The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Austins Bridge, with its new album Times Like These, is something I don’t see often on the Christian pop culture beat: an aspiring Christian country band.
It’s not unheard of, but even with some outstanding acts like Alathea, which eventually steered its career to the mainstream Americana market, Christian country has never taken hold.
Frankly, it’s unnecessary.
Since emerging in the 1970s, contemporary Christian music has primarily been an adult contemporary and rock genre. Those are genres that have widely been regarded as unfriendly to songs of faith, though every few years we get an I Can Only Imagine or Jesus Freak on the mainstream charts to challenge that notion.
But flip on country radio, and they have no problem talking about Jesus.
The Lexington Opera Society‘s big party at 6:30 p.m. May 22 in the Singletary Center for the Arts is billed as Prelude to It’s a Grand Night for Singing, which is June 11 to 20. It’s also the launch of the group’s new young professionals group, The Bohemians.
Pamela Perlman, who has helped organize the group, says, “The idea is to reach out and find this new generation who may not have grown up with opera but would love it if they could experience it and learn about it.”
The Bohemians will have a table at Prelude, where you can sample a Lucid absinthe cocktail and sign up for the group. Membership is free for the first year before Prelude and for those who attend the party, which includes music, food, tastings and auctions of items such as gift baskets, Keeneland tickets, autographed UK sports memorabilia and a Tempur-pedic mattress. Future events will include a party before SummerFest’s production of Rent and attractions associated with the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre‘s fall production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme.
While it is billed as a young professionals group, Perlman said Bohemians membership is open to all ages who are new to opera. A nominal membership fee will be set after the group’s steering committee meets. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kentucky Theatre has announced its Summer Classics lineup. It will bring back some favorites, roll out some new titles and give us a 3-D creature double feature.
All films will be shown at 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. on Wednesdays at The Kentucky, 214 East Main Street. Admission is $4.
Here’s the schedule of films, year of release and a star or two:
May 26: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Harrison Ford).
June 2: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940; Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier).
June 9: The Graduate (1967; Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft).
June 16: The Wizard of Oz (1939, Judy Garland).
June 23: Laura (1944, Gene Tierney).
June 30: Wild River (1960; Lee Remick, Montgomery Clift).
July 7: The Music Man (1962; Robert Preston, Shirley Jones).
July 14: Roman Holiday (1953; Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck).
July 21: 3D double feature: Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) and It Came From Outer Space (1953).
July 28: Flash Gordon (1980; Sam J. Jones; Max von Sydow).
Aug. 4: Raintree County (1957; Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift). Filmed in Danville.
Aug. 11: In a Lonely Place (1950, Humphrey Bogart).
Aug. 18: Mary Poppins (1964, Julie Andrews).
Aug. 25: From Here to Eternity (1953; Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr).
Sept. 1: The Red Shoes (1948). Classic ballet film.
Sept. 8: Five Easy Pieces (1970, Jack Nicholson).
Sept. 15: Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953; Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe).
Sept. 22: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927). Silent classic with orchestral score.
May14Filed under: Country music, Music, Television, Theater; Tagged as: Add new tag, Archie Campbell, Berea Arena Theatre, Berea Community School, Buck Owens, CBS, Culhanes of Kornfield Kounty, Eddie Kennedy, Erikke Meadows, Grandpa Jones, Hee Haw, Junior Samples, Kristi Miller, Linda Hays, Mary Ruth Isaacs, Minnie Pearl, Neil Simon, Norman Rockwell, Paul Loomis, Pfft! You Were Gone, Pure as the Driven Snow, Richard Bellando, Rocky Top, Roy Clark, rumor girls, The Sunshine Boys, Yogi Brown
BEREA — Some of the cast of Berea Arena Theatre‘s production of Hee Haw are sitting around talking about their favorite parts of the classic television variety show when Linda Hays shouts, “Grandpa! What’s for supper?!”
They had stumbled on yet another iconic bit from the TV series that ran 25 years on CBS and in syndication. In this one, Grandpa Jones, a native of Niagra, in Western Kentucky, would deliver mouth-watering menu descriptions while cleaning a window that wasn’t there.
“We have to do ‘Grandpa, what’s for supper?’” Hays says to her castmates, taking a break after their first rehearsal featuring the full company.
Hee Haw is a “special event” performance for the theater company that also presents a regular season of shows, which included Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys in March and will feature Paul Loomis’ Pure as the Driven Snow from July 22 to Aug. 1.
The idea behind special events, theater director Eddie Kennedy says, is to put up interesting, offbeat shows that don’t require quite the heavy lifting of mounting a play.
“I can tell someone, ‘You’re playing Minnie Pearl,’ and they can go home and practice it in front of their mirror,” Kennedy said. “Then we come in the week of the production and put it all together.”
Hee Haw is a proven commodity for Kennedy, who staged the show when he was teaching English, speech and theater at Berea Community School.
“I remember sitting on big old bales of hay singing Rocky Top,” recalled Angela Bailey, who, like several cast members, is a former student of Kennedy.
Hee Haw is, of course, a proven commodity itself, having been on TV for a quarter-century and establishing country stars and cultural icons during its run, including the song Pfft! You Were Gone and the “rumor girls” bit with the chorus, “No, you’ll never hear one of us repeating gossip, so you’d better be sure and listen close the first time.”
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