Pratt’s Preferences


Joseph Pratt

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I love to participate in community activities, taste new wines and beers, try unique recipes and foods, listen to interesting new sounds, and experience new things. It is good, not only for me and my wife, Sara, to get out and try new things, but also for the local community and economy.

I’ll be attempting to keep up with this weekly feature, in which I am going to cheaply call Pratt’s Preferences, where I suggest events to participate in, items to buy, and things to try. No ad dollars are put into this and the points I make are my preferences alone.

Since I haven’t covered anything music related yet, which is honestly surprising, I’ll start there.

Music, as it is with anyone else, is a major part of my life. My tastes range from Broadway show tunes and Lindsey Sterling to Mumford and Sons and Imagine Dragons to Britney Spears and Marilyn Manson. There is no organization, or genre, or theme— I just love it all.

I deliver papers on the side, since I decided English was a good idea, which puts me in my car every morning for over three hours. In these early hours, if I am not listening to the beautiful silence of Kentucky, I am listening to the radio.

I only recently started to take a break from jamming to XM Hits One and have started listening to Pulse FM 98.3.

I was skeptical at first, and I wasn’t entirely sure I’d dig it. When it comes to local radio, unless I am listening to my wonderful Aunt Barb on her morning show, I have only gone as local as Huntington’s Kee 100.

I love what Chris Smith and his gang of friends are doing with the Pulse, however. The music is fresh, but the station is not limiting itself to the overplayed top 40 hits; the music selection ranges fun beats over many years. The news highlights are done much better than what I’ve heard in recent years, by Sean King, who delivers the breaking stuff, but also the fun, entertaining stories from around the country. Smith also brings great local guests, and even the advertisements are delivered in more interesting ways. I find myself switching from the national station to the local one more and more in the morning. I definitely recommend giving them a shot during those early morning drives, because I believe Smith is changing local radio.

Also— to the great Kentuckians who tolerate me and my driving, thank you. I know I can’t sing and I apologize for my inability to contain my sweet dance moves when T Swift comes on.

For those of you who have seen me dance, you know it usually takes a bit more than T Swift to get me dancing in public. It usually takes a little spirit*.

*Read alcohol.

My wife and I picked up a bottle of wine recently that we had been curious about, but never tried out of skepticism of the bottle.

The wine, a Riesling called Relax, can be found in a deep, beautiful blue bottle.

It had a nice color to it and it smelled great. It wasn’t until we took a drink that we fell in love. It is the least dry-tasting wine we’ve ever had; it holds true to its Riesling nature, the wine is sweet.

Actually, it is now the best-tasting wine we’ve had. I repeat, though, it is very sweet; much sweeter than any other we’ve had recently. However sweet it may be, it still isn’t sickly sweet and we had no problem finishing the bottle.

I recommend stopping by Party Connection and grabbing a bottle. The staff members are always great if you need any other suggestions, too. Ultimately, we only bought Relax because it was on a special display of all their Thanksgiving suggestions.

While I’ve talked a lot about food and wine, I haven’t talked about art yet, which is another defining part of my identity. I mean, I am an arts writer.

Emphasis on writer, because I am bloody awful at actually creating things. When local artist Julie Buckler began her art shop in its earlier years, I was persuaded into taking one of her painting party classes. I say persuaded, but it was more like tricked, because I was promised wine and beer would be involved. I figured no one would be able to tell I was so bad with a paint brush if alcohol was involved.

The night proved to be so much fun, though. Buckler provided all of the supplies and the sample image that we were painting that day. She then walked us through the process of how to properly paint the picture. Another important aspect to the classes is that she makes them entertaining, and not frustrating or impossible.

Even though she walked all of us through the steps, every single painting turned out differently. I was impressed to see so much character on each canvas. I was also glad to leave the party with a few new friends who I’ve enjoyed getting to know since.

Buckler offers painting and sculpting classes, painting parties, and she even commissions work for interested buyers.

I’ve also commissioned her for a painting and I was not let down. She can take a pencil or brush and capture an image in a way that you become convinced she uses a camera lens.

Buckler can be reached at 740-285-5715.

There are many local businesses worth visiting. Local artists are found in abundance between the Appalachian hills. There are a lot of unique flavors found in restaurants and breweries. I hope to highlight many of these throughout these features. I am also open to recommendations from readers as well.

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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