Arts and Humanities
7:00 am
Sun June 15, 2014

What You Need to Know About Charles Wright, the New U.S. Poet Laureate

Charles Wright, the newly-appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, reading at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, Georgetown University, 2013.
Credit S L O W K I N G. / Wikimedia Commons

The Library of Congress announced Thursday that the next U.S. Poet Laureate would be 78-year-old Charles Wright. Wright, who is retired from the University of Virginia, is the author of more than 20 collections of poems. His work has won nearly every major award, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Ruth Lilly Prize. 

Wright is a Tennessee native, and succeeds Natasha Trethewey, an Atlanta-based poet with roots in Kentucky. His appointment is for one year, though the Library of Congress may extend it for two. The duties of the position are left largely to the individual laureates to define. Wright, for his part, tells NPR that he'll "probably stay here at home and think about things."

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Arts and Humanities
3:00 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Photos: Kentucky Shakespeare's Return Draw Big Crowd

Credit Alix Mattingly/WFPL News

Kentucky Shakespeare opened its 54th Shakespeare Festival Thursday with “A Midsummer Night's Dream”  in the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre in Old Louisville's Central Park. 

About 700 people showed up. 

This year’s Shakespeare Festival comes with some changes, including an extended stage, a wireless microphone system to amplify the actors’ voices—as well as a new artistic director, Matt Wallace.

Related: Erin Keane's Review of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

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Arts and Humanities
12:01 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Kentucky Shakespeare Makes Triumphant Return to Central Park Stage

Tony Milder as Puck in Kentucky Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Credit Matthew Chappell / Kentucky Shakespeare

Last summer, things weren’t looking so hot for the oldest free outdoor Shakespeare festival in the country. Kentucky Shakespeare’s summer season in Central Park had dwindled to a single professional production, which then closed early due to managerial issues that culminated in the artistic director’s resignation in July. But when former artistic associate Matt Wallace, then head of Shakespeare Behind Bars, came back to the company as the new artistic director, he promised he’d turn things around and make the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival better than ever, all on a smaller budget than his predecessor’s.

Wallace planned three high-quality professional productions running in repertory for the price of one, along with a high school conservatory show and four community partner productions (for a total of 56 performances, running through mid-August) by employing local talent and resources and good old-fashioned community partnership. Here’s more on the full schedule.

If last night’s opening of the festival is an indication of the full season to come, Wallace has delivered on his promise.  

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Arts and Humanities
11:59 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Bunbury Theatre Closes Season with Likable Production of 'Art'

Dale Strange (Serge), Phil Lynch (Marc) and Joshua Loren (Yvan) in The Bunbury Theatre's production of Yasmina Reza's "Art."
Credit Bunbury Theatre

Your friend spends an extravagant amount of money on a painting. The painting, for all intents and purposes, looks like a solid white canvas. He insists it's beautiful, you insist it's garbage and he's been swindled by art-world pretense. Who's right? 

That's not really the question at the heart of Yasmina Reza's comedy "Art," which instead explores the relationships between Marc, Serge and Yvan, three men who find their friendships tested in the wake of Serge's purchase of a $200,000 all-white (or is it?) painting. 

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Arts and Humanities
3:56 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Second Life: New Exhibit Explores Taxidermy, Animal Bodies in Fine Art

A detail of Jennifer Angus' work.
Credit Erin Keane / WFPL News

Using stuffed animals in art isn’t a new technique - 19th century ornithology expert John James Audubon was also an accomplished taxidermist, and he drew many of his iconic birds of America from his own models posed in the field. But the artists in Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft’s new exhibit “Second Life” are taking the repurposing of bio-materials to a new level.

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Arts and Humanities
1:37 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Savage Rose Closes a Solid Season of Storms With 'The Tempest'

Brian Hinds as Prospero and Neill Robertson as Ariel in Savage Rose Classical Theatre's "The Tempest."
Credit Savage Rose Classical Theatre

Savage Rose Classical Theatre closes its fifth season this week — what it's been calling its "Season of Storms," a tribute to Shakespeare — with "The Tempest," the shipwrecked quasi-comedy considered to be Shakespeare's solo swan song. Directed by Kelly Moore in her company directorial debut, this production is a solid rendering of Shakespeare's cautionary and often-funny tale about the perils of malignant ambition and the power of forgiveness. 

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Arts and Humanities
7:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival Kicks Off With Victorian-Themed 'Midsummer Night's Dream'

Dathan Hooper as Oberon, Tony Milder as Puck and Tia Davis as Titania in Kentucky Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Credit Matthew Chappell / Kentucky Shakespeare

Last year’s Kentucky Shakespeare in the Park festival featured only one professional production, the Celtic-themed "Twelfth Night." This year, in honor of the Bard’s 450th birthday, the professional company will stage a comedy, a history, and a tragedy on the C. Douglas Ramey Amphiteatre stage in Old Louisville’s Central Park. Here's the full schedule.

The bucolic setting will be integrated into Paul Owen's set design, said artistic director Matt Wallace in a recent interview, with an extended stage that wraps around three large trees that flank the stage. The company has a new wireless microphone system that will help amplify the actors throughout the park no matter where they are – on stage, sitting in a tree or running up and down the aisle.  

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Arts and Humanities
12:13 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Magic To Do: Theatre [502] Launches Original Play Series Based on Vintage Magician Posters

A rare lithograph advertising Howard Thurston's "The Vanishing Whippet" show hanging in the Baron's Theatre inspired the latest Theatre [502] show.

Theatre [502] continues to explore magic and history with a new series of original plays that launches this week.

Last season, Theatre [502] completed an ambitious, year-long serial play project. Written by Diana Grisanti and Steve Moulds, “The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn” unfolded the interlaced histories of legendary magician Harry Houdini and fictional (but no less legendary) Louisville magician Ludlow Quinn, as their respective greatest tricks ended up ensnaring Louisville teen Bonnie Burke, the unwitting bearer of a magical dynastic legacy.

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Arts and Humanities
11:00 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Self-Taught Mosaic Artist Tracy Pennington Wins Second Annual M.A. Hadley Visual Art Prize

"True Self," mosaic, January 2013, by Tracy Pennington, winner of the 2014 M.A. Hadley Prize for Visual Art.
Credit Tracy Pennington

Mosaic artist Tracy Pennington is the winner of the second annual Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art. The $5,000 prize is awarded from the George and Mary Alice Hadley Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville, with assistance from the Louisville Visual Art Association. 

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Arts and Humanities
10:30 am
Tue June 3, 2014

After 10 Years of Off-Beat, Intelligent Comedy, Louisville's Le Petomane Calls It Quits

Gregory Maupin and Tony Dingman as Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla in "On the Circuit," an original vaudeville-tinged comedy that premiered at the 2013 Slant Culture Theatre Festival.
Credit Sean Donaldson / Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble

The artists of Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble will take their final collective bow at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival this summer. The six co-artistic directors (slash co-writers, -directors, -designers, -composers, -choreographers, -fight coaches, performers) will reprise their Wild West-themed, mask- and puppet-heavy production of "As You Like It," which originally ran at the Rudyard Kipling in 2009, for the festival's community partner repertory August 5-9 in Central Park's C.

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