Arts & Culture

Emil Moffatt

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center has named Rick McCue has its permanent executive director.

Rick McCue was named interim executive director of SKyPac in May, after the group parted ways with Jan Zarr.

McCue is a former Vice-President and General Manager of WBKO Television in Bowling Green.

In a statement released by SKYPAC Tuesday,  McCue said the facility and its mission have been a passion of his since it opened in 2012.

SKyPAC is a 1,743 seat auditorium that is home to Orchestra Kentucky, and traveling musical and arts performances.

Lost River Sessions

Episode 5 of Lost River Sessions on radio features Nashville band Forlorn Strangers and Paducah's Red Ember. 

Forlorn Strangers has a new album due out in August.  Their performance was recorded at the Warehouse at Mt. Victor in Bowling Green.  Red Ember's set was recorded at the Phoenix Theater in downtown Bowling Green. 

flickr/creative common/Rand Snyderman

Appalachian music patriarch Ralph Stanley, who helped expand and popularize the bluegrass sound, has died. He was 89.

His publicist, Kirt Webster, says Stanley died Thursday.

Stanley was born and raised in southwest Virginia. He and brother Carter formed the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946. The brothers fused Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe's rapid rhythms with the mountain folk of groups such as the Carter Family, and added a distinctive three-part harmony. Carter Stanley died of liver disease in 1966.

Ralph Stanley's a cappella dirge "O Death" from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" movie soundtrack introduced him to a new generation of fans in 2000.

He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2000 and won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in 2002.

International Bluegrass Music Center

A new home for the International Bluegrass Music Museum and Hall of Fame in Owensboro is one step closer to reality.

A groundbreaking for the facility is being held on Thursday, June 23.

The new 50,000-square-foot building will have more space for bluegrass luminaries honored in the Hall of Fame, as well as lots of other activities. 

"It  will encompass expanded museum exhibit space, " said Museum Executive Director Chris Joslin. "It will also have a 450-sea performance venue, as well as a rooftop restaurant and an outdoor performance venue that can accommodate 1,500 to 2,000 folks."

The $15.4 milion music center is being built with a combination of city, state and private funding. Construction is scheduled to be finished by spring 2018. 

International Bluegrass Music Center

The International Bluegrass Music Museum and Hall of Fame is about to break ground on a new $15 million facility in Owensboro next week.

City leaders including Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne and Daviess County Judge executive Al Mattingly are attending the June 23 event at 311 West 2nd Street.

The property takes up an entire block in a revitalized section of downtown. It will have a 450-seat concert hall, recording studio, an outdoor concert area, gift shop and a rooftop restaurant. Museum officials say it will house "the world's foremost collection" of bluegrass artifacts, memorabilia and music recordings.

Peyronnin Construction of Evansville, Indiana, is building the museum. It is expected to be finished in 2018.

Daviess County Public Library

A program at the Daviess County Public Library will allow residents to check out a different kind of book.

Saturday’s Human Library will feature individuals with unique perspectives who can be checked out by those interested in having a conversation.

Some of the individuals who have volunteered for the program include two transgender individuals, a Muslim woman, a vegan, an atheist, a bisexual, a female Unitarian Universalist minister, and Burmese refugees.

Lisa Maiden, with the Daviess County Public Library, says the Human Library is a way to learn about people in the community you might not normally meet.

"Being different can sometimes be scary to other people, because if you don't know about it, and the only information you get is from the news, a lot of that information tends to be sensationalized for the 'wow' factor."

National Park Service

Imagine hearing music reverberating through caves or echoing across mountains.  This summer, an ensemble of musicians from the Eastman School of Music in New York will be visiting national parks throughout the country and performing in the natural venues.   It's part of the national park service's 100th anniversary.

The first stop on the tour is Mammoth Cave National Park in south central Kentucky.  Emlyn Johnson is directing the project called Music in the American Wild.  She visited the park in December to scout out the venue and test the acoustics.

"I don’t think I had ever been in a cave before.  I was just amazed," Johnson told WKU Public Radio.  "I got to play my flute in some of the big caverns and it was like playing in a glorious concert hall.”

Kentucky Arts Council Awarded $746,500 in Funding

Jun 7, 2016
Kentucky Arts Council

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to the Kentucky Arts Council.

A news release from the state council says its funding is included in the latest round of state partnership agreement grants and is for the 2017 fiscal year budget. The $746,500 award represents a 5 percent increase from 2016 funding.

The federal agency will award $125,000 to several Kentucky projects.

They include $70,000 to the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman for two projects, $10,000 to Western Kentucky  University's Kentucky Folklife Program and Cumberland Gap National Park to place a folklorist in the park, $20,000 to Appalshop in Whitesburg, $10,000 to Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington and $15,000 to Pioneer School of Drama in Danville.

Kent Gavin/Getty Images

Maybe it was the way his life transected areas that define America – race and religion; war and sports – or perhaps it was his own love for words. Whatever the reason, Muhammad Ali’s life and career inspired writing that was nearly as captivating as the man himself.

With Ali – The Greatest – now dead at age 74, here’s a list of some of the best stories written about him. Ali’s large personality was perfectly suited to books, such as Norman Mailer’s The Fight. For this subjective list, we’re looking at shorter pieces. Feel free to share your favorites in the comment section.

‘Lawdy, Lawdy, He’s Great’Mark Kram in Sports Illustrated, 1975

“True to his plan, arrogant and contemptuous of an opponent’s worth as never before, Ali opened the fight flat-footed in the center of the ring, his hands whipping out and back like the pistons of an enormous and magnificent engine. Much broader than he has ever been, the look of swift destruction defined by his every move, Ali seemed indestructible. Once, so long ago, he had been a splendidly plumed bird who wrote on the wind a singular kind of poetry of the body, but now he was down to earth, brought down by the changing shape of his body, by a sense of his own vulnerability, and by the years of excess. Dancing was for a ballroom; the ugly hunt was on. Head up and unprotected, Frazier stayed in the mouth of the cannon, and the big gun roared again and again.”

Lost River Sessions

Episode 4 of Lost River Sessions on WKU Public Radio features Kelsey Waldon and the Misty Mountain String Band.  Waldon, originally from the town of Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky, performed her Lost River Session inside the Carol Wedge Studio Theater at SKyPAC in Bowling Green. 

The Misty Mountain String Band was recorded at the Corsair Distillery in downtown Bowling Green. The band is made up of Neal Green, Derek Harris, Paul Martin and Brian Vickers. 

International Bluegrass Music Center

The International Bluegrass Music Center in Owensboro is moving closer to reality with a review of construction bids in progress.

Owensboro Assistant City Manager Ed Ray says proposals to build the 48,000-square-foot venue came in from four general contractors by the May 19 deadline.

“This is the brick-and-mortar construction of the facility,” says Ray. “Finishing out nearly all of the facility, including the theater, the sound booths, the green rooms and the staging for all the performance piece of this.”

Ray says plans are on track for construction, based on a preliminary review of the bids.

“They range from a base bid of $9.6 million to $10.5 million. None of them are way out of scale for what we’re looking for, but we’ve got further evaluation to do on each of these bids,” says Ray. “We wholeheartedly believe we’ll be able to start bringing this project out of the ground this summer.”

The total budget for the new International Bluegrass Music Center is $15.3 million.  In addition to the basic construction, the remainder of the budget is for audiovisual equipment and other interior finishing work.

SKyPAC

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center in Bowling Green is looking for a new leader.

SKyPAC Foundation Board Chair Katherine Sikora released a statement Friday afternoon saying Jan Zarr was no longer the group’s executive director.

Zarr took the position in March of 2014.

The statement gave no reason behind his departure.

"Jan has seen SKyPAC through a period of transition and we appreciate his efforts," Sikora said in the statement.

Sikora says the board of directors has named former WBKO Television Vice President and General Manager Rick McCue interim executive director.

Zarr helped open the Bowling Green-based arts center before taking a job as director with the Topeka Performing Arts Center in Kansas. He then returned to Bowling Green to take the SKyPAC executive director position.

Owensboro Bar-B-Q Festival

Organizers with the International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro are hoping to build on an increase in attendance over the past few years.  

The annual event is being held tomorrow and Saturday along the city’s riverfront area. Festival co-chair Sharon NeSmith says about 30,000 people showed up last year.

NeSmith, who has lived in Owensboro since they age of four, says she’s been attending the festival since it began in 1979.

She thinks the festival has managed to stay true to its roots.

“I like the way it was described in the first brochure that ever came out about the festival—that it was taking the atmosphere of a country church picnic to the downtown urban area. And that basically really describes what we do,” NeSmith said.

Lost River Sessions

Americana band 8 Track Love and singer-songwriter Lauren Cunningham are this month's featured performers on Lost River Sessions from WKU Public Radio. 

8 Track Love is made up of Mike Natcher, Zach Lindsay, Steven Page and David Page.  Their Lost River Session was recorded at the Faculty House at WKU. 

Danielle Atkins /Courtesy of Spring House Press

Nashville Hot Chicken is showing up everywhere lately, from fast-food marquees to trendy restaurant menus. But to find the real thing, you might start in a nondescript strip mall on the northeast side of Nashville, Tenn.

Here at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, people line up long before the doors open to get their fix.

"Need my hot chicken," says construction worker Jose Rodriquez as he approaches the kitchen window to place his order. "I'm going to get two hot of the breast quarters."

Old-fashioned wooden booths line the walls of the small dining room. When a clerk calls out your order number, you pick up your paper plate of chicken, served on a red cafeteria tray. Drinks come from a vending machine on the back wall.

"Prince's is the ground zero for hot chicken," says Timothy Davis, author of The Hot Chicken Cookbook – the Fiery History and Red Hot Recipes of Nashville's Beloved Bird.

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