The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
It’s summer. It’s blockbuster season. But along with the superheroes and CGI, Lexington is getting several smaller films of local interest in the coming weeks, for one-night only showings.
Gatewood: Louisville native and Los Angeles-based filmmaker Chris Iovenko’s documentary follows the late Gatewood Galbraith through his ill-fated 1995 campaign for governor. Galbraith ran for governor as a Democrat or independent five times between 1991 and his death in 2012, and the film shows the unique character of Galbraith as well as the challenges of being an outsider candidate. There are also appearances by Willie Nelson and a very young-looking Ben Chandler. Iovenko will be at the screening and take questions. 9 p.m. June 14, Natasha’s Bistro and Bar. Free.
Red River Moon: Writer and director Bruce Barnett wrote the screenplay for Red River Moon inspired by the idea of shooting against one of Kentucky’s iconic backdrops, Red River Gorge. The film about getting lost in the Appalachian Wilderness was shot in 2010 with School for the Creative and Performing Arts students Virginia Newsome, now a SCAPA graduate, and Maizie Barrett, now a seventh grader, in leading roles along with Frankfort actor Nat Colten. Kentucky musicians Carla Gover, Tripp Bratton, John Rose, Jesse Wells, Don Rogers, Jeri Howell, Bret Ratliff, and others contributed to the score. The world premiere screening is at 7 p.m. June 20 at the Kentucky Theater.
Sole Survivor: Chicago-based filmmaker Ky Dickens’ documentary looks at the stories of some of the 14 people in the world who are sole survivors of commercial airline crashes. Jim Polehinke, the sole survivor of the August 2006 crash of Comair Flight 5191 at Bluegrass Airport, holds a unique place in the film as the only pilot and only survivor with significant injuries from his crash — he lost the use of his legs, and one was amputated at the knee. He also has had to live with the National Transportation Safety Board investigation that said the crash, which killed 49 people, was a result of pilot error. Sole Survivor is the first time Polehinke and his wife, Ida, have spoken publicly about the crash. Click here to read more about the film. The Lexington premiere is at 7 p.m. July 18 at the Kentucky Theater. Admission is $9, and proceeds will be donated to “various foundations to support the visions and philanthropy of 5191 victims’ families,” according to the film’s Facebook page.
The opening of the newly digital Kentucky Theater last weekend coincided with the announcement of the rest of the Summer Classics series for this year.
The theater announced the first part of the popular series late last month, but held off with the July and August offerings to finalize a few things. Now the list is out and includes things from the somewhat recent and not-so-recent past.
Gene Wilder leads the cast of the Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein (1974) May 10. You are welcome for the Puttin on the Ritz earworm.
July 17 is a time-honored crowd-pleaser, Gregory Peck in his iconic performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962).
The annual Hitchcock offering is July 24 with The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with James Stewart and Doris Day.
William Powell and Carole Lombard star in My Man Godfrey (1936) on July 31.
Aug. 7 is one of the classic Vietnam War movies, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper and a very young Laurence Fishburne.
The next week, Aug. 14, is a classic John Wayne western with Rio Bravo (1959), co-starring Angie Dickinson.
Titanic – no, not that Titanic – is Aug. 21 with Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Wagner in the 1953 version that was years ahead of Kate and Leo.
Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon star in the comedy classic Some Like it Hot (1959) Aug. 28.
And the series ends Sept. 4 with a bunch of tough guys including Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson and James Coburn in The Great Escape (1963).
As usual, showtimes are 1:30 and 7:15 p.m. and tickets are $5.
Everybody loves a hometown hero. UofL basketball star Peyton Siva could barely do interviews for all the fans cheering SIVA! SIVA! as he entered the Barnstable Gala. He said he was enjoying the love and looks forward to coming back, even after he’s moved on to the NBA. Seems the party did save the best for last this year. We’re out. 11:05 p.m.
I was about to go, but Joey Fatone is here. 10:32 p.m.
Perennial Barnstable Brown Gala guest Travis Tritt pointed out that he sang the national anthem at the NCAA men’s basketball championship, which Louisville won. Therefore, he said he is definitely putting money on coach Rick Pitono’s Goldencents because, “he’s on a roll.” 10:27 p.m.
Valerie Harper, who is battling lung cancer, said she was doing well and, “I’m not going to waste my life worrying about when I’m going to die, so I came to the Derby.” Former UK football star and current Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb said he always enjoys coming to his “second home.” 10:17 pm.
When the stars come, they come fast at Barnstable brown. Among things we picked up in the last 45 minutes or so: Emilio Estevez is working on a movie about harness racing at several locations, including the Red Mile. “Thoroughbred racing is the sport of kings,” he said. “But harness racing is the working man’s sport.” He said he was dressed in jeans and a blazer because he lost everything at the Oaks. Josh Henderson acknowledged he drinks plenty of bourbon on Dallas. Stephen Amell acknowledged throwing back a lot of Guinness at Fourth Street Live. Larry Birkhead said he would like to get back on the other side of the red carpet, as a working journalists again. Revenge’s Christa Allen said she knew nothing about the Derby but, “I love horses.”
Accounted for so far: Morris Day, Freddie Jackson, Clay Walker and David Denman. Freddie stopped to talk to us and said he’s happy to have a “return engagement. You don’t always get invited back.” He sang a few Bars of “You Are My Lady” to Christa from the C-J And said he was going to rely on the ladies to pick Derby winner for him. 9:07 p.m.
Just talked to Christopher Brown, Tricia Barnstable Brown’s son, about his memories of the party, which include dancing with Brooke Shields when he was a little boy and getting his picture taken with Mark Harmon when they were both wearing white tuxedoes. Brown, who is now an attorney in New York, says his favorite guests are the ones that come back every year and, “have become family friends.” 8:10 pm.
Generally they don’t put reporters and photographers on the red carpet, but that’s where we are, waiting out a windy, pre-party shower. Some of the journalists are playing around getting shots in front of the branded backdrop, while fans huddle under coats and umbrellas. Not the place you want to have several thousand dollars with of AV or photo gear. 7:20 p.m.
It is hurry up and wait time here at the Barnstable Brown Gala. Media usually start to arrive late afternoon, and then we get to hang around until around 9, when the stars start streaming in. But the red carpet is freshly vacuumed, the tripods are set up, and it looks like we have national press from E! and other outlets. Fans are starting to line the fence lines. C’mon Miranda.
Louisville’s Barnstable Brown Gala will celebrate its 25th edition with plenty of old friends and some new faces Derby Eve.
Among the familiar faces at the home of The ‘Ville’s hostess with the mostess, Patricia Barnstable Brown, will be reigning country superstar Miranda Lambert, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, pop chart-topper Kid Rock, former ‘N Sync member and TV star Joey Fatone, and UK coach John Calipari, according to Louisville’s Courier-Journal.
New stars coming out this year include Josh Henderson, who plays J.R. Ewing’s son on TNT’s Dallas, Krysten Ritter, who plays the title role in ABC’s Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, Stephen Amell of the CW’s Arrow, model Coco Rocha, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of The Social Network fame, Peyton Siva of the national champion University of Louisville men’s basketball team, and UK’s Nerlens Noel.
According to the C-J, Larry Birkhead, whose famously met the late Anna Nicole Smith at the 2004 Barnstable party and had a daughter with her, will arrive with a camera crew in tow documenting his Derby experience.
The Barnstable party always boasts the longest celebrity guest list of the Derby parties, and this year is no different. The celebs can generally be broken down into several categories.
Country music will be well represented by Clay Walker; Kix Brooks, formerly of Brooks & Dunn; Travis Tritt; Lee Ann Womack; and Eddie Montgomery, of Kentucky’s Montgomery Gentry.
R&B and hip hop will be represented by Freddie Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Morris Day of Morris Day and the Time fame, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC, Taylor Dayne, and Johnny Gill of New Edition. The presence of Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday means both actresses who won awards for playing Effie in Dreamgirls will be at Derby this year. Jennifer Hudson, who won her Oscar for playing the role in the film is appearing at the revived Grand Gala, Friday night. And Southern rock will be represented by Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Mark “Sparky” Matejka.
The acting attendees include David Denman of The Office and Drop Dead Diva, Terry O’Quinn of Lost, Mercedes Masohn of Chuck, Breakfast Club star Emilio Estevez, and American Pie star Jason Biggs.
And there are always plenty of human athletes in Louisville to watch the horses race: the NBA’s Anthony Davis and Darius Miller of UK’s 2012 national champion men’s basketball team, former UK and current Green Bay Packers star Randall Cobb, his Green Bay teammate linebacker Clay Matthews III, Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Matt Cassel, Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and Olympian Bode Miller.
The Kentucky Theatre has unveiled the first half of its summer classics lineup, which will sweep into the Main Street cinema May 29 with the quintessential movie, Gone With the Wind (1939).
The following week continues in the upper echelon of timeless classics with the 1952 Gene Kelly musical about Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies, Singing in the Rain on June 5.
June 12 brings a classic of the horror genre, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980).
One of the classic westerns is next on June 19 with How the West Was Won, a two-hour, 44 minute epic with four directors including John Ford and deep, deep cast last topped by John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Spencer Tracy.
Next, on June 26, is classic romance — they’re covering all the bases here in the first half — with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in 1957′s An Affair to Remember, which had the meeting atop the Empire State Building plot that was echoed in 1993′s Sleepless in Seattle.
Rounding out the first half of the lineup July 3 is 1967′s Two for the Road, featuring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney as a couple enduring the ups and downs of marriage, mostly in transit.
According to the Kentucky’s website, finalizing the schedule is taking longer than usual, “for a variety of reasons.” The post says the theater is still accepting suggestions for this summer.
Transylvania University’s May 25 graduation ceremony will have a dash of Hollywood: Actor and area resident Steve Zahn is to deliver the commencement address.
Zahn, who starred in films including Sahara; Happy, Texas; and Rescue Dawn, and the HBO series Treme, lives in Georgetown with his wife, theater artist and author Robyn Peterman-Zahn and their two children. They also are co-directors of The Rep, a Lexington-based musical theater troupe whose next production will be Georgie Boy! this summer.
Zahn took to the stage himself in December, playing the featured role of One-Man-Christmas-Show-Man in The Rep’s second annual production of Peterman-Zahn’s satirical revue Smackdown for the Christmas Crown at the Lyric Theatre.
On film, Zahn can next be seen in Dallas Buyers Club, the story of Ron Woodroof (played by Matthew McConaughey), an HIV/AIDS patient who created an underground resource of non-FDA approved AIDS medicines in the early 1990s. The film was recently acquired by Focus Features and is scheduled for release later this year.
Zahn attended the American Repertory Theatre’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.
The commencement ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. May 25 on the lawn at Old Morrison on the Transylvania University campus.
Eastern Kentucky University made news earlier this month with the announcement that First Lady Michelle Obama will address its graduates on May 11.
My job is often to get celebrities to talk to me, not to tell them what they shouldn’t say.
But were I to ever be in the position of telling a celebrity how to conduct himself or herself in public, there is one six-word phrase I would tell them to never, ever, ever, ever say. In fact, I would advise them to train themselves to have an involuntary gag reflex if they start to say it, so as not to permanently relegate themselves to a subset of Hollywood infamy.
And because our beloved Commonwealth will be crawling with celebs next week as the Kentucky Derby approaches, I will dispense this one piece of advice:
Never let these words, or any variation on them, slip from your lips: “Do you know who I am?”
It will never turn out well.
Even if you are Rihanna, who was about to be kicked out of a London club last summer until she invoked the phrase and ended up getting to stay and enjoy free drinks the rest of the evening, the initial positive outcome will sour in this TMZ world, where every slip of the tongue goes viral. It is just difficult, if not impossible, to utter that self-aggrandizing sentiment without coming across as a conceited twit.
The latest celebrity to learn this lesson is America’s sweetheart, Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, who reportedly asked a police officer, “Do you know my name?” — a variation of “Do you know who I am?” — while being arrested last weekend in Atlanta, where she is filming a movie. Witherspoon and her husband, agent James Toth, were pulled over April 19 on suspicion of drunken driving. Toth was at the wheel, but Witherspoon reportedly became increasingly agitated as Toth was put through a sobriety test and arrested.
According to the arrest report, Witherspoon told the officer, “You’re about to find out who I am” and, “You are going to be on national news,” as she was being taken in for disorderly conduct.
To Witherspoon’s credit, she has since apologized and said she was clearly in the wrong, and she has agreed to a pre-trial program to keep the arrest off her record.
The thing is, her admittedly drunk behavior is now permanently on the public, if not official, record. She will have some work to do convincing fans that the real Reese is not the one who tried to invoke her privileged status when things got tense.
Yes, celebrities at all levels make millions of dollars and achieve lauded status because people pay to see and hear their work.
But fans never want to know that you believe the hype, that you think you are as great as they say you are. And it really irritates people when you pull that on police officers, who make a lot less money than movie stars while doing a job that carries the risk of people sometimes shooting at them. In most cases, anyone who says, “Do you know who I am?” is saying it to someone whose life is less lucrative and more difficult than theirs.
And really, we’re much more charmed when you presume we don’t know who you are. Case in point: At the first Barnstable-Brown Derby Eve Gala I covered, a gentleman came up to me, extended his hand and said, “Robert Duvall” as if I didn’t recognize the esteemed Oscar-winning actor.
In an Internet where most viral video is humiliating, we were charmed last summer with a clip of a young musician on the subway talking to an older woman who clearly didn’t know he was megamogul Jay-Z, and he didn’t presume she did. The equity in the situation was obvious when it was revealed that the woman, artist Ellen Grossman, is famous in her own right.
So yes, Kentucky doesn’t rub right up next to New York or L.A., but we do know who most stars worth knowing are. But if you are here, don’t presume that we do, particularly if you’re being arrested.
Ashland is a period drama set during the Red Scare of the 1940s and ’50s. The story reportedly will center on Del, a woman who has to move home to a small Kentucky town with her three children after her screenwriter husband is blacklisted.
The series was written by Anders and Terry Graham, and Anders will reportedly co-executive produce the series with Shana Eddy-Grouf and direct the pilot. Anders’ writing and directing credits include the independent classic Border Radio (1987), Gas, Food, Lodging (1992) and Sugar Town (1999) — note the music thread running through her work — and she has directed episodes of Sex in the City, Southland and The Mentalist.
The project is currently in development, and there is no word on casting or shooting locations. FX’s Justified is set in Kentucky but has never filmed here, much to the chagrin of local fans, producers say because of financial constraints. There are numerous “reality” shows that have filmed in Kentucky, including Animal Planet’s Call of the Wildman and the new Guntucky on CMT.
In several media accounts, Ashland has been mentioned as a possible successor on AMC’s schedule to Mad Men, the advertising-agency based period drama that is starting to wind down.
Wild at Heart is a 1990 crime drama about a couple, Sailor (Nicolas Cage) and Lula (Laura Dern), who attempt to run from North Carolina to California with Lula’s mother’s (Diane Ladd) goons on their trail. One of those goons is a detective and the mother’s on-off boyfriend played by Stanton. Glover played Lula’s cousin, who puts cockroaches in his underwear — hey, it’s a Lynch film. The story contains strong allusions to The Wizard of Oz and Elvis movies — again, it’s a Lynch film.
Glover, 48, is best known for his portrayal of eccentric characters such as George McFly in Back to the Future (1985) and Andy Warhol in The Doors (1991).
Stanton, 86, is a native of West Irvine, graduate of Lafayette High School, and he attended the University of Kentucky. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he pursued acting and has had a long career primarily playing character roles. In its first two years, the Harry Dean Stanton Fest, presented by the Lexington Film League, has screened classic Stanton fare including Paris, Texas (1984), Repo Man (1984) and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973).
Earlier this year, the festival announced it will include a screening of the original Red Dawn (1984) on May 31 at the Fountain Films on Friday series at Triangle Park.
Jones says complete festival information will be announced later this week.
This news comes on the heels of Monday’s announcement that Lexington native and Oscar nominated actor Michael Shannon will be in town April 26 for the opening of Mud, in which he co-stars with Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Sam Shepherd, who has a home in Midway. The event, which includes a pre-show reception and Q&A with Shannon after the movie, is a fundraiser for Friends of the Kentucky, which is working for technological and cosmetic upgrades to the theater.
Growing up in the late 1970s and early ’80s, I did not realize how seriously the movies were taken until I saw a little show on PBS called Sneak Previews. It featured two movie critics from Chicago, easily identified as the skinny guy (Gene Siskel) and the fat one (Roger Ebert).
True, they gave the world the now-often-derided moview review shorthand of thumbs up and thumbs down. But in between the prestidigitation were passionate, enlightening conversations about films destined to become classics such as Raging Bull and Ordinary People, and some not so much — I remember being a bit disappointed the Mad Magazine movie Up the Academy got a fairly quick and dismissive thumbs down.
Ebert and Siskel’s show soon became the commercial, syndicated At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and continued to show that movies were something to be passionate about, and people could disagree without being disagreeable. They and my hometown newspaper critic, The Virginian-Pilot’s Mal Vincent, were my early film education, and undoubtedly helped lead me to where I am today.
When I started working toward a career in journalism, with the hopes of breaking into arts and entertainment writing, I discovered the Pulitzer Prize-winning, entertainment journalism icon that was Ebert, who died last week after a long and heroic battle with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands.
The disfigurement and loss of the ability to eat, drink or speak after numerous cancer surgeries would have led many to retire from the pressures of a day job, and living life on deadline is pressure. But in some ways it seemed to invigorate Ebert and give him a stronger sense of purpose both in his film reviewing and broader political and cultural commentary. His work became a lesson in overcoming obstacles and using the platform he was given, as much as his previous work was a lesson in developing taste, discernment and an independent voice.
Listening to Fresh Air’s tribute to Ebert on Friday, he reiterated a philosophy of reviewing I have heard him articulate before and should be a guide star to anyone who takes up the craft of reviewing: “You have to realize you’re not writing for the filmmakers. You’re writing for the potential film audience. And I would much rather hurt somebody’s feelings who made the picture than send somebody to see a movie and spend two hours of their life seeing a movie that I don’t think is worth seeing.”
This is a man who published two books filled with scathing reviews: I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie (2000) and Your Movie Sucks (2007), the latter being a frequently intriguing look at the role of a high-profile critic frequently dealing with the people he trashed. But those were validated by the numerous raves for films he thought were important for people to see, and vice versa.
In 2005, I was at the Toronto International Film Festival’s screening of Elizabethtown, and I spotted the unmistakable Ebert on his way into the theater. It was an electric moment thinking I would be in the same screening as the icon. And it was tempting to go up and tell him what his work had meant to me and how it influenced my career.
But how many times had Ebert heard that from many, highly accomplished scribes? Anyone who does this sort of job, chronicling culture, owes Ebert a debt for raising the profile and seriousness of this profession. It was a job he seemed to have to do, particularly as he confronted the challenges of his last few years. And it was a job he defined.
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