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Staff Picks

Staffpicks<HOGS>July 6-8Big Rock Bike Fest    Start yer engines, gearheads, the first annual Big Rock Bike Fest roars into town this weekend. This festival combines two different sorts of raucous noise: hundreds of bikes and choppers convening, coupled with rock music. The rock is being supplied by a stellar list of bands, including Ted Nugent and the Pat Travers Band, plus Louisville bands El Roostars and Big Rock Show. On Thursday, there is “The Big Rock Tour de Ville Poker Run,” a five-stop tour with a $15 registration fee that benefits the WHAS Crusade for Children. All of the finest bikes are welcome to enter their hogs in a professionally judged competition in any of five different custom bike categories: chopper, American, Harley, Metric and Sport. Visitors can peruse booths offering anything related to music or motorcycling, and food vendors will be there as well. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. Saturday. Registration for the Poker Run or advance tickets can be found at www.bigrockbikefest.com. —Nathan Thacher

Fait accompli: Is it time to raise the white flag on the arena issue?

In retrospect, the temptation is strong to compare the breathtaking campaign to build a new multi-purpose arena at the E.ON U.S. site, more commonly known as the LG&E site, with Germany’s conquest of Poland in 1939, and not only because E.ON, the world’s largest energy provider, is based in Stuttgart.

News Roundup

Council passes budget, has group hugIn an act of inspired bipartisan love, the Louisville Metro Council passed a budget last Thursday that’s reasonably close to the one Mayor Jerry Abramson proposed roughly a month ago, adding $3.5 million in spending to make a $735 million budget. The vote was 25-1, with Republican Doug Hawkins, who regularly traffics in not-entirely-unfounded-but-sometimes-a-bit-excessive gloom and doubt, casting the lone “nay.”

Staff Picks

<MUSIC>Thursday, June 29The Wreckers    My best friend and I have joked of starting odd businesses together — a dive bar with ’80s-only bubblegum pop on the jukebox or party-crasher-for-hire, guaranteed to turn your boring get-together into one hell of a good time. Although none of these will ever see the light of day, it’s damn fun to talk through the details over a pitcher of beer. The new country duo The Wreckers seem to have stolen my dream. No, they’re not opening Shake Your Love anytime soon, but they are best friends who decided to partner and form a country band — all in the pursuit of fun. You can tell on their debut album, Stand Still, Look Pretty, that pop princess Michelle Branch and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Jessica Harp are having a great time writing and singing a style of music that seems to suit them perfectly. “Leave the Pieces,” the first release, is an upbeat strumfest in the vein of Kasey Chambers. And the closing “Crazy People” is a tongue-in-cheek rant on an unlucky love life. Catch The Wreckers at Coyote’s tomorrow night — and bring along your best friend. —Sara Havens

Karaoke Korral

WED JUNE 21   Akiko’s

Journalism 101

One of  the more interesting, and troubling, things about this whole arena debate has been watching The Courier-Journal become part of the story rather than reporting it.Back when Gannett bought The Courier-Journal and Times in 1986, the company tried to spin the dissolution of the Times by pimping the slogan “One Great Newspaper.” That, of course, lent itself to a bit of wordplay by contrarian wags who spun it into “Once Great Newspaper.”

Rumor & Innuendo: 100-percent toro.

Forgetting for a second the All-World-Cup-All-The-Time TV coverage observed during a recent trip to Spain, here’s the definitive evidence that I wasn’t in Hoopsylvania anymore. On Spain’s version of SportsCenter, the Top 10 Plays of the Day features, yes, the best matador moves. I tell ya, those red capes were a-flappin’.

Letter from Little Rock: Drivin’ (a familiar road) and cryin’ (for lost youth)

Dear Mark:I took a road trip to Little Rock a couple weeks ago, and I thought of you. How many times did we burn that road from Louisville to Dallas?

Past Your Bedtime: It’s the lure of the lobster that primes this party

Tail was plentiful at LobsterFest 2006, an annual party celebrating all things lobster. Not exactly the kind of tail you’d find in a Ludacris video, mind you, but delicious and dripping in butter nonetheless. Hosted each year by the often-imitated but never-duplicated Highlands resident James Brown and his business partner Mike Greer, the party has become legend in certain circles — always anticipated, never missed. Aside from the non-stop stream of keg beer and the array of options a full bar offered up, the biggest draw was the food (all-you-can-eat lobster, seafood gumbo, corn-on-the-cob, baked beans and other picnic fare) and the fun (hourly hermit-crab races that put the Downs to shame).

All the right moves: Louisville riders put the questions to the pros

It seemed like a reasonable conceit: Head down to Louisville’s Extreme Park and ask some riders what questions they would pose to the pros if they could get a word to them.