Kentucky folk culture is more than tobacco farmers and fiddle players to Bob Gates. It’s the Puerto Rican barber in Louisville who cuts designs in the hair of young patrons. It’s the skilled group of Rolley-Hole marble players in Monroe County who’ve won numerous national tournaments in the offbeat sport. It’s also the demolition derby driver in Bellepoint who rises early on warm summer mornings to prepare his clunker for the Franklin County Fair’s annual battle royal. Bob Gates, director of the state’s folklife program, sees folk culture as the fabric that makes up our everyday lives and, collectively, Kentucky’s heritage.
The 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition will go to Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Violin Concerto.” The 30-minute piece debuted in 2009. It is at times somber and at times raucous and discordant. Salonen also believes it is the first time a modern drum set has been incorporated into a violin concerto. Award director Marc Satterwhite makes special note of the piece’s closing chord, which does not reflect any of the previous music. Salonen says the departure was intentional.
The last 14 months of Ulysses S. Grant’s life were difficult to say the least. He lost all of his wealth in a Wall Street swindle. Then the former president learned he had terminal mouth and throat cancer. Facing family ruin, Grant decided to write his military memoirs. Richmond author Bracelen Flood chronicles events in his new book, “Grant’s Final Victory”…Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year.” Flood spoke with WEKU’S Ron Smith about the memoirs origins…
Hundreds drive past it everyday, perhaps taking for granted the stately old brick house that once welcomed visitors like Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt. Sitting on the corner of downtown Frankfort's High and Clinton streets, Kentucky’s original Governor’s Mansion appears as just another historic structure relegated to another day and time. But many consider it one of Kentucky’s most beloved treasures. There are even those who cherish the commonwealth’s first governor’s mansion. They have given time and money to ensure it is still accessible for lovers of Kentucky history.
It’s a style of house that symbolizes many of Louisville’s older neighborhoods…the shotgun. There are many variations, but shotgun houses typically have a long, rectangular floor plan: one room wide, three to five rooms in a row with doorways often on the same side of the house.
For many Kentuckians, preparations are already underway for a big Thanksgiving dinner. The traditional feast is woven into the fabric of this country. But, that’s not to say there can’t be some tweaking of traditions. A room full of ‘white coated’ and ‘hats on’ culinary students were prepping for the day’s work in a food lab at Sullivan University in Lexington recently. It was their last chance before Thanksgiving break.
At 3 a.m. this Thanksgiving, as visions of sweet potatoes dance in our heads, Olivia Perkins, 18, will prepare to perform for more than 50 million people. She’ll walk to arguably the most famous New York City block and practice a days-old routine one last time. Perkins is one of about 50 high school color guard members and dancers from across the nation selected to join the Macy’s Marching Band after sending in audition tapes this spring. Only two other students from Kentucky will march in the about 200-person band, and both are instrumentalists, she said.
In Actors Theatre of Louisville’s new production of A Christmas Story, it’s striking how distinctly the emotions of the characters resonate, while at the same time, the world those characters inhabit feels fundamentally different from the world outside the theatre.
Music makes a city. Yes, that’s the name of a documentary about the orchestra, but it’s also a sort of unofficial catchphrase in Louisville. It’s what players, managers and supporters say when the orchestra is in danger. The Louisville Orchestra contract negotiations have reached yet another impasse. Members of the management say they’re done making offers to the musicians. The mayor says he’s done what he can to broker a deal. And it’s just a matter of time before the fans are done following the saga—if they haven’t already.
The musicians of the Louisville Orchestra have rejected the latest contract offer from management. The impasse peaked late last month, when the players declined an offer to sign all the musicians who remained in Louisville but cut the orchestra to 55 members by June 2013. They differed on how many players should be hired up front and how long the cuts should take. The management then began seeking replacement musicians.
Rabbi Joseph Rapport opened a prayer by saying five score years ago the first memorial to President Abraham Lincoln was created. The structure loomed behind the man as he led a prayer beginning a ceremony observing the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial Monday at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park near Hodgenville.
Christmas starts early for members of the Bluegrass Railroad Club — next weekend, when they can run their trains at the annual Southern Lights holiday display at the Kentucky Horse Park. On Saturday, members were setting up their modules and linking the tracks for this year's edition, which will be in the park's Bit & Bridle Restaurant.
There’s a Soviet anti-aircraft gun from Operation Desert Storm, a large bell from the USS Kentucky and a Purple Heart awarded to Chadwick Burns, a Frankfort native who was the first Kentucky soldier to die during the Korean War. After about four years behind locked doors, a renovated Kentucky Military History Museum at the State Arsenal opened to the public Friday.
Christmas lights were strung through the trees. Winter displays were set in most storefront windows. Horses pulling carriages clomped through downtown.This all can mean only one thing: The Candlelight Tour has returned. With families and friends bundled in winter garb, hundreds enjoyed the first night of the tour Thursday.
Tragedy inspires works performed this weekend in Lexington. “On the Verge” Theater's production of Yasmina Resa's “God of Carnage” is performed over the next two weekends at the Downtown Arts Center. This is on “The Verge's” first play in a formal theater. Their previous productions have been site-specific works performed in antebellum homes and a funeral parlor. This time the play involves two couples and the actors are real life couples. The Lexington Philharmonic's “Human Spirit” concert is Friday and features works written in troubled times. They’ll dedicate a plaque in honor of George Zack, who directed the Phil for 37 years.
Marion County resident Ernie Brown Jr., better known as the Turtleman, is taking on Hollywood with his turtle catching talents. His new television show, "Call of the Wildman," premiered on the Animal Planet Sunday, Nov. 6, and he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week
Maria Montgomery says she feels a little silly calling herself a “trophy girl,” but that’s exactly what she will be Wednesday. The former Miss Kentucky USA, a Boyle County native, has been selected as one of two Trophy Girls for the Country Music Association Awards Show, which will be televised live at 8 p.m. on CMT. This gives central Kentucky not one but two direct connections to one of the industry’s top awards presentations. Eddie Montgomery and Montgomery Gentry have been nominated for Best Country Duo.
The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression will present its Carl and Anne Braden Lifetime Achievement Award this weekend. Ruth Bryant and the late Dr. Roscoe Bryant Jr. will receive the award this year. Ruth Bryant was active in the open housing movement in the 1960s, as was Dr. Bryant, who was also one of the first African-American members of the Jefferson County Medical Society.
On the many Friday nights Al Smith hosted the public-affairs TV show Comment on Kentucky, he regularly took reporters who were guests on the show to dinner afterward and regaled them with his life stories. Smith, who will turn 85 on Jan. 9, has compiled many of those stories in a new book, Wordsmith: My Life in Journalism.
Some new colorful quilt designs will soon be dressing up central Kentucky barns. More than 60 counties are part of the Kentucky Quilt Trail, and now Woodford County is joining them. With a small grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, the project's goal is to honor farming and community traditions."Traditionally you find quilts on barns, but today you're finding them throughout your local communities. They can be on historical buildings in your downtown," says Debbie Tichenor, coordinator the Woodford County Quilt Trail.
Every day, no matter how many hours he puts in at work or devotes to his family, Mark Daniels sets aside enough to write at least one single, solitary page for whatever movie script he has rolling around in his mind at the time. It's a hobby he's had since high school. At 49, it's a hobby that's starting to pay off. Daniels, who works as director of support services for the Corbin Independent School District, is about to see one of his scripts turned into a marketable, feature film for the first time. The movie has a budget of about $1 million and is an independent project, but Daniels said it has some very recognizable actors in it including the legendary Malcom McDowell, Dean Cain and Natalie Distler.
The coalfields of Appalachia are running out of coal, and there’s not a large-scale effort to diversify the region’s economy. But there are lessons to be learned from a similar transition in an unlikely place: the small United Kingdom country of Wales. Now, a documentary filmmaker is exploring parallels between 1980s Wales and modern-day Appalachia.
Neither side has blinked in the Louisville Orchestra labor dispute, and both the management and the musicians are facing difficult futures and the potential end of the orchestra. The management now plans to follow through on threats to go against union wishes and hire a 50-member replacement orchestra. Finding 50 talented nonunion players will be difficult, but Chicago-based arts consultant Drew McManussays it’s not impossible.
Today is the deadline for Louisville Orchestra musicians to return to work. The orchestra board says it will begin replacing the players if they do not sign on by the end of the day. This comes after a year of talks for a new contract broke down. The two sides were close to a deal earlier this month, but again sparred over how large the orchestra should be. Orchestra CEO Robert Birman declined to be recorded, but says if the players agree to cut the ensemble to 55 players by June 2013, talks will resume. Otherwise, 50 replacement musicians will be hired.
Every year during the month of October countless numbers of people don ghoulish costumes, sit through slasher movie-marathons, and crowd into haunted houses. Pamela Burke set out to answer the age-old question: what is it about Halloween that makes some normally sane people enjoy going stark-raving mad?
The service and sacrifices of military veterans will be honored with a special parade and other events in downtown Louisville on Veteran’s Day, Friday, Nov. 11, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Monday in a press release.
Every October, countless people crowd into haunted houses, hayrides, and other haunted attractions. Here in the Commonwealth, Talon Falls Scream-park is one of the Weather Channel’s Top Ten Hallow-screams for 20-11. Tens of thousands of patrons travel to far western Kentucky willing to pay and wait in line to be scared.