Crossing the Ohio River on the north side of Louisville, it’s impossible not to notice the glassy façade of the KFC Yum! Center right on the river, a gleaming, $238 million cathedral to the University of Louisville’s flagship sport: basketball. Perennial powerhouses in both the men’s and women’s competition, Louisville showcases its fast-paced brand of basketball to one of the most loyal fanbases and student bodies in the country. While hoops may be king—the men’s basketball squad has won the school its two only NCAA Championships—the Cardinals take pride in a host of distinguished sports, including a football team that won both the Big East Conference and the Orange Bowl in 2006, leading the basketball team to briefly experiment with wearing helmets and cleats.
The Vernon Club, nestled in a historic building dating back to 1886, rolls out eight gleaming lanes with automatic scoring, a new Internet jukebox, and tasty comestibles for fueling competitive appetites. Players don borrowed footwear and the letterman jackets of league-player ghosts before hurling three-holed spheres toward pins poising themselves for the welcomed whack of a spare or strike. Bowlers can rest their pin-striking biceps of fury with a gooey 12-inch pizza or maintain concentration while grasping a bratwurst in non-bowling hands. On select nights, rock bands set up shop beside the lanes and churn out foot-tapping ditties until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.
Comedy Caravan corrals chuckles into a singular locale with a lineup of professional comedians performing in the Historic State Theater. This summer, the show will regale theater-goers and inconspicuous phantoms of the opera with such line-punchers as Rich Ragains, a hard-working standup and regular on The Bob and Tom Show. WLEX-TV feature reporter Lee Cruse, who has performed alongside such notable funny-bone ticklers as Jon Stewart and Bill Engvall, will also take the stage in a flurry of guffaws. Ohio native Kelly Collette, a comedienne as lauded as her name is alliterative, will emcee this year's event.
The Louisville Ballet prides itself on a commitment to dance education within its community, highlighting its dance school as an ideal place to provide movement instruction for toddling tots and graceful grownups alike. Hoofers ages 15 and up can boogie down, up, or backward in time in the adult-division classes, which span all levels of ballet, Zumba, jazz, hip-hop, and tap classes. Classes are held six days a week in the morning, afternoon, and evening. These fun, low-pressure classes present an excellent opportunity to learn new skills, dust off old gym or toe shoes, and meet new people, putting an end to awkward dance battles with your cumbersome coat rack.
Beloved boy bands New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys rev the engines of adoration among droves of fans with their poptastic summer tour. New Kids on the Block has been plucking heartstrings and handcrafting harmonies since 1986, combining a collection of international hits such as "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step" with five-part choreography and fashionable duds. Following in their footsteps, the Backstreet Boys began blowing up charts in the '90s, producing a songbook replete with favorites such as "I Want It That Way," "All I Have to Give," and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." The NKOTBSB Tour brings both acts together for a songful extravaganza, forming the more perfect union prophesied nearly 50 years ago by the Constitution. The May 25 concert also includes the vocal virtuosity of special guest and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, adding to an ear-pleasing stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.