Diana, Princess of Wales was a member of England’s royal family, a style icon and a beloved advocate for international children’s charities. Her life and work is celebrated in a 7,500-square-foot exhibit that will travel from Althorp Estate in England, where the princess grew up, to the Frazier History Museum in September. “The Frazier has always been seen as an arms museum, and that’s what we were in the beginning, but now we’re leaning more toward being an arts and culture institution, sticking with our arms roots," says museum spokesperson Ashley Schaffner. "'Diana, a Celebration' we think will do that beautifully.”The exhibit includes Diana’s tiaras and jewelry, as well as the original text of the Earl Spencer’s eulogy for the princess delivered at her funeral in Westminster Abbey. Fashion galleries will 28 designer gowns worn by the princess, including her royal wedding gown.“(Diana) was a kindergarten teacher, the ravishing royal bride, she was a mother, a sister, a daughter, a charity advocate, a spokeswoman for all different types of charities. She did a lot of good work that gets overshadowed by her being a princess sometimes,” says Schaffner. Advance tickets are discounted for museum members and are available on the Frazier’s website and at the museum. Full-price advance tickets will go on sale to the public on August 1. Tickets will have a designated time for visiting the exhibit, so advance purchases are encouraged. The exhibit opens September 15 and runs through January.
The Brown-Forman Corporation, which owns Jack Daniel's whiskey, among many other liquor brands, is claiming local author Patrick Wensink has violated the company's trademark.This could have been a classic David vs. Goliath story, in which corporate lawyers threaten to squash a struggling novelist. But in this case, it seems Goliath would rather take David out for a friendly drink.Wensink got the letter from Brown-Forman's attorneys on July 12.“I was on vacation, actually. I was drinking whiskey,” says Wensink. “But I’m a writer, so I don’t make any money, so I was actually drinking bottom-shelf whiskey.”According to the legal team, the cover of Wensink’s new novel, “Broken Piano for President,” infringes on the Jack Daniel's trademark. Alcohol is a theme of the book, and the cover is an obvious design homage to the distinctive black and white label found on bottles of Old No. 7. “I checked my email and laughed, because it seemed like such a crazy thing to happen. It didn’t scare me, but I was just like oh my god, that’s ridiculous,” he says.The letter starts out fairly formal, but by the third paragraph, a human voice starts to poke through. See the entire letter here.“It starts out very stern and legal and lawyerly, but as it keeps going they refer to me as their ‘Louisville neighbor,’ and I stopped worrying quite as much,” says Wensink. “They’re being very nice, and at the end they offered to pay for new cover art, which is unheard of in the publishing world as far as I know. I’m not an expert, but I can’t imagine any other company offering to pay for new cover art when you violate their trademark.”Phil Lynch is the spokesman for Brown-Forman. He sent the book to the Jack Daniel’s brand team after hearing our story on Wensink’s Louisville book launch back in May. Lynch says Jack Daniel’s sees several thousand instances of trademark infringement a year, ranging from unlicensed t-shirts for sale to pop culture homages like this.Lynch says there’s no one-size-fits-all response, but the company tries to do the right thing when talking with obvious fans.“And we try to communicate in the same way Jack Daniel’s communicates with consumers. There’s a voice for Jack Daniel’s. Jack Daniel’s stands for independence and masculinity and individuality, and we try to respect the Jack Daniel’s voice and communicate, at least initially, when we first reach out to people in that Jack Daniel’s voice,” says Lynch.“If people end up ignoring us, or don’t respond, or say to heck with you, we’re going to do whatever we want, the second and third letters will be a little bit more lawyer-ly and a little stronger in tone,” Lynch adds.Like most authors, Wensink didn’t have direct input or control over the cover of his book. His publisher, Lazy Fascist Press, works with an artist, Matthew Revert, who designs most of the imprint’s jackets.“I don’t have any say in it. It’s my publisher’s decision,” says Wensink.Lazy Fascist Press editor Cameron Pierce decided the press would commission new artwork as soon as possible. He says a new cover should be in place by August.“To be completely honest, the trademark thing never crossed our minds,” says Pierce. “We had no idea. I was very surprised and confused when Patrick called and broke the news.”After getting the go-ahead from his press, Wensink published the letter on his blog, where it caught the eye of Cory Doctorow, a blogger for the influential website BoingBoing. It’s gone viral from there, appearing on some of the most high-profile publishing and lifestyle blogs, from Esquire to The Atlantic. They're calling it the nicest cease and desist letter ever. “My personal website usually a good day is 20 hits. In the last 24 hours I’ve had 100,000 hits,” he says. “So I thought hey, something’s going on here.”The response has been uniformly positive for Jack Daniel’s, with bloggers and readers praising their humane approach.“Obviously we’re pleased people think we did the right thing, but we try to do the right thing anyway,” says Lynch. Once the story broke, Wensink did what any self-respecting author would do—he checked his Amazon sales ranking. “Broken Piano for President,” an absurd satire about a man who’s more productive when drunk than sober, had broken into Amazon’s top 50 books. The new Oprah Book Club pick is number two. Before the letter went viral? His ranking was in the hundreds of thousands range.“I assumed I would have had to have murdered somebody to get this kind of publicity, unintentionally. I’ll take it. I’m very pleased,” says Wensink.“I’d like the world to be applauding me because I make Hemingway look stupid, but I’ll take trademark infringement,” he adds.He’ll drink to that.
The 37th annual Kentucky Music Weekend cues up Friday at Iroquois Park. Through Sunday, the festival will host traditional music acts ranging from jug bands to the state-wide dulcimer competition.The weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday with a concert featuring John Gage. There is a suggested $10 donation for evening mainstage concerts, but daytime events are free. A full festival schedule is available online.Not all musicians performing are Kentuckians, but the festival’s emphasis is on acoustic traditional sounds."It covers everything from blues to jazz to string band to bluegrass to singer/songwriter. We try to touch on many of those bases. We’ll have Grease Gravy String Band, and we’ll have Juggernaut Jug Band, and bluegrass greats Storefront Congregation will be there,” says festival organizer Nancy Johnson. The festival also features Corn Island Storytellers, traditional crafts and the state-wide dulcimer competition. The dulcimer is the official musical instrument of Kentucky, and this is the ninth year the Kentucky Music Weekend has hosted the contest. There are two kinds of dulcimer, so two state champs. State winners go on to the national stage in Kansas this September. Johnson says the Kentucky Music Weekend helps keep the state’s musical history and traditions alive. She plays the mountain dulcimer – the one you play across your lap.“It’s got three or four strings, and it’s very melodic, beautiful, haunting sound. The hammered dulcimer is a large trapezoid-shaped instrument, and you strike the strings with little sticks we call hammers. That was the predecessor of the clavichord, the harpsichord and finally the piano,” says Johnson.The Louisville Dulcimer Society will host an informal jam tent all weekend, and on Saturday morning, you can even take a class – bring your own dulcimer.
It all started with a "driveway moment," during an episode of This American Life on the theme of classified ads. In the introduction to Act 3, Ira Glass noted how often we see classified ads offering things, right next to classified ads of people looking for those very same things—a phenomenon he said was especially common in the musician section. "What if somebody were to play matchmaker for all of those people and do what all of us think when we see those ads?" the show wondered. And they embarked on a project: "to go through the classifieds and create a band, a band culled entirely from the classifieds, to play together for exactly one day, long enough to gather together in a recording studio to record their one and only song."Filmmaker Archie Borders was listening that day, and thought the idea would make a great premise for a movie. He joined WFPL's arts reporter Erin Keane on Friday's Byline to talk about the resulting film, called "Pleased to Meet Me."
Visitors to the Forecastle Festival in Louisville last weekend may have noticed a unique installation—a recording booth for making impromptu tapes. It’s called Nave, like the center of a church. The booth is shrouded in a white tent, near a side stage. Trixie Whitley’s playing outside, but in here, the muted music could be your parents’ stereo leaking down into your basement sanctuary. Artist Jacob Heustis designed the space to feel intimate and familiar, like the spare rooms he hung out in as a kid.“We used to squeeze in a full band, and kids would come crowding in and hang out during practice,” says Heustis, who also plays bass for the band Wax Fang. Carpet squares stapled to the wall offer some soundproofing. There’s half of a sagging couch, a gargoyle on the table next to an ashtray.“I definitely wanted it to feel very lived in, so you felt transported from the environment you were in outside, so you feel like you are possibly in someone’s basement, which feels the furthest place from a festival,” he says.Here’s how it works: you take a blank tape from the door attendant and step inside, where a guitar, a toy piano and other instruments await.“We got a little Casio. A tambourine. A shaker, in case you want to get Cuban,” says Heustis. "I laid off the bongos." There’s a double-decked portable radio–what we used to call a boom box–and a smaller tape recorder, which Heustis calls "kind of noisy, but it's still old-school, like the original first portable General Electric cassette recorder."After you record, you label the tape–give it a name–and leave it with the attendant. The tapes will be digitized and archived online, so you can share your song or remain anonymous.“There’s no pressure either when you’re just like, whatever, you’re just making a tape,” says Heustis.Heustis dreamed up Nave with singer EMA for a gallery exhibit at Land of Tomorrow about the intersection of art and music. They wanted to capture the experience of making music on the fly, without the safety of digital tools and professional studios, to explore the power of "that immediacy, and the low-fidelity quality, and how that is really important to a recording and to the vibe,” says Heustis.Unlike everything else at a music fest, Nave asks the audience to create rather than consume. It’s invitational and participatory, almost revolutionary for the setting.“I know that I’ve been super inspired at live shows," he says. "And to think that, yeah, you might walk away from that set totally reeling and come across this nook and lay down a track.”Forecastle is Nave's first music festival, but the plan is for the booth to tour the country next year. As Nave tours, the online archive, which Heustis says will be live soon, will grow.
The University of Louisville has signed a new one-year contract with former Fund for the Arts CEO Allan Cowen. Cowen is exploring partnerships between the university and the arts community. Cowen signed on with the University in January for a six-month, $50,000 contract to help the university determine, among other things, whether the university would exercise its option to buy the downtown land previously slated for the Museum Plaza development.University spokesman Mark Hebert says the new contract was offered to give the university more time to fully explore possible partnerships between the arts and culture community and the university, including a presence downtown. Cowen will also raise money for new initiatives that arise from these collaborations.He will be paid $150,000 from private funds for one year of work. The university is not announcing any formal plans or initiatives related to Cowen’s work at this time.Cowen left the Fund for the Arts last year after a controversy over his gruff demeanor in dealing with several arts organizations.
This weekend's Jane Austen Festival in Louisville will feature a one-woman play about Fanny Kemble, a legendary English actress and author who wrote in the style of Jane Austen.“Shame the Devil: an Audience with Fanny Kemble, written by Anne Ludlum, is based on Kemble’s own journals. Kemble never met Jane Austen—she was only six when the novelist died. But Austenites celebrating the Regency Era this weekend will hear a deep kinship between the two women.“Both Jane Austen and Fanny Kemble were writers all of their lives, and they were both perceptive observers of people and society and culture,” says director Kathi E.B. Ellis. “In that respect, although they never met, their writing and their view of the world and the way they recount the world has a lot of similarities.” “She’s so precise about who she sees and what she thinks about them, so much in the way that Jane Austen, when you read her novels, her heroines always have very pithy, sometimes humorous, sometimes acerbic opinions about everybody she comes in contact with,” she adds. The play stars Megan Burnett, who plays the actress and the many people in her life—English and American, man and woman, free and slave, as well as the many characters Kemble plays in the one-woman staged readings of Shakespeare's plays she toured with after she officially retired from theater.“It is a tour de force for the person playing the role,” says director Kathi Ellis. "There are some wonderful passages of Shakespeare in the piece."Kemble toured the United States with her father, Charles Kemble, for two years, performing all over the Eastern seaboard. On her tour, she fell in love with and married Pierce Butler, a young man from Philadelphia whose family owned plantation lands in the Sea Islands of Georgia.She’s best known for the journals she published of her time living on the plantation, in which she condemned slavery. Her writings, as an outspoken, influential outsider, helped fuel the abolitionist movement.“It’s really interesting both to read her journal and hear her refer to how she handled those three months, trying to make a difference on a plantation and in some small ways succeeding, but one person against a system that’s entrenched is not necessarily going to make a difference,” says Ellis.The Jane Austen Festival runs Saturday and Sunday at Locust Grove. The event also features a Regency Era fashion show, bare-knuckle boxing demonstrations and a children’s tea.
After more than three decades in the historic Water Tower on River Road, the Louisville Visual Art Association will move downtown later this year. In October, the LVAA will move into interim headquarters at 609 West Main Street while they search for a new permanent home. Scheduled children’s art classes will remain at the Water Tower through the fall semester.Executive director Shannon Westerman says they’ll likely seek out space in what he calls the art nexus—between the East Market district and West Main and Ninth Streets, extending down to Spalding University south of Broadway.“As the art community has evolved over the last ten or fifteen years, it is increasingly difficult to attract people in their busy lives to a destination that’s off the beaten track, if you will,” says Westerman. The LVAA has leased the Water Tower from the Louisville Water Company for 32 years. The Water Company opted not to renew the organization's lease earlier this year.Westerman also says the the organization has outgrown the Water Tower. They're seeking six to eight thousand square feet of multi-use space for public art programs for their new headquarters. LVAA will hold a moving sale Saturday at the Water Tower to clean out their archives of art and art supplies. The sale begins at 8 a.m.
A healthy lifestyle isn't just about physical health. Seven Counties Services and the Mayor's Healthy Hometown Movement want to remind the community not to neglect mental health, so they're staging a free concert in the Kentucky Center's Bomhard Theater Friday that will emphasize the importance of preventative measures and empathy for those dealing with mental health issues. The first Shine On Louisville Music Fest will feature The River City Drum Corp, La’Nita Rocknette Dancers, Winnie and the Mojo, Appalatin, YPAS (Youth Performing Arts School) senior flutist Loren Been, the Louisville Youth Orchestra, VOICES of Kentuckiana community choir and Daniel Hardin and Jeff Thomas of The Sweet Nothings. Doors open at 6 p.m. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Further Reading on Mental Health IssuesThe National Institute of Mental Health prevention resourcesToo Little Mental Health Care For Boomers: 1 in 5 seniors has a mental health or substance abuse problemArmy Wives Battle With Their Own Mental HealthConcrete Steps for Creating a Happier OfficeFacebook Might Not Be So Healthy for Those with Low Self-Esteem
The 11th annual celebration of all things Lebowski—bowling, White Russians, what-have-you—happens this weekend at the Executive Strike and Spare. The Coen Brothers' 1998 film "The Big Lebowski" spawned a cult following with its own traveling fan festival, a religion based on its hero (Dudeism) and now a book of essays examining philosophical questions raised by the film. Is sloth a virtue? Is there such a thing as a just war? Is bowling a new interpretation of the Sisyphus myth, and is it the key to a meaningful life? How would Kierkegaard and Camus respond to "The Big Lebowski?"Peter Fosl is chair of the philosophy department at Transylvania University. He edited "The Big Lebowski and Philosophy: Keeping Your Mind Limber with Abiding Wisdom," published by Wiley in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series. Fosl says the Dude’s philosophy of abiding is how the film ultimately confronts violence and the difficulties of the modern world. He wrote about it in his essay for the collection titled "Bowling, Despair, and American Nihilism."“On one hand, The Dude is a loser and a deadbeat," says Fosl. "On the other hand, he has this compelling, engaging, compassionate humane virtue to him. It’s that virtue of abiding that draws people in.” Slacker and bowling league mainstay Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski, played by Jeff Bridges, is neither violent nor particularly frightened by the strange and menacing events surrounding him in the increasingly chaotic plot that involves a cadre of nihilists, a missing trophy wife, a case of mistaken identity and another Lebowski, a millionaire tycoon offended by the Dude's lackadaisical lifestyle. "The Dude abides" is one of the film's many catch-phrases, reproduced on bumper stickers and shirts sported by the film's fans. It's in this act of abiding—to endure, to withstand without active opposition—that Fosl says the character unveils the key to finding meaning in a chaotic universe. "The film says the Dude was the perfect man for his time and place, for our time and place. If abiding is what he does, if abiding is the way he confronts nihilism and violence and difficulties of the world as he faces it in this post-Reagan, post-Vietnam, post-hippie place we’re in, then abiding is the centerpiece, the thing that has to be understood in order to understand the film," says Fosl. Fosl became a fan of the film because of the annual festival (he lives in Louisville, where the flagship event happens every year) and began to see its philosophical angles after repeat viewings.“I’ve always been committed to the idea that there’s philosophy everywhere, in our ordinary lives and in the scholarly world," says Fosl. "You can find it in pop music and film and books. Academic philosophers make a mistake in focusing so much on academic work.” Fosl will read from “The Big Lebowski and Philosophy” at Carmichael's Bookstore (2720 Frankfort Ave.) on Thursday. He’ll also sign copies Saturday at Lebowskifest.
Last night, Kentucky Shakespeare opened its production of Much Ado About Nothing, with a twist—this version is set in the Wild West. Producing Artistic Director Brantley Dunaway joined WFPL's Erin Keane on Friday's Byline, to talk about the show, and what's new with Kentucky Shakespeare.
The Kentucky Arts Council has awarded more than $600,000 to Jefferson County arts groups for the next fiscal year. The Kentucky Arts Partnership grant is an annual statewide program that funds operational support for nonprofit arts groups. This year, the arts council awarded more than $1.7 million to 104 groups across Kentucky that provide year-round arts programs for the public. In Jefferson County, 25 arts groups received operational support. The organizations range from large, established organizations like Actors Theatre of Louisville ($119,849) to smaller groups like chamber music ensemble Bourbon Baroque ($2,626). Funding is based on the organization's operating revenues and determined through a panel review. Here's a breakdown of Jefferson County organizations and state funding amounts for fiscal year 2013: Actors Theatre of Louisville $119,849Speed Art Museum (Specific funding is contingent upon Kentucky Arts Council evaluation of information regarding public programming for the period during which the museum will be closed for renovations.) The Louisville Orchestra $80,269 Louisville Ballet $73,913 Stage One Family Theatre $57,514 Fund for the Arts $66,918 Kentucky Opera Association $54,487 Walden Theatre $22,264 Louisville Visual Art Association $20,645 Kentucky Shakespeare $25,512 Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft $35,445 The Clifton Center $9,557 Sarabande Books $22,632 Crane House $20,039 VOICES of Kentuckiana $5,821 Portland Museum $15,785 The Louisville Youth Choir $6,832 Louisville Youth Orchestra $11,142 Looking For Lilith $3,797 Squallis Puppeteers $2,922 The Louisville Chorus $2,058 Choral Arts Society $3,482 Creative Diversity Studio $1,938 Bourbon Baroque $2,626 Louisville Literary Arts $1,000
Rain or shine—thousands of music fans will file through the gates at Waterfront Park for the 10th annual Forecastle Festival this weekend, which is expected to draw the largest crowd in its history.Thirty-five thousand people are estimated to attend Forecastle through Sunday, according to festival officials. The event features some of the largest names in the music industry including Louisville’s My Morning Jacket, which will headline the festival Sunday night.Festival spokeswoman Holly Weyler said the rainy weather forecasted this weekend is not a concern, and the event’s team is prepared.“We have everything covered in terms of evacuation plans and our full site team is aware of that, so we’re doing everything to make sure we provide the best experience for all of our guests and participants. And we’re not worried about the weather," she said.This will be the first festival since Forecastle founder J.K. McKnight officially partnered with AC Entertainment, which also runs the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in TennesseeWeyler wouldn’t say how many tickets have been sold, but the goal is to increase attendance by 10,000 from previous years and daily totals will be available the mornings after.