Jul 272011

By Clay Wainscott

So, let me get this straight. You say Abstract Expressionism arose at a time when fascism just defeated, having soiled us in battle, returned to our shores as a rabid fear and hatred of Communism, in contradiction of the most basic tenets of free speech in a free society. It was a time when art, itself, was under siege. Actors, artists, and writers were broken and exiled for less than absolute patriotism, and music was banned from the radio. “This land is your land…,” by Woody Guthrie, was never played.

It was then that a new American art form arose to compete with the classicism of Russia’s cultural catalogue – ballets and symphonies, heroic art and gilded subway stations. It seems our own state department may have helped to launch careers in big international expositions of Abstract Art, may even have helped support the foundations which purchased the art for donation to major museums, tax credits funding lavish galas, and abstract art went up in all of New York’s major banks. So, that was all in the name of cold-war competition with the Soviets, and no crippling of our culture was too high a price just to win, but there is still another level. Continue reading »

Jul 272011

The phantom map, part 2

By Gortimer T. Spotts

I awoke to the deep whir of a far-off tractor, Northrupp and the General still on the edge of sleep, and wrote in my journal “But a very small window is the dawn.”

We breakfasted, collected our brachiopods, crinoids, and other shoal-haul, stow-hoed, tarped up, and pushed off from the shallows at noon, the General once again leaving only his thin-sliced wake, Northrupp and I girding our boat-loins for the deadfall limbo just ahead.  I’d completely forgotten about squeezing my vessel into this tight jam the night before, snagging and nearly losing the bucktail I’d been trolling on the off-chance of muskellunge.  To our relief, the water—that we thought had risen and had indeed risen—had eerily not really risen, and we passed under with minimal grunting. Continue reading »

Jul 272011

Kentucky’s new state bank

By Danny Mayer

On July 1, JP Morgan Chase became the Commonwealth’s bank .  As the state’s official depository, J.P. now receives all deposits, writes all checks and makes all wire transfers on the $12-15 billion that flow through Kentucky state government in the course of a fiscal year. It will cut payroll checks, receive federal and other funds earmarked for the state, and disburse educational or transportation or any other funds to their appropriate monetary endpoints. For its trouble, the bank will receive $1.3 million in state fees and the ability to re-lend idle state funds out to customers for private gain.

Yes, you should be worried. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

Disc golf politics

By Danny Mayer

Here’s the skinny on the skinny budget, and how disc golf came to represent the evils of citizen entitlement run amok:

In April, Jim Gray proposed a $271 million city budget, which he described as a “businessman’s budget,” that represented a $10 million dollar reduction from the previous year. The budget called for eliminating 56 city jobs, an overall 10% reduction in funding to partner agencies (mostly social services and arts groups), and an overall reduction in the city workforce to 2,835 budgeted jobs—the lowest city workforce since 1999, when the city had 35,000 less residents.

In June, the city council sent Gray a revised budget. They restored much of the 10% reduction in funding to social service agencies, restored several of the city jobs cut by Gray, and added 25 police recruits. Council also proposed bonding (borrowing) $400,000 for the construction of 2 disc golf courses ($150,000) and a lacrosse complex ($150,000) on city owned parkland, and for handicap access at the Charles Young Center ($100,000). All told, the council budget restored $2.8 million, or 1% of the city’s general fund, a figure that still shaved $7 million off the previous year’s budget. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

West Irvine to Drowning Creek

By Gortimer T. Spotts

We’d agreed to rally at dawn and attack the river before the unseasonably scalding June sun had a chance to fully preheat the western hemisphere. But a very small window is the dawn. I awoke at noon and hustled to Mayer Manor on the north side of Lex, well, just north of center, to rendezvous with the General and Northrupp, who were both convalescing with the Mayer family on a kind of sympathetic and extended maternity leave. General Dallas, bare-chested and unshaven, greeted me at the kitchen door holding baby Josie just like a nursing mother, a delicate white towel draped over the shoulder, a corncob pipe clenched in the jaw, unlit. “Good morning, young Gortimer. We’re just wrapping up the morning feed.” And just then Northrupp appeared at the foot of the stairs with two loaded dry bags and two collapsible coolers slung over his arm. “Ah, Gorty, you’re early. Think we’re all ready.” With quiet goodbyes to the semi-roused parents, we made our break, the General plugging baby Josie back into her vintage General Electric Slumbersling and turning the dial to eleven, heavy drool mode. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

Short film nears completion

By Barbara Goldman

If you’ve been doing double takes at what appear to be mermaids in downtown Lexington recently, your eyes aren’t betraying you. Sightings of the legendary long-tailed sirens of the sea have occurred in area creeks, pools, parks, restaurants, and even a clawfoot bathtub.

Local urban fantasizers and artists have found a way to bring the mythical creatures to life with the short film Waterbody, written by central Kentucky poetry/publishing diva Bianca Spriggs. The film concluded principal photography on June 12th and is anticipated to debut early this fall. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

Misadventures in the city

By Beth Connors-Manke

Ok, it turns out to be true: a lady isn’t safe on the streets on the north side. And so now I’ve bought some pepper spray.

I’ll start by saying that it’s hard to find pepper spray. It’s not at Rite Aid. I suspended my Wal-Mart boycott and looked there, thinking “if Wal-Mart sells guns sometimes, surely they’ll have pepper spray.” Wrong. Not at Lowe’s either. Finally, I came upon my weapon at Meijer’s, which even stocks it in breast-cancer pink.

I haven’t carried pepper spray in years because it’s an awkward weapon. First off, you have to dig in your purse for it or isolate it from the jingle-jangle mess of your keys. Second, when do you pull it out, and how do you scare someone with it? Continue reading »

Jul 132011

On the occasion of a 3% raise for faculty and staff

Dr. McCall:

First of all, I’d like to thank you and the Board of Regents for the recent approval of a 3 % salary increase for FT regular faculty and staff “’who earn the Fully Met Job Requirements (M)’ rating in the 2010-11 KCTCS perforance evaluation system (or at least the “Achieves (A)” rating in the 2010-11 evaluation process piloted in 2010-11.” The recognition of hard work and sacrifice is deeply appreciated.

My appreciation, however,  is tempered by my disappointment that there was no similar financial reward for the adjunct instructors who are responsible for providing at least 60%, if not more, of Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) course offerings. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

BBRG blockers control bout, best ROCK

By Sunny Montgomery

The Fourth of July weekend is perhaps my favorite weekend of the year. It encompasses everything I love best about Lexington: the barbeques, the downtown festivities, the closing of the streets, all my friends in one place and of course, the excuse to start drinking at 11 o’clock in the morning. This year I added another event to my list of favorites: ROCK’s Saturday night bout against Covington’s Black-n-Bluegrass (BBRG).

I’d attended only one roller derby prior to this one. I remembered how frenzied I’d felt trying to keep up. But while ROCK’s style on the track is fast and strong, BBRG is known for their slow play. This means that when the pack begins to move, BBRG will not. The strategy is used to run down the clock. It is particularly advantageous when your team has the lead, which BBRG did for most of the bout. I could see frustration creasing the brow of Ragman, ROCK’s coach. I felt a little frustrated too. I missed the fast-paced drama of my first roller derby. But alas, Covington’s roller girls were formidable and they won the bout: 202 to 90. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

Dear Editor:

In your June 22 editorial, “Austerity comes to Lexington,” you wrote: “Austerity is always sold as disciplining government through the use of good business practice.”

Your comment reminded me that austerity is really a disciplinary practice of the body — not of governments or businesses, abstract entities that know nothing of being “austere” or “spendthrift.” We tend to treat governments and businesses as if they are living and breathing entities, and they’re not. We live and breathe; they do not. The point of this distinction is that governments and businesses do not suffer the pain of economic “austerity measures”— citizens (those breathing things called “humans”) do. Continue reading »