Most of the awards shows that grab our attention involve big-name celebrities. On Oscar night, the focus is on the red carpet parade of stars—and their couture. But tune in for the Grammys, and you’ll more likely find someone dressed “down” for the occasion. And then there’s the Country Music Awards, which aren’t usually held in Nashville, home of the Grand Ole Opry, but in Los Angeles, home of smog and traffic. One awards show that remains distinctly under the radar is the National Book Awards.
Actors Guild of Lexington this weekend opens a play by Sarah Ruhl called “The Clean House.” Ruhl’s a hot contemporary playwright who wrote “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” which was staged last year by the Actors’ Guild. Also, Actors Theatre of Louisville has a production of her “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” on stage right now. “Here Come the Mummies,” who built a central Kentucky following during the World Equestrian Games, return Friday evening to Lexington. Plus, there’s a bunch of string music this weekend in Lexington, Clay City and elsewhere. With a preview is Rich Copley who’s an arts and culture reporter with the Lexington Herald Leader.
The Kentucky Historical Society will host a free Family History Workshop, “Tracing Slavery and Slaveholding on the Kentucky Frontier,” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in downtown Frankfort. What happens when a black woman researching her roots comes face to face with descendants of the people who enslaved her ancestors? Pam Smith, a Kentucky Humanities Council speaker, will describe the facts and feelings that surfaced when research led her to a university professor whose ancestors owned Smith’s enslaved great-great grandfather.
Fort Boonesborough opens an 18th century-style tavern this weekend. The opening coincides with the state park’s long-running “Fireside Chats” on Kentucky history. This February, the Saturday evening chats feature actors portraying pioneers like Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, and Jenny Wiley. Park Manager Todd Melton says audiences also ask questions.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" On the day the nation paused to remember the civil rights leader's life, thousands of people in Kentucky and millions across the country spent Monday answering King's question.
The Lexington Philharmonic puts out the ‘red carpet’ for a special 50th anniversary weekend concert Saturday night at the Opera House. On Sunday night, a one man show about abolitionist Frederick Douglass comes to the Lyric Theater. The annual Martin Luther King observance in downtown Lexington Monday will include a tribute to Mahalia Jackson. The Lexington Herald’s Rich Copley runs down weekend activities on this holiday weekend.
As the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I approaches, historians and genealogists will soon be able to use a rare series of books at the Kenton County Public Library system’s Covington branch. Compiled by Charles F. Horne in 1923, the hard-bound books with the Legion emblem embossed on the cover are known as a definitive collection providing details of the causes and various armed conflicts of World War I, said Dave Schroeder, executive director of the Kenton County Public Library system.
Kentucky’s Division of Unemployement Insurance has ruled that Louisville Orchestra musicians have been on strike and not locked out. The musicians are considered to have been on strike since the end of June, according to a release from Louisville Orchestra management. With this ruling they are voluntarily withholding their labor and therefore not entitled to unemployment income, said Robert Birman, CEO of the Louisville Orchestra.
Hidden behind the death of political icon Gatewood Galbraith was the passing of a woman who tried just about everything during her long life, including a stint inside the Kentucky Theater box office. Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader remembers Lee Overstreet and previews a performance this evening by Lexington singer Coralee of "Coralee and the Townies" is doing a Loretta Lynn tribute show at Cosmic Charlies. Rich also talks about a sneak peak of PBS' newest “Downton Abbey” series at the Kentucky Theatre on Saturday morning.
Last week, the city of Bowling Green gave the go-ahead for the demolition of the People's Hardware and Supply Building. On Monday, Kenway Contracting brought the brick buildings down. First, Raybold and Sons had to remove asbestos from the buildings at 631 and 633 College St., Kenway President Kenneth Allen said. "But they got all that done and gave me the go-ahead," Allen said. "We wanted to wait and do it when there wasn't anyone in the trailers next to (Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center). Since the building is two stories, you don't know what is going to happen."
It’s safe to say Kentucky journalist Al Smith has led a full life. During his teenage years, he was an award-winning writer and speaker. But, then, Smith nearly sank in the sea of alcoholism. He recovered to become a successful newspaper owner, the head of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and for 33 years, Smith hosted “Comment on Kentucky” on Kentucky Educational Television. The soon-to-be 85 year-old has collected his memories in a new book, “WORDSMITH, My Life in Journalism.” WEKU’S Ron Smith spoke with him…
Ever dreamed of owning the governor's mansion? Thanks to a Campbellsville company, that's now possible, albeit in the form of a five-inch wood-carved ornament. Campbellsville-based K&M Crafts of Kentucky was selected to produce this year's limited edition official state Christmas ornament.
Louisville’s Filson Historical Society has opened a new exhibit focusing on the Civil War as it played out in Kentucky and the Ohio Valley region. It’s called “United We Stand—Divided We Fall.” Filson Curator of Special Collections Jim Holmberg says interest is running high as the country marks the Civil War’s 150th anniversary.
The new director of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft will start work next month, but he’s already been meeting with fundraisers in Louisville. Aldy Milliken previously ran a gallery in Sweden where he connected with contemporary artists. He says he wants to raise money to bring their exhibits to Louisville.
A musical performance at G.C. Burkhead Elementary School viewed by only a few Tuesday morning will be watched by millions this spring. G.C. Burkhead will be a part of the official DVD of the Concert for Music in Our Schools Month. The concert is sponsored by the National Association of Music Education and footage is aired across the country on the second Thursday of March, when children in music classes watch and sing along. The student body performed a song called “Discussin’ Percussion” and it features several students playing percussion instruments such as the tambourine and drums.
Radio host Peter Sagal listens to the news the way wild mushroom hunters search for their quarry. "They train themselves to walk through the woods with this single-minded vision of looking for these mushrooms, which you have to be able to see, you have to train yourself to look for them or you'll walk right by them," Sagal says from his Chicago office. "So I'm like that — I'm missing the trees, I'm missing the forest, I'm missing verdant woodland, I'm just looking for the mushrooms."
The Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Oldham County is home to about 1100 felons and one unusual theatre company. It’s an all-inmate ensemble called Shakespeare Behind Bars. For sixteen years, the group has staged full productions of plays like Hamlet and Macbeth and Julius Casear.Each year, they do a series of performances, some for other inmates and some for the public.
As part of its new strategy to update the allocation process, the Fund for the Arts has launched a new website. Power2Give was developed in North Carolina. It’s modeled after sites like Kickstarter, but with a narrower focus. It lets nonprofits post proposals for arts and culture-related projects. Visitors to the site can then donate toward those projects.
The Christmas decorations at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate in historic Lexington will be big and bright this year. The National Historic Landmark dedicated to honoring Kentucky statesman Henry Clay celebrates the Christmas season with d cor throughout the mansion.
An Ohio contractor has been awarded a $1.3 million contract to finish painting downtown Frankfort's Singing Bridge, according to the state Transportation Cabinet. The bridge, which dates back to the 1890s, crosses the Kentucky River. The bridge has a metal mesh floor which causes tires on vehicles to make a sing-song noise - hence the name Singing Bridge.
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 High and Clinton, 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.
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…