Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Louisville Hijinx

Been swamped and unable to blog. Here are the much delayed details from the trip to Louisville. Overall, cool city, lackluster conference. Last year in San Fran set the bar pretty high but this year's speakers were lousy for the most part. There were a few bright spots.

I got down there on Wednesday night and we met Rick from our AAF - Cleveland office. He wanted to go and get a mint julep at some bar/restaurant that refused to serve O.J. Simpson during the Kentucky Derby. We ordered our juleps (when in Rome...) and that was my first and worst mint julep ever. From there we went to the Galt House which just opened a bar on their top floor called Rivue. It looks over the Ohio River. It was quite nice and Rick had a good time messing with our servers mind. He told her that we were there with the tour bus and there were 60 more of us coming up for dinner. She was pretty worried.

After that we went to 4th Street Live - Louisville's hopping outdoor bar district.

They've put a roof up over the street so it would be good even in the rain. It was 10 pm by that point and we hadn't eaten yet. So we went to the Red Star Tavern. It was highly decent. We headed back to the hotel and ran into some friends of ours from W. Va. Who wanted to go out.

We went to 21c Hotel/Museum. It was one of the highlights of the trip. It's a hotel with an incredible Art gallery on the bottom two floors. I really liked the snow globes with horrific scenes in them. They were done by artists named Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz. They also had some cool interactive installations.

(That's an execution scene in there.)

Rick and I made an early exit and hoofed it back the hotel.

The conference started on Thursday. It was weirdly scheduled. I couldn't go to all of the sessions that I wanted to b/c some of the start times overlapped meetings I was in.

And another thing about these conferences - there are cocktail hours galore plus hospitality suites all over the place. It's amazing that anything that anything gets done at these things.

Thursday night we went to eat at the Maker's Mark Bourbon Restaurant. It wasn't that good. Some of the people I was with ordered the sampling flights of bourbon. The waitress explaining how to taste bourbon to us unsophisticated clods was mighty amusing. I told them that they should just pour them into one glass and shoot the whole thing. I had some salmon with what I assumed was mashed potatoes. But when I took a forkful I found they were full of these little twigs of something. I asked the waitress about the potatoes - apparently they weren't potatoes at all but rather pureed celery. Gross. From there we rushed back to the sports bar in our hotel in time to watch the Cavs drop game #1.

Friday, one of the highlights of the conference was the students from the University of Minnesota who had won the National Student Advertising Competition. Their pitch was for Coca-Cola and it was phenomenal.

The "business" part of the conference ended early that day so that we could go to Churchill Downs to watch some horseracing. Rick (as per usual) dressed in costume - this time as a jockey.

Rick's wife Connie flew into Louisville Friday morning and surprised him. So we went back to Rivue to show her the view. Some of our AAF friends came along for the evening. For dinner we went to Caviar - a Japanese steakhouse located on West Muhammed Ali Blvd. I had some sushi. One of the items was called the Crunch Munch. It was very good. The menu mentioned their Private Room - I'm sorry - The Rrivate Room [sic]. From there we went to 4th St. again and did some hard core people watching.

Saturday, we had to accept our award for being named Ad Club of the Year. Go Cleveland! I was proud to wear my LeBron jersey (b/c as of that point we thought the Cavs still had a shot.) We putzed around town after that, visiting the Louisville Slugger factory and several other attractions.

I wore my jersey to the national ADDY awards. One of our friends overheard two ladies in the lobby early on in the event.
WOMAN 1: I don't know what to wear.
WOMAN 2: Me neither. But there's some guy up there in a LeBron jersey.
WOMAN 1: Wow.
WOMAN 2: It's an Ohio thing.

Whatever. Our teams aren't typically good. We haven't won a championship since '64. I'm going to wear my jersey as much as I can.

The National ADDYs were actually pretty good. The work was better than last years and Joe Piscipo (the host for the second year in a row) wasn't as terrible as I was expecting. From there we went to the 6th district hospitality suite which wasn't really hoping. So we went to bed, caught our plane Sunday morning and returned home.

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