Friday evening was a weird mix of local and worldly. We had local beer, food from a Mexican food truck, watched a movie about the Congo River made by a South African at a local arts center and then had more local beer!
My husband is an avid whitewater kayaker and we are members of our local paddling club. They were sponsoring a film screening in Lexington, so we figured it was a good time to go watch a kayaking movie, visit with friends and drink some beer (because beer is almost as important to kayakers as water).
We started out at West Sixth Brewing Co., a local craft brewing house that makes Jason’s favorite IPA. I am fond of their Dead Heat Wheat and the Deliberation Amber. I am also a fan of the various food trucks that you can find outside the brewery on any given day. Luckily for us, El Habanero Loko was parked outside. They have fantastic Mexican food, complete with homemade tortillas (made as you wait!). Jason and I both had tortas. He also had a beef tongue taco and said it was tasty. Not my thing!
Once we had a spot of dinner, we headed to The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center.
I’d never been to The Lyric before – it was originally a mecca for African-American entertainment in Lexington in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s when options for families of color were limited – and has recently been given a $6 million facelift and addition.
There was a private party upstairs, so we didn’t get a chance to check out the art gallery. However, the lobby features some permanent art, including a community quilt that I really enjoyed (being a fan of quilting and of history). I especially liked the panel below. The writing tells a story of the theater and the question of whether or not Ella Fitzgerald performed at The Lyric and how that history may not be as important as the impact the theater had on the community. A particularly awesome quote on the panel is:
“What if history is not about big names but everyday people? Those who filled the seats, who lined the streets and even those who stayed home?”
In typical kayaker fashion, the movie got underway about 15 minutes late in the main theater of the complex.
The filmmaker, Steve Fisher, was on hand from South Africa to present the film and give some background information on it. One section of the Congo River boasts the biggest whitewater rapids in the world – 1.6 million cubic feet of water per second. These rapids are called The Inga Rapids and have never been successfully navigated (at least in written history).
The rapids have a storied past – Henry Stanley, the famous explorer, abandoned his summit-to-sea expedition when his right-hand man perished at the rapids. Later expeditions suffered similar tragedies in the 1970s and 1980s. Congo – The Grand Inga Project shares the story of the latest attempt to successfully navigate the rapids in kayaks, and it’s rather amazing. Even if you aren’t a boater or interested in kayaking, it’s an impressive film.
I also highly recommend Steve Fisher’s “Halo Effect” film. It may contain some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen – especially when the group kayaks north of the Arctic Circle.
After the film, a large portion of the audience and the filmmaker headed back to West Sixth for a typically raucous after party. We enjoyed the socializing, the beer and the people watching at West Sixth until it was way past our bedtime. Unfortunately, I ended the night with a gnarly cut on my left hand middle finger – the cause of which was some fancy cut-glass light fixtures. It’s all snugly wrapped up in Band-Aids, now, but it’s debatable whether I should have gone for stitches or not. In the meantime, here’s Saturday morning’s Facebook post and PSA:
I nearly didn’t go out on Friday night – worried about my long To Do List that seems to only be getting longer, but even with the injury, it was a really fun night!