Category Archives: All

All, Arts, Entertainment, Literary Arts, Music

Art’s Plea: Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

The Kentucky creative economy – wait: there is such a thing? A whole economy, that is? Yes and it’s, “alive and well,” as they say, but also largely misunderstood. And that’s been researched, quantified and all done up in a nice package presented by the Kentucky Arts Council.

UnderMain thought you might like to peruse this portrait of the arts production happening all around you, every day, here in the Commonwealth.

Dive in!

All, Arts, Environment, Music

LexArts Receives NEA Grant for “Livestream”

 (From LexArts press release)

Lexington, KY – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced yesterday that LexArts is one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. LexArts is recommended for a $40,000 grant to support “Livestream,” a transmedia public art installation commissioned by LexArts and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works as part of the EcoART program.

“Livestream” will combine art, science, and technology to raise environmental awareness by engaging individuals in the sustainment of one of our most valuable resources: groundwater. The EcoART program was created to educate the public on environmental issues through artistic creation.

Selected through an artist call, the artistic team known as Public Works Collaborative consists of founder and designer, Kiersten Nash; musician, Ben Sollee; engineer, Sean Montgomery; public artist, Bland Hoke; and educator, Dan Marwit. The project is in partnership with the Kentucky Geological Survey and has the support of LexArts and the Dan Marwit.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “I’m pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works including the award to LexArts. The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”

“‘Livestream’ will engage people in a way few public art projects do. Not only through sound as well as sight, but also experiencing the world around and specifically under us, this project will make an impact in a very immediate way,” continued Ellen A. Plummer, LexArts President & CEO. “The collaboration among these artists, musicians and scientists is extraordinary. We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts and our LFUCG partners for helping LexArts bring this complex work to life.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 919 are recommended for grants for a total of $26.6 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov. Follow the conversation about this and other NEA-funded projects on Twitter at #NEAFall2014.

All, Environment, News, Politics, Uncategorized

Watch what we wish for?

(Credit - Natural Resources Defense Council)

(Credit – Natural Resources Defense Council)

A nod to Randall Stevens for a provocative Facebook posting about contemporary progressive urbanism – “Smart Growth” – posing the question, “What can Lexington learn from this?”

Tiptoe gingerly through the ideologically argumentative minefield and you might recall some troubling cautionary tales taken from such otherwise “cool” places as Boulder and Austin.

Please read and offer your thoughts about our own aspirations for Lexington, Kentucky.

All, Arts, Entertainment, Literary Arts, Music, Uncategorized

Transy’s Polashek publishes writers’ block battering ram

polashek_student

“Why isn’t there a word rhythm dictionary?” Tim Polashek once wondered.  He no longer asks. No need. The Transylvania University Assistant Professor of Music got busy responding to his own question, resulting in publication of The Word Rhythm Dictionary: A Resource for Writers, Rappers, Poets, and Lyricists (Rowman & Littlefield), a 689 page gold mine for the creative-yet-stumped.

“I really just see this as another tool. Tools matter in that they offer different perspectives and methods, and can shape direction of creativity,” said Polashek. “For example, some computer programs allow easy reversing of melodic motives. Others don’t. This affects creativity. I’m constantly asking myself and students how a given tool shapes creativity, and to be objective about the tool.”

Rhythm rhymes are defined in the introduction as consisting of two or more words with the same rhythm, sharing the same number of syllables “and relative positions of primarily accented, secondarily accented and unstressed syllables.” Unlike traditional rhymes, rhythm rhymes need not have matching vowel sounds.

Polashek said the book is an expression of his longtime interest in the relationships between music and speech as well as the pitch and rhythms of spoken speech.

He has created a series of computer programs to help him manipulate and search for words with certain properties for creative projects. “For example, show me all the words that have two ‘t’ sounds and a ‘z’ sound.  Or, show me ten words that are five syllables long that have accents on the third syllables.”

Has also has written programs to generate nonsensical text with certain musical properties. “So, when I got around to actually writing the dictionary, I had a lot of software tools to help me.”

The typical rhyming dictionary groups words based on vowel sounds and is primarily concerned with the vowels at the ends of words. The Word Rhythm Dictionary takes a different approach, grouping words by several properties:  syllabic stress (primary, secondary, and unstressed) which determines the rhythm tendencies of the word; within these groups, secondary sorting occurs by vowels; and by consonants. “So as you read the rhythm rhyme-groups there is movement along a timbre/word sound similarity continuum,” he explained.

How might a lyricist or poet use the Polashek dictionary? The author suggests three methods: thinking of a word, then browsing a list of words with identical rhythms; coming up with a poetic foot and then searching a list of words that rhythmically match; or establishing a musical rhythm and then browsing a list of words that rhythmically or lyrically fit.

The approach, said Polashek, makes it easier to locate words that feature similar sounds, matching meters, and rhythmic grooves, from traditional rhymes like “clashing” and “splashing,” to near rhymes like “rollover” and “bulldozer,” “unrefuted undisputed” to pure metrical matches, like “biology” and “photography.”

“Upon observing a couple of words in the same group, some interesting scene or semantic concept might pop into mind that will generate a line of poetry or a lyric, perhaps reflecting some subconscious things that the writer had been considering—a linguist Rorschach test, perhaps?”