Tag Archives: Eastern Standard

Arts

The Year of Peril: America in 1942

We may think of World War II as a time when Americans shared a sense of unity and even optimism. But, in reality, America was beginning to splinter from within.

In his latest book The Year of Peril: America in 1942, the University of Kentucky historian and author Tracy Campbell explores the deep social, economic, and political fault lines that pitted factions of citizens against each other in the post-Pearl Harbor era, even as the nation mobilized, government-aided industrial infrastructure blossomed, and parents sent their sons off to war. American society was being challenged by the greatest stress experienced since the Civil War.

As part of UnderMain’s new partnership with the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning and WEKU’s Eastern Standard, Tom Eblen’s interview with Dr. Campbell reveals the various ways, both good and bad, that the trauma of 1942 forced Americans to redefine their relationship with democracy in ways that continue to affect us today.

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Arts

KY Author Debut: Bobi Conn

Bobi Conn grew up in a hollow near Clearfield, Kentucky, a former factory village located just outside of Morehead. It was an idyllic setting of forest, creeks and tin-roofed homes that sang to the tempos of rainfall. But it also was the scene of a traumatic childhood in the presence of an addicted, alcoholic, violent father. Bobi Conn escaped, got herself into college and landed a white-collar job.

Bobi Conn (With permission of the author)

But that same progress earned the mistrust of her family. And her Eastern Kentucky accent and history were often met by the condescension of peers. 

The account of a survivor is detailed in the pages of Bobi’s debut memoir, “In the Shadow of the Valley.”

She discussed her work and perspectives on life with UnderMain’s Tom Martin for his weekly WEKU program, Eastern Standard.

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Arts

It Just Kinda Dawned on Us

..and the sun keeps comin’ up…

This venture has been a long and healthy haul – and now our future is even more robust. When we (my Co-Publishers Tom Martin, Art Shechet and I) first launched UnderMain in 2014, we were simply having fun. We enjoyed uncovering what we thought was hidden in the shadows or living under the main thoroughfares of the then-present consciousness of art and culture in our region.

That was the way this all started: With caffeine and laughter, many morning meetings turned to their adjacent afternoons full of new ideas. Sitting at the same table at Le Matin Bakery, one Wednesday after the next, we came up with the title of our ad-free, visually rich digital magazine: UnderMain. We decided then that its primary mission would be to shine a light on artists, writers, gallerists, creative spaces and ideas, collectors, curators, and critics who work hard everyday and struggle to be heard and seen.

I am not sure why we were searching the darkened spaces or if we just felt there was not enough visibility in print publications, but no matter – because now we’ve flipped the switch in this little digital space. Whether it was passion, fatigue, frustration, ideation, or the simply act of creating, we had it and found enough of it mirrored in you to thrive all these years.

So, as your UMPrez, I am delighted to announce that UnderMain has received a three-year commitment from the Great Meadows Foundation (GMF) to continue our programming.

It should be noted that the generosity of the Great Meadows Foundation is supported by a near equal match of anonymous donations and in-kind contributions from so many. The writing, management, coordination, editing, curation of our content is brought to you by an undying commitment from our contributors and editors, many of whom work in an entirely philanthropic manner. Together we have remained consistent and fresh over the last five years and, with this three-year commitment, all that we have done means all the more there is to do.

As I elaborated in our proposal to the Great Meadows Foundation, UnderMain must now move beyond our light-and-shadows naiveté into a more prominent place of advancing the level of discourse in Kentucky about visual art and culture. These three programs are at the heart of that effort:

Studio Visit Series 

In 2014, we ventured out and into area artists’ studios. I was privileged to write and publish a few of those first visits  (“Ron Isaacs: Shelf Life”and “Dark Dualities: David Kenton Kring”) and now I spend more time connecting writers with artists and publishing their stories. There comes with that a certain reward, a specific joy in connecting two individuals who learn from one another as these writers and artists did: Keith Banner visits Michael Goodlett and Jim Fields visits Skylar Smith. Jim’s own words might say it best:

I began writing exclusively for UnderMain three years ago with a primary focus on artists, their work and what inspires them. For me, ‘the blank page is both exhilarating and intimidating and, like creating a work of art, writing is a process that requires both vision and revision. It is about making certain choices, being aware of various connections, and synthesizing information in order to give my ideas shape and meaning. Working with artists in their studio settings requires implicit mutual confidence and trust, with equal vulnerability, and being ever mindful to not be blinded by the obvious. I am honored to have been selected as one of the writers to participate in Under-Main’s Studio Visits Series under the auspices of The Great Meadows Foundation. While I am grateful for the stipend I received, my real reward for writing ‘A Studio Visit with Skylar Smith: Her Story’ came from the artist herself when she emailed me shortly after the article was published: “You gave voice to things I have not been able to articulate, yet resonate for me—thank you for this.”

In 2019, with our first funding commitment from the GMF, our focus has narrowed to Kentucky artists and we have thus far published eight studio visits, those above and the following: Miles Turner visits Mia Cinelli, Emily Elizabeth Goodman visits Melissa Vandenberg, Hunter Kissel visits Harry Sanchez, Jr. , Miriam Keinle visits Lori Larusso, Sso-Rha Kang visits Carlos Gamez De Francisco, and Natalie Weis visits Vian Sora.

Upcoming is a visit by the Speed Museum’s Miranda Lash with Louisville artist John Brooks, Paul Michael Brown’s visit with Lexington artist Robert Beatty, and Cooper Gibson’s visit with James Lyons.

In 2020, UnderMain will organize thirteen studio visits with Kentucky artists and our writers will not only be paid a stipend for their work, but – at the request of Sso-Rha Kang – I have included a small amount for travel expenses as I have always tried to connect artist and writer from different areas of this region.

Critical Mass Symposium

In 2016, we launched the Critical Mass Series, a symposium intended to advance critical thinking in the arts and promote further discussion about Kentucky’s position as it relates to the broader art community.

Critical Mass I  took place in 2016 at the University of Kentucky Art Museum and was moderated by Stuart Horodner. Then in 2018, we followed that with Critical Mass II at KMAC with Joey Yates moderating – fully intending the symposium as a biennial. The discussions however, generated such enthusiasm that it led us to rethink that idea – and in 2019 Matt Distel of The Carnegie in Covington held Critical Mass III.

Critical Mass IV is being planned for March of 202o and will feature the GMF Critic-in-Residence Koan Jeff Baysa.  So, please watch our site for upcoming details.

Critical Reviews of Local Exhibitions 

Since inception, we have held this as one of our highest priorities and, at year end, we are encouraged by the impact these reviews have had. They have exposed the curatorial work of many institutions in Kentucky and the Central Kentucky region, including: The Moreman Gallery and KMAC in Louisville; 21c Museum Hotel, Mary Rezny Gallery, Institute 193, and the University of Kentucky Art Museum in Lexington; the Solway Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio; and the Kleinhelter Gallery in New Albany, Indiana.

Engaging critical writing from both within and outside of our state has helped to advance the level of critical discourse about contemporary art and its role in defining our regional identity. With the support of the Great Meadows Foundation, UnderMain will increase the publication of these reviews to twenty per year with an increase in pay to our writers.

Thanks to all who support our endeavor. The UnderMain concept is growing, and with new programming like UMRadio – a recurring feature of the weekly program Eastern Standard on WEKU, a local NPR station, and UMDingers, a surprise treat coming in 2020 – we continue to aim higher. And, when that big ball hits the top, we’ll move into the dawn of the dusk knowing full well how to light the way.

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60 Minute’s Pelley and CNN’s Acosta Featured at KY Book Fair: Listen

A pair of high profile American broadcast journalists will appear at the 2019 Kentucky Book Fair in Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday, November 16.

60 Minutes Correspondent Scott Pelley, author of Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times, is interviewed for UnderMain broadcast partner Eastern Standard on WEKU by Tom Martin.  Click on the book cover to listen and download.

Mr. Pelley will be in conversation with KET’s Renee Shaw on the University of Kentucky Main Stage at 11:30am-12:15pm.

CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, author of The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America, is interviewed for Eastern Standard on WEKU by former Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen. Click on the book cover to listen and download.

Mr. Acosta will be in conversation with Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader on the University of Kentucky Main Stage at 2:30pm-3:15pm.

Arts

LexPhil’s Maestro Marathon: Kelly Corcoran

Kelly Corcoran is Music Director and Conductor of Intersection Contemporary Music Ensemble in Nashville, and Former Associate Conductor and Choral Director of the Nashville Symphony. Kelly attended the Boston Conservatory and Indiana University and is currently the conductor for a world tour of National Geographic’s Symphony for our World. Her guest conductor credits include The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, and National Symphonies. UnderMain’s Tom Martin talked with Kelly for WEKU’s Eastern Standard program as she prepares for a marathon weeklong audition for the position of music director and conductor of the Lexington Philharmonic. Click on the image to listen.

Kelly Corcoran. Portrait by Bill Steber and Pat Casey Daley

Arts

LexPhil’s Maestro Marathon

There is little in the recent history of the Lexington Philharmonic (LexPhil) to compare with the intensity and variety of the 2019-2020 season. After a ten-year stint on the podium, maestro Scott Terrell departed in June. Now the search begins for a successor.

Six finalist candidates will make weeklong visits to Lexington over the course of a season appropriately entitled RESOUND, their schedules crammed with whirlwinds of meet-and-greet receptions, fundraising dinners, discussions with multiple boards, Q&A with the search committee, meeting the orchestra’s musicians, nightly rehearsals, and, ultimately, conducting the orchestra they hope to lead.

In an interview for this week’s edition of WEKU’s Eastern Standard I spoke with LexPhil Executive Director Allison Kaiser about the audition process and the opportunities presented by transition:

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LexPhil Executive Director Allison Kaiser

I also caught up with Candidate Number One, Thomas Heuser, before he departed Idaho Falls for his tryout week in Lexington:  

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Thomas Heuser, conductor

Heuser’s program will include a composition by Lexington-born Julia Perry. Click here to read a column by Tom Eblen about Perry’s Lexington youth. And for a sampling of Perry’s artistry, check out conductor Karina Canellakis leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance of Perry’s A Short Piece for Orchestra. It was recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl on September 11, 2018.

I’ll be interviewing all conductor candidates prior to their arrivals in Lexington. Watch this space, and listen for them on UnderMain media partner, 88.9 WEKU.

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Thomas Heuser conducts The Lexington Philharmonic on Saturday, September 21, at 7:30pm at the Singletary Center for the Arts. He will conduct works by Perry, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.

Tom Martin is co-publisher of UnderMain and host/producer of WEKU’s Eastern Standard.

Arts

In Their Own Words

Listen to interviews gathered for our segments on Eastern Standard, the weekly public affairs radio magazine on WEKU.  Click on the images to listen to UnderMain’s Art Shechet, in conversation with Speed Museum contemporary arts curator Miranda Lash; Tatiana Gant, executive director of the Montana Arts Council discussing with Sky Marietta the value to rural artists of their “Artrepreneur” program; and Wendy Barnett sitting down with Ave Lawyer, co-founder of Lexington’s unique On The Verge theatre company, and actors Kevin Hardesty and Rachel Lee Rogers to discuss the production of Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part Two.

Miranda Lash, Speed Art Museum curator of contemporary art

Tatiana Gant, Executive Director, Montana Arts Council

Kevin Hardesty, Rachel Lee Rogers in A Doll’s House, Part II

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Body Language Debate?

There’s quite some distance between the violence of the ancient Italian sport of Calcio Storico and the interactive “debate without words” that happens when Shaun Leonardo leads a session of his social practice project, Primitive Games. But Leonardo, who will bring his art to the campus of Transylvania University on February 27, was inspired by the 16th century form of football-meets-rugby that got its start in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. 

“While I was taking this in and really studying it as a sport that enacts violence for the sake of violence, that has very few rules, I was also glued to television and witnessing what I experienced as the demise of political debate. The ways in which we once understood debates was evolving into simply a strategy of proving one’s side right over another,” Leonardo explained in an interview to be featured on this week’s edition of Eastern Standard on WEKU. Here’s a sampling:

Embed for Tom Martin with Shaun Leonardo

Through his project, Leonardo asks, “Are we, through non-verbal action, able to model and momentarily restore purpose to the act of debate, by seeing difference not as a hindering factor but as a necessary component to reaching consensus and enacting change?” 

Volunteers have been selected to participate in Leonardo’s Lexington workshop, including students, faculty, staff and Transy campus police chief Gregg Muravchick. Part of the university’s Creative Intelligence Series, his lecture will take place in Carrick Theater on campus at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27.

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Tom Martin is a co-publisher of UnderMain, producer and host of Eastern Standard on Eastern Kentucky University public radio station WEKU, a columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, and Student Media Advisor at Transylvania University. 

 

Arts

So much about ourselves can be discovered by exploring the history of a place. That certainly is true of an 8-mile stretch of a beloved creek that winds its way through part of central Kentucky. From the WEKU current affairs program Eastern Standard, listen to Tom Martin’s conversation with Richard Taylor, author of Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape.

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