Jan 292010

Thursday, February 4

Mountains w/ Tape and Kraken Fury

Al’s Bar. $5. All ages.

Once again the progressive folks down at 88.1 are bringing the people of Lexington fresh and forward thinking sounds. On February 4th at Al’s Bar, WRFL will present Mountains, Tape, and Kraken Fury.

Both Brooklyn’s Mountains and Stockholm’s Tape incorporate tapestries of acoustic balladry with warm and smart electronic leanings. Both groups sound otherworldly. Mountains warble on a path between rustic and swarming, while Tape floats through a milky blizzard of nostalgia for European and Asian lands, past and future. Continue reading »

Jan 292010

Disc golfers support God’s Pantry

By Troy Lyle

Having fun and getting in a little extra practice wasn’t the only objective of the 36 disc golfers who participated in the inaugural River Hill Ice Bowl on January 16. Many hoped to do some good for the community as well.

“The event raised $600 and more than 200 lbs. of canned goods to support the work of God’s Pantry locally,” said Lewis Willian, longtime Bluegrass Disc Golf Association (BDGA) member and tournament participant. “It’s a national tradition of all winter disc golf tournaments to raise support for the needy through a charity event. As a matter of fact, we (BDGA) are not allowed to call it an ‘Ice Bowl’ if we do not.” Continue reading »

Jan 292010

By Amber Scott

We Will Someday, Someday We Will, on exhibit at Institute 193 through Feb. 20, is artist Bruce Burris’s optimism and activism captured in visual art form.

The pieces in the exhibit are sculptures, paintings, drawing and installations, but despite the presence of different media, everything is threaded together with a decorative text that has become Burris’s signature style.

Well, it’s held together by the text and the message of the exhibit, which is best exemplified by this excerpt from a picket sign attached to a 20-foot handle that’s part of the show: Time to fuckin stop our bleeding mountaintop.

Burris, who is best known locally for his work with Latitude Artist Community, is, according to Phillip March Jones, creative director at Institute 193 and curator of this exhibit, the only contemporary artist dealing with the issue of mountaintop removal. Continue reading »

Jan 292010

An unemployed idea: more (labor intensive) farming

By Danny Mayer

Seed catalogs do not just sell seeds. Often, they function as repositories of all things agricultural. Most include some sort of instructions for growing each variety of seed, and nearly all include brief descriptions for each fruit, flower or vegetable that they offer.

As my interests in seeds have drifted toward primarily heirloom varieties of produce, meaning that the seeds were developed through open pollination rather than manipulated for large scale industrial production, the catalogs selling them have gotten even more interesting. In addition to instructions, most sellers of heirloom seeds include at least some stories about the seeds themselves. I enjoy learning about the depression-era history of, say, mortgage lifter tomatoes in general, or of Halladay’s Mortgage Lifter in particular. I feel the stories attached to the seeds—sometimes agriculturally focused, at other times culturally or socially so—better connect me to the long continuum of agricultural acts that comprise the bedrock of our culture. Continue reading »

Jan 292010

By Michael Dean Benton

“Why should an artist’s way of looking at the world have any meaning for us? Why does it give us pleasure? Because, I believe, it increases our awareness of our own potentiality.” — John Berger, Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing (1960)

“There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.” — Raymond Williams, Culture and Society (1958)

Gender and sexuality are important contemporary political concepts for understanding the constitution of our selves. They are important because they are a key to the production of our sense of self and identity as social beings, because they are experienced by every human being, because all societies seek to regulate what is acceptable in regards to gender and sexuality, and, because myths about gender and sexuality are tools for the control, demonization and oppression of groups of people. My claim for the importance of gender and sexuality as political concepts does not discount class or race, rather it recognizes that even within the hierarchical divisions of classes and races, there are further inequalities built upon perceived gender and sexuality differences (and vice versa). The discriminatory, power-based inequalities of gender and sexuality are even built into our everyday language.

While the construction of gender and sexuality is a serious subject for us to address, it is also a joyous, surprising, creative, and challenging project. Of all the personal illusions I continuously work to dispel, the myths of gender and sexuality are the most difficult; but, for that reason, also the most rewarding and enriching. The difficulty lies in my training from the earliest age to think of myself as a certain gender construct—a tough, heterosexual, working-class male—that must perform a certain rigid sexual role, and adapt the attitudes/poses necessary to be accepted in my early social environments. Continue reading »

Jan 292010

By Beth Connors-Manke

Having only recently moved to the north side, I walk around a lot, trying to get an eyeful of my new neighborhood. One place that has become central to my wandering to and fro is the intersection of North Limestone and Loudon. It’s an interesting place: small antique shops and towing companies hold their own against industrial-scaled buildings like the old brick Farmer’s and Builder’s Supply Company. There’s the railroad track on Lime south of the intersection, and there’s a big utility facility—all of this with houses surrounding it.

It’s “urban core” at it’s most urban: lower-income housing meets the grittiness of industrial development.

The LexTran/Kitchen Planning Center building on the corner of North Limestone and Loudon Avenue.

I appreciate that mixture, and I also value that this area of the city has the lowest rate of automobile ownership in Fayette County, according to the Central Sector Small Area Plan. Whether by choice or necessity, many northsiders benefit from bikable streets, walkable sidewalks, and the bus system. This side of town needed, in a most basic way, the tax referendum passed several years ago that kept LexTran afloat and eventually allowed the transit system to grow. Continue reading »

Jan 122010

By Patrick Smith

Bright, frigid, and windy, the sidewalks of downtown Lexington were nearly deserted last Friday after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow on the city. What seemed like a normal winter afternoon in downtown Lexington was offset by the tense, giddy energy of the few pedestrians making their way along Main St. and milling around the Courthouse lawn.

Photo by Patrick Smith

Cold? They don't know the meaning of the word.

Suddenly, in what seemed like a case of spontaneous mass hysteria, groups of people descended on what appeared to be Lexington’s smallest horse farm, the proposed sight of the Webb Companies’ CenterPointe skyscraper, and began pelting each other with fistfuls of snow at exactly 12:30 P.M.. Within seconds, thirty to forty people had hopped the fence and began struggling to form the light, fluffy snow covering the ground into projectiles. Laughter and shouts of joy were punctuated by the hollow thumps of well-packed snowballs landing direct hits onto thick winter clothing, as participants struggled to make more ammunition and locate familiar targets in the crowd. Continue reading »

Jan 122010

Women inmates in a Corrections Corp. of America world

By Beth Connors-Manke

The situation at Otter Creek Correctional Center in Floyd County, KY at once reminds us of the sordid history of female incarceration as well as presents us with a startling glimpse of its present state of affairs.

The Herald-Leader reported on January 8 that Gov. Beshear ordered the removal of some 400 female inmates from the prison due to “widespread allegations of sexual misconduct” by guards at the institution, which is operated by Corrections Corporation of America. This order came after Hawaii pulled 165 of its female inmates from the prison in July and after the Kentucky Department of Corrections had finished an investigation of 18 alleged cases of sexual misconduct by prison guards.

Part of the continuing privatization of U.S. prisons, Otter Creek is an all-female minimum/medium security facility owned by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) since 1998. CCA calls itself “the nation’s industry leader of privately-managed corrections solutions for federal, state and local government” and claims to have founded the private corrections industry. Continue reading »