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Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

Travels With Mitch

In Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky, Louisville, Mitch McConnell, Politics, Writing samples on October 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Stalking Mitch McConnell through coal country, one thing is clear: When I say Mitch, Mitch says nothing. 

Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn

Story From Louisville Magazine

It’s 9:35 in the morning on Aug. 7, and I am late. There isn’t a soul in the office at Whayne Supply. Desks empty, papers abandoned in mid-scrawl, phones silent. It’s as though the Rapture has sucked heavenward all the good people of Corbin, Kentucky, about 40 miles from the Tennessee border. Nobody mans the front desk. That alone feels like an invitation, so I wander in. As I advance, I see two men to my left. I expect them to yell, “Get out of here!” They don’t. They don’t seem to care. I push through a door and into a warehouse. And now I hear voices. The farther I walk, the louder the voices. The farther I walk, the brighter the light. Finally, I reach a large room at the end of the warehouse.

I am entering the presence of Senator Mitch McConnell.

Maybe 100 people, mostly men, stand around a chunk of coal the size of a pygmy hippo. It catches the light and glitters seductively, displaying a dazzle every bit as beguiling as that other carbon product, although this one is not quite ready for an engagement ring setting.

A young woman yells (young women, I’ll come to learn, are always yelling), “When I say team, you say Mitch.

“Team!”

“Mitch!”

“Team!”

“Mitch!”

“When I say Kentucky, you say coal. Kentucky!”

“Coal!”

“Kentucky!”

“Coal!”

That night, when I bed down in an overpriced Holiday Inn Express in Hazard, the chant will ring through my dreams. I will have heard it 100 times or more. Maybe 1,000, with occasional variations:

“When I say Mitch, you say coal!”

“Mitch!”

“Coal!”

“Mitch!”

“Coal!”

No chants are unprompted. No enthusiasm is unaided by the ample voice of some young female campaign worker.

I ponder starting my own chants.

“When I say ketchup, you say tomato!”

“Ketchup!”

“Tomato!”

“Ketchup!”

But I don’t. There are more serious matters at hand.

READ THE REST: fullmitch

The Incredible Lavon Williams

In Louisville, The Arts on March 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm

If you haven’t been down to the Cressman Center  at 100 East Main St., get there soon. We swung by today noticed they’re still showing the amazing work of Lavon Williams.

These hand-carved pieces brim with life.  Williams, a fifth-generation woodcarver, creates rent parties jammed with lively dancers, women in colorful, sexy garb, and revivals alive with the spirit. Each piece conveys a sense of story, perhaps  none more clearly than “Luke and the Preacher,” a relief carving of a pair of men making their way down a moon-lit avenue, a church in the distance, and the city’s buildings bending to engulf them.  Other times the story is just a suggestion, such as a carving of a girl in a golden-yellow dress, skipping rope.

Williams  depictions are full of pent-up energy.  He uses warm colors, as well as the tone of the wood, to highlight the sculptures. And he makes powerful use of exaggerated proportions — the woman mourner in “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” raises a gigantic hand to the heavens, large enough to shelter the mourners beneath.

Hands are often larger than faces, such as the hands of the bass player Mr. Johnson. And sometimes feet are gigantic, as in the woman dancing in The Gambling House.  Faces are part suggestion and part detail, but the emotions on them are always plain, whether poignant, joyous or raucous.

“You want to try to be as expressive as possible and as explosive as possible,” Williams told Kentucky Educational Television for a story a few years ago. “You’re looking for a fantastic movement or a fantastic shape that comes in the piece.”

I first saw Williams’ work at the Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University.  We acted like giddy kids when we ran into him in the museum parking lot. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take notes. He was really charming and down-to-earth. He’s a big guy. I didn’t know it at the time, but in basketball-mad Kentucky, he’s probably more famous for his role in the 1978 University of Kentucky national basketball championship.

Cressman Gallery Hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m . to 6 p.m; Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the first Friday of the month, 11:00 am-9:00 p.m.

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