Apr 272011

By Joan Braune

Mountaintop removal has led to poisoned drinking water, deadly avalanches, and unemployment in Appalachian communities. The recurring blasts shake homes, destroy graveyards and other important sites, and irreparably flatten the beautiful mountains and forests, some of the oldest in the world. Residents of the region are often left feeling as though they are living in a war zone. In a constant drive for profit, coal companies treat coalfield residents as collateral damage, “externalities” that do not need to be taken into account. Continue reading »

Apr 272011

Kid TV and Lexington’s wonderfully dirty years

By Bill Widener

By the time I settled in Lexington, Happy’s Hour, the subject of the documentary When Happy Met Froggie, had already been cancelled. But I still have warm memories of the once-ubiquitous kind of kids’ show memorialized by the film. My guy was named, aptly enough, Mr. Bill. He was the host of Mr. Bill’s Workshop, broadcast from 7:30-9:00 AM Monday through Saturday on WLOS-13 Asheville, NC–the only channel my family could pick up out on the southernmost fringe of Corbin. Weatherman Bill Norwood would put on a rangerish get-up and teach easy crafts, read happy birthdays and get-wells to lucky kiddies, and show the usual mix of old comedy shorts and cartoons, the latter a grab bag of Bugs, Casper and Deputy Dawg alongside oddities like Snowman in July. Continue reading »

Apr 272011

Life by rheotaxis, part 2

By Wesley Houp

George Wesley Houp II was born in 1897 in a nondescript but cozy shanty located just up Cedar Run, an unremarkable, spring fed stream that rises near the crossroads community of Burgin in Mercer county and falls precipitously, as do most streams in the palisades section of the Kentucky, emboldened by the clear waters of several more significant springs, to its mouth in the shadow and downstream eddy of High Bridge.

As a child, Wes (he would later add an extra “s” to his signature) had a front-row seat to what was, undoubtedly, the most monumental makeover in American railroad history: the widening of High Bridge from single to double-track. With minimal disruption to rail-traffic, the Southern Railroad Co. completed this herculean feat in 1909 (a year engraved and still visible on the southernmost pier). The old bridge remained intact and was slowly subsumed by a new exoskeleton. Continue reading »

Apr 272011

Current odds in the UK CEO race

Richard Florida…..7/2

Michael Karpf…..13/2

Bill Gates…..scratch

Condaleeza Rice…..30/1

Don Blankenship…70/1

Michael Adams…17/2

Ted Schatzki…28/1

Jack Conway….50/1

Apr 272011

UK’s statistical blame game

There’s a certain power inherent in numbers and statistics. They have a way to solidify ideas, give them density. Rhetorically, statistics are like concrete piers, heavy anchors for thought.

Take the examples of UK’s recent tuition and salary increases. Lee Todd and Public Relations Director Jay Blanton have been quick to place the proposed 6% increase in student tuition alongside declining state support for higher education and a faculty salary increase averaging 3%. UK’s anchor stat has been a comparison of the state’s 2007/08 contribution ($335.1 million) to the school’s operating budget against its 2011/2012 contribution ($303.4 million)—“an almost 10 percent decline” in state funding, the Herald-Leader duly reported on April 20. Continue reading »

Apr 272011

Saturday, April 30

Meetwood Flac with C.O.P.S.

Al’s Bar; 601 N. Limestone. 9 P.M.

You ever have those nights where you wake up repeatedly because of your dreams? Not necessarily nightmares, but dreams so vivid, so involving, that they jolt you from sleep, leaving you alert but confused and trying hard to separate observed reality from the imaginary?

When you recall the Meetwood Flac show a few days afterward, you’ll experience something like this half-sleeping, half-waking feeling. Did they really play that song? Did they really sing those lyrics? Was I actually there? Is any this of this even real? Yes, it was real. Or was it? Continue reading »

Apr 132011

The Hollywood legend discusses acting, family, and Alex Trebek

By Jennifer Miller

When Hitting the Cycle’s principal photography in Lexington concluded last summer, filmmaker J. Richey Nash intended to shoot the final two scenes on a hospital soundstage in Los Angeles. Yet again, like the movie’s anti-hero Jimmy “Rip” Ripley, Nash learned that there’s no place like home: University of Kentucky HealthCare, which previously hosted two HTC overnight shoots in its hallways and lobbies, provided exceptional access to a transitioning patient area at UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

Bruce Dern in a scene from Hitting the Cycle.

For this shoot, the West Coast representatives on Team HTC now included Hollywood royal Bruce Dern, playing James Ripley, Senior. While cinephiles can rattle off dozens of Dern’s memorable performances—ranging from blue-blood Tom Buchanan opposite Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby, to his Oscar-nominated turn as a Vietnam Vet in Hal Ashby’s Coming Home, to his recent portrayal of polygamous patriarch Frank Harlow on HBO’s Big Love—twenty-somethings on the HTC set admired Dern even more for his real-life role as the father of acclaimed actress Laura Dern. Continue reading »

Apr 132011

Sollee partners with Latitude for Merch that Matters

By Niah Soult

“100 Community Values”, a creative collaboration between the Latitude Artist Community and one of Lexington’s finest musicians, Ben Sollee, is one of the more refreshing demonstrations I’ve witnessed of Visual Art functioning as a Walking, Talking, Living thing. Designed to promote the importance of community inclusiveness and more socially conscious practices, the project has resulted in 100 painted canvas bags reflecting 100 different values. The bags will be sold in place of generic concert memorabilia while on tour with Ben Sollee. Continue reading »

Apr 132011

A river rat retrospective

By Wesley Houp

rheotaxis: the tendency of certain living things to move in response to the mechanical stimulus of a current of water.

“In terra incognita, if the opportunity presents itself at all, the only way to go is by river—always assuming, of course, that you and the river happen to have the same general route in mind and that the river doesn’t object violently to having passengers. At the same time, there is a certain comfort in knowing where the thing ends and where it begins.”

—John Madson, from Up on the River

Continue reading »

Apr 132011

Saturday, April 16

Variety Show to benefit Reading Camp

Buster’s; 899 Manchester. 8 P.M.

I’ll tell you the artist roster in a sec, but first, let’s talk about literacy. Not high-talkin’ fancy-pants 50¢-word-usin’ literacy, but the basic ability to read and write at an age-appropriate level. Here in Kentucky about 12 percent of the adult population can’t comprehend basic prose, which is, well, poor. I mean, Alabama’s worse, but is that the benchmark we really wanna use? No. Continue reading »