When Leonard Nimoy came to Lexington

KET personnel Bill Martin and Russ Farmer with actor Leonard Nimoy filming an episode of the KET series "The Universe and I" in 1975. Photos courtesy of George Rasmussen.

KET employees Bill Martin and Russ Farmer with actor Leonard Nimoy filming an episode of the KET series The Universe and I in 1975. Photos courtesy of George Rasmussen.

The death of iconic Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy on Friday prompted many people to share their memories of the actor who played Mr. Spock. Those people included Kentucky producer George Rasmussen, who hired Nimoy in 1975 to act in a film for PBS, shot at KET. In a few emails, Rasmussen recalled:

“I hired him to play a Sherlock Holmes character for an episode of The Universe and I called The Interior Motive. This series was an Earth-space science series for junior high students, funded by NASA. In 1975, Star Trek TV was over, and he had also done a stint on Mission Impossible.

“Leonard’s visit to KET was very professional, but also very special as he delighted everyone who came in contact with him. He seemed to love talking to people, asking them what they did, what they thought of the arts and the world in general.

“It was shot at the KET studios. In this short film, Leonard played Sherlock Holmes for the first time.

“In Nimoy’s book, I Am Not Spock, he writes about shooting the film and why he wanted to play Sherlock Holmes. Our writer, Dr. Richard Smith of Nicholasville, wrote a letter detailing the similarities and differences between Spock and Holmes. I believe this letter, which Nimoy reprinted in the book, was a major reason he came to Lexington.

“He was a joy to work with, very professional and engaging with the crew. He came every day prepared and on time, which was a little amazing since he went home each night with a different staff member. He said, ‘I prefer to sleep on a couch than in a empty hotel room.’ There was no hanky-panky that I was aware of, since the folks he left with each evening were married.

Actor Leonard Nimoy lays his Vulcan nerve pinch on producer George Rasmussen during filming for the KET series "The Universe and I" in 1975.

Actor Leonard Nimoyput his Vulcan nerve pinch on producer George Rasmussen during filming for the KET series The Universe and I in 1975.

“One evening, I took him to my house, at the time, in Meadowthorpe to celebrate my wife’s 30th birthday. Lots of folks in attendance. He chatted up everyone.

“At one point, he settled on a chair at the dinning room table, where the birthday cake was waiting to be cut. He started to pick and eat the cherries off it. My son, Dirk, 3 years old, watched in horror. He stared at Leonard until he was noticed. ‘That is a very, very bad thing to do,’ he admonished. A couple of people were noticing the exchange, including Dorothy Peterson, the associate producer on the project.

“’Dorothy, get my agent! I don’t have to take abuse from this kid!’ he said suddenly and loudly. For just a few seconds the place was totally quiet until a broad un-Spock-like smile spread warmly across his face and his eyes began to sparkle. Everyone burst into laughter.

“A few years later, when Dirk was in grade school at Cassidy and the Star Trek movies were coming out, Dirk would tell his friends and classmates about that night. But no one believed him.”

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2015 MoonTower Music Festival lineup

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Moon Taxi frontman Trevor Terndrup on stage at the Moontower music festival. The inaugural Moontower Music Festival, presented by LexEffect, was July 26, 2014, at Equus Run Vineyard in Midway, Ky., with a lineup featuring Moon Taxi and Sundy Best. Photos by Rich Copley | LexGo.com.

The lineup for the second annual MoonTower Music Festival has been released, featuring names familiar to both people who went to last year’s event and local and regional music fans.

The big changes in the second edition of the event are a change in venue and on the calendar. For 2015, the festival has moved from Midway’s Equus Run Vineyard to Lexington’s Masterson Station Park. And it will come later in the summer, Aug. 29. (For those tuned to the rhythms of the local calendar, there is not a UK football game that day, and that is not Labor Day weekend — missed it by one day.)

What will be the same as last year is the headliner, Nashville-based Moon Taxi, which brought a surge of energy to close out last year’s fest. Moon Taxi recently played an indoor gig at Cosmic Charlie’s and is on this year’s Bonnaroo lineup.

Regional acts joining Moon Taxi include Detroit-based Mike Mains & the Branches, Nashville-based funk outfit Space Capone, Nashville rock and hip-hop purveyors The Lonely Biscuits and returning Bowling Green band Buffalo Rodeo.

Tyler Childers performs at the Moontower Music Festival.

Tyler Childers performs at the Moontower Music Festival.

Joining them will be a lineup of local notables: contemporary cello pioneer Ben Sollee, one of Lexington’s hottest acts Coralee and the Townies, singer-songwriter Grayson Jenkins and returning artist Tyler Childers, who played a solo set last year and returns this year with his band.

Tickets are $50 general admission, $75 VIP and are available now at the festival website. The festival is presented by Lexington event coordinator LexEffect.

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Lexington high school theater tipster

This weekend sees 2015 spring semester high school theater getting into swing with several musicals and a play on tap. Here’s a look at what’s coming up, with a little interesting info on each show — there are some enticing shows coming up.

SCAPA: 42nd Street. When the Lexington Theatre Company announced this would be its inaugural production this summer, we said it would be a tall order, even for the pro troupe. How do high schoolers pull it off? A little help from Diana Evans is one answer. The results will be on stage this weekend. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 8 p.m. Feb. 27, 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 28. Lexington Opera House. $17 adults, $14 students and ages 65 and older.

Tates Creek High School. Grease. Talk about working both ends of the clock. WUKY reporter Karyn Czar, who you hear each day on Morning Edition, is directing this production (she has a pretty strong theatrical resume herself). And she brought in another ringer, with acoUstiKat Ron Wilbur singing Teen Angel. Still, this is one of the ideal shows for high schools, so it’s a chance to see future stars shine. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 to 28, 2:30 p.m. March 1. Tates Creek High School.

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Legally Blonde — The Musical Jr. Lexingtonian Laura Bell Bundy received a Tony Award nomination for creating the role of Elle Woods on Broadway. And her cousin, Addy Bell, is bringing the role to the Dunbar stage along with Ashton Elaine Stathis, as they share the role. When LBB was in town in January, she slipped over to Dunbar to work with the cast. 7 p.m. March 18 to 20, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 21, 2 p.m. March 22. Dunbar High School.

Bryan Station High School. Seussical the Musical. Bryan Station has been out of the high school musical and drama game, for the most part, recently. But this year, former Lexington Children’s Theatre staffer Amie Kisling joined the Station faculty and is getting things revived quickly, including a third-place finish at last fall’s Kentucky Theatre Association high school theater festival. 7 p.m. March 19 and 20, 2 and 7 p.m. March 21. $7 adults, $5 students. Bryan Station High School. *

Lafayette High School. The Addams Family. Yes, it will be spring when this production rolls around. But there’s never a wrong time to get creepy, kooky and ookey with Gomez, Morticia and their family. This is the recent Broadway version that rolled through Lexington a few years ago on the Broadway Live series. 7 p.m. April 16 to 18, 1 p.m. April 19.  $15 reserved, $12 adults, $10 students.

Henry Clay High School. Bad Auditions By Bad Actors; a comedy by Ian McWethy. Henry Clay is not presenting a musical this year, but has this comedy that sounds like a lot of fun. A director is attempting to cast a production of Romeo and Juliet to save a community theater with dim prospects that include “a ventriloquist, a girl who pretends she’s a cat, and someone who has somehow never heard of Shakespeare.” 7 p.m. April 23 to 25, 2 p.m. April 26. $8 adults, $5 students.

Are you associated with a Central Kentucky high school theater program and raising your fist to the heavens shouting, “My high school has a show too!”? (Come on, be dramatic. You have some association with theater.) Don’t get mad. Get on email and send me notice with showtimes, dates, location and ticket prices at rcopley@herald-leader.com. We’ll try to make these posts a regular thing.

* Full disclosure: My kids are involved in this show.

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Public art chosen for bridge on Oliver Lewis Way

A model of artist Christopher Weed's proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Photo by Matt Goins

A model of artist Christopher Weed’s proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Photo by Matt Goins

Colorado Springs, Colo., artist Christopher Weed‘s Origins has been chosen as the public artwork that will adorn the bridge on Oliver Lewis Way, which runs just south of the Main Street and Newtown Pike intersection between Rupp Arena and the Distillery District.

In an echo of the location, Weed’s work will consist of six abstract sculptures made to symbolize flaming bourbon barrels in a process used to char them inside before they are filled with un-aged spirit.

Weed was one of three finalists for the project, which received more than 100 proposals. The other finalists were Blessing Hancock of Tucson, Ariz., and Guy Kemper of Versailles.

Christopher Weed presents his proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

Christopher Weed presents his proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

In a press release from LexArts, Andrea Fisher of Transylvania University’s Morlan Gallery, said all three proposals were outstanding but said Weed’s work, “captured the history and aspirations of Lexington most profoundly. His abstracted interpretation of burning bourbon barrels is a perfect gateway into the Distillery District and the classical element of flame is an appropriate counterpoint to the waters of Town Branch running below the Oliver Lewis Way Bridge. Furthermore, the light sculptures resemble glowing torches, emblematic of hope, energy, and passion, wonderful descriptors of Lexington’s current zeitgeist.”

The press release said Weed’s work was the unanimous choice of the selection committee.

The project is a collaboration between LexArts and the Lexington Fayette Urban-County Government and, with a budget of nearly $200,000 in public and private funds, it will be the biggest public art project ever commissioned by the city.

Second District Urban County Councilwoman Shevawn Akers spearheaded the project and said it was, “the culmination of intentional design, a grand idea and a terrific collaboration between LFUCG, LexArts and the citizens of Lexington. I am so proud to be part of it. ”

Work will begin immediately on Origins, and it will be unveiled and dedicated during festivities leading up to the Breeder’s Cup, Oct. 24-31.

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Lexington Music Awards: And the winners are …

Lexington Music Awards emcees Bill Meck and Kristen Pflum with founder and organizer David McLean backstage Sunday night at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Heather Parrish.

Lexington Music Awards emcees Bill Meck and Kristen Pflum with founder and organizer David McLean backstage Sunday night at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Heather Parrish.

While the Oscars were being handed out in Hollywood, the inaugural Lexington Music Awards were held Sunday night at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center.

The awards were the brainchild of Lexington musician and music teacher David McLean, who originally intended it to be a small gathering at Natasha’s Bistro and Bar, until interest in the event exploded. He told Walter Tunis beforehand that it was a challenge wrangling all the nominations and logistics of a multifaceted awards show.

Now that No. 1 is in the books, McLean reflects, “It was chaos, with imperfections and stumbling and threatening to fall apart at the seems at any minute … but it held together with a little duct tape and luck, and we pulled this baby off!

“It was fabulous.”

And he and others involved such as musician Heather Parrish, who gave one of several performances Sunday night, say they are already looking forward to the second edition and raising awareness of local music.

“I think people are starting to see what I’m really after with this in a way that words alone can’t express,” McLean wrote Monday. It “took putting 400-plus people in a beautiful room, five bizarrely different musical acts, and a lot of energy and emotion to open the door. But the light is creeping in.”

Here is a look at the winners:

STYLE

Best Americana/folk: Michael Johnathon

Best blues: Tee Dee Young

Tee Dee Young  was named best blues artist. © Herald-Leader photo by Charles Bertram.

Tee Dee Young was named best blues artist. © Herald-Leader photo by Charles Bertram.

Best classical: Lexington Philharmonic

Best country / bluegrass: Scott Said & Backroads

Best funk/R&B/reggae: G-Funk Allstars

Best hip hop/rap: Hybrid the Rapper

Best jazz/world: DOJO (DiMartino-Osland Jazz Orchestra)

All the Little Pieces --  (clockwise from left) Rhyan Sprague (singer, keyboards, guitar, songwriter), Thomas Suggs (guitar), Billy P. Thomas (bass) and Chris Jones (drummer) -- were named best rock act. Lexington-based band All the Little Pieces has released its new album, "Broken Little Soul," Nov. 1. This photo was taken at a rehearsal Nov. 4, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley.

All the Little Pieces — (clockwise from left) Rhyan Sprague (singer, keyboards, guitar, songwriter), Thomas Suggs (guitar), Billy P. Thomas (bass) and Chris Jones (drummer) — were named best rock act. Lexington-based band All the Little Pieces has released its new album, “Broken Little Soul,” Nov. 1. This photo was taken at a rehearsal Nov. 4, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley.

Best pop: Sydney Cubit

Best rockAll The Little Pieces

Best singer-songwriter: Maggie Lander

Best cover band: See Alice

Song of the Year: Black Horses by Avery Crabtree and Josh Brock

PERFORMANCE

Best female vocal: Mandy Reichert

Best male vocal: Vincent Grino

Best drummer/percussionist: Vincent Grino

Best guitar: Ben Lacy

Best bass: Jason Groves

Best keyboard: Kevin Holm-Hudson

Best brass/winds: Miles Osland

Best strings: Ben Sollee

INDUSTRY

Best live venue: Natasha’s Bistro and Bar

Best music store: Doo Wop Shop

CD Central owner Steve Baron. The store won best music business. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley.

CD Central owner Steve Baron. The store won best music business. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley.

Best music company: CD Central

Best recording studio and engineer: Sneak Attack, Jason Groves

Jay Flippin Music Educator Award: Paul Felice

Best live sound tech: Phil Osborne

Best radio DJ: Joe Conkwright, WUKY-FM 91.3

Best gear repair, customization, builders: Willcutt Guitars

SPECIAL

Community Service Award: Woodsongs All-Volunteer Crew

Lifetime Achievement Award recipients:

Jay Flippin

Michael Johnathon

Loretta Lynn

Bill Monroe

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UK sends two singers to Met Auditions semi-finals

Matt Turner, who won the Mid-South Regional Round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions on Feb. 21, 2015, in rehearsal for the UK Opera Theatre's October 2014 production of "Sweeney Todd." © Herald-Leader staff photo by Rich Copley.

Matt Turner, who won the Mid-South Regional Round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions on Feb. 21, 2015, in rehearsal for the UK Opera Theatre’s October 2014 production of “Sweeney Todd.” © Herald-Leader staff photo by Rich Copley.

University of Kentucky bass Matthew Turner won the Mid-South Regional Round of the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions Saturday at UK’s Schmidt Vocal Arts Center, and has advanced to the audition’s national semi-finals, March 15 on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Reginald Smith Jr. Photo by Lynn Lane.

Reginald Smith Jr. Photo by Lynn Lane.

Turner will be joined by UK alum Reginald Smith, Jr., who advanced to the semi-finals out the Southeast regional round in his hometown of Atlanta, last weekend. Smith is currently in the Houston Grand Opera Studio Program for young artists and has appeared in numerous Houston Grand Opera productions.

Turner, 27, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and vocal performance at the University of Kentucky last year. He is a native of Jackson and currently resides on Lexington. Last fall, he shared the title role in the UK Opera Theatre production of Sweeney Todd.

The dual UK bass-baritone delegation to the Met National Semi-Finals is reminiscent of 2001-02, when Corey Crider advanced out of a regional round in Lexington and Mark Whatley advanced out of another regional. Whatley went on to the national finals. The last UK singer to advance to the national rounds of the Met Auditions was soprano Afton Battle in 2008.

This was the first regional semi-final in Lexington since 2008. Regional rounds used to come to Lexington, which always hosts the Kentucky District round, on a rotating basis. After a realignment of the competition, the Mid-South Regional was regularly held in Memphis. A change in the Memphis organization that hosted the auditions prompted the national organization to ask Lexington to host this year, according to regional co-chair Dr. Clifton Smith.

The audition was supposed to be open to the public, but due to inclement weather, it was moved from UK’s Memorial Hall to the UK Opera practice facility and closed to the public.

The runner up Saturday was Huanhuan Ma, a soprano from Philadelphia who earned a master’s from the Peabody Conservatory last year. Encouragement award winners were Josh Quinn, a bass from Tampa currently studying at the New England Conservatory of Music, and Christopher Kenney, a bass from Hawley, Minn., who is pursuing a master’s at UK.

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Weekend arts and entertainment cancellations

After pretty much wiping out the week in Central Kentucky, Old Man Winter has not given up, and a number of arts and entertainment events are getting out of his way. Here’s a look a cancellations and postponements due to weather.

Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras: Sunday night’s Teen Arts I concert at the Singletary Center has been canceled. A rescheduled date will be announced this week. Tickets purchased for Sunday’s concert will be honored on the rescheduled date.

The Lexington Music Awards: The inaugural music awards will go on as scheduled at the Lyric Theatre (and in an amusing twist, WLEX meteorologist Bill Meck is one of the hosts).

Jim Gaffigan: The Singletary Center for the Arts has officially announced on its Facebook page that tonight’s Jim Gaffigan show is on as scheduled. They do advise patrons to leave plenty of time to arrive and park. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and showtime is 8:30.

Tequila Tasting: Sunday’s night’s Oscars event presented by Dress for Success and Coba Cocina has been moved to 5:30 to 8 p.m. March 12. It will, of course, no longer coincide with the Oscars and will be geared as an after-work, networking event.

Musicland: Saturday night performance canceled.

Meadowgreen Park Bluegrass Music Hall, Clay City: Saturday performance by the McLain Family Band and Mountain Music Ambassadors has been rescheduled to April 19.

Metropolitan Opera National Council Mid-South Regional Auditions: Location changed and no longer open to the public. Results will be posted on this blog as soon as they are available.

The 39 Steps by University of Kentucky Theatre: All weekend performances canceled. Will open Wednesday.

The UK Choristers: Night on Broadway concerts scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been canceled and will be rescheduled.

Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra: PB&J concert scheduled for Saturday morning has been postponed until March 28.

Art Museum at the University of Kentucky: The curator tour scheduled for Friday night has been canceled. The museum is closed Saturday, but hopes to re-open Sunday.

Tall, Dark and Handsome: Performance scheduled for Friday night at Natasha’s Bistro and Bar has been canceled.

Senora Tortuga: Lexington Children’s Theatre production at the EKU Center for the Arts Sunday has been rescheduled for March 1.

The Listening Room at Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church: Performance by Grover Mollineaux rescheduled to March. 6.

These are all the cancellations and reschedulings we are currently aware of. We will post additional information as we receive it. If you have an arts or entertainment event  cancellation in Central Kentucky you want to share, email me at rcopley@herald-leader.com. 

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Oscar picks: My favorite in the ‘Boyhood’ – ‘Birdman ‘ race, and why it will lose

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane in a scene from the film,"Boyhood." Arquette is nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in the film. AP/IFC Films photo.

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane in a scene from the film,”Boyhood.” Arquette is nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in the film, which has eight nominations, including best picture. AP/IFC Films photo.

The best picture race in the 87th Academy Awards, we are told, has come down to two movies: BoyhoodRichard Linklater’s 12-year-project to tell the story of adolescence through a cast all aging together through the course of the movie, and Birdman Alejandro González Iñárritu’s meditation on celebrity, art and relevance focused on a one-time blockbuster actor trying to gain “legitimacy” on the Broadway stage.

Both of these are brilliant movies in their own ways.

In Boyhood, Linklater — a favorite director of my generation for movies such as SubUrbia (1996), Dazed and Confused (1993), School of Rock (2003) and the Before … romantic-comedy trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy — has pulled off an astonishing feat, crafting a movie over the course of 12 years with the same cast and beautifully natural progression of story and time. (It is a recurring theme with Linklater, also seen in a different way in the Before trilogy.)

It is easy to get caught up in the gimmick of Boyhood, looking for the points where we jump a year, usually in the hairstyles of leading man Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his mom Olivia (Patricia Arquette). But in the course of two hours and 45 minutes, we get drawn into this life, and this astonishingly natural film. It starts to hit you that major, dramatic turning points you expect to happen don’t, like when Mason’s girlfriend shows him a picture on her phone while he’s driving, shortly after his dad (Ethan Hawke) has lectured him about distracted driving, and he doesn’t get in a huge wreck when he looks up. There are warning signs that do come to fruition, like when Olivia’s second husband’s drinking turns him abusive and violent. But the outcome is simply the domestic drama of a woman regaining her family and trying to put her life back together. The drama was in living, not in the dramatic moments.

This really hits home watching Mason’s high school graduation party, as millionaire movie stars like Hawke and Arquette portrayed regular folks celebrating one of life’s important passages in a simple middle-class, single-parent home. Shooting 12 years may have been the gimmick, but coming up with something incredibly real was the result.

birdman-posterBirdman, on the other hand, only has a tangential tie to reality. Riggan Thompson is a former star of a superhero film franchise played by Michael Keaton, the former real-life star of a superhero franchise: Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Riggan is haunted by his superhero alter ego and seems to possess superhuman powers to mentally command objects to move and, later, fly. Or does he?

While he goes through the career-validating task of trying to mount a Broadway production of his adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story, which he also directs and acts in, he is criticized by the Birdman who he imagines talks to him, and he doesn’t get much more validation from co-stars, critics or even his own daughter, brilliantly played by Emma Stone. At one point tells him, “You’re doing this because you’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter. And you know what? You’re right. You don’t. It’s not important. You’re not important. Get used to it.”

It’s a pretty fierce, brutally honest scene, particularly for a character who has depended on his sense of importance for validation. And if you contemplate issues of art and its relevance, the impact of culture, it is quite interesting. It is also an engrossing story of what will ultimately happen to Riggan, who becomes increasingly unhinged as the movie goes along. It is little surprise it’s resonated with Hollywood talent, who have honored the movie at recent fetes such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Producer’s Guild.

And it stands a good chance of taking home the Oscar for best picture, though just a month ago, Boyhood was considered the frontrunner.

Here’s what will doom Boyhood: It’s way too normal for Hollywood mythmakers.

One thing that exemplified this for me was a Hollywood Reporter “Brutally Honest Ballot” by an anonymous female voter who said she would give Arquette best supporting actress in part because she didn’t have any cosmetic surgery done in the 12 years she made the film, aging from 33 to 45.

“Patricia Arquette probably was sorry she agreed to let them film her age over 12 years,” the member of the Academy’s public relations branch said, adding later, “It’s a bravery reward. It says, ‘You’re braver than me. You didn’t touch your face for 12 years. Way to freakin’ go!'”

Honey, that’s how most of us go. We age. We are wrinklier and lumpier than we were a dozen years ago. Only in cosmetically fixated culture like Hollywood would aging into your 40s without getting “work” done qualify as an act of bravery.

And that’s why I think Birdman will beat Boyhood. Academy voters probably won’t get Boyhood the way a lot of viewers did. But exploring the cultural legacy of your work portraying a superhero? Right in the Academy’s wheelhouse. And it has a showy brilliance with the extended shots, blends of fantasy and reality and explosive performances, particularly from Edward Norton. It’s also something else the Academy loves: A movie about movies, as evidenced by recent best picture wins for Argo and The Artist.

Boyhood’s brilliance is much more subtle, but no less astonishing. It broke so many rules and blazed so many trails, all while staying rooted in its Texas locale. Watching that journey in just under three hours exemplified how, in a few incredibly short years, the core history of lives are written. I can think of few other movies that brought me such an awareness of myself and my loved ones.

That’s why it should win, but it won’t. Will win: Birdman.

While I’m at it, a quick trip through other categories:

Best Actor: In the only truly competitive acting category, we have another tight race between Michael Keaton’s tortured movie star in Birdman and Eddie Redmayne as young Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. As much as the Academy likes movies about movies, it likes actors playing historic characters and characters with disabilities even more. Will win: Eddie Redmayne.

Best Actress: Julianne Moore is a five-time nominee Oscar is dying to send home with some gold. It will this year for her performance in Still Alice as a brilliant woman slipping into early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Will win: Julianne Moore.

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons scary drum teacher in Whiplash breaks him out of anonymous character actor land and into the Oscar-winning actor club.

Best Supporting Actress: No, this is not for avoiding plastic surgery for 12 years. Geeze. It’s for being the heart of a 12-year project and playing a mom a lot of us recognize. Will win: Patricia Arquette.

Best Director: I’m seeing more sentimental than practical fingers pointing toward Linklater. Iñárritu is getting a lot of love for brilliance. But I just get the feeling (and hope) voters will honor a director with the brilliance to pursue a crazy plan, and the talent to pull it off beautifully. Will win: Richard Linklater.

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Not going anywhere? Catch up on Oscar nominees

Michael Keaton is nominated for best actor for his performance in "Birdman," which is up for best picture and seven other Academy Awards. (c) Fox Searchlight photo.

Michael Keaton is nominated for best actor for his performance in “Birdman,” which is up for best picture and seven other Oscars. (c) Fox Searchlight photo.

With officials in Central Kentucky advising us to stay home unless we have jobs that deal with life or death, we are left to fend for entertainment at home. Fortunately, we have twenty-teens technology, and this light, fluffy snow isn’t knocking out power everywhere. So, if you have a high speed Internet connection, you have video stores at your fingertips and can do things like catch up on Oscar movies.

The 87th Annual Academy Awards are Sunday night, and a number of the major nominees are already available for streaming, primarily at Amazon Instant Video. Here’s a look at what’s available without leaving home, which you probably are not doing anytime soon. Grab a Snickers and the remote.

Birdman, the newest nominee to become available, is up for nine awards, including best picture, best actor Michael Keaton, best supporting actor Edward Norton, best supporting actress Emma Stone and best director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It is available on Amazon Instant Video to purchase for $12.99 to $14.99.

Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s 12-year project, is up for six awards including best picture, best supporting actor Ethan Hawke, best supporting actress Patricia Arquette and best director and original screenplay for Linklater. It’s on Amazon Instant starting at $3.99.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is up for nine awards, including best picture, best director for Wes Anderson and best original screenplay for Anderson and Hugo Guiness. It’s at Amazon Instant starting at $9.99.

The Theory of Everything, the story of young Stephen Hawking, is up for five awards including best picture, best actor Eddie Redmayne, best actress Felicity Jones and best adapted screenplay for Anthony McCarten. You can purchase it at Amazon Instant Video for $14.99.

The Judge features Robert Duvall’s performance nominated for best supporting actor. It starts at $3.99 on Amazon Instant.

Gone Girl is a nominee for best supporting actress for Rosamund Pike’s performance. It’s on Amazon Instant starting at $4.99.

The Boxtrolls is up for best animated feature and at Amazon starting at $4.99.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 was a surprise Golden Globe winner for best animated feature and it’s up for the same Oscar. At Amazon, it starts at $4.99.

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Notebook: Kayoko Dan makes a dramatic return to Lexington

Former Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra music director Kayoko Dan, now music director of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, returns to Lexington to conduct the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra Feb. 13, 2015. She is shown in the Chattanooga Orchestra's home venue, the Tivoli Theatre.  Photo by Brad Cansler.

Former Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra music director Kayoko Dan, now music director of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, returns to Lexington to conduct the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra Feb. 13, 2015. She is shown in the Chattanooga Orchestra’s home venue, the Tivoli Theatre. Photo by Brad Cansler.

Former Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras director Kayoko Dan returned to the Bluegrass Friday night, directing the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra in a cinematic concert that highlighted several of the group’s principal players.

Dan said Monday that the program was completely chosen by Philharmonic music director Scott Terrell, but it certainly played to her flair for the dramatic, evident from the first selection, Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, through actual film music in Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Concerto for Cello and Orchestra and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2.

We first heard Dan conduct Tchaikovsky in 2007 — his Suite from Sleeping Beauty — when she was the first candidate to succeed George Zack as the Philharmonic’s music director. Even then, it was evident that she liked driving the big Tchaikovsky machine, a composer she returned to several times during her two-year tenure with the Youth Orchestras from 2009 to 2011. There were no hard feelings, as Dan says in reality she was not ready to take up the baton for a professional orchestra at the time.

The CKYO gig gave her grounding for her current post as music director of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, just four hours south on I-75.

Looking at programs there, she has operated much like Terrell here when it comes to programming, mixing in contemporary work with classics. The Crouching Tiger Suite, culled from Tan Dun’s Oscar-winning score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was quite modern, employing amplified cello and frequently bombastic percussion. But was still a crowd pleaser with its mix of drama and fascinating technique from all players.

Benjamin Karp.

Benjamin Karp.

The Concerto is a fun piece to listen to. It’s even more fun to watch, particularly as soloist Benjamin Karp, the Philharmonic’s principal cellist, seemed to coax sound from his instrument in every way possible, including bowing, strumming, tapping, chords and amplifier effects such as feedback. It was a marvelous challenge for Karp, dressed appropriately in a silky red shirt for Valentine’s weekend, to take on in front of the hometown crowd. But he was hardly alone.

Principal percussionist James Campbell and principal flutist Pei-San Chiu were also featured in the work, Campbell at one point coming to the front of the stage and Chiu switching between flute and piccolo.

Chiu was a prominent player throughout the evening, somewhat appropriate as flute is Dan’s instrument; she in fact pulled out her flute in a January Chattanooga concert.

The one thing that seemed to be missing was an on-stage acknowledgement that the guest conductor was a returning former leader in the Lexington music community who has gone on to her own success. Granted, orchestra audiences tend to prefer playing to talking, but a greeting, introduction or some kind of acknowledgement from someone with the orchestra was in order. The evening felt a tad chilly without that.

But Dan’s direction was warm and empathetic, ending the evening with the early Tchaikovsky symphony, which relied more on the composer’s trademark charm than power. Dan had to head back to Chattanooga Friday night after the concert to conduct rehearsals for a Sunday Symphony and Opera concert. That meant driving well into the early morning, but she could probably ride off the energy of the Tchaikovsky symphony’s last few bars.

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