May 022012

Charade opens series on May 30

By Barbara Goldman

Entering the 10th season of its Summer Classics Movie Series, the Kentucky  Theater is eager to get started on Wednesday, May 30, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn gracing the screen together in Charade.

“Our audience is very diverse. The movies bring people back to the theater that used to come here when they were children, teenagers, or university students,” says Kentucky Theater General Manager Fred Mills. “We are very very lucky to have it here.

Mills, who has been with the theater since 1963, credits film series booker Larry Thomas with helping to once again make this film series a huge success.

“The booker has a lot of tough issues to overcome when finding us films. We seek out 35mm prints that are available and still in release,” says Mills. “Once we find those prints available the question is then raised as to what kind of condition the film is in.”

In addition, the theater receives film request from patrons throughout the year.

“People ask and offer suggestions, give us hand written notes at the ticket stand, email us. They send us hundreds of suggestions, all of which we suggest to the booker.”

The 2012 season

This season is getting kicked off in usual fashion with a rarely seen and rare studio print.

Charade is one of the best ‘Hitchcock non Hitchcock’ films there is,” says Mills about the film.  After finishing this film, Cary Grant was quoted as saying, “All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn.”

Mills is excited to bring several films back to the series after they received such a response from the public.

“We showed The Wizard of Oz several years ago. It’s always a huge favorite. We are also very excited to be bringing back Casablanca for its 70th anniversary. A lot of folks have a very strong affection for the movie. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a feel-good movie and it’s always entertaining.”

This year’s movie variety will certainly offer something for everyone. Movies range from Woody Allen’s Oscar winning Annie Hall, to Mary Poppins, The White Heat, Pillow Talk, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Classic film fans who don’t see their favorite flick listed need not be disappointed. For the second year in a row, the folks at Sqecial Media (located at 371 South Limestone) will help sponsor additional Wednesday movie nights, the selections for which are still to be decided.

“Last year the Sqecial Media stepped up and helped the series continue longer. It was a huge success. It exceeded expectations,” says Mills. “It really tapped into the University community and people who enjoy foreign films. This year instead of just sponsoring three, they wanted to do four!”

$5 per seat for all shows. Most films show twice on Wednesday, at 1:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m, with the exception of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which will also play at 4 p.m. due to the Fourth of July Holiday. For more information on the series, including the schedule, go to

Mar 152012

From the November 1, 2011, performance of Rat Shed Radio, held at Homegrown Press. Other Rat Shed Radio paddles can be found here: Fayette floaters and the Fabled Canelands.

The first Kentucky River narrative to appear in North of Center. Volume 1, issue 12.

I moved here in 2000 for the state university located just south of downtown Lexington, but I stayed because of Jessamine County. Where Lexington and UK initially came off to me, arriving fresh off stints in Charleston, SC; Missoula, MT; and Athens, GA, as a sort of familiar letdown, the city equivalent of ambien and bourbon, it was my travels to Wilmore and High Bridge, Keene and Camp Nelson, that first fired my imagination and wonder for this place and the people calling it home. In Jessamine, I encountered guitar pickers who enjoyed playing through dawn in cold damp tobacco barns; suburban yard salers dabbling in E-Bay Porsche sales; radically anti-christian Asbury graduates; one-armed retards; serial masturbators; naturalists; drunks; pill-poppers; artists; ruffians; river rats; walkers; poets; paddlers; farmers; and other good and neer do wells. To this day, I trace most of my close friends to that county.

So pardon the intimate nature of this Rat Shed paddle through Jessamine County, these true accounts, playful stories and clear reflections of our lives traversing this place.


Continue reading »

Feb 092012
Audio from the November 1, 2011, performance of Rat Shed Radio, held at Homegrown Press. Other Rat Shed Radio paddles can be found here:  the Fabled Canelands and fair Jessamine.
High, high, yes when I die
there’s untold millions
standing next in line.

Wes Houp, “Up on Chenoca”

When development came to the bluegrass, it came from the east. From Fort Pitt at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers on past the Kanawha, speculators from James Harrod to Johnny Appleseed floated the Ohio in search of available productive land. Harrod, like many of the early illegals who explored the region as citizens of invading British and American nations, came into the bluegrass by turning left at the mouth of the Kentucky and paddling, upriver, as far as Leestown. Later, by the 1780s, new arrivals to central Kentucky would shorten this trip immeasurably, by disembarking at the settlement of Limestone and then taking the southern road toward the growing frontier town of Lexington. Continue reading »

Jan 162012

From the November 1, 2011, performance of Rat Shed Radio, held at Homegrown Press. Other Rat Shed Radio paddles can be found here: Fayette floaters and fair Jessamine.


By Western.

From its headwaters in the mountainous southeastern part of the state, the Kentucky River flows northwest toward its confluence with the Ohio. The river diverts from this northwesterly course but once, when it hits the high grounds of the Lexington peneplain and is forced to cut a southwest route around the area now known as Lexington. The crescent-shaped region carved by this riverine diversion, the fabled canelands, has long been a hub of all forms of life.

This section of Rat Shed pairs some history on the Fayette crescent with songs by Wes Houp, Chris Sullivan and Warren Byrom. Continue reading »

Dec 072011

By Barbara Goldman

On Wednesday, December 14, a FREE film opportunity will be available for any and all who wish to educate themselves about the past, present, and future of Appalachia. From 6:30-9:30 PM, Natasha’s Bistro & Bar (112 Esplanade) will host a critical fundraising event in support of the Appalachian Media Institute.

The AMI is a branch of Appalshop, the non-profit multidisciplinary arts and education center in the heart of Appalachia that produces original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, and multimedia. Since 1988, AMI has given central Appalachian youth the skills, technology, and resources to explore media production. The youth, in turn, create films concerning themselves and the communities from which they come. Continue reading »

Dec 072011

Twelve O’Clock High Screening at the Kentucky Theatre

The Kentucky Theatre, in partnership with WWII veteran Frank Cassidy, will host a special Pearl Harbor Day screening of Twelve O’Clock High. This 1949 Academy Award-winning classic, starring Gregory Peck, tells the story of U.S. aircrews who conducted daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and Occupied France. The event will begin at 11:30 A.M. with an introduction to the World War II veterans in attendance. The screening will begin at noon, and will be followed by an opportunity to meet the veterans and discuss their experiences. This event is free and open to the public. For those who need a reminder, Pearl Harbor Day is December 7. Continue reading »

Dec 072011

Accents Publishing releases anthology of poetry

By Michael Dean Benton

One of Lexington’s independent presses, Accents Publishing, is premiering its newest anthology of poems this month – Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems.  The world premiere will officially kick off with a public reading downtown at the Carnegie Center on December 8 at 6:00 P.M.  Over forty of the featured poets will be at the reading.

The notion of a world premiere is not publicity hype, for this anthology is truly international in scope.  There are authors from Singapore, Philippines, Germany and Canada, as well as closer here to home, including 60 poems from Kentucky.  Over a thousand poets submitted a grand total of 7,000 poems to the project.  The finished anthology is a representation of the work of 192 poets and 250 poems from those original submissions. Continue reading »

Nov 232011

Italian movie poster for Il Grande Dittatore.

On Wednesday, November 30 the Bluegrass Film Society will screen Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 satire of Nazi Germany, The Great Dictator. After a distinguished career as director and actor of silent films throughout the 1920s and 30s, The Great Dictator was Chaplin’s first serious foray into the world of “talkies.” Chaplin stars in a double role as a Jewish barber enlisted as a private in a fictionalized European war, and as the fascist dictator Hynkel (clearly modeled on Adolf Hitler) the Jewish barber has enlisted to fight. At the time of The Great Dictator‘s release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin’s film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Hitler, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he excoriates in the film as “machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts.” It ultimately became the silent-actor’s most commercially successful film.

Bluegrass Film Society screenings take place in the Oswald Auditorium at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, located on Cooper Drive nearby Commonwealth Stadium. Screenings are free and begin at 7:30 P.M.

Nov 232011

Lexington native comes home for the holidays—in cinematic form

By Lucy Jones

There’s a lot to like about Michael Shannon.

He’s a native Lexingtonian, so that should earn him the instant affection and allegiance of anyone with a UK sweatshirt in her closet or a Local First sticker on his car.

Of course, if you’re an impossibly hard sell who somehow demands greater credentials for devotion than that, consider that at age of 37, Shannon is an Academy Award nominated actor who has worked with cinematic legends ranging from John Waters to Werner Herzog to Martin Scorsese.

I was more than happy to accept that statement as the most impressive thing about him, until I heard this: when Sony Pictures Classics began the platform release of his new film, Take Shelter, Shannon not only made his wishes clear that he’d like the film played in Lexington, he also specified that he wanted it shown at the Kentucky Theatre. A loyal friend of the Kentucky Theatre? In my book, there’s nothing more adoration inspiring than that. Continue reading »

Nov 232011

BCTC Short Films Screening Program

Interested in learning more about the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Filmmaking Program? Come to Natasha’s Bistro & Bar on Friday, December 2 for the premiere of seven short films by graduating BCTC filmmakers. The screening program begins at 6:30 P.M. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 5:30 if planning to dine. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended. Continue reading »