Letter From the Editor

Behind the scenes of the “Splash Into Summer” fashion editorial at the home of Joe Wood.

Years ago, a big-time Louisville entrepreneur who was making waves around the world but receiving zero coverage locally looked at me and said, “I don’t think people understand what’s happening here.”

I did my homework, and he was right.

Thankfully, that’s now changed.

The Voice-Tribune team and I couldn’t be more excited to share this issue with you and highlight people who are making waves around the world.

Soozie Eastman is one of those. In this issue, we get the “reel” truth behind her documentary that is garnering rave reviews.

We also peek in on an incredible pool party, get back to school tips from principals and visit Homearama.

And then, there’s this.

The first time I met Louise Cecil, I was terrified.

I’d been sent to her costume shop off Floyd Street, knocked on a heavy, metal door and spoke into a rusted speaker announcing my name and reason for my presence. Soon, I was greeted by a man who beckoned me to board an old-school, industrial elevator.

This was years before iPhones and social media, and I was alone, but I went anyway, making small talk as we inched upwards.

When the elevator came to a lurching stop, I held my breath.

And then the doors opened to what felt like a wonderland. I’d landed in Louise’s world, and hours later, I left feeling like I’d been touched by royalty with a cloud of pixie dust.

That was Louise: She was magical.

Soozie Eastman is styled by Andre Wilson and photographed by Andrea Hutchinson at the home of Linda Eastman and at the Speed Cinema.
Photos by Britany Baker and Andrea Hutchinson.

After that first meeting, I didn’t hesitate to reach out for costumes, fashion shoot props and advice, too, about ways to fuel creativity. I looked forward to the clandestine albeit welcoming introduction to her world every time I knocked on her door.

Before I left, even if she had a hundred other people in her shop, she always took a moment to tell me I was welcome back any time. I am positive she said nearly the same thing to everyone who had the good fortune of experiencing Louise’s magical love and passion for creating.

You can see our celebration of Louise in this issue, which features a photo of her by Frankie Steele, on page 102. Thank you, Louise, for teaching so many of us the importance of enjoying life.

Angie Fenton
Editor in Chief

Stay Sharp

A back-to-school conversation with local principals and leaders

It seems summer has only begun for many, but it will be time to return to the classroom before you know it. We know how most high school students feel about their summer break – and its inevitable ending – but how do administrators deal with the back-to-school blues? We spoke with six local educators to learn what they love about their work, how they used to spend their summers and what they do to prepare for the coming school year.

Kent Martin

Photo provided by Kentucky Country Day School.

Director of Upper School, Kentucky Country Day School

Do you have any personal connection to the school where you are employed?

I started at the school in 2002 as a science teacher. I have taught physics, chemistry, biology, bioethics, human biology and ornithology. I did leave for three years to teach at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina, but missed the community and relationships that were created at KCD. My 4-year-old son will start in JK at KCD next year!

What is most fulfilling about your role?

Seeing young people succeed in something they didn’t think they could. Also, creating meaningful and lasting relationships with the students and their families.

When you were the age of the young people you serve, what did you enjoy most about your time off for the summer?

Working and making money that I could spend on my own, as well as spending time with friends. Some of those arduous and somewhat unpleasant jobs that I had then have made me who I am today.

How did you prepare to go back to school?

Playing sports, watching movies and reading books allowed me to alleviate stress and anxiety from the previous school year while preparing me for the upcoming year.

What advice can you offer to students as they prepare to head back to school?

Get yourself ready for a full school year by getting your rest in now so that you have energy, curiosity and stamina for the academic year. As the beginning of the year approaches, try to get your sleep cycle adjusted before the first day of school. Summer reading is always valuable as it promotes life-long learning and mental exercise. Duolingo is a great (and free) resource to freshen up your world language skills before school begins.

Any subjects that you think will be difficult and give you anxiety, I would suggest trying to read ahead or use online resources such as Crashcourse or Khan Academy to get acquainted with the material before the class even begins. Summer internships and career shadowing opportunities serve as a way to see if you might be interested in a particular field. These are tough to do during the school year. Finally, try to exercise and incorporate some mindfulness as you head into the school year. Remember, you are the future and you can do anything!

Becca Noonan

Photo provided by Presentation Academy.

Principal, Presentation Academy

Do you have any personal connection to the school where you are employed?

Yes! I’m a proud Pres alum. I graduated in 2000 and after working as a Catholic school administrator for several years in Chicago, it’s wonderful to be back in the hallways at Fourth & Breck. When I was a student, Pres played such an integral role in helping me find my passions, and the faculty and staff empowered me to believe that I could really make a difference in this world. Some days, it feels surreal that I now get to be part of that faculty and staff. It’s great to play a part in helping to support, challenge and empower today’s Pres girls.

What is most fulfilling about your role?

I love seeing how much students grow, learn and change. I love meeting students and seeing how much they learn about themselves, their passions and their place in the world. It’s incredible to watch how that changes over the course of their time in high school and beyond. And I’m convinced that teenagers have the best sense of humor – they can always make me laugh.

When you were the age of the young people you serve, what did you enjoy most about your time off for the summer?

I loved – and still love – the pace of the summer. Everything slows down a bit, and there’s more time to travel, to read and just to enjoy each other’s company.

How did you prepare to go back to school?

Shopping for new school supplies was always the most exciting part about going back to school. Even now, there’s something about having blank notebooks, new pens and organized folders that makes me excited about a new beginning.

What advice can you offer to students as they prepare to head back to school?

Remember that every school year is a completely fresh start. Go into the new school year refreshed, motivated and excited about all the changes ahead. And it doesn’t hurt to be really organized!

Martha Tedesco

Photo provided by Assumption High School.

Principal, Assumption High School

Do you have any personal connection to the school where you are employed?

I am a 1990 graduate and have worked my entire professional career at Assumption. I frequently tell new members of our community that I came right back to Assumption after graduating with my degree in English from Bellarmine University and that I have never found a reason to leave! I’m blessed to have worked with and served the people who taught me and raised me.

In the last 25 years, I have served as a teacher, field hockey coach, student activities director, recruitment coordinator and assistant principal, all of which prepared me for my current role. I have always been called to serve Assumption and am honored and humbled to now have the opportunity to serve as principal.

What is most fulfilling about your role?

Growing young, compassionate, servant leaders. It’s a privilege to teach young women how to discover their God-given gifts and then how to share those gifts to benefit others. At Assumption, we tell our girls that we are preparing them to go out and serve and lead in all of their life roles. And they do – I see Assumption alums everywhere I go. Not only are they leading in their professional fields but also within their communities, where they are the ones running their parish picnics, volunteering as grade school coaches and athletic directors, serving on school boards and organizing the local food drives.

When you were the age of the young people you serve, what did you enjoy most about your time off for the summer?

My favorite part of having time off during the summer as a kid was having a relaxed schedule and getting to play outside at every age. Whether it was in the neighborhood, on the softball field or swimming at the pool, there was nothing better than the fun of being with my friends and just being able to enjoy life at its own pace. I think it is so important for kids to have the time to play. Those long hours of play during my childhood summers truly helped me to develop creatively, to learn to think outside of the box  and to grow as a problem solver – skills that served me well then and I continue to use today!

How did you prepare to go back to school?

When I was little, I loved to go school supply shopping. Like every kid, I was never really ready for summer to end, but every year I did secretly look forward to the trip where I got to buy new notebooks, pick out new markers, select my favorite character folders and get a new backpack. Even if I wouldn’t admit to being ready for school to start, there was a part of me that was excited by all of the new things to learn that those shiny new supplies symbolized.

What advice can you offer to students as they prepare to head back to school?

As students prepare to go back to school, I would emphasize the importance of planning balance in their lives. The most truly successful people I know find a way to give all of their talents and energy to their work and responsibilities but don’t lose sight of the value of taking time to relax, to see the world around them and to commit to time with the people they love. The commitment to both work and play is what I love about the community of Assumption. Our students have the opportunity to see from the faculty, staff and administration that we come to work prepared and focused, ready to work diligently for them, but we are never too busy to take the time to laugh with them, to share in their excitement or to do the extra thing – including planning a surprise dance at a pep rally – to put the joy into what we do! We believe that there is nothing that you should enjoy more than learning.

Alexandra Thurstone

Photo provided by St. Francis School.

Head of School, St. Francis School

Do you have any personal connection to the school where you are employed?

I have quite a personal connection to St. Francis given that I started on our Goshen Campus as a Kindergartener myself in 1971 and went all the way through both campuses, graduating from our high school in 1984. I also was a trustee of the school from 1996 to 2001, when I became the Associate Head of School at what was then St. Francis High School. I became the Head of School in 2001 and remained Head until the high school merged with St. Francis School in Goshen in 2012, and we became one St. Francis School with two campuses, including our preschool, which is now on our Goshen Campus.

Both of my sons, Andrew and Gray, attended St. Francis K-12, too. Gray has now graduated from Vassar College and lives in New York City, where he is getting an MFA in acting at the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory. Andrew will be a junior at the University of Miami in Florida studying environmental science.

What is most fulfilling about your role?

There are so many fulfilling things about my role. I love my day-to-day interactions with students – whether it’s reading to preschoolers or attending lower school, middle school or high school morning meetings, our students are amazing and never cease to impress me. If I’m ever having a bad day, I can always walk through the preschool or go chat with a teenager. I am also so lucky to get to work with the most talented faculty and staff I can imagine. I learn from them every day. Our parents, too, are interested and engaged in what we are doing – they are students of education themselves, which is why they’ve chosen St. Francis and our progressive educational philosophy. Last but not least, I love catching up with our alums and hearing about the wonderful things they are doing. It’s extremely gratifying to see a person you knew as a child all grown up and achieving the potential you knew they had.

When you were the age of the young people you serve, what did you enjoy most about your time off for the summer?

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy being a child or young person. Having a big spanse of time with few plans is a gift, and that is even more true in today’s world in which children are so over-scheduled. I loved taking advantage of the opportunity to just be outside and explore, breathe the fresh air and be active. I have always been a voracious reader of fiction, and I always loved the summer because it was a great time to read as many books for pleasure as I could.

How did you prepare to go back to school?

Back-to-school shopping was the marker that school was coming. I always loved getting and organizing all my school supplies (I’m still big on organization), and picking out a first-day-of-school outfit (I still do that, too!). The first day of school is so much fun and so exciting, and I truly still feel that way. I also tried to make sure I did any summer work spaced out over the summer so it didn’t pile up in the last days before school starts.

What advice can you offer to students as they prepare to head back to school?

I think the most important thing to do over the summer (and July or August are not too late!) to make sure you are ready to go back in August is to read, read and read some more. There is simply no more important skill or activity that builds your knowledge, vocabulary and overall intelligence than reading. You can read blogs, articles, magazines, comics, etc. Anything counts. The point is just to read as much as you can. It is also true that students’ learning can “slide” a bit if they don’t read or look at any materials over the summer. So, if there’s a subject that is challenging for you, ask your teachers for some things you can do over the summer to keep your knowledge fresh. There are lots of fun apps and online games that students can do from time to time throughout the summer that won’t seem like work at all. Learning should be fun, especially in the summer, so enjoy yourself but never stop learning!

What advice can you offer to students as they prepare to head back to school?

In the weeks before school starts, make sure you’ve got any summer work done at least a week ahead of time so you have time to look it over and double check it and so you can enjoy your last days of summer. Get those school supplies organized – having that done ahead of time helps you start the school year off on the right foot. Then, you’ll be just as excited to start school as all of your teachers and I will be to see you on that first day!

Dr. Michael Bratcher

Photo provided by Sacred Heart Model School.

Principal, Sacred Heart Model School

Do you have any personal connection to the school where you are employed?

My son has been in our preschool on campus for the last two years, and my daughter will be in the preschool this coming year. It will be great to have both of them here. It is an honor to work at Sacred Heart. With four schools on campus, what more could one ask for? There are so many opportunities for our students. The sky’s the limit at Sacred Heart!

What is most fulfilling about your role?

Honestly, everything about what I do every day is fulfilling. It is an honor and privilege to work with the students at Sacred Heart Model School; after all, they will be our leaders of tomorrow. I am fulfilled in my daily interactions with students but also when I see them actively learning in our classrooms.

When you were the age of the young people you serve, what did you enjoy most about your time off for the summer?

I always enjoyed summer vacation to the beach, going to the pool and staying up late playing with other kids in the neighborhood. We were constantly running from home to home in the neighborhood, often barefoot.

How did you prepare to go back to school?

I recall going to bed early starting a few days before school started back.

What advice can you offer to students as they prepare to head back to school?

Continue to have fun. Rest and relax, but make sure you are prepared. If you have summer reading or assignments to do, make sure they are complete.

Dr. Dan Zoeller

Photo provided by Trinity High School.

Principal, Trinity High School

Do you have any personal connection to the school where you are employed?

My most personal connection to Trinity is that my son is a graduate. Having a son attend Trinity enabled me to see the school in a new light – from experiencing the jitters of freshman year to watching him mature into a fine young man his senior year. I was a teacher before becoming principal, and my kids grew up on Trinity plays, concerts and athletic performances. It truly is a second home/family for us.

What is most fulfilling about your role?

I love working with our youth. They are full of energy and ideas, optimism and creativity. Working with our teachers to help young men find the right paths, to truly learn how to think, then to hear about their leadership after Trinity are all extremely rewarding for me. Combine those elements with the ability to “start over” every August, and I believe I have one of the greatest jobs in the world (just slightly behind movie critic for the “New York Times.”)

When you were the age of the young people you serve, what did you enjoy most about your time off for the summer?

I enjoyed “roaming free.” I lived next to an undeveloped few acres, which had three ponds filled with crawdads, frogs and catfish. I had a pretty nice tree house built high enough to capture summer breezes. Riding my bike around the neighborhood, swimming in public pools and coming home from library trips with loads of books rounded out my summers.

How did you prepare to go back to school?

My mother was a teacher, so she had us do the occasional workbooks and we always read for fun. She nurtured a love of reading for me that continues to this very day. As principal, I still love the freedom to read whatever I like in the summer. A trip to the store to get new notebooks, pencils and other supplies was something I looked forward to.

What advice can you offer to students as they prepare to head back to school?

One terrific thing about the school year is it comes with breaks and the ability to start over every August. I encourage students to reflect on any regrets they had from the previous year and write down a few goals for the upcoming one. They should write down three specific personal goals – such as making five new friends or trying two new clubs – and three academic goals – like setting aside an hour each night before dinner to start homework or preparing questions each night to ask the teacher in class the next day. Instead of focusing on the actual hours of work or grades they might receive, I really encourage students to try to return to the school intent on learning new things. V

Crafting a Kentucky Farm-to-Table Dinner Party

Photo by Gregory Lee.

Story and Photos by J.C. Phelps

The weather is warming up in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As a foodie, that means one thing to me: fresh food from the farmer’s market!

I grew up on the family farm in Jamestown – a small Southern Kentucky town located in Russell County on Lake Cumberland. This heritage is an immense privilege and one that I am very proud of. Among my fondest memories of my rural childhood are breaking beans, cutting into that garden-fresh, perfect tomato and enjoying the fruits of local labor at dinnertime.

There’s something about farm-to-table dining that is uniquely southern and uniquely Kentucky. For many Kentuckians, their relationship with food is largely rooted in agricultural production: they consume what they produce. Sadly though, with the rise of urbanity and convenience, this has transitioned into a lost art.

It is my opinion, however, that we are slowly starting to reintegrate older methodologies in the food world. We – diners and chefs alike – are becoming more aware of where our food is sourced from and what goes into the production process. The desire to patronize and support the local movement is growing exponentially. This affects how we spend our money and that is a move in the right direction.

By bringing the farm directly to your plate, you are supporting a farming family. You are keeping an industry – one that has drastically changed in recent decades – alive and thriving. You become more aware of your food’s origins. You make better decisions for your body, your family and your local economy. Above all else, you are being a conscious consumer and gastronome.

Farming is not an easy job, nor is it one that is easy to do full-time, but it is immensely rewarding for those with the passion. Seeing this passion in my community and as an industry food writer is a beautiful trend. Our food scene here in the Commonwealth – particularly the Kentucky Proud products and goods produced from our rich soil – makes me proud to be a Kentuckian each day.

For my most recent dinner party, I wanted to introduce my friends to the diversity one can experience via farm-to-table dining. I chose to make a new-to-me appetizer, an entrée that I grew up on and a side dish that has been a recent favorite of mine.

These recipes will be a hit at your next party – that, my friends, I assure you. The best part? As the crops become more readily available, the recipes will only become more delicious.

Our meal started with whipped feta and honey, which was served with toasted bread made by a Kentuckian and honey from a local farm in Southern Kentucky. The sweetness of the honey alongside the saltiness of the feta was a beautiful pairing.

The main course was my take on a Cobb salad, which featured locally purchased greens, Kentucky eggs, Kentucky country ham and Kentucky bacon. Few things are more reminiscent of the Commonwealth, in my opinion, than tasty, salty country ham. I grew up on it and Loretta Lynn wrote about it. Need I say more?

My chosen side dish was my favorite tomato, mozzarella and orzo pasta salad, which features my homemade pesto. Made with local tomatoes, it’s also easy to incorporate basil that you pick up at the farmer’s market. This salad is light and fresh but still immensely filling. It is fantastic served on the side of a traditional salad, such as my Cobb, or alongside a meat dish.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope y’all enjoy these recipes! As always, happy eating, happy traveling, happy living. V

Whipped Feta and Honey


8 oz. crumbled feta

3 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)

1/3 c. honey

1 ½ tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. salt


Mix crumbled feta, cream cheese and olive oil together in a mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid Mixer).

Add honey to the mixture, combining until smooth.

Sprinkle garlic powder, black pepper and salt into the whipped feta and mix until well-combined.

Serve with toasted bread and top the dip with a swirl of honey.

Tomato + Mozzarella + Pesto Orzo Salad


16 oz. orzo

2-3 c. grape tomatoes, halved

8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls

1 ⅓ c. (approximately) of pesto

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


Cook orzo according to package and allow it to fully cool.

Make homemade pesto and add it to the orzo until evenly coated. If desired, you can use store-bought.

Top pasta salad with halved grape tomatoes and mozzarella pearls. Gently fold them into the orzo.

Add salt and pepper according to taste preferences.

Homemade Pesto


1 ½ c. fresh basil

7 cloves of garlic (peeled and roughly diced)

¾ c. fresh parmesan (grated)

6 tbsp. pine nuts

⅔ c. olive oil

1 tsp. onion powder

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


Using a food processor, combine basil, garlic, parmesan and pine nuts. Mix well.

As the pesto is emulsifying, add olive oil slowly (until you’ve reached your desired consistency).

Add onion powder and gently pulse it into the mix.

Add desired amounts of salt and pepper, little by little, to taste.

Kentucky Cobb Salad


2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

½ lb. country ham, thinly sliced and chopped

2 avocados, diced

1 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped

8 boiled eggs, peeled and halved

5 green onions, chopped

4 heirloom tomatoes, chopped

12 oz. blue cheese

Dressing of choice (ranch being the most classic)


Cover eggs in cold water and place over high heat. Bring the water to boil. Once boiling, remove from heat, cover the pot and allow the eggs to cook for roughly 15 minutes. Drain eggs and place them in an ice bath to cool. Once cooled, peel the shell and cut them in half.

Wash romaine thoroughly, pat dry and chop to size preference.

Cook bacon (I cook it in the oven), allow to cool and roughly chop.

Peel the avocados, remove the pits and dice.

Chop green onions and heirloom tomatoes according to preference.

Using the romaine as the base, top the salad with all of the remaining ingredients.

Serve with dressing on the side.

An Exerpt from The Thurby Diary:

A Colorful Take on Horse Racing’s Most Eccentric Day

By Miranda McDonald
Original art by
Grant Goodwine

“Use both hands to hold onto the side of the basket, bend your knees and brace for impact. We will be touching down in less than a minute. You may also want to secure your hat,” explained the man who was piloting the hot air balloon I was currently riding in. He was pointing to the beret that was adorning my head. His name was Dan, and I had just met him and Paul – a witty real estate agent from Southern Indiana – two hours before our 10-mile hot air balloon ride across Louisville. We were one of 20 balloons participating in the Great Balloon Race that morning and only briefly made introductions at Bowman Field before taking off.

As I peered over the side of our floating vessel to help locate any power lines that may give us trouble during our descent, I began to wonder why I had thought riding in a hot air balloon would be the best way to kick off my Derby week. I woke up that morning almost giddy about the idea of checking this venture off my bucket list. For years, I told anyone who would listen that I was going to ride in a hot air balloon one day. Now, I was basically standing in a bucket that was plummeting towards a driveway that split the back of a property owned by of one of the most prominent individuals in the city.

“Bend your knees! Bend your knees!” the pilot instructed as we came closer to the ground below us.

See, the thing they don’t tell you about landing a hot air balloon is that the initial impact with the ground isn’t the most difficult part to withstand as a passenger. The hard part actually comes directly after when your basket is skimming the ground, serving as an anchor to the large balloon that’s still being carried by the wind enclosed in its mast. And at this very moment, the apparatus we were standing in was skidding uncontrollably through the backyard of what I would later find out was John Schnatter’s gated property.

Once our balloon came to a complete stop, and we acclimated to not being 2,000 feet in the air, Dan pulled out a walkie talkie and contacted his team. They trailed us for several miles but fell behind once we flew past our initial landing spot.

“What now?” I asked our pilot.

 “Right now, we wait,” he explained. You could tell he was a bit anxious about where we had landed. He looked around for a brief moment and settled his gaze on the house located to our right.

I followed his gaze and imagined the owner was standing by the large window that overlooked the back of his property. I pictured him abruptly abandoning his first cup of coffee on the kitchen table in order to get a better look at the three individuals who had just unexpectedly fallen out of the sky in their multi-colored air craft.

“So, are you going to Derby this year?” Paul asked. His smile effortlessly pushed up both sides of his cheeks. He seemed completely unaffected by our turbulent landing.

“No, I am actually not going to Derby this time. I can only deal with that crowd once every few years,” I responded.

“What about Oaks?”

“No. No Oaks for me either. I’m only going to Thurby this year,” I explained.

“Have you been to Thurby before?” Paul inquired further. There must have been something about the exhilaration of landing safely after falling quickly to the ground without the protection of any safety apparatus that made him especially chatty at this juncture.

“I hear Thurby is the way to go. You get the horse racing and booze without the long lines and hassle,” Dan chimed in.

“Yeah. Thurby is Gonzo-themed this year. GonzoFest is sending me and a local a visual artist named Grant Goodwine there to document our experience like Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman did 50 years ago for the Kentucky Derby. Ralph is even going to be there that day signing posters and mingling. I really want to meet him,“ I further explained.

A loud beep, followed by a brief moment of static on Dan’s walkie talkie interrupted our post-landing banter. “We can’t get on the property. There is a very large gate,” a voice stated.

After a moment of complete silence, our attention shifted to the two balloons that were now peeking over the treeline to our immediate left. They too needed a safe place to land after the race. “It looks like we have company,” Dan stated.

“Oh, they aren’t our only company,” Paul replied. I then noticed a young man had emerged from the house and was now standing on the back patio. A look of complete bewilderment framed his face. “You should go talk to him since we just landed our hot air balloon, unannounced I might add, in his backyard. Plus, you are wearing a beret. No one can be upset with a pretty girl in a beret.”

“Haha,” I belted out sarcastically. I thought Paul was joking but soon realized he was being completely serious.

After stumbling out of the basket, I made eye contact with the young man. He was slowly making his way towards our fallen vessel.

“Excuse me!” I yelled. I used one hand to readjust my beret and the other to wave at him. “Can we land our hot air balloon – I mean, can we land our hot air BALLOONS – in your backyard?”

“Umm, sure?” he responded. His eyes only briefly catching mine before he fixed them back on the small fleet of hot air balloons that were landing one by one behind me.

“Hello,” I extended my hand fully in front of me in hopes of a handshake and proper introduction. “My name is Miranda. I’m a writer. We are part of the Great Balloon Race.”

“Andrew. My name is Andrew. I am the property manager here,” he finally responded. His eyes were now on me.

“Nice to meet you, Andrew. I hope our landing here doesn’t put you in a bind with your employer.”

“No, not at all.” he assured me.


“This is great!” His confusion turned into amusement at this point. “I actually woke up this morning annoyed about having to work on a Saturday. I never would have thought that my morning would be so eventful.”

“Yeah. After this, I may just have to start every Derby week off with a hot air balloon ride,” I declared with a sarcastic tone in my voice and a smile on my face. V

To see the full story, visit gonzofestlouisville.com.

The Crazy Never Die

Portrait of Hunter S. Thompson by Alan Apardi.

A peek at ‘Gonzo! The Illustrated Guide to Hunter S. Thompson’

By Mariah Kline
Photos courtesy of
the Speed Art Museum

You may have noticed an inordinate number of Gonzo journalism-themed happenings in Louisville lately. From Churchill Downs to the Frazier History Museum, it seems everyone is celebrating the legacy of writer Hunter S. Thompson and illustrator Ralph Steadman. The Speed Art Museum is also in on the action with the upcoming “Gonzo! The Illustrated Guide to Hunter S. Thompson.” Opening July 12, the exhibition will highlight the groundbreaking essays of Thompson through art created specifically for his works as well as the writer’s own photography.

The Police Convention. 1971. By Ralph Steadman. Loan courtesy of Joe Yasinski.

The Speed’s Gonzo journey first began last year when Juan F. Thompson, the late writer’s son who recently moved to Louisville, approached the staff about honoring his father’s work in some way.

“We started kicking around what we could do and how we could talk about Hunter S. Thompson in an art museum because it’s a very literary topic,” said Chief Curator Erika Holmquist-Wall. “We hit on the idea of doing an illustrated guide and really focusing on the years when he was everywhere all at once in American culture – from 1964 to 1974. We’re telling the story of those essays and why they were so important through the art that accompanied those works.”

The 10-year-span begins with Thompson’s documentation of his time with the Hell’s Angels, which resulted in the book “Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.” Thompson took many of his own photographs during this time, several of which will be on display at the Speed. The curatorial team also gathered the entire suite drawings done by Steadman for “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” all of which will be in the same place for the first time since they left the archives of “Rolling Stone.”

The Lizard Lounge. 1971. By Ralph Steadman. Loan courtesy of Joby Pritzker.

“I was really interested in exploring how a text and an image work together to strengthen an idea,” recalled Holmquist-Wall. “Hunter felt very strongly about the illustrations that accompanied his words.”

Fortunately for Thompson, he was paired with the perfect artist to interpret his words when Steadman accepted the assignment to follow the writer to the Kentucky Derby in 1970.

“Outside of someone like Lewis Carroll and John Tenneil with ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ I’m hard pressed to think of another writer and illustrator relationship that is so strong,” Holmquist-Wall mused.

Where the exhibit’s timeline ends marks a beautifully serendipitous moment for world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. In 1974, she accompanied Thompson to Washington D.C. to cover the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Self-Portrait after beating by Hell’s Angels. Sept. 4, 1966. Image courtesy of the Estate of Hunter S. Thompson.

“Hunter was a famous procrastinator when it came to meeting his deadlines,” Holmquist-Wall laughed. “He missed his deadline to report on Nixon’s resignation, so the editors of ‘Rolling Stone’ actually gave the entire essay (space) to Annie Leibovitz. So, it’s her very first photo essay that appears in a magazine, and it kind of effectively launches her career.”

The Speed’s illustrated guide is just one piece in play during the Year of Gonzo. Over at the Frazier History Museum, visitors get a glimpse at Thompson’s run for office in Aspen, Colorado with “Freak Power: Hunter S. Thompson’s Campaign for Sheriff.” This show takes a deep dive into his short-lived foray into politics and features iconic posters from another Thompson collaborator, Tom Benton.

Hell’s Angels, Orange Hat and Girl. Photos by Hunter S. Thompson. Loans courtesy of Juan F. Thompson.

The third exhibit in the Gonzo trifecta just recently wrapped at the University of Kentucky Art Museum, where “Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective” displayed more than 100 of the artist’s original works. Visitors of all three exhibitions will receive a button at each museum, and those who collect all three will receive a free gift designed by Steadman himself. “Gonzo! The Illustrated Guide” will coincide with the ninth annual GonzoFest, which takes place on July 20 at the Louisville Free Public Library.

“All three of these shows tell completely different angles,” explained Holmquist-Wall. “This was a great opportunity with all of the institutions working together. We have the total support of Hunter’s son, Steadman’s daughter and Benton’s children. It’s been lovely to work on this project knowing that you have the blessing of the families involved.”

Holmquist-Wall recently had the chance to interview Steadman himself and give him a tour of the Speed. She’s thrilled to be partnering with the artist, the Frazier and the University of Kentucky to bring Gonzo enthusiasts a remarkable experience.

Hell’s Angels, Kissing Guys.

“The fact that we were able to pull off the feat of bringing all of these artworks together from this 10-year period is amazing,” she said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see all of this in one place.” V

For more information on “Gonzo! The Illustrated Guide to Hunter S. Thompson,” visit speedmuseum.org.

The Parklands 5K Walk & Run

In support of the Parklands of Floyds Fork, runners and walkers took in the beauty of Beckley Creek Park at this inaugural 5K walk and run on June 15.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Let’s Dance Louisville

On June 15, local celebrities left it all on the floor at this phenomenal fundraiser for Feed My Neighbor. More than 530 people attended the fierce competition, which was hosted at the Louisville Marriott Downtown and presented by Derby City Gaming. The night included dazzling performances based on the theme, “At the Movies.” Natasha Lynn Foley, who danced with professional Damian Pataluna, won the Judges’ Award; Sylvia Weaver, who danced with professional Bob Watters, won the People’s Choice Award; and Doug Strothman, who danced with professional Viktoria Szukk, was declared the overall 2019 Champion.

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Kentuckiana Pride Festival

Thousands of community supporters gathered in Downtown Louisville to celebrate Pride on June 14.

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

The Prelude: Cirque du Jardin

On June 10, the Waterfront Botanical Gardens hosted their fifth annual Prelude garden party. Guests were treated to a dinner prepared by James Beard Award-winning chef Jessica Largey and entertained by performers from CirqueLouis. Those in attendance received a sneak peek at the Graeser Family Education Center, which is part of the project’s first phase set to be completed in October of this year.

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Make/Shift Book Launch

Linda Bruckheimer and Sarabande Books hosted a launch party and reading of Joe Sacksteder’s “Make/Shift” on the evening of June 8 at KMAC Museum. “Make/Shift” is a book of short stories published by Sarabande as part of the Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature.

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Bourbon by the Bridge

Held under the Second Street Bridge, this tasting event benefiting CASA of the River Region delighted guests on June 8.

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson