Theatre. The Humana Festival draws an international audience and has introduced more than 450 plays into the American and international theater repertoire. The festival draws artists, drama lovers, journalists and producers from around the country and is seen as the premier event of its kind in the nation. About 38,000 theatergoers attend the six weeks of plays and associated events, and that attendance number includes students from more than 50 colleges and universities.

“It’s a really exciting crop of plays this year, and they are bolder than in the past by design,” said Moore. “Our team reads more than 500 plays a year  trying to decide what we are going to present, and we landed on five plays this year. We do our best effort to produce plays that are timely, and all speak to issues going on today through both comedy and drama.” “Playwrights are – and have always been – sharply perceptive observers of the cultural moment they’re bearing witness to,” said Actors Theatre Literary Director Amy Wegener. “We see that reflected in the script submissions we read and in the new plays chosen for the Humana Festival every year. One of the exhilarating things about programming a festival of world premieres is seeing how writers are channeling the zeitgeist, reframing recent history and deepening vital conversations that are in the air.”

In addition to the plays, the Humana Festival is packed with activities, including weekend enrichment events for college students and discussions, network opportunities and parties for patrons and theatergoers.

“Humana’s participation and support of Actors Theatre is extraordinary,” said Moore. “Humana sees this support as not just a gift to Actors Theatre but a gift to the entire community.

“It has put Actors on the map,” he added, noting that the partnership with Humana is the largest and longest-running relationship between a corporation and a theater in the United States. Additional support for the Humana Festival is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

For Wegener, the Humana Festival offers audiences the opportunity to experience stories that imaginatively challenge and expand the understanding of the time we’re living through. “Part of the fun of attending the festival is taking in such different stories and artistic sensibilities in juxtaposition and enjoying the lively conversations they provoke, not to mention the thrill of discovery that comes from being an original witness to a play’s first production,” she said.

“Louisville has three things that garner international press – bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre,” added Moore. “It helps build the global brand of Louisville to a tremendous degree.”

A Pivotal Point

Moore wants to build that global brand even further. He has a bit of a fresh slate currently as he settles in to his leadership role and looks to fill Actors’ missing artistic director position, which was vacated with Les Waters’ departure earlier in 2018.

Before plunging into a search for a new artistic director, Moore took a step back and strategically positioned Actors Theatre to reflect first on exactly what – and who – is needed. “We were very introspective for a period of time before we started the search,” he said, “We asked, ‘Who do we want to be, (and) what do we want to be for this community as we move forward?’ We are committed to embedding ourselves into the community better through more partnerships, more collaboration, more conversations and more opportunities to work with groups we might normally never touch.”

Actors Theatre wants to broaden its circle and not “just” be a signature theater and beacon in Louisville. The theater is looking for someone to lead with their own vision combined with the collective vision of the core of Actors Theatre’s staff, board and patrons. “We all agreed we need to get back to the community and reach out by having meaningful partnerships with others,” said Moore. “I’m anxious to see who that director is going to be and how he or she will manifest that goal.”

“Let’s do something exciting,” he added. “Actors Theatre is not just a community resource but a cultural disseminator. I want city leaders to think of (us) as a partner to help problems the city is addressing. Theater can do a lot of things by facilitating conversations around the issues of the day. Our new artistic director will need experience in partnering with the community because we want to be a part of the solution.”

While some may fret that the search is ongoing, others have lauded Actors Theatre for its diligence in taking the time to find the correct fit for an artistic director. Moore said he and the board of directors wanted to veer away from a traditional search process. “We wanted to be more inclusive,” he explained, saying that the search process included input from the board, staff, donors, community members and Actors’ teacher council.

“It’s fantastic because you get so many different viewpoints,” he added. “It is a lot more work, but this is the most important decision a theater can make. It’s game changing for the staff and board, and I’m very proud of that.”

Whoever the new artistic director is, he or she will dive into the fire immediately. While the 2019 season is already planned, the new director will begin work on the season from day one and will be integral in planning the 2020 Humana Festival. Moore anticipates one of the artistic director’s first tasks will include a listening tour of the community. “I want the person to meet the community, listen to their impressions of Actors and determine how we as a theater can be of use in this community,” Moore said.


At Actors, we might not be the largest theater in America, but are most certainly the most impactful theater in the country.”


Moore is quiet on the timeline for announcing the new addition, but said the pool of candidates is now small after initially receiving 67 applications. He hopes to make an announcement in early 2019. As for the 2019-2020 season, Moore is tight lipped, saying it will be announced in February. “We are looking at a mix of lighthearted shows and serious topics,” he said. “We’ve done a great job appealing to our audiences who want a range of experiences through the season. They’ll get ‘Dracula’ and ‘A Christmas Carol,’ of course, but the rest will be announced soon.”

Until then, Moore and his company happily continue the conversations generated in the 2018-2019 season. “That’s the point of what we’re doing,” he said earnestly. “We bring the experience of someone else’s story to you. Theater is the best teacher of empathy that we have. You listen to the joy, pain, love, tears and even hate of someone else’s story and you understand something that is not about yourself. Only live theater can bring that home so well. At Actors, we might not be the largest theater in America, but (we) are most certainly the most impactful theater in the country.” V


The Humana Festival will feature five world premieres:

We’ve Come to Believe

by Kara Lee Corthron, Emily Feldman and Matthew Paul Olmos

Feb. 24-April 7

“We’ve Come to Believe” features the actors of the 2018-19 Professional Training Company and looks at the bizarre world of collective delusion and groupthink. What is real and what is fake?


The Corpse Washer

adapted by Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace, from the novel of the same name by Sinan Antoon

March 1-April 7

A haunting portrait of a young man’s coming of age and survival in war-torn Iraq, where life and death are intertwined.


The Thin Place

by Tony Award-nominated Lucas Hnath

March 5-April 7

Former artistic director Les Waters returns to Actors to direct “The Thin Place,” an eerie play that explores the line between this world and another, where those who’ve died live on.


How to Defend Yourself

by Lily Padilla, co-world premiere with Victory Gardens Theatre

March 13-April 7

Visceral and provocative, “How to Defend Yourself” examines the impact of rape culture, on campus and beyond.


Everybody Black

by Dave Harris

March 19-April 7

A blisteringly funny satire that explores how we chronicle and make sense of Black History.


For tickets and show schedules for Actors Theatre, visit actorstheatre.org

State of the Art

Exploring History, Education and Equality


‘FEMINIST EXPRESSIONS’

Kaviar Forge and Gallery is hosting the Kentucky Foundation for Women’s newest exhibit, “Feminist Expressions.” The gallery highlights feminist artists from all over Kentucky who created pieces that aim to spark social change and promote equality through a variety of mediums. “Feminist Expressions” runs through Jan. 19.


LAURIE FADER’S ODYSSEYS

Garner Narrative is hosting award-winning artist Laurie Fader’s first solo show at the art gallery titled “Odysseys.” Each piece symbolizes Fader’s own political and personal beliefs, all inspired by her educational journey in Rome that connected her to the history of Pre-Christian Vestal Virgins. Fader’s art will be on display at Garner Narrative through Jan. 4.


SEARCHING FOR THOMAS MERTON

Bellarmine University’s McGrath Gallery is hosting “Searching for Thomas Merton: An Artistic Tribute,” in honor of the monk and writer on the 50th anniversary of his death. This event is part of a larger celebration of Merton’s life at Bellarmine University and will close on Jan. 12.


25TH ANNUAL AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTS EXHIBITION

Actors Theatre of Louisville is hosting the work of 13 local and regional artists that celebrates African American history, culture and art. This juror of this year’s iteration is Kevin Cole, an award-winning artist, consultant and teacher. The exhibit will run at Actors Theatre Gallery from Jan. 8 through Feb. 17.


‘SEEING THROUGH THE ARTISTS’ EYES’

Now through Jan. 19, Jane Morgan Gallery is presenting “Seeing Through the Artists’ Eyes.” This collection of landscapes includes work from the arts of the Plein Air group, who have created visual representations from their travels throughout and beyond the state.


Want to be included in State of The Art? Send your upcoming art exhibition details to circulation@redpinmedia.com.

Wilson & Muir Bank Has Your Back

Story from

Since 2001, Facilities Management Services (FMS) has grown from a small janitorial company with a handful of employees, to one of the largest locally owned janitorial companies in Kentucky with a turnover rate that is a fraction of the industry average.

What’s even more impressive is FMS is the state’s second Certified B Corporation (second by only two weeks). Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

“It’s been very rewarding working with Scott and FMS over the years and sharing in their many successes,” said Mark Hardin, Vice President at Wilson & Muir Bank’s St. Matthews location.

When Scott Koloms, President of FMS, approached Hardin about helping FMS finance the renovation of their headquarters utilizing the historical tax credit program, Koloms posed the question, “Is this something you guys can do?”  Hardin replied, “Well, we may not have a whole department dedicated to financing historical tax credit projects, but we can absolutely get this done!” 

WMB’s commercial banking team in St. Matthews quickly rolled up their sleeves and managed the nuances of the historical tax credit financing with great efficiency, delivering as promised. The renovation project turned out magnificently and FMS now has a beautifully restored 150-year-old building to call home. 

“We’ve always been made to feel that our needs are a high priority— even when we were a really small and fragile janitorial service,” Koloms said. “They’ve also handled more complex transactions, like our recent historical tax credit financing at our home base in the Portland neighborhood with ease,” added Koloms.

“Our clients are confident in WMB, knowing we can handle all of their banking needs regardless of complexity,” Hardin said.

“Wilson and Muir Bank is everything you’d hope for from a locally owned financial institution. I’ve developed meaningful relationships with the folks at WMB and I feel confident they have our back at FMS,” concluded Koloms.

When you need a bank to have your back, contact Wilson & Muir Bank.

Business Briefs

Rob Samuels, Mayor Greg Fischer and Eric Gregory.

Kentucky Distillers’ Association Honors Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer with “100 Proof” Award

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association recently honored Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer with its prestigious 100 Proof Award for his leadership in championing the state’s signature bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Mayor Fischer is the first local official to ever receive the award, which is the highest honor that the KDA bestows to elected officials. KDA members presented him with a commemorative 100 Proof Award barrel head at KDA’s Annual Meeting in Louisville.

“At a time when Louisville’s Whiskey Row and Urban Bourbon Trail was beginning to experience tremendous growth, Mayor Fischer stepped up and provided real leadership as our industry elevated tourism and expanded into the local food scene,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “He coined the phrase ‘bourbonism,’ convened bourbon-related work groups and collaborated with the KDA to develop partnerships with Louisville’s culinary and cosmopolitan endeavors, as well as other tourism related opportunities.”

Rob Samuels, chairman of KDA’s board of directors and chief distillery officer at Maker’s Mark, said, “The city of Louisville and Mayor Fischer are partners in the truest sense of the word, and he knows that bourbon is more than just a drink. It’s jobs and investment and economic impact.”

The KDA and its 39 members thanked Mayor Fischer for his leadership role in making Louisville an official gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour and for hosting the annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair, a bourbon “fantasy camp” for thousands of visitors from around the world.

“I would like to thank the Kentucky Distillers’ Association for honoring me with its 100 Proof Award,” Mayor Fischer said. “Beyond the real economic impact of the industry on our city, bourbonism adds to the ‘cool’ factor we need to attract bright, new talent and makes us a place where people want to live and work.

“And there’s still much room for growth,” Fischer said. “We are only in the first few innings of this amazing capital investment in Louisville. Bourbon is fueling our food renaissance, hotel growth and revitalization of Main Street.”

In presenting the award, Gregory noted Mayor Fischer’s leadership in creating a collaborative working relationship with the tourism, convention and hospitality industry in Louisville. “The results of the community uniting behind the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience has been a win-win for the city and state,” Gregory said.

“The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a brand that is driving huge tourism dollars into local communities,” he said, noting that the River City has more KBT experiences than anywhere else in the Commonwealth. “Mayor Fischer recognizes that and wants to capitalize on it to the community’s benefit.”

Mayor Fischer is only the 10th person to ever receive the award, which the KDA created in 2009 to recognize elected officials who demonstrate tremendous care, diligence and initiative in promoting and protecting Kentucky’s timeless bourbon industry.

Nominees must receive a unanimous vote of both the KDA’s governmental affairs advisory group and the KDA board of directors. It is the highest honor that the state’s iconic bourbon industry gives to elected officials.


Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands, Named Industry Titan by Women’s Foodservice Forum

Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) announces Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands, as an Industry Titan for his leadership and commitment to driving gender equity, investment in the future of women leaders and notable impact on the food industry.

An Industry Titan is an executive who is creating change that will increase opportunities for women and drive business growth. In celebration of WFF’s 30th Anniversary, 24 of the industry’s most iconic leaders will be recognized as Industry Titans on-site at the WFF 2019 Annual Leadership Development Conference (ALDC) March 10-13, in Dallas.

“Greg Creed was one of the first CEOs to make a public commitment to help solve one of our industry’s toughest challenges,” said Hattie Hill, WFF CEO and president. “His leadership will, undoubtedly, inspire others to support and cultivate opportunities for women in leadership for stronger companies. We are pleased to recognize Greg Creed as an Industry Titan during the landmark 30th anniversary of WFF.”

“It’s an honor to be named by WFF as an Industry Titan. I’m very proud of Yum!’s initiatives around a diverse and inclusive work environment, which is imperative in today’s world,” said Creed. “We believe strongly that our employees must reflect the global marketplace where we operate, and we’re on a journey to ensure inclusion and diversity, including gender equity, are integrated into all aspects of our business.”

Earlier this year, Yum! made a commitment, in alignment with the Paradigm for Parity coalition, to advance more women into leadership roles and achieve greater gender parity in senior leadership globally by 2030. Yum! has also signed onto the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

Creed also established a U.S. diversity and inclusion council called Leading Inclusion for Today and Tomorrow (LIFT2), which includes leaders and franchisees across Yum!, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. In addition, Yum! offers unconscious bias training to corporate employees around the world to increase multicultural competency and build strong leaders who are skilled at leading diverse teams. The company also recently became one of more than 100 companies from 10 sectors named to the inaugural 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI).

ALDC is an immersive leadership development experience where women connect with and learn from industry influencers, experts and each other. Most notably, the conference is a unique experience where companies collaborate to accelerate gender equity.

With the annual conference as a touch point, WFF convenes the industry year-round through Lead the Way, the Food Industry’s gender equity movement, launched and championed by WFF.

The food industry is the second largest employer of women, yet women remain significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. Lead the Way offers a data-driven roadmap with trackable metrics and tools, from best-practices to talent sourcing and leadership development, aimed to help companies shift toward more equitable work environments and strengthening the food industry. WFF believes in limitless possibilities for women and is also the industry’s premier leadership development organization for women.

When women do better, we all do better. For more information, visit ALDC.WFF.org.

Trilogy Healthcare Recognized in Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards as One of the Best Places to Work in 2019

Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, has announced the winners of its 11th annual Employees’ Choice Awards, honoring the best places to work in 2019 across North America and parts of Europe. Unlike other workplace awards, the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards are based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their job, work environment and employer over the past year.

Trilogy Health Services, located at 303 N. Hurstbourne Pkwy., is the only Louisville-based company to make the top 100 of the Employees’ Choice Awards. Trilogy ranks number 35 overall, has an average rating of 4.3 and currently has 1,500 open jobs. This is Trilogy Health Services’ first time winning a Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work award.

Founded in December 1997, Trilogy Health Services, LLC is a customer service focused provider of senior living and long-term healthcare services including independent and assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitative services. These services are delivered by staff specially trained to honor and enhance the lives of their residents through compassion and a commitment to exceeding customer expectations.

Working In Tandem

Tandem Public Relations COO Michael Tierney talks work, fun and ‘No comment’

Q&A with Angie Fenton

Photography by Andrea Hutchinson

Michael Tierney isn’t just a public relations guru. The chief operating officer at Tandem Public Relations is a passionate powerhouse in the industry, where he’s worked for decades with clients including KFC, MCI, Vanity Fair, the Conference of Mayors, SC Johnson Wax and Kraft.

Michael took the time to talk with The Voice of Louisville’s Editor in Chief Angie Fenton and got candid about his profession, passions and the people – and pet – who are most important in his life.

Angie: How did you land in Louisville?

Michael: I’m going on 12 years here. I was recruited by Laura Melillo to run the [public relations] office at KFC for Yum! Brands. … Having grown up in the Washington D.C. area, it was a big change, but I could tell when I first moved here that it’s a unique place. And Laura is a special person.

What motivates you?

I love solving problems, and I love telling stories. Because I’ve worked on the agency side and the nonprofit side and the corporate side, I understand precisely the lens that they [clients] are viewing their situation through. Walking in their shoes, I can help them problem solve in a way that sometimes they don’t have permission to.

For many of us, the perception of public relations is that your role is only to tout the great aspects of your clients and their businesses. What’s the reality?

People generally don’t call us because they’re having the best day of their lives. We sometimes get to know people on a very close basis because they are in some of their most trying times. A lot of the business is fun; we certainly try to inject fun into all of our relationships. What separates the really good communicators are those who can step back and really look at the strategic opportunity. Public relations is also a lot of grunt work. It’s a lot of researching, it’s a lot of writing, it’s why the program I went into is in the journalism department.

What is it like working for Sandra Frazier, CEO/managing member of Tandem Public Relations?

I have to say it is a hilarious pop culture-laden, irreverent, wonderful challenge every day. Nobody has that rare combination of intellect and humor like [Sandra] does. She is also the ultimate truth-teller. I think this is why we get on so well.

Tell me about your family.

I have three kids who are in college, all of whom are pursuing very different things. [Emma] is interning at Edelman, a [public relations] company I used to work at. I suspect she will be taking up the mantle. She really loves it. My middle daughter, Lily, has traveled the world. Her real passion is feminism. She focuses on equality, particularly in the Middle East where she studied Arabic language and culture. … And my son Jack studies music production. He’s a self-taught musician. From the time he could make decisions for himself, he has been fascinated with  music. From the deep catalogues of the ’70s to today, he’s just so passionate about it. He started playing in a band with his schoolmates in the third grade at Kentucky Country Day, but as the years progressed, they found out how talented they are. He uses his talents as a musician for production.

Are you musical?

[Laughs.] I played piano, bassoon, clarinet proficiently. [Jack] can listen to a song, pick up a guitar and blow you away. My kids all live in Florida now. … And then there’s my partner Lee [Buckholz], who is the artistic director at Derby Dinner Playhouse and produces amazing shows. We have so much fun! We get to go on all these wonderful adventures in New York when he goes up for auditions for upcoming shows. … We met through mutual friends. He came down here as an actor 30 years ago. … And then there’s Miss Buggy, a rescue, who I think is 7, thanks to pet psychic Latifa Meena. Buggy is a one-dog girl and she’s blind. She sleeps anywhere she wants. She is the only creature at 18 pounds that can make a king-sized bed feel like a twin.

What do you and Lee do for fun?

We travel back and forth to our place in Michigan. We have a place in Saugatuck. When my father passed, he left just enough to get something we always wanted. So now we grab the dog, hop in the car and go stare at the water and hide from the world. It’s southwestern Michigan just outside of DeVos country. It’s technically a village. Part of its charm is it has a tiny little Cape Cod vibe to it. We can get on our bikes and ride west and in a half mile we’re on Lake Michigan. We can literally take bike rides to the beach. It is so darling. Our time there largely consists of lots of dog walks, collecting stuff on the beach and lots of PJ time. It’s amazing. It’s like a Hallmark movie. I need to recharge my batteries. I like people and the excitement of banter and interaction, but I really like my me time. I think it’s crucial.

When you are alone what are you doing?

Spending quality time with my television friends.

Who are they?

I’m not one to kiss and tell.

What has been your method for success?

From the time I declared my major, journalism, I always knew what I wanted to do. I’m one of those lucky people who has been able to work in their chosen field since day one.

When did you know you were good at what you do?

I always loved English, literature, writing and I took a journalism and communications class on a whim, and one day after a presentation, a professor took me aside after class. He had come out of corporate public relations and was teaching at the university and said, “If you haven’t declared a major, I have a recommendation for you,” and we had a long conversation and I just knew afterwards that it was what I wanted to do.

Everybody likes people who like them, so when someone singles you out and tells you you would be good at something, you believe them. I have been lucky. I have had a great combination of great training, great mentors. … Mentors are super important. Everybody’s not good at everything, and they told me where my blind spot was. They told me where I was naturally talented and where I needed to dig in. I remember those conversations every day, and I am still friends with all of these people. I check in with all of them. Sometimes it’s as simple as bouncing off an idea: Am I crazy? Am I getting the full story? Most importantly, it is just to check up with them because they are such wonderful people.

Where do you stand on the decision to tell the press “No comment”?

I don’t like “no comment.” I don’t advocate for it. I always encourage my clients to participate in an appropriate way. Sometimes we’re overruled by lawyers, which is OK because you want to protect a legal position, but I always believe that you deserve a voice in the story. I am always an advocate of ensuring that your point of view is represented.

How do you envision Louisville in 10 years?

You can always sort of project the future by looking at the immediate past. In all the years I have been here, there has been such tremendous growth in all aspects – from construction to the arts and culture to culinary. We are a really vibrant and growing place even though it has been a place that has been historically slow to change, which has come to its benefit adopting smart change. Evolution versus revolution. I am fortunate to work with organizations that are putting amazing energy and amazing work into business sectors that put us in a position where entrepreneurs and others want to take advantage of what this city has to offer.

What do you loathe the most?

I’m trying to narrow it down. [Laughs] Bad shoes.

What are the best shoes?

It depends, but generally they’re the ones that are on sale that you otherwise couldn’t afford.

PC or Mac?

Yes! I’m a PC guy at work and a Mac guy at home. It’s like a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back.

 Did you ever have a mullet?

Of course! But I had a Flock of Seagulls mullet, not a Billy Ray Cyrus mullet.

What’s the last book you read?

David Sedaris’ “Calypso.” I’m reading “Boy Erased” now. It’s a biography about a kid whose parents have him kidnapped into gay conversion camp. A bunch of us are reading it right now before we go see the movie in the theaters.

Who’s your favorite actor?

Have you ever seen a Bette Davis movie where she wasn’t amazing?

Who plays you in a movie about your life?

I don’t know, but I hope they make a shit ton of money.

What is in your last meal?

Tater tots. That’s my birthday meal every year. Sloppy joes and tater tots.

Who are you listening to?

Right now, I am listening to Adrian Matthew, that kid who sings “She Used to be Mine” from “Waitress.” I want to say he’s 10 or 11. It’s all over the internet. He kills it.

When’s the last time you cried?

Probably yesterday when I watched that video.

When you eventually retire some day, what do you see yourself doing?

I’ve always said I want to chill with my partner and my dog, have time for friends and family, but cover the city council for my local paper. I started my career in Washington so I love the machinations of policy. Just the wonky, slow moving political and interpersonal dance that happens to get things done. It would be a great way to continue to exercise that storytelling muscle and to stay updated in my community. It’s a super hard beat but one that I just find so fascinating.

What is one thing you do everyday that has directly affected your professional life?

One of the things I try to instill in everybody here is exercise your intellectual curiosity. If you’re hired for a client for a particular opportunity, go deeper. Every day, rather than collecting Facebook likes or scrolling through Instagram, use that time to expand your understanding in the climate in which your client lives. You will find opportunities that they probably can’t see because they are right in the middle of it. It’s not about churning out press releases, and it’s not about coming up with gimmicks in the press. It’s about creating relationships and telling their stories.

The word “tandem” is significant to you.

The best relationships are when both parties are working in sync. The clients that have been with us for as long as I’ve been here [at Tandem Public Relations] are the clients that understand and respond to that challenge that it’s not about us having a basic understanding. It’s about them engaging in the process with us because that’s when the best work happens. V

Boutique Buzz

Drapery Sale at Work the Metal

Thinking about updating your home following the holiday rush? Beginning on Jan. 1, Work the Metal is hosting their Drapery Sale Event with 20 percent off their large selection of drapery. The sale continues through Jan. 31. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Work the Metal

1201 Story Ave.

workthemetal.com

502.584.2841


Stella’s Prepares for Winter Clearance

Stella’s Resale Boutique, Louisville’s upscale consignment boutique featuring classic and vintage finds, will hold a winter clearance sale beginning on Jan. 31, and running through the end of February. Follow the Stella’s team on social media to keep up with what’s in store.

Stella’s Resale Boutique

401 Wallace Ave.

stellasresale.com

502.649.5204


Rodes For Her Hosting LaFayette 148 New York Trunk Show

An exclusive trunk show for Lafayette 148 New York, featuring the brand’s Resort and Spring 2019 collections, will be held at Rodes For Her Jan. 9-19. Created in 1996, Lafayette 148 New York is known for its sophisticated, clean-lined designs that fuse luxurious fabrics, outstanding craftsmanship and a modern sensibility inspired by the dynamism of New York City.

Rodes For Her

4938 Brownsboro Road

rodes.com

502.753.7633

Letter from the Editor

Scenes from The Voice of Louisville wedding shoot at 21c Museum Hotel. Photos by Jessa Mayhew.

Seventy years ago, The Voice-Tribune debuted as a weekly newspaper based in St. Matthews. With this edition, the publication has officially transitioned to The Voice of Louisville, a monthly, glossy magazine that is free on stands – thanks to our advertising partners – but also available via subscription.

As you will see from our content, we haven’t strayed from our continued commitment to covering the arts, entertainment, our valued nonprofits, fashion and the people and businesses in our community. We’re just offering it in a new way.

 Speaking of new… J.C. Phelps is the newest addition to The Voice staff. A premier tastemaker with an incredibly popular blog (jcpeats.com) and Instagram account (@jcpeats), J.C. will bring his signature Southern charm and zest for life to our Tastes features. We’re glad to have him on board and think you’ll enjoy him, too. 

This issue includes one of our most popular features: the annual Best Parties list. The task of picking just one event per category was difficult – there is no shortage of fabulous fêtes in our city – but after much discussion, we selected our favorite soirees and extolled their excellence in these pages.

Lastly, on behalf of everyone at The Voice, I’d like to invite you to join us for our January Launch Party, which will take place 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at 21c Museum Hotel. Each guest will receive a complimentary beverage and appetizers; we’ll also have a cash bar and local wedding and event vendors on site. Expect a night of networking and mingling as we toast the start to 2019.

21st Century Bride


Photographer: Andrea Hutchinson

Stylist: Miranda McDonald

Hair Stylist: Darcee Rogers

Makeup Artist: Becca Schell

Model: Moriyah McShane, Heyman Talent

Florist: In Bloom Again, Wayne Esterle

Assistants: Lina Levein, Jessa Mayhew
and Mattie Townson

Location: 21c Museum Hotel


True white gown, style 18092, earrings and veil available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.

Ivory, nude and silver gown, style 18107; pearl, gold and diamond earrings. Available at Sher’s Bridal. True white veil available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.  Gloves from stylist’s personal collection.

Calla Blanche Isla gown, style 18239, available at Sher’s Bridal. Maritza’s Bridal silver headpiece, style 1198, and earrings available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.


Sand/ivory Noelle gown and earrings available at Sher’s Bridal. Veil available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.

Ivory, nude and silver gown, style 18107; pearl, gold and diamond earrings. Available at Sher’s Bridal. True white veil available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.


True white gown, style 18092, and earrings available at Sher’s Bridal. Veil available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.

Light gold Fiji gown, bracelet and headpieces (including one around waist) available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.


Sand/ivory Noelle gown and earrings available at Sher’s Bridal. Veil available at Bridal Suite of Louisville. Gloves from stylist’s personal collection.

Ivory Winslet gown, silver and cream bracelet and silver Maritza’s Bridal veil, style 9868, available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.


Ivory/nude Sarah gown, style 18231, available at Sher’s Bridal. Earrings available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.

Ivory/champagne two-piece suit, yellow earrings and netted veil available at Sher’s Bridal.


Alena gown, teardrop earrings and veil available at Bridal Suite of Louisville.

Setting New Year’s Goals

Grace White and Jeff Howard.

By Jeff Howard

Photos by Erin Trimble

With the newness of 2019 approaching, we can set goals for the next 365 days and make this year anything we want it to be. Every year, I have clients who approach me with their fitness resolutions, but they have no game plan on how to achieve them.

Many of us commit to how we will change our bodies and become better versions of ourselves. Most of the time, however, we start to lose steam midway through our fitness journey. Eventually, we simply give up because either we made a commitment we can’t keep or we don’t see the results fast enough. This year, instead of making a resolution, make goals: drink more water, be more consistent or make more time for yourself. A goal is very personal and it’s something you work toward every day.

I truly want this year to be the year that you feel successful, so I reached out to some my fitness colleagues and I asked them about their favorite tips to help guide us in the new year.



Sara Kooperman, the CEO of SCW Fitness Education and a fitness industry icon who leads nine of the biggest U.S. professional conferences, shared this advice:

1. Find a friend who will help you stay accountable. Chat each day about what you are eating and what you avoided. Stay connected and reward yourself.

2. Find a workout partner who will keep you on your fitness journey. If they are an out-of-town friend, talk to them on your cell while you go for a walk. Stay attached to someone who is a positive force.

3. Hire a trainer who will keep you on your toes and challenge you. What is your health and wellness really worth?


I also spoke with therapist and life coach Laura Wagner and this is what she shared:

1. Keep it simple and significant. Don’t make yourself go from “zero to hero” by deciding to go to an hour long HIIT class five days a week if you normally only go to the gym once a month. Find something you like and make it doable – like 30 to 45 minutes of activity three days a week. Add on from there.

2. Studies show people are 42 percent more likely to do something if they write it down. Write out your goals for the year. Make a vision board. Keep a written calendar, even if you keep one in your phone. The transfer of what’s in your mind to paper can solidify your intentions and turn them into actions.


My friend, fitness enthusiast and social influencer Grace White, sums it up perfectly with her top tips to reach your New Year fitness goals:

• Plan. Staying healthy is already hard enough. Make it easier on yourself by planning your meals and your workouts. This will help you stay on track.

Consistency. You aren’t going to see results right away. This takes time, patience and consistency. If you aren’t feeling up to going to the gym one day, try being active in other ways, i.e. going for a scenic run, walking the dogs, etc.

• Be realistic. You aren’t going to get rock hard abs in a few weeks. Small daily changes compound over time to create results. Unrealistic goals are just setting yourself up for failure. Try journaling a few small goals for every week.

• Eat clean. Try to stay away from processed foods. You can meal prep pretty much everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Choose lean meats, complex carbs and fibrous veggies. You can’t out-train a bad diet.

• Stay off the scale. Cut ties with the scale. Weighing yourself every so often can be a healthy way to track your goals, but at the end of the day, what matters is how your feel. Also, remember that muscle weighs more than fat. Progress pictures are a much better indicator.

• Eight hours of sleep. Your muscles need rest to recover, and your body needs energy to perform.

• Lifestyle. Think of this as a lifestyle, not a diet. Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.

• Properly supplement your body. You can get most things through a healthy diet, but if you are increasing the intensity of your training, you may want to consider supplementation.

• Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a must if you want to see results. Don’t be afraid to break down a mental wall and venture into uncharted territory. Remember, be safe and track your heart rate.

After reaching out to my fitness friends, I found a common thread. First, make small, attainable goals. Second, find exercises you enjoy doing and third, make sure you’re held accountable.

I spent the afternoon with Grace and she took me through one of her favorite workouts that is easy to do at home. The goal is to get through one round the first week, then add another round the next week and continue adding rounds.

What you will need is a mat or soft surface, hand weights and a timer.


Warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes, either by walking with hand weights or climbing stairs.

1. Weighted burpees: 15 reps

Repeat four times

Start with your feet hips-width apart. Lower your body to the floor, trying not to round your spine. Jump back into a plank. Optional: drop your body into a push-up. Jump forward with your feet between your arms. Then, lift your body up with hands over your head.

This can also be done without weights.

2. Squat into upright row: 10 reps

Start with your feet hips-width apart and feet facing forward. Lift your elbows to either side of the room. Go into a squat while lowering your hands toward the floor, looking forward and trying not to round your back. Then, stand back up, lifting the elbows out to the side. A modification would be to place a chair behind you. Sit in the chair and then get back up while doing the same arms.

3. Weighted side plank rotation: 10 reps each side

Start by laying on the floor, then lift your legs into a plank position. Lift one arm up toward the sky. Lower the arm back to the floor and repeat on the same side. Repeat on the other side after your 10 reps. The modification would be to leave your knees on the floor or to not use any weights at all.

4. Banded hip thrusts: 15 reps

Start by lying looking up toward the sky. Your knees are bent. Lift your toes off of the floor. To make it harder, Grace has chosen to use a rubber band around her thighs. Then, lift your glutes upward and lower your back to the floor. For a challenge, take your hands off the floor, reaching up toward the sky. To make simpler, do not use the band.

5. Banded kickbacks: 15 reps each

Start by being prone on all fours. Then, lift one leg up toward the sky. Lower the lifted leg back toward the floor to complete one set and repeat on the other side. Make sure to keep your back straight when lifting and push your heel toward the sky.

6. Squatting bicep curl into shoulder press: 10 reps

Start with feet hips-width apart. Bending your knees into a squat, lower your arms to the floor. Bend the elbows into a bicep curl. Lift the body back to standing position. Continue by lifting your hands over your head. To make simpler, lower yourself into a chair or stay seated.

7. Chest fly v ups: 10 reps

Start by lying on the floor with arms out by your side. Lift your hands upward until they touch. Lift your legs toward the sky while lifting the arms. A simpler version would be to leave one foot on the floor or to not raise the legs.

8. Bent over DumbBell rows with tricep kickback: 15 reps

Stand with feet hips-width apart. Lower your chest to the floor, keeping your back flat and try not to round your spine. Raise your elbows by your side. Lift the weights to the back of the room, bringing them back to your sides and repeat. For lower back issues, place one foot behind you in a kickstand stance.

9. Alternating weighted toe touches: 12 reps each

Start by lying on your back with one hand over your head. Then, lift one hand and the opposite leg simultaneously, reaching for the sky. Repeat the sequence on the same side for one set. Another version would be to keep one leg bent to take stress off your lower back or perform without hand weights.

*Before you start any kind of exercise routine, please check with your doctor.

You can find more workouts and information from Grace White at asoutherndrawl.com or @a_southerndrawl and on her fitness site FITwithASD.com or @fitwithasd.

Approachable Luxury

By Janice Carter Levitch

Photos by Kory Johnson

Suzanne Casconi and her husband John desired a home with personality and were searching for that elusive quality when they decided to build on a beautiful wooded lot in Anchorage, Kentucky. Located at 1306 Glenbrook Road and currently listed at $1,589,000 with realtor Joe McLaughlin of Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty, the home exudes refined luxury. The interior space measures 7,270 square feet, but each room offers a buffer, a place to enjoy the nuances of the space without feeling overwhelmed. Shaded by mature trees, the spacious home is illuminated by numerous windows.

 Suzanne knew exactly what she wanted to create and took on the task of decorating and design concepts along with John.

“My wife is a realtor and she always wanted to move to Anchorage,” John recalled. “She actually found the property for us. We were working with a builder and discussing renovating a 2,000-square-foot Cape Cod style home that was on the property. The builder suggested we start over from the ground up. After working through some logistics with our lawyer, we were able to have the old house removed so we could build our dream home.

 “Suzanne scoured through interior design magazines for ideas and brought them to life,” he continued. “The way the house is laid out, we actually use the house and want it to be comfortable. We have raised our three children here, and they would have friends over all the time. Suzanne and I have entertained so many friends and family here over the years, and the floor plan works perfectly. It was important when it came to what kind of fabrics and furniture we selected that everything was special but inviting, and we could live in the house without the worry of sitting on furniture that was too formal.”

Approaching the house is nothing short of magical as you pass through the white fencing that surrounds the property. The exterior is constructed of redwood and painted a classic shade of white. A solid panel front door is flanked by custom sidelights and elliptical windows that welcome you into the entryway, revealing a double staircase and a sweeping view all the way through to the back of the house.

 A French antique cupboard circa 1800 is filled with antique porcelain plates and stands guard in the hallway leading to the back entrance. “When we were visiting Denmark, we bought a special porcelain plate for each of our children and grandchildren,” John stated. “Now, every time we have a new grandchild, we buy another plate. We currently have 13 of them.”

Also gracing the entry hall is a mahogany half-round wooden table circa 1820 from Bittners as well as a small walnut table from the 1800s. Just beyond the back entrance is a view of the meticulously manicured boxwood hedges that surround the freeform swimming pool. The covered veranda wraps around the back of the house and offers an abundance of outdoor living space that is serene and private.

 As is the case in most every home, the kitchen is the heartbeat of life and entertaining. In addition to top-of-the-line appliances, a wood-burning fireplace adds the extra touch of comfort. Commanding a discerning post in the kitchen is the FiveStar range, and across the room is a Sub-Zero refrigerator. Granite countertops provide elegance and plenty of workspace for family gatherings.

Adjacent to the kitchen is the dining room, which features a custom-made table designed by Bittners. The buffet, also designed by Bittners, provides additional room to serve. Covering the hardwood floor is an exquisite rug from Frances Lee Jasper Oriental Rugs, adding the finishing touch to the room.

Family rooms are vital for entertaining and making guests feel welcome, and this one has plenty of natural light and seating for large or intimate gatherings. Decorated in shades of butter yellow and vibrant red, the room – which features a fireplace – is inviting. Approachable comfort is the cornerstone of the home and it is achieved in every space that has been lovingly curated.

 Also located on the first floor is the master bedroom suite, offering a peaceful retreat and a luxurious master bath complete with white marble countertops. A large walk-in closet is the crowning jewel and provides ample storage.

“My mother always wanted to move to Anchorage, and I thought one of these days I’m going to have a house there,” Suzanne said. “As a realtor, I always admired homes in the area and knew it was where I wanted to be. We wanted the house to look like it belonged in Anchorage and not like a typical subdivision cookie-cutter home.”

Many amenities can be found on the second floor, which has three bedrooms, each with its own personality, style of decor and ensuite bathroom. A surprise room is also on the second floor and can be used as a family room, library, study or office space. The lower level has plenty of room for entertaining and is a great space to gather for family time or entertaining guests.

“This home has an unbelievable veranda that offers a lot of outdoor living space to utilize,” said realtor Joe McLaughlin. “If you’re enjoying some time in the pool and don’t want to walk back into the house on the beautiful rugs with wet feet, you can enter the house through the laundry room door.

“Most houses are about one thing or another – maybe a large entry hall or a fireplace as a focal point,” he said. “This house is all one thing – a personality all in itself. The Anchorage countryside can be seen through every window. I really feel strongly about the home and it’s incredibly unique qualities. And three full acres are a real find in this neighborhood.” V

Unveil Me Slowly

One writer explores the identity of Muslim-American women

By Mariah Kline  |  Photos by Joshua Mimbs

With an exceptional education and a passion for pursuing diversity, Aaisha Hamid is blazing a trail like no other. In April, her second book, “Unveil Me Slowly,” will be released, and she will recognize some of Louisville’s highest achievers at Trailblazers 2019, an inaugural awards ceremony. By drawing from her unique life experiences, Hamid’s goal is to create works that women like her can identify with and provide a clearer voice for an often misunderstood identity group.

Hamid was born and raised in Louisville to parents who immigrated to America from Pakistan. Though she’s mainly lived here her entire life, she’s  had a somewhat unorthodox educational experience that included exposure to many different cultures within the community. She attended a Baptist Christian elementary school, an Islamic middle school and an all-girls Catholic high school. Hamid then attended the University of Louisville, where she was part of several organizations ranging from the Latin American Hispanic Student Organization (LAHSO) to the Women 4 Women student board.

“Having an education like this was very intentional because I wanted to be a part of groups that didn’t look or think like me,” she said. “I wanted to expand my own thought process as well as offer different identity groups exposure to someone they might not have otherwise interacted with. From an early age, identity is something I have always been hyper aware of because I’ve always stood out. I think my inability to be a part of just one world has helped me become more in tune with other ideologies and groups of people.”

Note: The item draped across the women’s laps and also worn by Aaisha Hamid in other photos accompanying this article is a scarf with an American flag print and not an American flag itself. Therefore, using the object in this manner does not violate the United States Flag Code per The American Legion. For more information, visit legion.org/flag/code.

After graduating with degrees in psychology, political science and paralegal studies in 2016, Hamid began working for Hogan Lovells, one of the top 10 global law firms in the world.

“My current role as inclusion coordinator enables me to be a part of a small team that works to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all of our lawyers and business service employees in our American offices,” Hamid explained.

She is in charge of all of the diversity survey data that the firm completes, coordinating all internal diversity events for their 28 affinity groups and also managing the departmental budget.

“In some ways, my work with Hogan Lovells and my writing go hand in hand,” she said. “In 2012, I received the Jones Research Scholarship from the University of Louisville and utilized that to publish my first book on an arguably controversial topic at the time. ‘Faceless: Two Worlds Collide’ explores the news story that came out regarding the Kill Team, a group of soldiers in Afghanistan who killed innocent civilians. After seeing the reaction from family and peers I went to school with, I wanted to research and write a book that attempted to eradicate the stereotypes on both ends. My book garnered some international attention from Pakistan and Canada, which in turn led me on a brief tour in those areas.”


“There is a certain mystical element that provides a surreal tone that dips between the worlds of reality and illusion. I found myself there.”


Since publishing her first book, Hamid has become increasingly interested in working on a more intimate and personal issue.

“I wanted to address the role of Muslim American women in society and the idea of our agency,” she said, “(especially) amidst a media that sometimes diminishes our existence to that of the hijab (scarf) that has become a trademark of our identity.”

This past year, Hamid received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW) to make the project a reality. “Unveil Me Slowly,” her collection of poems written throughout the last few years, will be released on April 13.

Though writing has always come naturally to her, the path that led Hamid to poetry was unexpected.

“I was never a huge fan of poetry growing up,” Hamid admitted. “I worked on a minor in creative writing at UofL, which offered me plenty of exposure to it, but it has never really struck a chord with me. I have always seen it as being too emotional, ambiguous and, in some ways, elusive since its interpretation is subjected to the experiences of its readers.”

Hamid’s attitude toward poetry changed about three years ago when her mother suffered from an aneurysm rupture that left her partially immobile.

“I went through a really difficult time period and poetry helped me escape,” she said. “I read a lot of work by international women poets such as Parveen Shakir and Forough Farrokhzad. They spoke to me in a way that was emotionally moving and ignited a passion to recreate my narrative.”

Hamid became particularly fascinated with the sensual imagery and diction used in their writing.

“There is a certain mystical element that provides a surreal tone that dips between the worlds of reality and illusion,” she explained. “I found myself there. And in writing about many of the things I felt, I was able to resonate with a number of women who had gone through similar experiences – and that is, in part, because the human experience is more similar than we realize. Because poetry strips a person bare and makes them vulnerable, it is easier to feel emotions other types of writing aren’t always able to elicit.

“‘Unveil Me Slowly’ is essentially about identity and attempts to paint an intimate portrait of everyday life, sensuality and womanhood on a battleground of religious, cultural and societal expectations,” Hamid said. “I feel like our society has drawn a very thin line between sensuality and sexuality. Sensuality is about being aware of yourself as a woman, which I think is often evaded when it comes to Muslim women because people are afraid of associating the two together. One of the things I am very passionate about is women’s empowerment, and something I have often noticed is the lack of literature that young Muslim American girls have to turn to when trying to formulate their identities and understand womanhood.”

With “Unveil Me Slowly,” her aim has been to convey her own emotions and articulate them in a way that other women can relate to.

 “I want my book to not only vocalize things that I sometimes have difficulty expressing, but I also want to give a voice to something that is often left unnoticed and untouched,” she said. “I want Muslim girls and women to have a story that resonates with them. In conversations about diversity, people often forget the intersecting sections that offer different experiences and narratives. I think in some ways my work will be relatable to a large collective, but in other ways, my identity group will be the most likely to understand what I am trying to convey, and that is the goal – to offer them poetry that sings their story on topics ranging from love to collectivist family cultures.”

To officially launch “Unveil Me Slowly” and honor individuals making a difference in the community, Hamid is hosting Trailblazers 2019: Celebrating Local Changemakers. The event will take place in April in conjunction with the release of her book and include a R.O.A.R. (Resilient, Outspoken, Ambitious and Refined) awards ceremony.

“I think success and successful people are often glamorized in contemporary society, so I want this event to be all about people being immersed in the stories that are often unheard,” Hamid said. “I want to showcase the obstacles that people had to overcome and the struggles they underwent to get to where they are. I want success to feel attainable for everyone, and I want our youth to realize they can have it all while staying true to who they are.”


“I feel like our society has drawn a very thin line between sensuality and sexuality. Sensuality is about being aware of yourself as a woman.”


As she looks forward to celebrating the honorees and her own accomplishments as well, Hamid reflected on what inspires her in others.

“I am inspired by the unsung heroes in our world who face adversity and battles but do not allow their injuries and defeat to deter them from fulfilling their dreams,” she expressed. “I think there is something very powerful about warriors who attain victory after numerous falls. It is easy to win and arrive at our destination when we are all walking on a leveled playing field. It is the obstacles and the manner in which we handle them that I think ultimately defines our character and spirit.”

For the inspired, intellectual and creative Hamid, there is seemingly no limit to where her career could take her, and that uncertainty is precisely what she credits for bringing her this far.

“One of the biggest lessons I have learned over time is to be open to change,” she said. “I did not imagine myself doing or being where I am five years ago… I think people often feel like a failure when they are unable to adhere to their initial plans. It was when I finally accepted defeat without feeling like a failure that I was able to make something out of my situation and life.” V

To learn more about Aaisha Hamid and preorder “Unveil Me Slowly,” visit aaishahamid.com. To register to attend Trailblazers 2019, email trailblazers.louisville@gmail.com.


Toxic Cultural Tendencies

By Aaisha Hamid

Do not mistake me for a gentle stream

of water flowing down a ravine –

my quiet demeanor

is not the hidden docility

you so desire in a woman

Just below the surface,

past my long lashes

batting in boredom

guised as coy flirtation,

lies a typhoon of emotions

which restlessly stirs,

and occasionally sparks

the fiery passion simmering inside

The volatile waves

that rock in mounting agitation

threaten to tip over the second

my rage, carefully confined,

finally breaks free to bask

in the scalding, but glorious

rays of freedom