Arts & Culture

Kevin Willis

When it’s lunch time at the Smokey Pig barbeque restaurant in Bowling Green, be prepared to wait in line. This place opens at 10:30 a.m., and within an hour on a recent Tuesday, almost every table was taken and every seat claimed. I came to the Smokey Pig today to meet with a man who claims to be afflicted with something he calls H.E.B.D--Hyper Enthusiastic Barbeque Disorder.

Wes Berry, the self-diagnosed victim of H.E.B.D is also a Ph.D-holding Professor of English at WKU. And he has just authored a book—not about fine literature or poetry—but about his true passion: barbeque. And more specifically, the kinds of barbeque one can find in the Bluegrass State.

The Kentucky Barbeque Book is Berry’s love letter to his favorite food and state. The Barren County native says he’s eaten at 168 barbeque restaurants, joints, shacks, festivals, and Catholic church picnics in the commonwealth.

All in the name of good research, of course.

Barbeque: Monroe County Style

The Smokey Pig is the place Wes and I have chosen to talk about Bluegrass State barbeque. I follow Wes’s lead regarding what I order. They say “when in Rome”, and when it comes to barbeque, Wes Berry is Caesar.

Owensboro Symphony

Note: Technical problems prevented the originally planned broadcast of this program last week.

Join us Sunday, March 24th at 8pm C.T., as conductor Nicholas Palmer joins Lee Stott to look back at some recent concerts, and to preview what's ahead for the Owensboro Symphony during its "Magical Season."

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After 36 years, the curtain is closing on the Kentucky Repertory Theatre in Horse Cave. According to its board of directors, the theatre is no longer able to compete for funding and patrons. Liz Fentress is among those saddened by the announcement. She currently teaches at Actors Theatre of Louisville, but says some of her best times were spent at the theatre in Horse Cave.

"I have memories of being in the audience watching professional performances by other people. I have memories of directing fine actors, Warren Hammack and Pamela White being at the top of the list. "And I have wonderful memories of performing there myself," said Fentress.

In addition to professional acting, the Kentucky Repertory Theatre also served as a training ground for young talent. Since it opened in 1977, the theater staged 230 productions. 

Board of Directors Chairwoman Lyn Taylor Long says economic challenges were just too great to overcome, including a loss of major donors.

International Bluegrass Music Museum

Country music legend Merle Haggard will headline this year's Romp Festival near Owensboro. The three-day bluegrass festival is held as a fundraiser for the International Bluegrass Music Museum.  Marketing Director Danny Clark says Haggard is sure to please with a mix of country and bluegrass.

"I'm really glad he's coming because he has such a tie-in with bluegrass music. A lot of people know he actually recorded a bluegrass albumn a couple of years ago and had a lot of great performers on there with him,” says Clark.

The 76-year-old Haggard will be joined at ROMP by other legends like The Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush. This year's festival will be June 27th through 29th at Yellow Creek Park. The full lineup of performers and ticket information is available online at RompFest.com.

Rogue Cinema

An independent filmmaker from Owensboro is wrapping up an effort to help spotlight other filmmaking talent in the region.

"Unscripted: An Indie Film Xperience" is the brainchild of P.J. Starks, and is a collaboration between his film company and the Daviess County Public Library. The series of short films written, directed, and produced by filmmakers in the Owensboro-Daviess County region concludes Friday night.

Starks says the series gives attendees the chance to see the local films, and then watch them again with the director offering live, interactive commentary.

"It gives the public and the community an opportunity to see the types of talent and artistry we have in the area, and the types of films being made, because it really does run the gamut," says Starks.

Several regional arts groups are combining efforts to bring Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" to Bowling Green.

Monday's performance will feature Orchestra Kentucky, the University of Louisville Collegiate Choir, the Murray State Concert Choir, and students from Briarwood and Richardsville Elementary Schools in Bowling Green.

Lee Stott spoke to members of the groups about the origins of the text used by Orff in his famous cantata, and the difficulty of singing some of the demanding vocal parts.

The show takes place Monday, Feb. 11, at SKyPAC in Bowling Green.

About 80 citizens gathered in Bowling Green over the weekend for a public meeting on the future of the Capitol Arts Center downtown. Tom Tomlinson is executive director of the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, which now operates the Capitol.  Asked if the historic venue can continue to compete with SKyPAC and WKU's Van Meter Hall, Tomlinson said "yes."

"I think it's a matter of size," said Tomlinson.  "There are activities that are appropriate for our (SKyPAC) 1,800 seats.  There are activities appropriate for the 1,100-seat Van Meter Hall, and then there are activities more appropriate for the 600 or so seats currently at the Capitol."

Based on community feedback, Tomlinson says there's a strong desire to see the Capitol used as an independent and/or foreign film venue, as well as an expansion of youth programs. 

Other public meetings are planned in the coming months.

I have never considered Liz Lemon a feminist icon of any kind, nor have I ever considered 30 Rock especially strong when it comes to gender politics.

I don't care for the obsessive joke-making about how Liz is ugly/mannish/old/awkward, and I haven't always been comfortable with the way some of the "she's baby-crazy!" or "she's relationship-crazy!" comedy has played. I was ambivalent about the way the Jezebel parody and the "women aren't funny" storylines were executed.

National Public Radio

Join us Tuesday, January 29th at 8pm C.T. for this two-hour special.  John Lunn, the creator of the music for the popular Downton Abbey television series, talks about his life and work, composing for the show, and introduces some of his favorite music from the period. 

Downton Abbey is currently airing on PBS. Our sister-station, WKYU-PBS, will begin Season Three this Friday at 8pm C.T., (with repeats on Saturday at 10pm. and Sunday at 4pm.).

Rogue Cinema

Owensboro filmmaker P.J. Starks is set to launch a new film series called "Unscripted Xperience", which allows audiences to meet and offer live commentary with filmmakers and actors. Starks donates to charity most of the money raised from the events, and he hopes the "Xperience" will help raise the profile of independent filmmakers in the Daviess County region.

WKYU-PBS is planning to tape the Feb. 1 film series session and produce a piece for the program Main Street that will likely air in early March.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer has this profile piece of Starks and his upcoming film series.

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