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 and 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.
The search for a new director for the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts remains on hold as the center's Community Operations Board and the university struggle with the question of who would have authority over the director. At the end of last year, the entities were grappling over the wording of a memorandum of understanding between the board and the university.
Almost since its founding, the Commonwealth has churned out writers. The first, well-known African American novelist was born here. Kentuckians have also penned such works as “The Dollmaker,” “Night Comes to the Cumberlands,” and “All the King’s Men.” To honor these authors of fiction and non-fiction, the Carnegie Center in Lexington next Thursday unveils the “Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.” Neil Chethik, who’s the center’s executive director, says they’ll name their first six inductees.
In the plague of lynchings that spread across the Southern United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, few of the victims were women. But there were some noteworthy cases, such as Laura Nelson, who was hung from an Oklahoma Bridge with her son in 1911. Pictures of the crime are the only known images of the lynching of a black woman. Folk musician Woody Guthrie’s father attended the lynching and later joined the Ku Klux Klan, an incident that haunted the singer.
Actress Jennifer Lawrence, a Louisville native, won the award for best actress in a musical or comedy at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood Sunday night. Lawrence won for her role in the offbeat romance Silver Linings Playbook. Last week, she received a Academy Award nomination for the sale role, according to WAVE-TV in Louisville.
For seven years, KET’s Kentucky Muse has been documenting the stories of the Commonwealth’s artists. Often, the stories are close to the Bluegrass – the glass blowing of Stephen Rolfe Powell or writing of Ed McClanahan. But the latest installment follows the story of Wendy Whelan, a Louisville girl who dreamed of being a ballerina. She is now in her 22nd year as a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet.
It might surprise some that Libraries must worry about marketing. For example in 20-13, staff will work to create a new image for Lexington’s Public Library System. The campaign includes an effort to boost card carrying members by some eight thousand people within six months.
In 2012, another change in directors at the EKU Center for the Arts has its board and university administrators in a dispute over its control.
Central Kentucky’s cultural life grew richer in 2012, but there were also setbacks. A brand new venue had management problems, while an outdoor, summer concert ended a four-decade run. Here to look back at the old-year is Rich Copley, who covers culture for the Lexington Herald Leader. Rich spoke with reporter Charles Compton.
The ballet features Elena V. Munoz Diaz, left, and Hana Johnson as rag dolls; Tajayona Wilson and Belen Pozzolo as boxes; and Shayda Alba Alsalihi and Carmen Everson as candy canes.
Credit Lexington Herald Leader
On the weekend before Christmas, theater-goers tend to stay home and producers take some time off. That’s not the case this year in Lexington. According to Rich Copley, who covers culture for the Lexington Herald Leader, dancers will be on stage at two venues. Rich spoke with reporter Charles Compton.
Even in its simplest form, it takes a small village to stage Handel’s Messiah. The masterwork from George Fredric Handel requires, at least, a few dozen singers, plus musicians. Then there are the audiences. Men in formal wear, women in evergreen reindeer sweaters and little girls in red, velvet dresses jam themselves into venues ranging from small churches to sold-out concert halls.
Like Dathan in the "Ten Commandments," Chief Wiggum in "The Simpsons," and comedian Billy Crystal, WEKU wondered, "Where's your Messiah, Now?" So, here's a list of performances of Handel's masterwork in the Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati areas.
Kevin Hardesty plays Don Juan and Rachel Lee Rogers is Angelique in the Balagula Theatre's production of Don Juan on Trial.
Credit Eugene A. Williams / Balagula Theatre
Performances of “Messiah” are just the tip of the holiday icicle. Arts organizations throughout the region offer numerous events this weekend, including Balagula Theater, the Lexington Vintage Dance Society and the Lexington Philharmonic. Rich Copley, who covers culture for the Lexington Herald Leader, offers this preview. Rich spoke with reporter Charles Compton.
Don Johnson is pictured at Dedication Day, Nov. 19, at Gettysburg. He is wearing a uniform modeled after uniforms worn by the United States Marine Band during the Civil War era. This is the same uniform he and other members of President Lincoln's Own wore in the movie
When Steven Spielberg's newest film, "Lincoln", was released, Marion County's Don Johnson had a personal reason for going to see it. He's in the movie. Briefly. "For a half a day's shoot, it's less than 10 seconds of glory," Johnson said, with a laugh.
Kentucky’s contribution to the Lincoln legend was not overlooked by the film-makers behind a new blockbuster. “Lincoln” premieres this weekend, with Sally Field playing the part of Lexington-native Mary Todd Lincoln. Rich Copley, who covers culture for the Lexington Herald Leader, previews the film and this weekend’s other events. Rich spoke with reporter Charles Compton.
Hal Davis, standing, a co-owner of Paint Lick Community Arts Center, helped Helen Starnes, 86, during a painting class Monday. Starnes, the oldest student in the class, came with daughter Brunette Arnold, left. Home-school student Joey Roush, 14, right, was the youngest in the group.
During an Actors Guild rehearsal earlier this week for November, which opened Thursday, director Bo List, left, had a front-row seat for a scene between Joe Gatton, right, playing President Charles Smith and Jeff Sherr as advisor Archer Brown.