Arts & Culture

The Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812 officially on Christmas eve of 1814. Still, despite a so-called "Dream Team" of American diplomats representing our interests, including three future Secretaries of State, the young United States came away with a historically bad deal.

Joe Corcoran speaks with WKU historians Dr. Jack Thacker and Dr. Glenn LaFantasie.

Kevin Willis

The executive director of Owensboro’s International Bluegrass Music Museum is stepping down after a 12 year run.

However, Gabrielle Gray will maintain her presence in the region’s bluegrass community.

Gray will keep her position as the Executive Producer of ROMP, the annual bluegrass music festival in Daviess County, and she will also remain the museum’s primary grant writer.

Assistant Director Carly Smith, who has been at the museum since 2011, will serve as interim director while the search for a permanent replacement gets underway. That search will be led by Yale University President Peter Salovey.

A news release issued by the museum quotes Gray as saying that nothing gives her greater pleasure than helping to present ROMP at Yellow Creek Park each summer.

The Museum recently announced that legendary singer-songwriter John Prine will be one of the headliners during next year’s festival.

Legendary songwriter John Prine will appear in Owensboro next year as one of the headliners of anannual bluegrass music event.

The 68-year-old will perform next June at the River of Music Party.  Prine wrote the famous song “Paradise” about the coal-mining industry in Muhlenberg County, and he won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2004 for an album that featured a recording of Stephen Foster’s song, “My Old Kentucky Home.”

The rest of the 2015 ROMP lineup will announced as acts are booked, with the full slate expected by mid-February.

Expect to be good for nothing for a long time after you read Ron Rash. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still: It takes you to a land apart, psychologically and geographically, since his fiction is set in Appalachia.

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center is joining a national charitable giving movement known as #Giving Tuesday.  The campaign capitalizes on the spirit of generosity during the holiday season. 

An anonymous donor is pledging to match up to $50,000 during the campaign for a total of $100,000.  Executive Director Jan Allan Zarr says the donations will be used to fund SKyPAC’s performances, galleries, and educational programs.

"Once of the things people don't understand is that SKyPac is a non-profit organization," Zarr told WKU Public Radio.  "We're not making profits on everything we produce, whether it's a show or the children's educational programs.  We rely a lot on those contributed funds that come in to help us."

When asked if SKyPAC is in financial trouble, Zarr said 'no', but acknowledged what he called bumps in the road, including the recent loss of Kentucky Stages.  Zarr said he hopes the loss in revenue can be made up through the #GivingTuesday campaign while SKyPAC looks for another resident company.

SKyPAC's #Giving Tuesday campaign begins December 2 and runs through New Year’s Eve.

Some of the best gospel musicians in the Bluegrass State will be in Bowling Green Tuesday evening.

The WKU Cultural Enhancement Series is sponsoring the show called Kentucky Glory: Gospel Music from the Commonwealth.

“It’s going to bring together the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood, an acapella African-American group from Covington,” said Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU, and a member of the Cultural Enhancement Series committee. “Also, Paul Mosely and his friends—he’s an award-winning thumbpicker, but they also play some sacred music as well. And starting out the show is our very own John Edmonds, from the Bowling Green area.”

Bjorkman says the music presented Tuesday evening is a kind that impacts many people in the region.

“Church, going to church, and worshipping is very much part of many peoples’ lives here in the commonwealth. So it’s a wonderful thing to bring together African-American and white churches. Everybody really has a connection to this particular kind of music we call gospel.”

The show begins at  7 p.m. Tuesday at the Downing Student Union auditorium.

Photo Gallery: The Making of a Horror Film

Nov 1, 2014
Abbey Oldham

It's the time of year when people are tuning into special Halloween themed episodes of their favorite shows and searching the horror section of Netflix for their annual haunted pleasure. But some WKU students aren't only watching scary films, they are creating one.

Amber Langston, a WKU film student, wrote and directed "The Milkman," about a milkman in the 1950s who kills his customers. Langston and her crew shot the film Sunday, October 26, 2014. 

Abbey Oldham

The Forgotten Girl is the latest book by author and WKU English Professor David Bell. Like many of his previous novels, The Forgotten Girl centers largely around family dynamics and unresolved issues from the past that rear their ugly heads in the present.

Bell came to the studios of WKU Public Radio to talk about his latest book, the book trailer that accompanied it, and whether or not he wishes he could change any part of his previous books.

Here are some excerpts from our interview:

WKU Public Radio: The Forgotten Girl opens with the character Jason Danvers having an unexpected encounter with his younger sister. Without giving away the ending, can you give us an idea of the dynamic between this brother and sister?

David Bell: Jason has moved back to his hometown because of a career change, and he has not seen his younger sister for five years. His sister throughout her life has struggled with substance abuse issues. So he and his sister basically reach this crossroads where he practiced tough love and said, “You’ve got to stay out of my life if you’re not going to have your act together.”


The shuttered Kentucky Repertory Theatre in Horse Cave could be on the verge of coming back to life. 

The regional theater company Kentucky Stages has made an offer to purchase the three buildings that once housed the Horse Cave attraction. Mayor Randall Curry is thrilled at the prospects for reopening. 

"I've been in Horse Cave all my life," Curry told WKU Public Radio.  "I remember when the theater was organized back in the 70s and I'd like to get that relationship back into this community, people coming back here and sharing their talents with the people of south central Kentucky."

Once a destination for people all over Kentucky and beyond, financial problems forced the Kentucky Repertory Theatre to close last year. It was purchased at auction by Citizens First Bank in Horse Cave and has been for sale since then. 

Kentucky Stages hopes to close on the deal by the end of the year and open the theater for performances next summer.

Bill Luster

Looking back on his five decades as a newspaper photographer in Louisville, Bill Luster recalls an assignment that took him to a strip club called the Toy Tiger. 

The Toy Tiger was threatening to sue a nearby nursing home after some of its residents brought in an exotic dancer for a birthday party. So the nursing home thought a field trip was in order. The result of the assignment was a photo of three women from the nursing home and a much younger, shirtless man.

“This is my most fun assignment ever,” said Luster.  “Because, they were just having a good time.  Some of the women were a little apprehensive about it, but they enjoyed themselves.”

It’s just one of Luster’s photos currently on display at Gallery 916 in downtown Bowling Green.