The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
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.
The Friends of the Kentucky Theatre announced the group has reached its first fundraising milestone of $250,000 for renovations at the downtown theater. The overall goal for the effort is $1.5 million to update carpeting seats and other features in the theater, restore the marquee, and purchase digital projectors for the theater. The last item is particularly important as film distributors have announced intentions to phase out 35 mm prints of new films.
To help boost the next phase of the fundraising, Lexington-based Applebee’s restaurants have announced they will donate 10 percent of the receipts from customers who present an event flier to their server while dining at Lexington Applebee’s from 11 a.m. to close Tuesday, March 19. Mike Scanlon, CEO of Thomas and King, Applebee’s parent company, will match the donation.
To get the flier, go to the Kentucky Theatre website and click on the Friends of the Kentucky Theatre button on the right side. Then click on the Dine to Donate button and you will be taken to a page to download the flier.
If you’re still trying to come up with something to do on Valentine’s Day, the Friends of the Kentucky Theatre would like to suggest that you go to the movies. Specifically, Friends will host a screening of the classic 1954 romantic comedy Sabrina, starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden.
Sabrina is a classic love triangle as Bogart and Holden play two very different wealthy brothers vying for the affections of Hepburn, who plays the daughter of their family chauffeur. It was nominated for six Oscars, including Hepburn for best actress, and Edith Head won one of her eight Oscars for her costume design in the film. It was remade in 1995 with Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear as the Larrabee brothers and Julia Ormond as the object of their affections.
Tickets are $10 in advance. Of course, this is a fundraiser, so there are other opportunities to support the theater, which is getting ready for some major renovations, and you might even buy something for your Valentine.
The theater is selling seats in the theater, and for $500, you can get your or your sweetheart’s name on one.
You can also check out film memorabilia donated by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen, who now runs Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm. The items, including letters and a shirt worn by Jack Nicholson in the 1974 classic Chinatown, will be sold in an online auction later this year, with proceeds split between the Kentucky Theatre and Old Friends.
Friends of the Kentucky will also, of course, accept donations in its effort to raise $1.5 million for the theater, and regard it as a lovely valentine to the Lexington institution.
The Rosa Goddard International Film Festival is returning to the Kentucky Theatre with the support of sQecial Media, an independent bookstore on Limestone. It is one of two film festivals sQecial is bringing to Lexington this fall season, the other being a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered trio of films at the Farish Theatre at the Central Library in October.
The Rosa Goddard series was originally launched through a gift from Goddard, a foreign film and Kentucky Theatre fan who left the theater funds to start the series when she died in 2003. It ended when funds ran out after 2008, and sQecial has stepped in to revive it. The series will pick up right after the Kentucky’s Summer Classics series ends with Luchino Visconti’s 1963 Italian classic The Leopard. That will provide a smooth transition to the foreign series of:
Sept. 12: Bande à part (Band of Outsiders), 1964, French with English subtitles. Jean-Luc Godard’s homage to film noir featuring a pair of thieves who have a thing for B-movies.
Sept. 19: Diva, 1981 French with English subtitles. Lexington’s Wilhelmina Fernandez-Smith is featured in this mystery set around an Opera House.
Sept. 26: Nóż w wodzie (Knife in the Water), 1962, Polish with English subtitles. Roman Polanski’s first feature film which received an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film.
Oct. 3: Weekend, 2011. Andrew Haigh’s film about a weekend fling between two men that resonates through the rest of their lives.
All films will show at 7:15 p.m. and admission is $5.
Weekend creates another smooth transition into the Lexington Gay Lesbian Services Organization’s Queer Film Series. All movies in the Sunday-afternoon series will show at 2 p.m., and admission is free. The movies are:
Oct. 7: North Sea Texas, 2011, Dutch with English subtitles. A teenage boy falls in love with the boy next door.
Oct. 21: T.B.A. The sQecial release says, “Due to film distributor restrictions the second film, about coming of age and coming out, can be announced on our web site and at the library only.”
Oct. 28: Heartbeats, 2010, French with English subtitles. This Cannes Film Festival award winning film is about s love triangle between three close friends.
Lexington-lensed Hitting the Cycle was named best dramatic feature film at the Manhattan Film Festival in late June. The movie is about a baseball player, Jimmy Ripley, nearing the end of his playing career and facing the prospect of life after baseball and confronting his past, including his estranged father (Bruce Dern).
Lexington native J. Richey Nash plays the Rip — who judging by the trailer has a penchant for hitting inanimate objects — and also wrote, produced and co-directed film. Darin Anthony was his co-director. According to a news release, two-thirds of the cast and crew for the film were Kentucky based. Among its locations were Whitaker Bank Ballpark, home of the Lexington Legends, and the University of Kentucky hospital buildings.
With the Kentucky Theatre hosting a very rare Saturday night concert by Bruce Hornsby on June 16, booker Larry Thomas has put together a week that looks sorta like the old days of the Kentucky, when there was a new movie every couple days.
The Kentucky traditionally does not book Friday or Saturday night concerts because distributors of first-run films require theaters to play their movies on Friday and Saturday nights, the most lucrative nights at the movies. The Kentucky agreed to present the Hornsby concert when the Troubadour concert series found itself in a bit of a pinch for a venue on the 16th. The trade off was no first run film for the Kentucky that week.
“Rather just put in something to fill, I thought we might have some fun with it,” Thomas wrote in an email.
So, the old-school Kentucky Theatre week will get started with the June 13 Summer Classics showing of Johnny Guitar, a 1954 western starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
June 14, 15: Marley (2012) – Kevin Macdonald’s documentary about Bob Marley, featuring Jimmy Cliff and Ziggy Marley.
June 16: Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers in concert.
June 17: Yellow Submarine (1968) – A digitally restored print of The Beatles’ animated classic.
June 18, 19: First Position (2011) – Bess Kargman’s documentary follows six young dancers preparing for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world.
June 20: Ghostbusters (1984) – The 1980s classic comedy starring Bill Murray. This is part of the Summer Classics series.
June 21: Mulberry Child (2011) – Susan Morgan Cooper’s documentary follows a woman who grows up in China during the Cultural Revolution, emigrates to the United States, and returns to China with her daughter during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The film about cultural disconnects was a hit at the Central Library’s Farish Theatre in April.
It will be a rare, almost unheard of Saturday night concert for the Kentucky, which usually has to keep Saturdays open for movies. Troubadour Concert Series promoter Michael Johnathon said the Kentucky management, “bent way over backwards to help us,” once it was discovered the EKU Center had double booked its concert hall for the night of the Hornsby concert, June 16.
EKU Center director Deb Hoskins said the venue had already booked the room for a private event, and she deeply regretted the scheduling error.
Howard Stovall, one of the partners in the Kentucky Theatre Group, said, “Troubadour has been a longtime tenant in the theater and they were really in a bind, so we wanted to work to help them out.” The consequence may be that the theater has to book a second run or more niche market film for one of its offerings that week because most first-run film distributors will not allow a film to play a theater that won’t screen it Saturday night.
Johnathon said tickets will go on sale for the 7:30 p.m. June 16 concert at 1 p.m. April 21. Ticket prices have not been set yet.
The Kentucky Theatre has announced its lineup for the 2012 Summer Classics series with a caveat that makes it seem 35mm film is becoming the vinyl of movie theaters.
“As you may be aware, the movie biz is in the midst of transition from 35mm film to digital projection,” the announcement says. “That’s making it harder to get good 35mm prints for theatres like the Kentucky. However…we’re not giving up, just being more creative.”
So here’s the lineup, all being shown on glorious film!
May 30: Charade (1963) – Could there be a better-looking leading couple than Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn? I think not. And they’re in Paris, in trouble.
June 6: The Wizard of Oz (1939) – Once again, if you have not seen it on the big screen, you have not seen it – and we’re not talking about your 52-inch flatscreen.
June 13: Johnny Guitar (1954) – Classic western starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden.
June 20: Ghostbusters (1984) – “Dogs and Cats living together! Mass Hysteria!” One of the most quoted comedies of the 1980s returns to the big screen, and that Stay Puft marshmallow man looks really big on the big screen. (I am now putting the kibosh on the phrase “big screen” for the rest of this post.)
June 27: Annie Hall (1977) – Oscar thinks this was Woody Allen’s finest effort, as it won best picture, best director for Allen, best actress for Diane Keaton and best original screenplay for Allen and Marshall Brickman. Among the best picture contenders it beat: Star Wars. Well la di da, la di da.
July 4: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – One of the great American movies with a capital A – well, we always spell America with a capital A. But seriously, could the Kentucky have picked a better film to reinforce the idea that in our democracy one person can make a difference? As the title character, Jimmy Stewart makes you want to march out of the theater and vote for him.
July 11: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) – A crazy funny movie with a crazy star-studded cast including Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, the Three Stooges and just about everyone else that was on the pop culture radar in the early 1960s.
July 18: Casablanca (1942) – Seventy years later, we still remember a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh … and just about everything else about the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic – they may be the answer to my question in the listing of the first movie.
July 25: Carousel (1956) – Not only is it a 35mm print, it’s a new 35mm print of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones.
Aug. 1: Notorious (1946) – Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman star – OK, my question in entry one is getting challenged on a monthly basis, here – in Alfred Hitchcock’s Post-World War II thriller.
Aug. 8: Mary Poppins (1964) – Summer Classics brings back a consistent favorite for kids and their parents.
Aug. 15: The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Yet another political classic for this election year, Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury star in a thriller about the favorite son of an aristocratic American family being brainwashed into becoming an assassin for the communist party. If you only think of Lansbury as sweet Jessica Fletcher, you have to see this.
Aug. 22: Pillow Talk (1959) – The first Doris Day-Rock Hudson flick from an era when romantic comedies were family friendly, though the title does sound a little naughty.
Aug. 29: White Heat (1949) – The classic Jimmy Cagney gangster flick.
Sept. 5: The Leopard (1963) – The series ends with a classic of foreign cinema, Luchino Visconti’s epic set in 1860s Sicily starring Burt Lancaster as the Prince of Salina trying to preserve his family in the midst of upheaval.
As always, showtimes are 1:30 and 7:15 p.m., admission is $5, and all films will be shown on actual film.
The ink had barely dried on Wednesday’s Herald-Leaders with the obituary of former Kentucky Theatre ticket seller Lee Overstreet when word of Gatewood Galbraith’s death bolted through the newsroom.
We’re only four days into the New Year and we already know Lexington will go through it two characters poorer. In their own ways, Galbraith and Overstreet were some of the folks that made Lexington a richer, more enjoyable place to live.
By her mere presence, Overstreet presented you with something you did not expect when visiting the hip downtown movie house: an octogenarian selling you your tickets. Not only that, but a delightful woman who might be wearing a crown if The Queen was playing and always had a friendly smile and kind words for the theater’s customers.
And this is just what you knew from purchasing a movie ticket. When Herald-Leader writer Vicki Broadus profiled Overstreet in 2008, she found a woman who had been a pioneering member of the Women’s Army Corps and the Peace Corps, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and flew airplanes. Not only that, she attended her first midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture show at age 88 wearing underwear – fully-visible underwear.
And then there was Gatewood, the perennial candidate who had no qualms about saying whatever was on his mind. I’m happy to say I got to see Galbraith in rare form last year helping to cover the Fancy Farm Picnic when he tore into Gov. Steve Beshear, one of his rivals in the gubernatorial election, for evading the politics of the event and instead talking about his visit to Kentucky troops serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
I know I took a step back when Galbraith bellowed, practically to the Governor’s face, “You go over there and try to hide behind the bodies of our young men and women in the military. I was highly offended.”
While Galbraith was never elected in his five tries for governor as well as other offices, a lot of people found things to like in the independent philosophies of Galbraith, who was also known for hanging out with country star Willie Nelson.
The really great thing was that in this little big town – or big little town – where you can easily bump into the mayor in line at a coffee shop, Overstreet and Galbraith were people you’d regularly see walking down the street. That is, you’d see them until this year, a year that sadly will have a little less character in Lexington.
The Change for Art involves area artists taking old city parking meters and turning them into works of art that still collect money, now to support art.
At 6 p.m., John Darko’s meter will be revealed at the Kentucky Theatre and he will discuss the piece.
Described as a meter about math, mystery and chaos, Darko wrote in an email, “My work is driven by an obsession with the ancient mystery which lies at the heart of human existence. I hope to provide a counterpoint to the barrage of trivia which constitutes our information-based society and give others the opportunity to experience wordless wonder and quiet curiosity.”
Darko’s meter will bring the total number of meters to four, with others located at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, Good Foods Market and Cafe, and Buster’s Billiards and Backroom. To date, the meters have raised $5,500 through individuals and collections from the meters.
Change for Art founder Robbie Morgan, who is also the campaign manager for LexArts, wrote that the project’s, “overall goal is to raise $10,000 to support the ‘Artist Opportunity Fund’ so that we can distribute small project grants to working artists. That portion of the program will be open to musicians, writers, theatre artists and so on. We want to see the end of the term ‘starving artist’ and see financially solvent artists who contribute to the community culturally and economically.”
The project is looking for sponsors and locations for 2012. Contact Change for Art at email@example.com.
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