Arts & Culture

Emil Moffatt

Three days after the resignation of SKyPAC’s executive director and CEO, the Bowling Green-based performing arts center has confirmed that it is laying off five employees. 

The vice chairwoman of the SKyPAC Foundation board tells the Daily News that SKyPAC may have been “overstaffed in some areas”.  Names of those who lost their jobs have not been made public.  No other layoffs are expected. 

CEO and Executive Director Tom Tomlinson departed last week for a job with another performing arts center outside of Kentucky.

Emil Moffatt

The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center is searching for a new leader.

SKyPAC executive director and CEO Tom Tomlinson is leaving the Bowling Green-based organization to lead a new performing arts center outside the state.

Tomlinson was hired in early 2012 to lead SKyPAC following the $35 million dollar center’s opening.

A news release from SKyPAC says a search committee has been formed to find a new executive director.

Details on Tomlinson’s new job aren’t being released until next week, as the new employer requested confidentiality until then.

Pokey LaFarge

Among the things that make Pokey LaFarge stand out: his unique moniker, his throwback sound, the formal attire he often sports on stage and one of the songs from his latest album, which celebrates….a time zone.

I don’t mind the West Coast, and I don’t mind the East Coast, Oh, baby, but I ain’t gonna live on no coast. I’m just a plain ol’ Midwestern boy, gettin’ by on central time.

LaFarge says the song, called "Central Time", took him only five minutes to write

“Some songwriters would say that’s proof that it’s a good song,” said LaFarge. “Some of the best songs come out that way If it came out in five minutes, I wasn't even consciously thinking about it. It just came out.”

The 30-year-old St. Louis native along with his five-piece band will keep it within the Central time zone tonight as he performs in Bowling Green. The Pokey LaFarge sound can be described in a variety of different ways. He says it changes every time he’s asked.

“If I had to describe it today, I would say that it’s acoustic-rooted, horn-accentuated, lyric- and melody-driven Midwestern swing. How’s that?”

Owensboro Bluegrass Festival Announces Lineup

Feb 19, 2014

Organizers have announced the lineup for an annual bluegrass music festival sponsored by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro.

The festival known as ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival will welcome Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush and Del McCoury to the June three-day event. It is held at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro and last year attracted about 21,000 bluegrass fans.

The museum announced the lineup of more than 20 artists and bluegrass bands last week. Other acts including Doyle Lawson, the David Grisman Folk Jazz Trio and Railroad Earth.

Tickets and camping passes can be purchased on the festival's website.

The ROMP festival is June 26-28.

Henderson County Honors Native Son Grandpa Jones

Feb 18, 2014

The Kentucky Historical Society has approved a proposed highway marker to honor country music legend Louis "Grandpa" Jones at his birthplace.

Linda Hallmark, vice-president of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society, says the approval will allow the group to start fundraising for the project, which is expected to cost about $2,500.

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?

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