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    21 Questions

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    Fleming, 55, began his tenure as artistic director of Actors Theatre in June. He lives downtown.


    Earliest childhood memory?

    “Four years old, falling asleep in my mother’s lap at a puppet show and at a Chinese opera in New York.”


    What interested you as a kid?

    “Obsessed with ghost stories, gymnastics, piano, puppets and ventriloquism.”


    Describe the space you’re in right now.

    “Midday lunch break, dapple of sunlight on the couch in my peaceful living room, listening to my cat meow at the birds and planes passing by.”


    What are you wearing right now?

    “Louisville fleur-de-lis tourism T-shirt, blue jeans and my Beverly Hills Polo Club slip-on sneakers.”


    When/where are you most creative?

    “Indirect or soft-focus moments late at night or at the crack of dawn.”


    In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?

    “Facilitate art-making that reflects the human condition.”


    What would you do as Louisville mayor for a day?

    “Encourage a citywide reading of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, then hold a transformative community conference and create an action plan to eradicate the demoralizing phenomenon of redlining.”


    Favorite possession?

    “My maternal grandmother’s diary. Invaluable subjective knowledge of my ancestry.”


    Favorite thing on the walls at home?

    “A photo of my uncle and namesake, who died when I was very young, so I don’t remember him.”


    What’s on your nightstand?

    “My Kindle, a picture of the James Baldwin stamp, Raycon earbuds and SIMSOC: Simulated Society, Participant’s Manual.”


    What’s on your credit-card statement?

    “All the charges for the antiques I’ve bought since I’ve been here: Mellwood Antiques & Interiors, Crazy Daisy, Redefine Design on the Avenue and Rellek in NuLu.”


    What Louisville dish have you eaten more than any other?

    “Toss-up: the half-rack of ribs from FABD, adobo chicken at MilkWood, the to-die-for Berkshire pork chop at Bourbons Bistro or the What About Cobb from Green District Salads.”


    What/who makes you laugh?

    “Don Knotts as Barney Fife, Catherine O’Hara, Key & Peele and Wanda Sykes.”


    Best book you’ve read over the past year?

    “Rosa Guy’s My Love, My Love, her Caribbean adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, is the source material for our production of Once on This Island (Jan. 29-Feb. 23, 2020). Spectacular.”


    Can’t-miss TV show?

    “It’s off the air now but Showtime’s Active Shooter. Disturbing and, unfortunately, timely.”


    What superstition do you believe in?

    “More inclined to offer ‘Merde’ in lieu of ‘Happy opening’.”


    Favorite movie scene?

    I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, when the protagonist tries to eat some kind of sushi she is unfamiliar with. Not sure if I’ve ever laughed at a movie that hard in my entire life.”


    Biggest regret?

    “That I still don’t really know how to swim.”


    If forced to get a tattoo, what would you get?

    “A fleur-de-lis or the face of the Notorious RBG.”


    What’s something nobody knows about you?

    “I had to be a successful artist because I was a failure as a waiter at the buffet chain Souplantation, where all I really had to do was get the drinks and silverware for the customers.”


    What brings you the greatest joy?

    “Being of service to something bigger than myself.”



    First thing on your bucket list?
    “A trip to Victoria Falls in Africa.”

    All-time-favorite album?
    Blue, by Joni Mitchell.”

    Your drink?
    “Keto chocolate shakes. Yum!”

    What word do you overuse?

    What should every person try once?

    One thing Louisville is missing?

    Last online purchase?
    “Cate Fosl’s book Subversive Southerner: Anne Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South.”

    What triggers your “aha!” moment?
    “Taking in a beautiful view.”


    This originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine as the 21 Questions. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Illustration by Shae Goodlett,

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