Almost the entire life of Andy Narell has been devoted to mastering the steel drum. The steel drum, also known as the steel pan, was invented in Trinidad, where it was first made from the lids placed atop oil drums. The Grammy-Award winning percussionist describes his instrument as an engineering feat that defies the odds. Narell spoke with WEKU’s Roger Duvall.
Pikeville's Hatfield and McCoy River Trails will open Friday for people to enjoy floating down the calm waters of the Levisa Fork River this summer. The service will offer canoes, kayaks and float tubes to rent and have two- and four- hour trails to choose from.
Her personality, the times and her background gave Mary Todd Lincoln a place in history and made her one of the more controversial first ladies to occupy the White House. The Lexington native is the subject of a documentary airing Monday on C-Span. Producer Mark Farkas says his documentary fills gaps left by Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film “Lincoln.” Reporter Stu Johnson spoke with Farkas.
Thousands of people converge on Pike County this weekend for the 37th annual Hillbilly Days Festival. It will feature crafts, food, and games plus a good dose of Appalachian heritage in downtown Pikeville. Some 300 vendors have set up for the event. Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Jared Arnette says it’s a time to show their pride and products.
Heaven Hill Distilleries celebrated a milestone in its history Tuesday with the filling of its 6.5 millionth barrel of straight Kentucky bourbon. Local elected officials and bourbon industry professionals gathered in the cistern room to witness the filling of a new white oak barrel marked No. 6,500,000 with 53 gallons of the spirit. “It is indeed a proud day for our company and our extended Heaven Hill family,” Max Shapira, Heaven Hill president, said.
An inaugural auction of Sporting Art is planned this fall at Keeneland. It will feature a wide assortment of paintings and sculptures of equine, hunting, and fishing from the U.S. and England. The first Sporting Art Auction will follow Keeneland’s fall meet and November sales event. It will include about 200 artworks from contemporary British and American painters and sculptors. Keeneland President Bill Thomason says it’ll cap off a busy autumn.
Volunteers will soon be recruited for the maintenance of Kentucky’s abandoned cemeteries. Through its “Adopt a Cemetery” program, Ann Johnson of the Kentucky Historical Society, says people can commit to the care and restoration of abandoned graveyards. “But, they would take care of it and go back and do a maintenance like maybe once a year. That type of thing. And if they want to discontinue that, they can discontinue that. We would hope that they would not, but at least, if they’ve adopted it to begin with, then they’ve gotten it cleaned up and in really good shape, that’s the most important thing,” said Johnson.
It might not be uniquely Kentuckian, but bourbon is certainly uniquely American. Its roots can be traced back to the first European colonists who discovered corn whisky was a nice alternative to rum. A new book from Louisville Historian Michael Veach traces bourbon’s influence on US history. Veach spoke with reporter Charles Compton.
The Iroquois Hunt Club has a long history. Founded in 1880, the central Kentucky club is named for Iroquois, the first American horse to win the English Derby. 133 years later, the Iroquois Hunt Club remains active from October through March. Most hunts today focus on coyotes, not fox. Deaths are rare, but member Glenye Oakford says they do occur. “People think we come out specifically to kill and it is called hunting and I suppose maybe that’s why people think that. But, it’s very, very difficult when you are riding with a pack of hounds and that is the only way of catching a wild animal running over territory it is intimately familiar with,” said Oakford.
It is not unusual for Bianca Spriggs to be reading her poetry on a Saturday night. But something is different this evening at Lexington’s West Sixth Brewing: A lot of people in the audience have portions of Spriggs’ poem, “The _______ of the Universe,” written on their bodies. It’s a Magnetic Poetry party for the Lexington Tattoo Project, the latest community involvement art project from Lexington artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova.
Each exhibit visitor will receive a replica of a Titanic boarding pass with the name of a real passenger on it.
Cue a power ballad, stretch your arms out like you're king of the world and scribble "Oct. 5, 2013" in your sketch book because a Titanic exhibit is coming this fall to Lexington Center Museum & Gallery. The real, haunting remnants of the world's worst maritime disaster are featured in Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, a display that explains the fate of the 1,500 souls who perished in the cold Atlantic 101 years ago.
The Kentucky Military History Museum sits on a bluff overlooking downtown Frankfort. The museum, formerly the state arsenal, is re-opening in March after a renovation.
Credit Pablo Alacala/Lexington Herald-Leader
Trevor Jones pulled up a window blind on the second story of the Kentucky Military History Museum to reveal one of the state's most stunning views. There's the Kentucky River with little boats bobbing, downtown Frankfort, and off on a far hill, the Kentucky Capitol. It's a reminder of how impressive the Kentucky landscape can be. And the Kentucky Military History Museum is a reminder of some of the commonwealth's impressive historical artifacts.
After 35 seasons, Kentucky Repertory Theatre (formerly Horse Cave Theatre) in Hart County has turned off the lights. Jobe Publishing reported earlier this week that the board of directors voted to close the organization. Under the direction of producing artistic consultant Ken Hailey, the theater staged 14 shows in 2012, but it wasn't enough to save the theater financially or re-ignite the passion Kentucky and the theater community once held for the official state repertory theater.
Interior of the theater at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond.
Credit David Perry — Herald-Leader staff file photo
RICHMOND — Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts officials will move forward with the search for a new executive director after Wednesday afternoon's resolution of a dispute over whether the university or the center's Community Operations Board would supervise that position. The argument over the memorandum of understanding between the university and the board goes back to the departure of the previous executive director in June.
Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence and Lexington native George Clooney, who grew up in Augusta, each won an Oscar at Sunday night's Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Lawrence, who is only 22, won best actress for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook." She became the second youngest woman to win best actress.
Going into tonight's Academy Awards, Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence is the favorite to win Best Actress—but no shoo-in. Lawrence, star of Silver Linings Playbook, would become the second-youngest Best Actress winner in history and the win would be another indicator—on top of the $408-million domestic gross for last year's Hunger Games, in which she also starred—that the 22-year-old is among Hollywood's elite.
From Lincoln to Lawrence, Kentuckians play a big part in this weekend’s Oscar Ceremony. Here to preview it and other events is culture reporter Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader. In his weekly conversation with WEKU’s Charles Compton, Rich spoke first about a production by the Kentucky Ballet.
The black and white photographs span time and community: A line of white-turbanned women who await baptism in Clifton Pond. A group of girls explores Mount Brilliant Farm with their Brownie troop in 1947. The 1934 Dunbar High School boys' and girls' basketball teams hoist their trophies. Kentucky: Roots, Times and Generations at the University of Kentucky's Margaret I. King Library was set up for Black History Month, featuring photographs from UK's various collections that depict the lives of blacks around the state from the 1890s to the 1970s. The free exhibit is on display through Feb. 28.
Last November, a new documentary about raising dark-fired tobacco titled “Farming in the Black Patch" debuted in Murray. The film starts its first run on KET at 8 p.m. Central tonight, with shows scheduled through March on both KET and KET KY. The name Black Patch comes from the dark leaves of the kind of tobacco that's smoke-cured in barns and used for pipe blends, chewing, and snuff. Kate Lochte has more with the filmmaker and writer.
Gov. Steve Beshear appointed poet Frank X Walker the 2013-14 Kentucky Poet Laureate today. Walker is a native of Danville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Spalding University, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. He is well known as the originator of the term "Affrilachia," which describes Appalachian African Americans and their work and culture, and a founder of the Affrilachian Poets, a collective of writers of color with Appalachian ties.
Even Twitter users are divided on whether or not social media has a place during live arts events. The National Endowment for the Arts is leading a conversation on Twitter (#2TweetorNot2Tweet) about mobile social media use during performances. Are so-called Tweet Seats a fun engagement with a plugged-in audience of influencers, or are they a distraction from the events on stage?
Shackles from the "Spirits of the Passage" exhibit.
Credit Frazier History Museum
The Frazier History Museum opens the first exhibit to examine the entire history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade with artifacts from an excavated slave ship. “Spirits of the Passage” is produced in partnership with the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, which performed the underwater excavation. The 4,000 square foot exhibit contains 150 historical artifacts retrieved from the wreck, as well as African art objects on loan from the Speed Art Museum and historical documents, paintings and illustrations related to the slave trade.
By Ivy Brashear & Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
The Carnegie Center for Literacy inducted six writers into its Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame during its inaugural ceremony last Thursday. The six authors chosen were Harriette Simpson Arnow, William Wells Brown, Harry Caudill, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, James Still and Robert Penn Warren. The Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame was created “to honor the great literary history of Kentucky, and to encourage a new and growing pool of contemporary writers in the state,” Carnegie Center director Neil Chethik said at the ceremony.