Lofty challenge

Clifton Lofts were controversial, but they need love nowBy MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER

A season late, a basket short

U of L can retire its dancin’ shoes for another yearSometimes writing assignments go awry.Imagine it’s Good Friday, April 1865. You’re an aspiring theater critic for some Washington gazette. Your assignment is to review a romantic comedy, “My American Cousin,” at Ford Theater. Curtain’s up, a shot rings out, some guy jumps from a balcony. All of a sudden the staging of romantic interludes gives way to entirely different reportage.

Maybe the NIT will start sucking a little less

In August of last year, it was announced that the four-year legal battle between the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association would end with Moby Dick gobbling Ahab: for about $56 million, the NCAA would become owner and operator of the National Invitation Tournament, the once-venerable college hoops tourney that has become more a national platform for extending the shame and humiliation felt by prestigious programs that turn in a crap season here or there than an actual tournament worth winning.

Arts & Entertainment

Special EventsGlassworks presents “Louisville Uncorked,” benefit for the Council on Mental Retardation featuring Chardonnay tasting by teams, March 15, 7-10pm, $10 donation, 815 W. Market St., 584-4510.••UofL Dance Academy presents “Theme and Variations,” ballet class work in a performance setting, March 17, 7pm, $6, $4 students & seniors, Margaret Comstock Hall, 852-6878.Sacred Celebration presents “The Dance of Creation,” an evening of celebratory dance including musical accompaniment, March 18, 7pm, Clifton Center, 2117 Payne St., 897-2721.Hospice of Louisville presents luncheon and family fashion show emceed by “Mrs. Louisville 2006” Denise Yates, March 18, noon, $25, reservations required, Pendennis Club, 218 W. Muhammad Ali, 719-4155.Ballard High School presents Spring Arts and Crafts Show featuring exhibitors from Cherokee Triangle and St. James Court, March 18, 10am-4pm, 6000 Brownsboro Rd., 899-3222.Arts Council of Southern Indiana presents Regional Partnership Initiative grant workshops for arts organizations and providers near Floyd Co., March 18 (10:30am), March 21 (4pm), Arts Council Office, 820 E. Market St., (812) 949-4238.  Unity Church of Middleton presents dramatization of the life of Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, preformed by John Gage and Philip Cherry, March 19, 11am, 11700 Main St. Middletown, 244-9696. Louisville Science Center presents “Earth Exhibit,” thru May 7, 727 W. Main St., 560-7159.Oldham County History Center presents “World’s Largest Whiskey Jug Collection,” thru May 15, 469 jugs from all over KY, exhibit features films on distilling and moonshining, Tue.-Sat. 10am-4pm, 106 N. Second Ave., La Grange, 222-0826.“Discover Louisville” Landmarks, tours scheduled second Sun., 1-4pm, Water Tower on River Road, $45, 574-2868.

Staff Picks

<THEATER>March 16-26JCC’s ‘My Fair Lady’ “The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.” Now, unless you’re a theater geek, you have no idea where you’ve heard that little rhyme (Dr. Suess?), but you’ve definitely heard it. Most likely it was Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Eliza Doolittle, the Cockney flower girl who gets a speech makeover from linguistics professor Henry Higgins in the movie version of “My Fair Lady,” which is the musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion.” Bursting with familiar show tunes such as “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?,” the musical is well-loved despite its misogynistic tone. Who can resist that adorable Cockney accent? Commemorating the 50th anniversary of “My Fair Lady” opening on Broadway, the Jewish Community Center mounts its own, sure-to-be-popular staging. —Rebecca HaithcoatJewish Community Center3600 Dutchmans Lane459-0660$14-$16; various times

Doc Naismith’s best bets, and some OK Tourney News

by Bill DoolittleIf the Louisville Cardinals had to skip an NCAA basketball tournament, this was probably the one to miss. 2006 looks like a very big Blue Year. All four No. 1 seeds — Duke, Villanova, Connecticut and Memphis — wear blue. And Kentucky, too.

Who would have ever thunk it?

Denny and Joe B. Hall are knocking ’em dead in the radio ratings departmentBy Matt WillingerSome say it’s sports talk of a refreshingly different sort. Others say it only proves that in Kentucky, anything to do with the basketball fortunes of the Cats and the Cards will have an audience. But everybody has to admit that the popularity of “The Joe B. & Denny Show, ” heard locally each weekday from 10 a.m. to noon on 790-AM, is a bigger upset than anything that will happen in this month’s NCAA basketball tournament.

Beware those suffering Boobus Hoopus Americanus

Spotting this species is like obscenity...You’ll know it when you see itGood morning, students, and welcome to the Vitale Institute of Basketball Insanity. Today we are going to discuss the species known as the fan, identified in your textbooks under the generic name, Boobus Hoopus Americanus.

Community Listings

Special EventsHospice of Louisville presents annual “Care for the Dying Day” educational conference featuring keynote speaker Robert Arnold, March 15, $85 clinicians, $50 students, non-professional caregivers, Holiday Inn, 1325 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy., 719-8912 or Street Live presents St. Baldrick’s Day, fundraiser in which people shave heads for childhood cancer research, March 19, 2pm, 891-2540.St. James Episcopal Church commemorates third anniversary of war in Iraq with interfaith service of prayers for peace, March 19, 5pm, 401 LaGrange Rd., 241-8136.••Dress for Success Celebrates S.O.S. — Send One Suit — Asking women to donate a nearly new interview suit to help local low-income women enter the workforce, March 20-25, 309 Guthrie St., 584-8050.Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center presents “Lewis & Clark: Mysteries of the West,” exhibit focuses on people and sites of famous expedition, thru March 28, free w/ admission, (812) 280-9970.Kentucky Hemophilia Foundation presents Spring Flower Sale to raise funds for programs and services, thru March 30, 1850 Taylor Ave., 456-3233.

American Craft Council conference

Louisville has the right to brag; after all, we’ve been a category on “Jeopardy!” (A: Kaelin’s Restaurant claims to have invented this meat and dairy dish. Q: What is a cheeseburger?). The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft has given Louisville another reason for its head to swell: The American Craft Council, the premiere craft organization in America, is holding its Southeast regional conference, “Trends and Traditions,” at the museum.