Arts & Culture

WKU Kentucky Museum and Special Collections Library

Update: Visitation for Carlton Jackson will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14th at J.C. Kirby's on Lovers Lane. His funeral is Saturday, Feb. 15th at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church.

Longtime WKU history professor and noted author Carlton Jackson has died at age 81.

“Carlton was a passionate historian and a very clever scholar who had a knack for finding an unusual, intriguing story and telling it in a way that really caught folks’ interest," said David Lee, Dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters.  "He was a master combination scholar-storyteller and a remarkable historian.”

Jackson authored several books including “Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel”, the biography of the actress who won an Academy Award for her role of Mammy in "Gone With The Wind". He also wrote “P.S. I Love You: The Story of the Singing Hilltoppers”, chronicling the four Western Kentucky students who rose to national stardom as a singing group in the 1950s . 

“Carlton is kind of a WKU legend,” said Lee.   “Universities are extensions of the personalities who comprise them and Carlton was a distinctive, legendary figure who’s left a tremendous legacy to this university.”

Jackson was featured as a part of WKU's "View from the Hill" program in 2011.

Jackson was one of the first two faculty members to be named a University Distinguished Professor.  Born in Blount County, Alabama, he came to Western Kentucky in 1961.

Bluegrass Music Service Expanding Presence to Owensboro

Feb 1, 2014
Kevin Willis

A Tennessee-based company that provides online services for fans of bluegrass music is establishing a presence in Daviess County.

Terry Herd, co-founder of Nashville-based Bluegrass Today, told the Messenger-Inquirer that the decision indicates how significant Owensboro, Ky., is in the bluegrass music industry.

The city is home to the International Bluegrass Museum and hosts the annual ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival, which was named the "event of the year" in 2012 by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Bluegrass Today, which launched about two years ago, includes news, airplay charts, forums and directories for fans.

The company said Sean Dysinger will head up its presence in Owensboro.

Larnelle Harris

It will be a homecoming of sorts Monday night at SKyPAC in Bowling Green as WKU alumnus Larnelle Harris performs at a Christmas concert with Orchestra Kentucky. 

“It’s going to be fun to get back and do this Christmas concert. It will kind of jump start our Christmas this year so we’re looking forward to it,” said Harris.  “And SKyPAC, this is a new auditorium and I think it’s going to be quite a living room and I think it’s a testament to how Bowling Green keeps moving ahead”

Throughout his four-decade career, Harris has performed at Carnegie Hall, The White House and even the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“All of those places have been great and to do the first concert at the Palace of Congresses at the Kremlin was indeed an exciting thing.  But I’ve gotta tell you, I enjoy being right here in Louisville and having the opportunity to go to my own church and sharing there has been a joy.”

Harris is a member of three Halls of Fame, and has won five Grammy awards.  Tonight’s Christmas concert is the first of two scheduled for Orchestra Kentucky this month. The group will also present A Rockin’ Christmas on December 14.

Mountain Workshops

A photograph and video exhibit on display at WKU’s Mass Media and Technology Hall is dedicated to documenting the stories of those who live in Owensboro and Daviess County.

Owensboro: An Old River City Discovers New Life features 40 photographs and 21 video narratives. It’s the work of those who participated in the 38th annual Mountain Workshops, a one-week hands-on workshop led by the WKU School of Journalism and Broadcasting's photojournalism sequence.

For five days in October a group made up of both student and professional  photojournalists made their way to Owensboro to find interesting people and stories that could be told through still and video images.

WKU Photojournalist-in-Residence Josh Meltzer, who  helps direct the Mountain Workshops, met WKU Public Radio’s Kevin Willis at the gallery to talk about how some of the images came to life.

It's been a good couple of months for author and WKU English Professor David Bell.

He recently won the Le Prix Polar International de Cognac, a prestigious French literary award given to the best crime novel published by a non-French author, for his 2011 book Cemetery Girl. His most recent book, Never Come Back, was published in October.

Never Come Back tells the story of Elizabeth Hampton, who--in the book's opening pages--arrives at her mother's home to find police detectives and crime scene investigators.

David Bell spoke to WKU Public Radio about the origins of his new work, and how Bowling Green and his parents have influenced his writing.

Where did you come up with the idea for your new book?

The future became a little murkier for a historic church building in downtown Bowling Green on Friday.

In August, the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center posted a $250,000 dollar winning bid for the vacant Taylor’s Chapel A.M.E. Church.   But SKyPAC says a 90-day window to find a donor to finance the restoration of the church building has come and gone without anyone stepping forward.  SKyPAC says it will let the purchase agreement expire and has no plans for the building. 

SKyPAC’s Executive Director and CEO Tom Tomlinson says the organization won’t use operating funds to restore the church building.  

Kevin Willis

Tom Hunley is out with a new collection of poems entitled Scotch Tape World. The associate professor of English at WKU was nice enough to stop by our studios Thursday to talk about what it’s like to get poetry published these days, why he chose poetry in the first place, and the inspiration behind Scotch Tape World.

Here are some excerpts from our interview:

Scotch Tape World was published as a chapbook. What is that, exactly?

"A chapbook is a sort of intermediary step for poets between publishing poems in journals and publishing a full-length book. So they're made in smaller print runs, and sometimes they're handmade."

What is it like trying to get poetry published in the year 2013?

"It's pretty difficult to get full-length books printed, in particular. Usually you have to enter contests that have reading fees. There's no such thing as an agent in poetry. You're your own agent."

Beth Hester

Two Allen County basket makers are in Washington D.C. to see their work featured in a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution.

But their plans could be ruined because of the government shutdown.

Scott Gilbert and Beth Hester are a husband-and-wife basket making team from Scottsville. One of Gilbert’s baskets is part of a Smithsonian exhibit scheduled to open to the public this Friday. That opening is in jeopardy unless Congress passes a measure funding the government.

Gilbert told WKU Public Radio he and his wife walked to the exhibit gallery Tuesday morning, only to find all the doors locked.

“Well, for a little while I was really mad about it. But when you’re standing here—we’re at the corner of I and 17th Avenues—and everything is hustle and bustle, and life goes on and the city goes on. I really don’t think they care much about the government here in Washington," Gilbert said with a laugh.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has denied a request to review a case over how the name of legendary bluegrass musician Bill Monroe can be used.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports that means a court of appeals ruling stands. The panel concluded that county officials meant to grant the festival the legal right to use Monroe's name but failed to formalize the agreement in writing before a falling out occurred in 2004.

The battle isn't quite over yet, though.

Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Foundation of Kentucky Inc. Director Campbell Mercer said the Ohio County Industrial Foundation and Bill Monroe's son, James Monroe, obtained a temporary injunction in Tennessee to prohibit him from using the name.

Mercer says he hopes the Kentucky court rulings will help his case in Tennessee.

Kevin Willis

Michael Morris is a man with a passion for southern fiction. His latest book is called Man in the Blue Moon, and he is in Bowling Green Thursday promoting the new work, and speaking to different organizations around town.

Man in the Blue Moon was the fall selection for the SOKY Reads! program, a community "one book" reading project in southern Kentucky.

Morris stopped by the studios of WKU Public Radio to talk about writing southern fiction, and how he got into writing late in life.

Here are some excerpts of our conversation:

You're giving a writing workshop today at WKU about writing southern fiction. What's distinctive about southern fiction? What makes it stand out from other genres?

“I just think the way we speak is different, obviously. That stands out. There are other aspects to the south that you don’t find in other places in the country. A lot of it has to do with the food. You know, we plan a big celebration around our food—the Sunday dinners."

"You know, William Faulker said the difference between the north and the south is that in the north the crazy relatives are hidden in the attic. In the south, we put them on the front porch and let them wave to everybody."

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