Derby Behind-The-Scenes

Derby Behind-The-Scenes

May09-2We have survived yet another Derby season.  Despite the rain, I had a blast at all of the events that I attended.  It started Thursday night with all of the parties, and ended Sunday morning when all I wanted to do was sleep.  I’m in training for my next competition, so for half of the weekend I had barely any carbs.  No BBQ parties, no nibbling on the free food at many of the parties.  Nope, it was just me and my protein bars.  (Note to self: never enter a competition three weeks after Derby!)
Working with OnyxLouisville has introduced me to a lot of people to help make Derby the experience that we all enjoy.  The promoters work many months in advance to make the party run smoothly.  Elliott Horne, one of the organizers of the Goodtimers Party, worked non-stop over the past year to bring urban professionals a successful Friday night event.  Everyone wondered where ‘The Pointe’ was, but driving downtown, you saw the huge spotlight directing everyone to the location.  From the rented furniture, to the themed rooms, to DJ E Feezy spinning high up in the sky – every detail was carefully thought out.   It’s a large venture to create an exciting atmosphere for 4,000 people, but Elliott made sure it was done!
For those that don’t know George Williams, he is an amazing guy.  He is the photographer for OnyxLouisville and he and his pal Kenny hit most of the events taking photos.  Not only is George skilled at photography, but he is definitely a people person.  Over the next several weeks we’ll be downloading pics from the various events.  If you’re captured in any of them and want a copy, give George a call and he’ll hook you up.
Lastly, but definitely not least, is the lady I like to call the Derby Diva.  Without Sherlene Shanklin, Derby would not be the same.   If you need any media coverage for any event, she’s the queen!  When TheSlice was being organized, Sherlene kept me informed of the celebrities that would be attending and supplied information about the history and significance of the event.  She even threw her own party on Thursday night at Glassworks (I am not sure if she ever sleeps!) For the Grand Gala, she was the one to reach out to in order to make sure OnyxLouisville could cover the event.
Not only does she help promote the events in advance, she never stop moving while there.  Every time you see Sherlene, she is running around making sure that everything is running smoothly.  Even if she’s standing in one place, you can tell her mind is still thinking about her next move.  If she is stressed, she doesn’t show it on her face – instead she just gives you a smile.  I saw Sherlene standing at the red carpet at the Grand Gala.  She was waiting for one of the celebrities to finishing walking and taking photos.  I caught Sherlene’s eye glancing at everyone in attendance.  You could see the sparkle in her eye as she saw the smile on guests’ faces and realized that once again, she made things happen!
If you attended any events this Derby season, don’t forget to take time to thank those that put the events together.  We’ve been fortunate to have a choice of events to select from each night.  If you went somewhere and enjoyed it, please let them know.

M.Y.  May 2009

Please Don’t Hit Me

”Please Don’t Hit Me”

May08-1Thursday night I went to Gip’s party at City Block.  I love, love, love to dance so I busted a move with a friend of mine.  We had been dancing to several songs when I glanced up and saw this shadow.  It was a big shadow.  And then I saw the face.  What?  Is that my buddy Mark?  I hadn’t seen Mark in over fours years and am shocked that he’s back in Louisville.  When he was here we’d go hang out at the movies and just kick it.  I always thought he was kinda crazy, but at the same time humorous.

I cut my dance short while I walk over to the area where Mark was standing.  Gip’s party was crowded by the bar area so I squeezed through some people to say hello to him.   “Hey Mark! Remember me!”  I nudged him in the process to get his attention.  Well I guess I nudged a little too hard because the next thing he yells is “Who the f$@* knocked my drink on me?”  OH NO!!!  He looked around and angrily repeated the phrase.  I have to explain who this Mark is.  Mark’s full name is Mark Henry, current WWE wrestler, formerly known as Sexual Chocolate. Brotha man weighs 400 pounds and also had the title of World’s Strongest Man.  (I can vouch for that because he came to my classroom several years ago and bent a steel cooking skillet for my students).  So, now he’s pissed.  I get a little scared and wonder what will happen if he doesn’t remember me.

I stand high on my toes so we’re eye level and say, “Mark, look at me.  Look at me!  Remember me.  I spilled your drink.  I’m sorry!  I was trying to get your attention.”  He looks at me with his mean wrestler look for about five second then smiles his wide grin.  “Hey, Kim! How are you doing?”   Um, yeah, that’s not my name.  “Dude,” I say, “that’s not my name”.  He then follows up with ‘Yeager, right”  Whew! After clearing up the proper first name, Mark and I caught up on old times.  I reminded him of the time he embarrassed me in Cracker Barrel. He actually remembered the exact phrase he’d yelled out at the top of my lungs for all restaurant eaters to hear (and then repeated it in the club).  I’m not sure if he ever got another drink, but I do know I successful left the party without any scratches or bruises!! And that’s what matters!

Derby 2008 Recap

My magic number ended up being lucky number 7.  Seven parties in one weekend – whoa is all I have to say.  Thank goodness God invented a bed because my bed and I became the best of friends during the day on
Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday:  Stop 1: Sherlene Shanklin’s party at Glassworks.  The party was in great location.  Guests received gift baskets and it was an amazing setup.  This is just the second year of the event, but I have a
feeling it will become more popular in the years to come.  Highlight – receiving a Jagermeister (“yeager-myster”) hat and t-shirt.  Absolutly love it!

Stop 2: Gip Palm’s party at City Block- folks came out to kick it with Gip and the DJs were jammin.  I always call Derby Thursday “Louisville local” night because you run into old friends.  Gip came through once again with another successful event.  Highlight – While dancing with one friend, I saw a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in four years, my buddy WWE wrestler Mark Henry.  I thought he was going to beat me up as I accidentally spilled his drink on him.  But once he looked me in the eyes and saw it was me, we were cool. Still big as ever, yet still sweet and friendly.

Friday: Stop 3: The All White Party at the Galt House.  This was my first time at this event.  I’m telling you, this party is a hidden gem.  I arrived at 11:00pm and the place was already packed.  It didn’t matter your age, everyone looked sharp as ever.  Highlight – Watching the Louisville Slyde in action on the dance floor.

Stop 4: The Goodtimers party at Kye’s.  If you ever want to know how many black people you can fit into one location – go to Kye’s on Derby Friday.  This place was packed.  Rain obviously didn’t keep folks away.  There was old school (for me), new school, and live music.  I even heard the Goodtimers have something in the works.  Highlight – hearing Darrell Levine singing Playa’s “Cheers to You” (RIP Static).

Saturday day – sleep, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep, eat.  I woke up right at 6:00 to watch the Derby.  It was the strangest emotion celebrating Big Brown’s win and then grieving the loss of Eight Belles.  As a true Louisvillian who has grown up with the Derby it was an instance that I never would have expected to happen, and I’ll never forget.

Stop 5: Grand Gala – OnyxLouisville receive a media pass to take pics of all the celebrities. You realize celebrities, although still beautiful, are much smaller in person.  Everyone looked their finest.  Highlight – seeing Renee Murphy’s husband, Keith, dressed to the nine in his suit.  Go Keith go!
Stop 6: Kris Rob/400 Club party at the Water Tower.  This was another wonderful location for a party where everyone was having a good time.  VIP was at it’s best.  Highlight – being reunited with many of the
models from the Louisville Shine fashion show.

Stop 7: Gaskins/JRP party at the Museum of Arts and Craft.  I’d never been to this facility and it’s somewhere worth visiting in your Louisville lifetime.  There were three floors of action. Folks were surrounded by art and feasted on sushi. Highlight – watching DJ Que do what he always does, but this time dressed to the nine in a tux!

M.Y. May 2008