The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Actors Guild of Lexington will be back on stage in June, presenting Tommy – The Concert at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom. The announcement by AGL interim artistic director Eric Seale ends several months of silence from the theater, which abandoned its originally announced 2009-10 schedule after financial travails and staff departures rocked the company.
Tommy will be the theater’s first production since David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries in December. “Concert version” means it will be performed with light staging. It will play for three performances, 8 p.m. June 3 and 4 for ages 18 and older and 2 p.m. June 6 for all ages.
The Johnson Brothers Band, known for their faithful recreations of classic rock albums, will provide the music. Auditions for parts will be at 4 p.m. April 17 and 18 at Actors Guild’s offices at 903 Manchester St., right next door to Buster’s. Seale said ticket information will be announced soon.
As spring sprung last weekend, I occasionally found myself transported back to the late 80s, when I first discovered the joys of rolling down the windows and cranking up some wistful three-chord rock ‘n’ roll.
An album of choice back then was the dB’s Like This, singing along with Peter Holsapple to songs like Love is for Lovers and Not Cool. And it is easy to imagine some kids today getting their first taste of Surfer Blood with the windows rolled down and Bradford Pear petals floating in.
The debut effort from the West Palm Beach, Fla., quartet, Astro Coast, has the unpolished feel of a band just getting its feet wet, but an uncanny ear for the hook and talent for experimentation without ever seeming hokey. The band’s signature is dense guitar work from Tom Fekete and frontman John Paul Pitts and their airy vocal harmonies with bassist Brian Black. The leadoff singles, Swim and Twin Peaks exemplify this structure, though stylistically, the album is very unstructured, borrowing from a wide variety of sounds including surfer guitar of the Jan and Dean era and 1990s indie rock, sometimes in the same song, like Catholic Pagans. Fekete’s willingness to dial down the gain and let single notes chime on Harmonix adds another color to the sound – blue, like the ocean.
Some Florida boys just dropped the first great album of this summer.
Chautauqua performers put together presentations of approximately 45 minutes portraying characters from Kentucky history, and they need to be well-versed in their characters so they can conduct question-and-answer sessions of up to 30 minutes after the presentation. The characters don’t have to be famous, but according to the Humanities Council, they do need to have statewide appeal and illuminate some aspect of Kentucky history. And they must be deceased – no sense in working up a presentation on someone who can still speak for his or herself.
In July, the Humanities Council will select five new performers to join its roster of more than 20 characters.
Chautauqua performers receive $1,000 for script development and drama, costume and scholarly consultants paid for by the Humanities Council, to ensure historical accuracy. Performers are paid $350 per performance, plus lodging. They must be available for at least 45 performances between Aug. 1, 2011, and July 31, 2013.
Applications must be postmarked by May 7 and include contact information, a resume, three references, and a two-to-three page description of the proposed character along with a bibliography of sources — i.e., a job application. Mail your application to:
Kentucky Humanities Council
206 E. Maxwell St.
Lexington, KY 40508-2613
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich