Displaying items by tag: film

  • Published in Art

SSP/Verite Cinema World Premiere - 'Into the World 2: A Toddler's Tale'

"credit" PJ StarksOWENSBORO, KY (6/30/13) - Into the World introduced us to Connor Starks the day after his birth as told through the eyes of his older brother Logan. We learn what it’s like to be a six year old child and how they welcome a new edition into the family. It’s two years later now and Connor is about to turn two years old. A lot has happened over this course of time. Logan is now eight and takes us on another journey using his unique perspective on growing up with a little brother.

The Sugg Street Post is proud to present the Online World Premiere of Into the World 2: A Toddler’s Tale, the latest film written and directed by Logan Starks. The first film was a personal family project to give Logan a unique way to welcome Connor into the Starks family. Two years after the original film, Logan takes us on another funny, quirky and often heart felt adventure through the eyes of an eight year old trying to be a role model, protector, friend, and brother.

Watch the embedded video below. Thank you for joining us for the Online World Premiere of Into the World 2: A Toddler's Tale.

Sugg Street Post
Information provided by Verite Cinema via P.J. Starks

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Contributor Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 3

"credit" Casey PiscitelliHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/25/13) – Scroll below to see a Contributor Collage, provided by Madisonville resident Casey Piscitelli, full of photos from the first year of the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival.

See previously posted photos by clicking the links below:
Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 1
Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 2

Thanks again to all of you who helped make the inaugural year such an overwhelming success!
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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Casey Piscitelli

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Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 2

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/25/13) – Scroll below to see another Community Collage full of photos from the first year of the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival.

If you haven't already seen the first Community Collage from the fest, click this link.

Included, are a few shots of the Sugg Street Post promoting the Mad Flavor Fest at the first Friday Night Live of the summer.

Thanks again to all of you who helped make the inaugural year such an overwhelming success!

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Community Collage: Mad Flavor Fest in Retrospect, Part 1

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (6/21/13) – We wanted art and we wanted music. We wanted kids running around barefoot in the grass, filling the air with laughter. We wanted to bring the community together like a family, everyone joining collectively in their appreciation for the wide-range of local talent we had amassed in one place. We wanted to create electric synergy. Guess what? We pulled it off.

An idea that started with one man grew into a collaborative art/music piece that was woven together by over 250 people from the community and surrounding areas. It took a village to make it happen—that, hard work, and a lot of dedication.

Upwards of approximately 70 individual musicians, 12 independently made films by separate groups of filmmakers, over 20 local artists and crafts makers, multiple local food vendors, the Madisonville Fire Department, the Hopkins County Humane Society, the Ballard Convention Center crew, a group of over 20 local Red Cross volunteers, sound and light technicians, a group of kid-friendly entertainers, and a large crew of local Mad Flavor Fest volunteers—thus was the rallied team. We were an organized family of like-minded folks with a common goal: sharing art, love, and music in the hopes that money could be made for the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"credit" Jessi SmithBut why the Red Cross?

The Red Cross seeks to prevent and relieve suffering both here at home and around the world. Yet, the American Red Cross relies solely on the generosity of the people. So, we decided to bring the people.

Only a few stood at the core of festival planning, but excitement is addictive and dreams are inspiring. The spark was thrown and a fire ensued. At the end of the day, with exhaustion taking hold, we were all filled with a sense of triumph. Over a year worth of planning had come to a head and we were left to put the final pieces back in their places. It was time to clean up and roll out of the Ballard Convention Center grounds. And, at the festival’s conclusion, once the music had stopped, only a few stood barefoot in the grass to reflect on the adventure.

In total, $7,325.31 was raised for the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Good job. Well done. Tearing down the outdoor stage while tossing around a few jokes—laughter.

With festival planning already in the works for 2014, I leave you with a community collage of photos taken by Sugg Street photographer Jessi Smith. Keep an eye out for more photos that will be posted soon.

Thanks to the community for their overwhelming support and thanks to those who helped make the festival possible. At the end of the day, it takes more than just a few men and women to make things happen. It takes a mass of people to create change. It takes a group of dreamers to usher in a new way of thinking. It takes a loving family to make it work. And I consider all those who participated—from the big jobs to the small—my brothers and sisters in this strange and confusing world we share together.

See you next year!

"credit" Jessi Smith

"credit" Jessi Smith

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Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Jessi Smith

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  • Published in Music

MAD Flavor Fest - Through the Eyes of the Artists

MADISONVILLE, KY (5/28/13)—Madisonville’s first premier music, arts, and film festival, the Mad Flavor Fest, is coming up on Saturday, June 15th, 2013 at the Ballard Convention Center—and it’s no surprise that the inaugural event is garnering attention from communities across the tri-state region and beyond. With an ever-growing lineup of entertainment that currently includes performances by 13 local and out-of-state bands, over 15 art-based vendor booths, 11 US and internationally-produced independent films, a variety of family-friendly activities, food, refreshments such as beer and wine, and more, the festival is poised to be one of the tri-state area’s most entertaining summer events.

But what originally prompted a festival of this scale?

In the late spring of 2012, a powerful concept materialized before former Madisonville resident and The Late Circuit DJ, Mat Pentecost: to organize Madisonville’s first large-scale, collaboration-based arts and music festival that would showcase the wide swath of talent our region holds, while also supporting a positive cause (which, in this case, would become the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross).

As Pentecost explains, the idea came to him after revisiting music he had created with friends in Hopkins County. From there, he pondered upon the relatively unrecognized talent he was surrounded by throughout his youth, and he came to a realization that this underlying, albeit powerful, sense of synergy deserved a place in the public spotlight.

Soon after, Pentecost created a Facebook page that would help to gauge interest in such an event while also serving as a platform for regional collaboration among artists, musicians, filmmakers, and volunteers. The response was immediate and notable, leading Pentecost to take the first steps onto what would become a year-long path of planning, mediation, and overall event organization.

Today, just over a year later, Pentecost’s original vision is mere weeks away from becoming a tangible reality thanks to the support of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, a variety of volunteers and supporters, local artists, musicians, filmmakers, and many more helping hands.

And while the recently launched Mad Flavor Fest website—www.madflavorfest.com—contains information on performers, artists, ticket prices, vendor participation, films, and much more, the Sugg Street Post has reached out to many of the people involved with the festival over the past few weeks to get their take on why the upcoming event is so important to our community, as well as why they got involved. Their respective responses are as follows. 

The Organizers
QUESTIONS:
1.) Why did you decide to get involved with the festival as a volunteer?
2.) Why is a festival like this so important to our region?

Mat Pentecost
I incidentally started this thing because I was listening to a lot of old cassette tape recordings of StereoPop. I just wanted to goof off and hang out with my friends again. I was certain that I wasn't alone in that feeling. I feel that the festival is important because I don't want greater Hopkins County to lose the talent and forward-thinking visionaries that I know this region produces due to boredom and lack of positive stimuli. This happened with most of my generation. Most of us moved away. Why? What happened? Or more importantly, what didn't happen?

Seth Owen 
I decided to volunteer so I could help play a part in promoting the local art scene and businesses in the community where I grew up. Having multiple public outlets available throughout the year where artists can perform and display their talents are important, as is providing local businesses more opportunities to succeed. Growing up playing drums in a few different indie bands in Hopkins County and performing at different events was something I am grateful for having done—especially after living in a few different large metropolitan areas, I see how big of a role the arts have in our daily lives.

Whitney Drewe Wardrip 
I got involved because it is an honor that the festival benefits the Red Cross. We are thrilled to be a part of such an awesome event that is so desperately needed in our community!







Christopher Mcdonald

From as far back as I can remember, I've had a love for, and have felt a deep connection with, music and the arts. Living in this town, I've had the honor to grow up with and form friendships with some intensely talented artists and musicians. Unfortunately, as has been discussed, there are few venues and platforms in the area for these amazing minds to display their gifts. So when Mat shot this idea out, I jumped at the opportunity to help in anyway he needed me. The fact that this thing evolved into a charity event to benefit the Red Cross was the icing on the cake. I knew how huge this could be for the community both artistically and economically. I knew I didn't have nearly as much to offer as the majority of the group, and was humbled to be asked to be a part of what I see becoming the single greatest gathering of local talent seen here to date. This thing is like a dream come true.

Jessica Dockrey 
I got involved with the festival because I love collaboration on a massive scale. It's truly amazing to see what I would consider a piece of collage art, the festival, come to life. People need to appreciate the people that surround them. Being able to share your talents with your community is important to each individual as well as the area as a whole. Love where you live. It's easy if you involve yourself in what's going on around you and make yourself aware of all the reasons to appreciate all that deserves to be appreciated. Acknowledge the people that actively contribute in your life experience.


The Musicians

QUESTIONS:
1.) Where do you call home and who all is a part of your band?
2.) Why did you decide to get involved with this festival?
3.) Why is music and art important to both smaller communities and society at large?

Philosopher’s Stone
(http://pstonemusic.com/)
 
We create music in the hills of Boone County, KY. The four of us live in northern Kentucky just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The music makers in Philosopher’s Stone are Chris Laile (bass), John Carrico (drums), Jon '8k' Divita (keys/synthesis) and me, Brad Denham (guitar/vox).

We were invited to perform at the inaugural MAD Flavor Fest via Mat Pentencost, who we have played music with in Cincinnati. Matty P has performed at many of our shows over the years and usually ends up on stage with us for live jams.

Music is an integral part of society…it is essential to completeness. Music and song are basic human functions, like the beating heart or breathing. Like birds and crickets, we all have a song. A quick search of the internet yields an interesting fact: "there is no international law that requires a country to adopt an anthem, yet currently every country has realized that this is something that is needed as part of a national identity. An anthem is used to musically express what a country—or any other group of people—stand for and what unites them.” (www.nationalanthems.info) Music allows us to express our fears, our pain, our wants and desires; it enlightens, elates, and transcends. Above all else, it can express our deepest love. A song can speak for the things that are not easily said. Like a needle in the groove, music imprints itself on the human heart and brain capturing the experience and moment in time, and, upon listening again, those memories and feelings are triggered and can be relived again and again. There is nothing like a great song that can magically take you back to relive your childhood.

If I had to choose between losing my sight or losing my hearing, I would choose sight. The first thing you do when you hear something beautiful or when you experience pleasure is shut your eyes.

Pat Ballard
(http://www.reverbnation.com/patballard)

My home is Hopkins County. The guys I’ll be playing with at the festival are Jon Gilbert (guitar), Gary Madison (bass), Clint Combs (drums), and maybe Johnny Keyz (keyboard).

When I found out about Mat and what he was putting together, and his passion and drive to showcase the talent here and regionally, I just wanted to help in any way I could. Mat has worked really hard to bring so many people together for a great cause, which is not only a benefit for the Red Cross, but also a benefit to all of us by getting so many musicians from this area at one festival.

It’s hard to articulate an answer to the last one. The benefits of the arts to all communities are just so intangible. It really gives us artsy types a little more room to breathe.

Falter
(https://www.facebook.com/FalterMusic)

Home for Falter is right here in Hopkins County. With the exception of our drummer Bryan Thomas who resides in Hopkinsville, KY, all other members (Kevin Offutt, John Pierce, Brad Wilson, Adam O’Rear) were raised right here in Hopkins County.

We in Falter are big believers in giving back to our community, charities, and to society in general. Each year we set aside time and promotions for events such as the Mad Flavor Fest. We have done quite a few this year. Most recently, we played the Thumbs Up For What’s Wright Benefit in Nashville at the Tin Roof. We have had very much support from our fans, especially the fans right here in Hopkins County, so we were thrilled at the chance of being a part of this event for our hometown community and for the American Red Cross. It’s been some time now since we’ve been able to play a show right here at home due to scheduling issues, so being a part of this event is very exciting because allows a way to raise money for the American Red Cross while also bringing awareness to this community, which is a plentiful melting pot of talent. Whether it be musicianship or the arts, Hopkins County is rich with both.

There are so many points that I could address on the matter of music and art’s importance and role in raising of a cultured and great society. Music was a huge part of my life personally, and at no matter what point of my life, I have always acknowledged there has been an overwhelming yearning and calling in my life for music. I am following the calling now on a larger scale, but even if I wasn’t, music will always be a large part of me. To us, the biggest importance to a community and society is self expression and our rights and freedom. So many times I have heard stories of schools cutting the arts programs, and this saddens me because these programs give kids the avenue to find their true passions as artists.

JT Oglesby
(www.facebook.com/jtoglesby)

I am a gypsy-spirited vagabond that embarked on a spiritual journey exploring the musical and creative aspects of the world during my teens, which continues to this day. My band consists of rounders, misfits, and other miscreants I have encountered over the years that embrace a noncompliant societal and creative view. These roustabouts frequently change, making my band an ever-shifting work-in-progress. Each unique version explores a different path unknown to the incarnations before it.

I wanted to get involved with this festival because I am proud to be a Kentuckian and I am proud to be from this area. My family has lived and died in this area for so long that there is more of my DNA in this soil than dirt. I want to do whatever I can to help promote and preserve our heritage and culture. A lot of people say it, but few truly mean it: LLKM! Long Live Kentucky Music!

Hollywood Gutterats
(www.facebook.com/HollywoodGutterats)

Home is where the rock is! The Hollywood Gutterats are Slush (lead vox and guitar), Yngwie Springsteen (guitar), Micheal Anthony Hall (bass), and Tommy Lee Greenwood (drums).

Why did we get involved? Because Slush and Mat Pentacost both like Taco Bell Chalupas!

Music and art is important because it touches everyone in one way or another. And who doesn’t like to be touched?

Technology Versus Horse
(www.reverbnation.com/technologyvshorse)

Technology Versus Horse as a band is from Bowling Green, KY. We all met while/shortly after attending WKU. We are composed of Mike Farmer (vocals), myself (Rafe Heltsley–guitar), Matt Bitner (bass), David Prater (keys), and Josh Hines (drums).

I grew up in White Plains, KY and went to high school in Madisonville (Hopkins County Central High School). When Mat Pentecost was thinking about throwing the festival, he mentioned it to me. I thought it sounded like a great idea and wanted my band to play to show our support.

Music and art are very important outlets of expression. They also help gather people together, bonding over a shared favorite band or artist or meeting up at local shows.

The Fair-Weather Kings
(www.facebook.com/thefairweatherkings)

The Fair-Weather Kings started in Bowling Green KY and all of us still live here. Our members our Wesley Stone, Zach Barton, Jason Williams, Craig Brown, and Marcus Long

Zach and I (Wesley) grew up in Madisonville. Marcus is also from Hopkins County. So we have "roots" there, so to speak. Zach and Marcus' parents still live in Hopkins County. So, for us, getting involved with the festival was about the opportunity to be involved in an event that not only benefits the American Red Cross, but also brings art, in various forms, to a town that a few of us have called home.

Art and music are important because they are "tools" that have many uses; free to anyone that desires them.

The Artists and Vendors
QUESTIONS:
1.) What's your personal info (name, age, hometown, business name and overview, etc.)?
2.) Why is your art form or craft important to you personally?
3.) Why did you decide to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest? OR Why is the festival important to our community?

MCC Humanities Division
(www.madisonville.kctcs.edu/)

Myself (Brooke Archila) and perhaps a few others will be setting up a booth to represent the Humanities Division at Madisonville Community College. The Humanities Division is an eclectic group of instructors who teach classes in the fields of English, history, communications, foreign languages, music, reading, art, and women's studies. We support and promote anything related to these areas on campus and in the community. The study of humanities in various forms is essential to understanding ourselves and the world around us. Through these areas of study, we express our creativity and share in the creativity of others. In our representation of our department at the festival, we want to share the many cool things we have going on in the fall and encourage involvement and support!

Bad Apple Paintwerks
(www.facebook.com/BadApplePaintwerks)
My name is Patrick Harvey and I'm the owner of Bad Apple Paintwerks. I'm 38 and my hometown is Hopkins County. I create art directed towards the musically inclined.

Why is what I do important to me personally? A favorite quote of mine might sum that up: "Paint chips make me thirsty."

I decided to get involved with this festival because I live here and I want to help promote the arts in our community when I have the chance. 

HoldFast WoodCO.
(www.facebook.com/HoldfastWoodCo)
 
My name is Cody McDowell. I’m 24 years old and live in Madisonville, KY. I’m the owner of HoldFast WoodCO. I create simple custom furniture and home decor.

Woodworking is important to me because it’s becoming a lost art, yet it’s one of the basic trades that defines us as a country and as a civilization in general. I think that using reclaimed materials and old tools to do my work is also an important part of what I do because anyone can go to Lowe’s and buy a new 2x4, but if you go to a barn and pull off a 2x4, it has character, it’s had purpose, and it’s been reliable for years and years. Taking something like that and making it into a coffee table for someone means they have a piece of history that will outlive them; it’s something that they can pass to their kids. The Mad Flavor Fest is important to the Hopkins County region, as well as all the local artists and crafts people, because maybe for that one day that we are set up, someone will buy a CD from a band that actually needs the money, and instead of getting something out of a box at Wal-Mart, they will buy something handmade and invest just a little money back into their local economy.

Elite Tattoo Lounge
(www.facebook.com/EliteTattooLounge)

My name is Aaron “Chappy” Chapman. I’m originally from Denver, CO and I own and operate Elite Tattoo Lounge (530 E. Center St., Madisonville KY 42431). We are a full service tattoo and body mod studio, specializing in all styles of tattooing from black and grey, to new school, to photorealism.

The art of tattooing is important to me for many reasons. First, it’s how I make my living, and I make a very good living doing it. It’s really about doing something that you love, but when you can make a living doing it, it is priceless. This is not my job, it is my career and my work. It is what people will know of me when I die.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest because I believe in Madisonville. For so long there has been a lack of focus in this area toward the arts and culture, and people here have lacked a focal point to channel their artistic talents. This town is so full of talented people it is going to burst. That is what the Mad Flavor Fest is to me: the Madisonville arts community no longer being content to stay at home, no longer being contained!

Travis Shanks
(www.facebook.com/tshanks7720?fref=ts)
 
I’m Travis Shanks, 21, and my hometown is Slaughters, KY

Painting and drawing is important to me because it's a great way to express myself. At one point in my life, it helped me escape some hard times. Art gives a way for us to bring beauty into a world where beauty is rapidly thinning.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so I could share my art with more people. And, hopefully, to become known in some way as a reputable artist in the community. The Mad Flavor Fest is most definitely important to our community and what we, as artists, are trying to achieve. Hopefully, this festival will open the eyes of the community to the true value of art, which is so often forgotten in modern times. Also, it's going to be a great place to meet all the people in the local area that share your passions. I cannot wait!

Poppy & Clover (Gina Boyd & Riley Jo Dever)
(www.facebook.com/poppyandclover?fref=ts)

We are a mother/daughter team that loves to craft. We specialize in antiques, soy candles, soaps, pillows, and many other delightful offerings. We are hoping to actually open a store by summertime so that we may invite you down for a cup of tea and to browse around—or just to stop in and say hello.

We have always enjoyed art and crafting around with each other. We decided a couple of years ago to team up and begin to create things that appeal to us and hopefully to others. I love to decorate and it is fulfilling to adorn my home with things that I have created.

We decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so that we could offer some of our goods for the public to come by and see. As we work on opening our store, we are selling things out of our home. We have been asked my many people to see our things in-person, so here is an opportunity to do that. We hope many people come out and enjoy a day of music and art that is offered by local community members.

Big Biting Pig Productions
(www.bigbitingpigproductions.com/)

Steve Hudgins: I’m originally from Chicago, IL, but I currently live in Dawson Springs, KY.

Big Biting Pig Productions specializes in feature-length thrillers and horror films. I love telling stories, acting, directing others to get the most out of themselves and watching everything come together, so being a filmmaker is kind of a natural thing for my tastes.

I think it's great to have a festival that focuses on Madisonville and helps those in the community see what is out there that they may not be aware of.

PJ Woodside: I'm PJ Woodside, living in Madisonville, originally from Charleston, SC, married to Jude Roy of Louisiana Cajun heritage. I mostly collaborate with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions on movie projects, such as my latest movie which will be premiering this summer, Lucid. We also make book trailers, commercials, and music videos through PJ's Productions.

I've come to appreciate horror movies much more since we started making them several years ago. They help people release their everyday fears in a nonthreatening way. The one we're showing at the festival, Spirit Stalkers, is a combination of ghost hunter’s show and a classic haunted house movie. It will have you on the edge of your seat and jumping many times, but the characters are also interesting and believable. It's important to me to tell stories that matter to people and have some emotional resonance.

I got involved, well, because you asked me! But also, there are a lot of Madisonville locations and people in our movies, so we like to share them with the local community when possible! It's always good to see what is being made right here, right under our noses!

The Learn’d Housewife
(www.facebook.com/thelearndhousewife)

I’m Cassie Pendergraff from the wonderful metropolis of Madvegas. I’m a 2002 MNHHS graduate and owner of The Learn’d Housewife. I enjoy crafting and trying new things. I’ve always loved fabric; I come from a long generation of quilters, so finding new ways to work with fabric is always an adventure. I decided to start making fabric button earrings. For me, it’s a fun way to keep memories. I can take scraps from pretty much anything—a baby quilt, a dress I’ve worn, my daughter’s coming home outfits—and make a pair of earrings or a necklace.

I decided to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest because I love supporting local artisans. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s out there in the community and get connected with other people who have similar interests. There are so many unique and creative people hiding in our hometown and it is events like the Mad Flavor Fest that gives them a chance to crawl out of the woodwork.

* * * * * * *

For more on the Mad Flavor Fest, including directions to the Ballard Convention Center (605 E. Arch St., Madisonville), ticket sales, admission information, vendor sign-up sheets, a full list of current performers, artists, vendors, filmmakers, and much more, visit the recently launched Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival website at the following address: www.MadFlavorFest.com.

You can also find the Mad Flavor Festival’s official Facebook page by clicking here.

To read another Sugg Street Post article about the Mad Flavor Fest, which was written by Jessica Dockrey, click here. To learn more about the CINEMADIC Film Festival, click here.

All ticket sales and additional proceeds raised via the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival will go to support the efforts of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red CrossTo learn more about the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, click here.

The Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival is sponsored by the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, the Sugg Street Post, and Art Interactions

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos courtesy of Jessi Smith, Jeff Harp, and Respective Mad Flavor Festival Participants

 

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  • Published in Art

MAD Flavor Fest - Through the Eyes of the Artists

MADISONVILLE, KY (5/28/13)—Madisonville’s first premier music, arts, and film festival, the Mad Flavor Fest, is coming up on Saturday, June 15th, 2013 at the Ballard Convention Center—and it’s no surprise that the inaugural event is garnering attention from communities across the tri-state region and beyond. With an ever-growing lineup of entertainment that currently includes performances by 13 local and out-of-state bands, over 15 art-based vendor booths, 11 US and internationally-produced independent films, a variety of family-friendly activities, food, refreshments such as beer and wine, and more, the festival is poised to be one of the tri-state area’s most entertaining summer events.

But what originally prompted a festival of this scale?

In the late spring of 2012, a powerful concept materialized before former Madisonville resident and The Late Circuit DJ, Mat Pentecost: to organize Madisonville’s first large-scale, collaboration-based arts and music festival that would showcase the wide swath of talent our region holds, while also supporting a positive cause (which, in this case, would become the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross).

As Pentecost explains, the idea came to him after revisiting music he had created with friends in Hopkins County. From there, he pondered upon the relatively unrecognized talent he was surrounded by throughout his youth, and he came to a realization that this underlying, albeit powerful, sense of synergy deserved a place in the public spotlight.

Soon after, Pentecost created a Facebook page that would help to gauge interest in such an event while also serving as a platform for regional collaboration among artists, musicians, filmmakers, and volunteers. The response was immediate and notable, leading Pentecost to take the first steps onto what would become a year-long path of planning, mediation, and overall event organization.

Today, just over a year later, Pentecost’s original vision is mere weeks away from becoming a tangible reality thanks to the support of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, a variety of volunteers and supporters, local artists, musicians, filmmakers, and many more helping hands.

And while the recently launched Mad Flavor Fest website—www.madflavorfest.com—contains information on performers, artists, ticket prices, vendor participation, films, and much more, the Sugg Street Post has reached out to many of the people involved with the festival over the past few weeks to get their take on why the upcoming event is so important to our community, as well as why they got involved. Their respective responses are as follows. 

The Organizers
QUESTIONS:
1.) Why did you decide to get involved with the festival as a volunteer?
2.) Why is a festival like this so important to our region?

Mat Pentecost
I incidentally started this thing because I was listening to a lot of old cassette tape recordings of StereoPop. I just wanted to goof off and hang out with my friends again. I was certain that I wasn't alone in that feeling. I feel that the festival is important because I don't want greater Hopkins County to lose the talent and forward-thinking visionaries that I know this region produces due to boredom and lack of positive stimuli. This happened with most of my generation. Most of us moved away. Why? What happened? Or more importantly, what didn't happen?

Seth Owen 
I decided to volunteer so I could help play a part in promoting the local art scene and businesses in the community where I grew up. Having multiple public outlets available throughout the year where artists can perform and display their talents are important, as is providing local businesses more opportunities to succeed. Growing up playing drums in a few different indie bands in Hopkins County and performing at different events was something I am grateful for having done—especially after living in a few different large metropolitan areas, I see how big of a role the arts have in our daily lives.

Whitney Drewe Wardrip 
I got involved because it is an honor that the festival benefits the Red Cross. We are thrilled to be a part of such an awesome event that is so desperately needed in our community!







Christopher Mcdonald

From as far back as I can remember, I've had a love for, and have felt a deep connection with, music and the arts. Living in this town, I've had the honor to grow up with and form friendships with some intensely talented artists and musicians. Unfortunately, as has been discussed, there are few venues and platforms in the area for these amazing minds to display their gifts. So when Mat shot this idea out, I jumped at the opportunity to help in anyway he needed me. The fact that this thing evolved into a charity event to benefit the Red Cross was the icing on the cake. I knew how huge this could be for the community both artistically and economically. I knew I didn't have nearly as much to offer as the majority of the group, and was humbled to be asked to be a part of what I see becoming the single greatest gathering of local talent seen here to date. This thing is like a dream come true.

Jessica Dockrey 
I got involved with the festival because I love collaboration on a massive scale. It's truly amazing to see what I would consider a piece of collage art, the festival, come to life. People need to appreciate the people that surround them. Being able to share your talents with your community is important to each individual as well as the area as a whole. Love where you live. It's easy if you involve yourself in what's going on around you and make yourself aware of all the reasons to appreciate all that deserves to be appreciated. Acknowledge the people that actively contribute in your life experience.


The Musicians

QUESTIONS:
1.) Where do you call home and who all is a part of your band?
2.) Why did you decide to get involved with this festival?
3.) Why is music and art important to both smaller communities and society at large?

Philosopher’s Stone
(http://pstonemusic.com/)
 
We create music in the hills of Boone County, KY. The four of us live in northern Kentucky just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The music makers in Philosopher’s Stone are Chris Laile (bass), John Carrico (drums), Jon '8k' Divita (keys/synthesis) and me, Brad Denham (guitar/vox).

We were invited to perform at the inaugural MAD Flavor Fest via Mat Pentencost, who we have played music with in Cincinnati. Matty P has performed at many of our shows over the years and usually ends up on stage with us for live jams.

Music is an integral part of society…it is essential to completeness. Music and song are basic human functions, like the beating heart or breathing. Like birds and crickets, we all have a song. A quick search of the internet yields an interesting fact: "there is no international law that requires a country to adopt an anthem, yet currently every country has realized that this is something that is needed as part of a national identity. An anthem is used to musically express what a country—or any other group of people—stand for and what unites them.” (www.nationalanthems.info) Music allows us to express our fears, our pain, our wants and desires; it enlightens, elates, and transcends. Above all else, it can express our deepest love. A song can speak for the things that are not easily said. Like a needle in the groove, music imprints itself on the human heart and brain capturing the experience and moment in time, and, upon listening again, those memories and feelings are triggered and can be relived again and again. There is nothing like a great song that can magically take you back to relive your childhood.

If I had to choose between losing my sight or losing my hearing, I would choose sight. The first thing you do when you hear something beautiful or when you experience pleasure is shut your eyes.

Pat Ballard
(http://www.reverbnation.com/patballard)

My home is Hopkins County. The guys I’ll be playing with at the festival are Jon Gilbert (guitar), Gary Madison (bass), Clint Combs (drums), and maybe Johnny Keyz (keyboard).

When I found out about Mat and what he was putting together, and his passion and drive to showcase the talent here and regionally, I just wanted to help in any way I could. Mat has worked really hard to bring so many people together for a great cause, which is not only a benefit for the Red Cross, but also a benefit to all of us by getting so many musicians from this area at one festival.

It’s hard to articulate an answer to the last one. The benefits of the arts to all communities are just so intangible. It really gives us artsy types a little more room to breathe.

Falter
(https://www.facebook.com/FalterMusic)

Home for Falter is right here in Hopkins County. With the exception of our drummer Bryan Thomas who resides in Hopkinsville, KY, all other members (Kevin Offutt, John Pierce, Brad Wilson, Adam O’Rear) were raised right here in Hopkins County.

We in Falter are big believers in giving back to our community, charities, and to society in general. Each year we set aside time and promotions for events such as the Mad Flavor Fest. We have done quite a few this year. Most recently, we played the Thumbs Up For What’s Wright Benefit in Nashville at the Tin Roof. We have had very much support from our fans, especially the fans right here in Hopkins County, so we were thrilled at the chance of being a part of this event for our hometown community and for the American Red Cross. It’s been some time now since we’ve been able to play a show right here at home due to scheduling issues, so being a part of this event is very exciting because allows a way to raise money for the American Red Cross while also bringing awareness to this community, which is a plentiful melting pot of talent. Whether it be musicianship or the arts, Hopkins County is rich with both.

There are so many points that I could address on the matter of music and art’s importance and role in raising of a cultured and great society. Music was a huge part of my life personally, and at no matter what point of my life, I have always acknowledged there has been an overwhelming yearning and calling in my life for music. I am following the calling now on a larger scale, but even if I wasn’t, music will always be a large part of me. To us, the biggest importance to a community and society is self expression and our rights and freedom. So many times I have heard stories of schools cutting the arts programs, and this saddens me because these programs give kids the avenue to find their true passions as artists.

JT Oglesby
(www.facebook.com/jtoglesby)

I am a gypsy-spirited vagabond that embarked on a spiritual journey exploring the musical and creative aspects of the world during my teens, which continues to this day. My band consists of rounders, misfits, and other miscreants I have encountered over the years that embrace a noncompliant societal and creative view. These roustabouts frequently change, making my band an ever-shifting work-in-progress. Each unique version explores a different path unknown to the incarnations before it.

I wanted to get involved with this festival because I am proud to be a Kentuckian and I am proud to be from this area. My family has lived and died in this area for so long that there is more of my DNA in this soil than dirt. I want to do whatever I can to help promote and preserve our heritage and culture. A lot of people say it, but few truly mean it: LLKM! Long Live Kentucky Music!

Hollywood Gutterats
(www.facebook.com/HollywoodGutterats)

Home is where the rock is! The Hollywood Gutterats are Slush (lead vox and guitar), Yngwie Springsteen (guitar), Micheal Anthony Hall (bass), and Tommy Lee Greenwood (drums).

Why did we get involved? Because Slush and Mat Pentacost both like Taco Bell Chalupas!

Music and art is important because it touches everyone in one way or another. And who doesn’t like to be touched?

Technology Versus Horse
(www.reverbnation.com/technologyvshorse)

Technology Versus Horse as a band is from Bowling Green, KY. We all met while/shortly after attending WKU. We are composed of Mike Farmer (vocals), myself (Rafe Heltsley–guitar), Matt Bitner (bass), David Prater (keys), and Josh Hines (drums).

I grew up in White Plains, KY and went to high school in Madisonville (Hopkins County Central High School). When Mat Pentecost was thinking about throwing the festival, he mentioned it to me. I thought it sounded like a great idea and wanted my band to play to show our support.

Music and art are very important outlets of expression. They also help gather people together, bonding over a shared favorite band or artist or meeting up at local shows.

The Fair-Weather Kings
(www.facebook.com/thefairweatherkings)

The Fair-Weather Kings started in Bowling Green KY and all of us still live here. Our members our Wesley Stone, Zach Barton, Jason Williams, Craig Brown, and Marcus Long

Zach and I (Wesley) grew up in Madisonville. Marcus is also from Hopkins County. So we have "roots" there, so to speak. Zach and Marcus' parents still live in Hopkins County. So, for us, getting involved with the festival was about the opportunity to be involved in an event that not only benefits the American Red Cross, but also brings art, in various forms, to a town that a few of us have called home.

Art and music are important because they are "tools" that have many uses; free to anyone that desires them.

The Artists and Vendors
QUESTIONS:
1.) What's your personal info (name, age, hometown, business name and overview, etc.)?
2.) Why is your art form or craft important to you personally?
3.) Why did you decide to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest? OR Why is the festival important to our community?

MCC Humanities Division
(www.madisonville.kctcs.edu/)

Myself (Brooke Archila) and perhaps a few others will be setting up a booth to represent the Humanities Division at Madisonville Community College. The Humanities Division is an eclectic group of instructors who teach classes in the fields of English, history, communications, foreign languages, music, reading, art, and women's studies. We support and promote anything related to these areas on campus and in the community. The study of humanities in various forms is essential to understanding ourselves and the world around us. Through these areas of study, we express our creativity and share in the creativity of others. In our representation of our department at the festival, we want to share the many cool things we have going on in the fall and encourage involvement and support!

Bad Apple Paintwerks
(www.facebook.com/BadApplePaintwerks)
My name is Patrick Harvey and I'm the owner of Bad Apple Paintwerks. I'm 38 and my hometown is Hopkins County. I create art directed towards the musically inclined.

Why is what I do important to me personally? A favorite quote of mine might sum that up: "Paint chips make me thirsty."

I decided to get involved with this festival because I live here and I want to help promote the arts in our community when I have the chance. 

HoldFast WoodCO.
(www.facebook.com/HoldfastWoodCo)
 
My name is Cody McDowell. I’m 24 years old and live in Madisonville, KY. I’m the owner of HoldFast WoodCO. I create simple custom furniture and home decor.

Woodworking is important to me because it’s becoming a lost art, yet it’s one of the basic trades that defines us as a country and as a civilization in general. I think that using reclaimed materials and old tools to do my work is also an important part of what I do because anyone can go to Lowe’s and buy a new 2x4, but if you go to a barn and pull off a 2x4, it has character, it’s had purpose, and it’s been reliable for years and years. Taking something like that and making it into a coffee table for someone means they have a piece of history that will outlive them; it’s something that they can pass to their kids. The Mad Flavor Fest is important to the Hopkins County region, as well as all the local artists and crafts people, because maybe for that one day that we are set up, someone will buy a CD from a band that actually needs the money, and instead of getting something out of a box at Wal-Mart, they will buy something handmade and invest just a little money back into their local economy.

Elite Tattoo Lounge
(www.facebook.com/EliteTattooLounge)

My name is Aaron “Chappy” Chapman. I’m originally from Denver, CO and I own and operate Elite Tattoo Lounge (530 E. Center St., Madisonville KY 42431). We are a full service tattoo and body mod studio, specializing in all styles of tattooing from black and grey, to new school, to photorealism.

The art of tattooing is important to me for many reasons. First, it’s how I make my living, and I make a very good living doing it. It’s really about doing something that you love, but when you can make a living doing it, it is priceless. This is not my job, it is my career and my work. It is what people will know of me when I die.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest because I believe in Madisonville. For so long there has been a lack of focus in this area toward the arts and culture, and people here have lacked a focal point to channel their artistic talents. This town is so full of talented people it is going to burst. That is what the Mad Flavor Fest is to me: the Madisonville arts community no longer being content to stay at home, no longer being contained!

Travis Shanks
(www.facebook.com/tshanks7720?fref=ts)
 
I’m Travis Shanks, 21, and my hometown is Slaughters, KY

Painting and drawing is important to me because it's a great way to express myself. At one point in my life, it helped me escape some hard times. Art gives a way for us to bring beauty into a world where beauty is rapidly thinning.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so I could share my art with more people. And, hopefully, to become known in some way as a reputable artist in the community. The Mad Flavor Fest is most definitely important to our community and what we, as artists, are trying to achieve. Hopefully, this festival will open the eyes of the community to the true value of art, which is so often forgotten in modern times. Also, it's going to be a great place to meet all the people in the local area that share your passions. I cannot wait!

Poppy & Clover (Gina Boyd & Riley Jo Dever)
(www.facebook.com/poppyandclover?fref=ts)

We are a mother/daughter team that loves to craft. We specialize in antiques, soy candles, soaps, pillows, and many other delightful offerings. We are hoping to actually open a store by summertime so that we may invite you down for a cup of tea and to browse around—or just to stop in and say hello.

We have always enjoyed art and crafting around with each other. We decided a couple of years ago to team up and begin to create things that appeal to us and hopefully to others. I love to decorate and it is fulfilling to adorn my home with things that I have created.

We decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so that we could offer some of our goods for the public to come by and see. As we work on opening our store, we are selling things out of our home. We have been asked my many people to see our things in-person, so here is an opportunity to do that. We hope many people come out and enjoy a day of music and art that is offered by local community members.

Big Biting Pig Productions
(www.bigbitingpigproductions.com/)

Steve Hudgins: I’m originally from Chicago, IL, but I currently live in Dawson Springs, KY.

Big Biting Pig Productions specializes in feature-length thrillers and horror films. I love telling stories, acting, directing others to get the most out of themselves and watching everything come together, so being a filmmaker is kind of a natural thing for my tastes.

I think it's great to have a festival that focuses on Madisonville and helps those in the community see what is out there that they may not be aware of.

PJ Woodside: I'm PJ Woodside, living in Madisonville, originally from Charleston, SC, married to Jude Roy of Louisiana Cajun heritage. I mostly collaborate with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions on movie projects, such as my latest movie which will be premiering this summer, Lucid. We also make book trailers, commercials, and music videos through PJ's Productions.

I've come to appreciate horror movies much more since we started making them several years ago. They help people release their everyday fears in a nonthreatening way. The one we're showing at the festival, Spirit Stalkers, is a combination of ghost hunter’s show and a classic haunted house movie. It will have you on the edge of your seat and jumping many times, but the characters are also interesting and believable. It's important to me to tell stories that matter to people and have some emotional resonance.

I got involved, well, because you asked me! But also, there are a lot of Madisonville locations and people in our movies, so we like to share them with the local community when possible! It's always good to see what is being made right here, right under our noses!

The Learn’d Housewife
(www.facebook.com/thelearndhousewife)

I’m Cassie Pendergraff from the wonderful metropolis of Madvegas. I’m a 2002 MNHHS graduate and owner of The Learn’d Housewife. I enjoy crafting and trying new things. I’ve always loved fabric; I come from a long generation of quilters, so finding new ways to work with fabric is always an adventure. I decided to start making fabric button earrings. For me, it’s a fun way to keep memories. I can take scraps from pretty much anything—a baby quilt, a dress I’ve worn, my daughter’s coming home outfits—and make a pair of earrings or a necklace.

I decided to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest because I love supporting local artisans. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s out there in the community and get connected with other people who have similar interests. There are so many unique and creative people hiding in our hometown and it is events like the Mad Flavor Fest that gives them a chance to crawl out of the woodwork.

* * * * * * *

For more on the Mad Flavor Fest, including directions to the Ballard Convention Center (605 E. Arch St., Madisonville), ticket sales, admission information, vendor sign-up sheets, a full list of current performers, artists, vendors, filmmakers, and much more, visit the recently launched Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival website at the following address: www.MadFlavorFest.com.

You can also find the Mad Flavor Festival’s official Facebook page by clicking here.

To read another Sugg Street Post article about the Mad Flavor Fest, which was written by Jessica Dockrey, click here. To learn more about the CINEMADIC Film Festival, click here.

All ticket sales and additional proceeds raised via the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival will go to support the efforts of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red CrossTo learn more about the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, click here.

The Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival is sponsored by the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, the Sugg Street Post, and Art Interactions

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos courtesy of Jessi Smith, Jeff Harp, and Respective Mad Flavor Festival Participants

 

Read more...

MAD Flavor Fest - Through the Eyes of the Artists

MADISONVILLE, KY (5/28/13)—Madisonville’s first premier music, arts, and film festival, the Mad Flavor Fest, is coming up on Saturday, June 15th, 2013 at the Ballard Convention Center—and it’s no surprise that the inaugural event is garnering attention from communities across the tri-state region and beyond. With an ever-growing lineup of entertainment that currently includes performances by 13 local and out-of-state bands, over 15 art-based vendor booths, 11 US and internationally-produced independent films, a variety of family-friendly activities, food, refreshments such as beer and wine, and more, the festival is poised to be one of the tri-state area’s most entertaining summer events.

But what originally prompted a festival of this scale?

In the late spring of 2012, a powerful concept materialized before former Madisonville resident and The Late Circuit DJ, Mat Pentecost: to organize Madisonville’s first large-scale, collaboration-based arts and music festival that would showcase the wide swath of talent our region holds, while also supporting a positive cause (which, in this case, would become the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross).

As Pentecost explains, the idea came to him after revisiting music he had created with friends in Hopkins County. From there, he pondered upon the relatively unrecognized talent he was surrounded by throughout his youth, and he came to a realization that this underlying, albeit powerful, sense of synergy deserved a place in the public spotlight.

Soon after, Pentecost created a Facebook page that would help to gauge interest in such an event while also serving as a platform for regional collaboration among artists, musicians, filmmakers, and volunteers. The response was immediate and notable, leading Pentecost to take the first steps onto what would become a year-long path of planning, mediation, and overall event organization.

Today, just over a year later, Pentecost’s original vision is mere weeks away from becoming a tangible reality thanks to the support of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, a variety of volunteers and supporters, local artists, musicians, filmmakers, and many more helping hands.

And while the recently launched Mad Flavor Fest website—www.madflavorfest.com—contains information on performers, artists, ticket prices, vendor participation, films, and much more, the Sugg Street Post has reached out to many of the people involved with the festival over the past few weeks to get their take on why the upcoming event is so important to our community, as well as why they got involved. Their respective responses are as follows. 

The Organizers
QUESTIONS:
1.) Why did you decide to get involved with the festival as a volunteer?
2.) Why is a festival like this so important to our region?

Mat Pentecost
I incidentally started this thing because I was listening to a lot of old cassette tape recordings of StereoPop. I just wanted to goof off and hang out with my friends again. I was certain that I wasn't alone in that feeling. I feel that the festival is important because I don't want greater Hopkins County to lose the talent and forward-thinking visionaries that I know this region produces due to boredom and lack of positive stimuli. This happened with most of my generation. Most of us moved away. Why? What happened? Or more importantly, what didn't happen?

Seth Owen 
I decided to volunteer so I could help play a part in promoting the local art scene and businesses in the community where I grew up. Having multiple public outlets available throughout the year where artists can perform and display their talents are important, as is providing local businesses more opportunities to succeed. Growing up playing drums in a few different indie bands in Hopkins County and performing at different events was something I am grateful for having done—especially after living in a few different large metropolitan areas, I see how big of a role the arts have in our daily lives.

Whitney Drewe Wardrip 
I got involved because it is an honor that the festival benefits the Red Cross. We are thrilled to be a part of such an awesome event that is so desperately needed in our community!







Christopher Mcdonald

From as far back as I can remember, I've had a love for, and have felt a deep connection with, music and the arts. Living in this town, I've had the honor to grow up with and form friendships with some intensely talented artists and musicians. Unfortunately, as has been discussed, there are few venues and platforms in the area for these amazing minds to display their gifts. So when Mat shot this idea out, I jumped at the opportunity to help in anyway he needed me. The fact that this thing evolved into a charity event to benefit the Red Cross was the icing on the cake. I knew how huge this could be for the community both artistically and economically. I knew I didn't have nearly as much to offer as the majority of the group, and was humbled to be asked to be a part of what I see becoming the single greatest gathering of local talent seen here to date. This thing is like a dream come true.

Jessica Dockrey 
I got involved with the festival because I love collaboration on a massive scale. It's truly amazing to see what I would consider a piece of collage art, the festival, come to life. People need to appreciate the people that surround them. Being able to share your talents with your community is important to each individual as well as the area as a whole. Love where you live. It's easy if you involve yourself in what's going on around you and make yourself aware of all the reasons to appreciate all that deserves to be appreciated. Acknowledge the people that actively contribute in your life experience.


The Musicians

QUESTIONS:
1.) Where do you call home and who all is a part of your band?
2.) Why did you decide to get involved with this festival?
3.) Why is music and art important to both smaller communities and society at large?

Philosopher’s Stone
(http://pstonemusic.com/)
 
We create music in the hills of Boone County, KY. The four of us live in northern Kentucky just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The music makers in Philosopher’s Stone are Chris Laile (bass), John Carrico (drums), Jon '8k' Divita (keys/synthesis) and me, Brad Denham (guitar/vox).

We were invited to perform at the inaugural MAD Flavor Fest via Mat Pentencost, who we have played music with in Cincinnati. Matty P has performed at many of our shows over the years and usually ends up on stage with us for live jams.

Music is an integral part of society…it is essential to completeness. Music and song are basic human functions, like the beating heart or breathing. Like birds and crickets, we all have a song. A quick search of the internet yields an interesting fact: "there is no international law that requires a country to adopt an anthem, yet currently every country has realized that this is something that is needed as part of a national identity. An anthem is used to musically express what a country—or any other group of people—stand for and what unites them.” (www.nationalanthems.info) Music allows us to express our fears, our pain, our wants and desires; it enlightens, elates, and transcends. Above all else, it can express our deepest love. A song can speak for the things that are not easily said. Like a needle in the groove, music imprints itself on the human heart and brain capturing the experience and moment in time, and, upon listening again, those memories and feelings are triggered and can be relived again and again. There is nothing like a great song that can magically take you back to relive your childhood.

If I had to choose between losing my sight or losing my hearing, I would choose sight. The first thing you do when you hear something beautiful or when you experience pleasure is shut your eyes.

Pat Ballard
(http://www.reverbnation.com/patballard)

My home is Hopkins County. The guys I’ll be playing with at the festival are Jon Gilbert (guitar), Gary Madison (bass), Clint Combs (drums), and maybe Johnny Keyz (keyboard).

When I found out about Mat and what he was putting together, and his passion and drive to showcase the talent here and regionally, I just wanted to help in any way I could. Mat has worked really hard to bring so many people together for a great cause, which is not only a benefit for the Red Cross, but also a benefit to all of us by getting so many musicians from this area at one festival.

It’s hard to articulate an answer to the last one. The benefits of the arts to all communities are just so intangible. It really gives us artsy types a little more room to breathe.

Falter
(https://www.facebook.com/FalterMusic)

Home for Falter is right here in Hopkins County. With the exception of our drummer Bryan Thomas who resides in Hopkinsville, KY, all other members (Kevin Offutt, John Pierce, Brad Wilson, Adam O’Rear) were raised right here in Hopkins County.

We in Falter are big believers in giving back to our community, charities, and to society in general. Each year we set aside time and promotions for events such as the Mad Flavor Fest. We have done quite a few this year. Most recently, we played the Thumbs Up For What’s Wright Benefit in Nashville at the Tin Roof. We have had very much support from our fans, especially the fans right here in Hopkins County, so we were thrilled at the chance of being a part of this event for our hometown community and for the American Red Cross. It’s been some time now since we’ve been able to play a show right here at home due to scheduling issues, so being a part of this event is very exciting because allows a way to raise money for the American Red Cross while also bringing awareness to this community, which is a plentiful melting pot of talent. Whether it be musicianship or the arts, Hopkins County is rich with both.

There are so many points that I could address on the matter of music and art’s importance and role in raising of a cultured and great society. Music was a huge part of my life personally, and at no matter what point of my life, I have always acknowledged there has been an overwhelming yearning and calling in my life for music. I am following the calling now on a larger scale, but even if I wasn’t, music will always be a large part of me. To us, the biggest importance to a community and society is self expression and our rights and freedom. So many times I have heard stories of schools cutting the arts programs, and this saddens me because these programs give kids the avenue to find their true passions as artists.

JT Oglesby
(www.facebook.com/jtoglesby)

I am a gypsy-spirited vagabond that embarked on a spiritual journey exploring the musical and creative aspects of the world during my teens, which continues to this day. My band consists of rounders, misfits, and other miscreants I have encountered over the years that embrace a noncompliant societal and creative view. These roustabouts frequently change, making my band an ever-shifting work-in-progress. Each unique version explores a different path unknown to the incarnations before it.

I wanted to get involved with this festival because I am proud to be a Kentuckian and I am proud to be from this area. My family has lived and died in this area for so long that there is more of my DNA in this soil than dirt. I want to do whatever I can to help promote and preserve our heritage and culture. A lot of people say it, but few truly mean it: LLKM! Long Live Kentucky Music!

Hollywood Gutterats
(www.facebook.com/HollywoodGutterats)

Home is where the rock is! The Hollywood Gutterats are Slush (lead vox and guitar), Yngwie Springsteen (guitar), Micheal Anthony Hall (bass), and Tommy Lee Greenwood (drums).

Why did we get involved? Because Slush and Mat Pentacost both like Taco Bell Chalupas!

Music and art is important because it touches everyone in one way or another. And who doesn’t like to be touched?

Technology Versus Horse
(www.reverbnation.com/technologyvshorse)

Technology Versus Horse as a band is from Bowling Green, KY. We all met while/shortly after attending WKU. We are composed of Mike Farmer (vocals), myself (Rafe Heltsley–guitar), Matt Bitner (bass), David Prater (keys), and Josh Hines (drums).

I grew up in White Plains, KY and went to high school in Madisonville (Hopkins County Central High School). When Mat Pentecost was thinking about throwing the festival, he mentioned it to me. I thought it sounded like a great idea and wanted my band to play to show our support.

Music and art are very important outlets of expression. They also help gather people together, bonding over a shared favorite band or artist or meeting up at local shows.

The Fair-Weather Kings
(www.facebook.com/thefairweatherkings)

The Fair-Weather Kings started in Bowling Green KY and all of us still live here. Our members our Wesley Stone, Zach Barton, Jason Williams, Craig Brown, and Marcus Long

Zach and I (Wesley) grew up in Madisonville. Marcus is also from Hopkins County. So we have "roots" there, so to speak. Zach and Marcus' parents still live in Hopkins County. So, for us, getting involved with the festival was about the opportunity to be involved in an event that not only benefits the American Red Cross, but also brings art, in various forms, to a town that a few of us have called home.

Art and music are important because they are "tools" that have many uses; free to anyone that desires them.

The Artists and Vendors
QUESTIONS:
1.) What's your personal info (name, age, hometown, business name and overview, etc.)?
2.) Why is your art form or craft important to you personally?
3.) Why did you decide to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest? OR Why is the festival important to our community?

MCC Humanities Division
(www.madisonville.kctcs.edu/)

Myself (Brooke Archila) and perhaps a few others will be setting up a booth to represent the Humanities Division at Madisonville Community College. The Humanities Division is an eclectic group of instructors who teach classes in the fields of English, history, communications, foreign languages, music, reading, art, and women's studies. We support and promote anything related to these areas on campus and in the community. The study of humanities in various forms is essential to understanding ourselves and the world around us. Through these areas of study, we express our creativity and share in the creativity of others. In our representation of our department at the festival, we want to share the many cool things we have going on in the fall and encourage involvement and support!

Bad Apple Paintwerks
(www.facebook.com/BadApplePaintwerks)
My name is Patrick Harvey and I'm the owner of Bad Apple Paintwerks. I'm 38 and my hometown is Hopkins County. I create art directed towards the musically inclined.

Why is what I do important to me personally? A favorite quote of mine might sum that up: "Paint chips make me thirsty."

I decided to get involved with this festival because I live here and I want to help promote the arts in our community when I have the chance. 

HoldFast WoodCO.
(www.facebook.com/HoldfastWoodCo)
 
My name is Cody McDowell. I’m 24 years old and live in Madisonville, KY. I’m the owner of HoldFast WoodCO. I create simple custom furniture and home decor.

Woodworking is important to me because it’s becoming a lost art, yet it’s one of the basic trades that defines us as a country and as a civilization in general. I think that using reclaimed materials and old tools to do my work is also an important part of what I do because anyone can go to Lowe’s and buy a new 2x4, but if you go to a barn and pull off a 2x4, it has character, it’s had purpose, and it’s been reliable for years and years. Taking something like that and making it into a coffee table for someone means they have a piece of history that will outlive them; it’s something that they can pass to their kids. The Mad Flavor Fest is important to the Hopkins County region, as well as all the local artists and crafts people, because maybe for that one day that we are set up, someone will buy a CD from a band that actually needs the money, and instead of getting something out of a box at Wal-Mart, they will buy something handmade and invest just a little money back into their local economy.

Elite Tattoo Lounge
(www.facebook.com/EliteTattooLounge)

My name is Aaron “Chappy” Chapman. I’m originally from Denver, CO and I own and operate Elite Tattoo Lounge (530 E. Center St., Madisonville KY 42431). We are a full service tattoo and body mod studio, specializing in all styles of tattooing from black and grey, to new school, to photorealism.

The art of tattooing is important to me for many reasons. First, it’s how I make my living, and I make a very good living doing it. It’s really about doing something that you love, but when you can make a living doing it, it is priceless. This is not my job, it is my career and my work. It is what people will know of me when I die.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest because I believe in Madisonville. For so long there has been a lack of focus in this area toward the arts and culture, and people here have lacked a focal point to channel their artistic talents. This town is so full of talented people it is going to burst. That is what the Mad Flavor Fest is to me: the Madisonville arts community no longer being content to stay at home, no longer being contained!

Travis Shanks
(www.facebook.com/tshanks7720?fref=ts)
 
I’m Travis Shanks, 21, and my hometown is Slaughters, KY

Painting and drawing is important to me because it's a great way to express myself. At one point in my life, it helped me escape some hard times. Art gives a way for us to bring beauty into a world where beauty is rapidly thinning.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so I could share my art with more people. And, hopefully, to become known in some way as a reputable artist in the community. The Mad Flavor Fest is most definitely important to our community and what we, as artists, are trying to achieve. Hopefully, this festival will open the eyes of the community to the true value of art, which is so often forgotten in modern times. Also, it's going to be a great place to meet all the people in the local area that share your passions. I cannot wait!

Poppy & Clover (Gina Boyd & Riley Jo Dever)
(www.facebook.com/poppyandclover?fref=ts)

We are a mother/daughter team that loves to craft. We specialize in antiques, soy candles, soaps, pillows, and many other delightful offerings. We are hoping to actually open a store by summertime so that we may invite you down for a cup of tea and to browse around—or just to stop in and say hello.

We have always enjoyed art and crafting around with each other. We decided a couple of years ago to team up and begin to create things that appeal to us and hopefully to others. I love to decorate and it is fulfilling to adorn my home with things that I have created.

We decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so that we could offer some of our goods for the public to come by and see. As we work on opening our store, we are selling things out of our home. We have been asked my many people to see our things in-person, so here is an opportunity to do that. We hope many people come out and enjoy a day of music and art that is offered by local community members.

Big Biting Pig Productions
(www.bigbitingpigproductions.com/)

Steve Hudgins: I’m originally from Chicago, IL, but I currently live in Dawson Springs, KY.

Big Biting Pig Productions specializes in feature-length thrillers and horror films. I love telling stories, acting, directing others to get the most out of themselves and watching everything come together, so being a filmmaker is kind of a natural thing for my tastes.

I think it's great to have a festival that focuses on Madisonville and helps those in the community see what is out there that they may not be aware of.

PJ Woodside: I'm PJ Woodside, living in Madisonville, originally from Charleston, SC, married to Jude Roy of Louisiana Cajun heritage. I mostly collaborate with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions on movie projects, such as my latest movie which will be premiering this summer, Lucid. We also make book trailers, commercials, and music videos through PJ's Productions.

I've come to appreciate horror movies much more since we started making them several years ago. They help people release their everyday fears in a nonthreatening way. The one we're showing at the festival, Spirit Stalkers, is a combination of ghost hunter’s show and a classic haunted house movie. It will have you on the edge of your seat and jumping many times, but the characters are also interesting and believable. It's important to me to tell stories that matter to people and have some emotional resonance.

I got involved, well, because you asked me! But also, there are a lot of Madisonville locations and people in our movies, so we like to share them with the local community when possible! It's always good to see what is being made right here, right under our noses!

The Learn’d Housewife
(www.facebook.com/thelearndhousewife)

I’m Cassie Pendergraff from the wonderful metropolis of Madvegas. I’m a 2002 MNHHS graduate and owner of The Learn’d Housewife. I enjoy crafting and trying new things. I’ve always loved fabric; I come from a long generation of quilters, so finding new ways to work with fabric is always an adventure. I decided to start making fabric button earrings. For me, it’s a fun way to keep memories. I can take scraps from pretty much anything—a baby quilt, a dress I’ve worn, my daughter’s coming home outfits—and make a pair of earrings or a necklace.

I decided to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest because I love supporting local artisans. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s out there in the community and get connected with other people who have similar interests. There are so many unique and creative people hiding in our hometown and it is events like the Mad Flavor Fest that gives them a chance to crawl out of the woodwork.

* * * * * * *

For more on the Mad Flavor Fest, including directions to the Ballard Convention Center (605 E. Arch St., Madisonville), ticket sales, admission information, vendor sign-up sheets, a full list of current performers, artists, vendors, filmmakers, and much more, visit the recently launched Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival website at the following address: www.MadFlavorFest.com.

You can also find the Mad Flavor Festival’s official Facebook page by clicking here.

To read another Sugg Street Post article about the Mad Flavor Fest, which was written by Jessica Dockrey, click here. To learn more about the CINEMADIC Film Festival, click here.

All ticket sales and additional proceeds raised via the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival will go to support the efforts of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red CrossTo learn more about the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, click here.

The Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival is sponsored by the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, the Sugg Street Post, and Art Interactions

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos courtesy of Jessi Smith, Jeff Harp, and Respective Mad Flavor Festival Participants

 

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  • Published in Art

Owensboro Filmmaker Featured on PBS, Video Included

"credit" Gilles PhotographicsOWENSBORO, KY (4/29/13) - Owensboro filmmaker and founder of Verite Cinema,  P.J. Starks, is currently being featured on the 21st season of the PBS program, Main Street, which highlights interesting people, places or things.

Starks was selected by the network to be featured on the program to showcase the independent film work he has done in and around the community of Owensboro, KY.

"It was extremely cool for me to have PBS let me tell my story," says Starks. "I've been working very hard in the community to make a name for myself and to be recognized for my efforts was very humbling. Verite Cinema started out as a means to express my need to be creative and has evolved into an avenue to help others get their projects acknowledged through events such as Unscripted: An Indie Film Xperience. My journey thus far has been surreal and I feel fortunate that I got the opportunity to relive it through a reputable station like PBS."

PBS has recently released the interview and you can watch it by clicking the embedded video below.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photo by Gilles Photographics

 

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  • Published in Music

Area Musician Helps to Put Paducah Scene in KET Spotlight

PADUCAH, KY (3/17/13)—Western Kentucky, as well as the surrounding region and state of Kentucky itself, is brimming with talented artists and musicians working in a variety of genres—and it has been this way for decades. Yet, regardless of the raw talent an area may hold, the growth and success of a community’s arts, history, entertainment, and music scene depends largely on the support of appreciative, like-minded individuals. Taking this idea to heart, the downtown arts and entertainment district in Paducah, KY has truly flourished over the last 15 to 20 years thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers, fervent patrons, ambitious non-profit organizations, and a bevy of talented artists. Today, the shining example they have set, as well as the close-knit society of creative minds that has pulled together as a result, stands as a beacon to other area’s looking to reinvent and connect their own local cultures.

Knowing this truth from many memorable firsthand experiences over the last decade, acclaimed regional musician and award-winning thumbpicker, J.T. Oglesby (pictured to the left), set out to get Paducah’s thriving, multi-faceted music scene recognized on a broader scale. Specifically, he wanted to see Paducah musicians, their fans, and their inspiring reverence for the roots of Kentucky music featured on Kentucky Educational Television (KET).

So, what did he do? He called KET and told them it was a good idea.

“It was really just a lack of shyness and curiosity just to see if I could do it,” says J.T. candidly. “I called up KET and said, ‘Give me somebody in charge.’ They asked what I meant and I told them, ‘Give me somebody who can make me a TV show.’ [laughs] They connected me with [producer] Brandon Wickey. Once we got to talking, I pitched the idea of promoting some of my friends and the Paducah scene on a TV show...I wanted to promote Paducah because they are advancing music, but still promote indigenous Kentucky music. They are moving forward, but are honoring and respecting the musicians that came before all of us in the process.”

While J.T. felt that the initial reaction he got from Wickey was positive, over two years passed without any further contact. As a result, J.T. assumed that his idea had been brushed off. Avoiding too much heartache over what he thought was a great but forgotten idea, J.T. forged ahead, playing music for regional audiences, promoting Kentucky’s rich musical lineage, and spending time with his family.

Then, several weeks ago, J.T.’s phone rang. It was Wickey, and he was ready to discuss details.

“A few years had passed and then, out of nowhere, Brandon [Wickey] called me up and asked if I still wanted to do the show. I told him I did,” says J.T. of the unexpected call. “He said that he wanted to get [former Bawn in the Mash member] Nathan Blake Lynn, the Solid Rock’it Boosters, and JD Wilkes & The Dirt Daubers on board for the show.”

Having played both with and alongside each of the locally-based groups and musicians Wickey wanted to feature on the show, contacting them and garnering their interest was a relatively easy task for J.T..

From there, Matt Grimm—one of KET’s various contributing producers for their ongoing weekly magazine program, Kentucky Life—was assigned to the project and things really started to move.

In fact, it was no time before KET and J.T., as well as several others, were helping to organize a full-on community-based concert featuring each of the aforementioned artists. What’s more, Paducah’s premiere arts, music, and film venue, The Maiden Alley Cinema, agreed to host the show on March 1st.

It was at this point that the upcoming event looked to be a “perfect storm” for showcasing the talents and culture of Paducah that J.T. sought so diligently to exhibit—there was a non-profit arts and community-based venue, a handful of fine Paducah area musicians, and a respected statewide television network ready to lend their hand in making the show a success. And if that weren’t enough, a mere week or so before the show, J.T. was fortunate enough to access a true piece of west Kentucky music history: Mose Rager’s ‘50s-‘60s era Gibson ES-225T electric guitar.

Revered by many as the forefather of thumbpicking—an intricate style of guitar playing that originated in west Kentucky where the thumb plays rhythm and the forefingers play the melody simultaneously—Mose Rager is truly a musical legend and an inspiration to many area artists. In fact, when searching out information on the talented innovator in a face-to-face context, one may find that Rager’s history carries with it a sense of indefinable colloquial mythos rivaled only by his ability to play. To really put his prowess in perspective, consider this: Rager is oftentimes credited with teaching the thumbpicking style to internationally recognized musician and country legend, Merle Travis.

Deeply inspired by both Mose, the man, and the style he imparted to our region, J.T. decided he would also give a very special nod to our area’s musical roots by playing the storied vintage instrument alongside his longtime friends and band-mates, the Solid Rock’it Boosters, during the Paducah concert.

While J.T. had started—and currently still is—working with a number of other outlets to document the historic Gibson, which include the Folk Studies Department at Western Kentucky University (WKU), local musician Patrick “Patson” Richardson, photographer Amy Hourigan, members of the Sugg Street Post, and others, he knew performing with it during the soon-to-be-aired concert would be an invaluable way to get it out there in the public’s eye even more.

With everything in place, J.T. contacted the Sugg Street Post crew and asked us if we’d like to come down and check out the show with him. In addition to KET’s presence, he noted that an accomplished student photographer/videographer from WKU, Mike Rivera, would also be in attendance gathering footage for a documentary on the guitar.

Having missed out on much of Paducah’s musical flavor thus far, we jumped at the chance to check out the concert, as well as a portion of Paducah’s thriving cultural tapestry—and are we ever glad we did.

After arriving in Paducah’s historic, riverside arts and entertainment district about two hours before the show was scheduled to start, photographer Jeff Harp, J.T., and I made our way under an illuminated arch-style Maiden Alley Cinema sign near the main roadway, walked down a widened brick alley, and arrived at the side entrance of the venue.

Once inside the roomy location, we made our rounds with J.T., meeting with several of the musicians that were to perform that night, speaking with producer Matt Grimm, and catching an impromptu, multi-artist jam session that broke out in the hallway adjacent to the quaint auditorium-style stage/theatre area. And it was the latter—listening to the foot stompin’, historic folk and blues-tinged rockabilly sounds coming from the intermingling group of performers in the hall, which included the likes of J.D. and Jessica Wilkes, Josh Coffey, Eddie Coffey, Nathan Blake Lynn, Nathan Brown, and Todd Anderson—that made us realize these performers were part of something special. This unplanned, corridor-bound display of comradery was a microcosm of what their scene was all about: unity, spontaneity, and a love for creativity.

With only minutes to go before the doors were opened to the public, Grimm and other members of KET’s crew made last minute adjustments to their cameras, the sound was checked one final time, and the Maiden Alley Cinema/Paducah Film Society’s Executive Director, Landee W. Bryant, informed us that the show was sold out. It was undoubtedly going to be a memorable night.

And so it ensued. Patrons of all ages flooded into the theatre, filling nearly every seat.

However, before the music began, Landee came before the crowd and explained that the non-profit, community-based theatre, art, and music venue was facing a potentially threatening situation: digital conversion. While the Maiden Alley Cinema currently utilizes 35mm film in their projectors, Landee made note that studios are quickly converting to digital formats exclusively, which leaves longstanding, film-based theatres with two choices: convert to digital projectors at a cost of approximately $50-80,000 or close down. While major theatre franchises will likely have little problem making the sweeping change, the Maiden Alley Cinema is a locally-operated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As a result, completing this process will depend largely on the support of regional donations. In expanding upon this concept, members and supporters of the cinema presented a short, comedic film explaining the process and its potential pitfalls before the musicians took to the stage. So, if you love the arts and would like to show your support for Paducah’s Maiden Alley Cinema, please take a moment to check out the “About Us” section on their official website by clicking here.

Following soon after, the lights were dimmed and the music kicked-off with the traditional folk and “sluegrass” sounds of The Wheelhouse Rousters. Composed of Nathan Blake Lynn, Josh Coffey, and Eddie Coffey, the trio performed a variety of historic and original acoustic tunes, and even took the time to illuminate some of Paducah’s more interesting musical history between songs to the delight of the audience. Making for an even more interesting set, each member took on different instruments. From the use of tenor, acoustic, and resophonic guitars, to the sweet, high-end strumming of a mandolin, the low-end thump of an upright bass, and the engaging bite of the fiddle—not to mention the alternation of vocals—their set was well-rounded and charming in an old-world sense. In honesty, sitting back and simply enjoying their roots-based style was much like stepping back in time.

After a hardy round of applause for The Wheelhouse Rousters, the Solid Rock’it Boosters took to the stage with their energetic and raucous blend of celebrated country and rockabilly. On this particular night, the band consisted of Nathan Brown on vocals, rhythm guitar, and kazoo, John Wurth on drums, J.T. Oglesby on lead guitar, Josh Coffey on fiddle, and Todd Anderson on the upright bass. Standout performances from their set included a solid rendition of Merle Travis and Tex Williams’ classic western tune, “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)”—during which J.T. performed on Mose Rager’s legendary Gibson ES-225T—and a stirring version Merle Travis’ “Sixteen Tons” (which was later made even more famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford). And while these may have been some of their more memorable tunes, the intense fiddle playing of Josh Coffey, J.T.’s fast-paced thumbpicking, and Todd’s intricate bass solos were tremendous parts of their overall performance.

And here’s the only bad news of the night…

Due to some unfortunate time constraints, we missed the final performance by swamp-blues and rock-infused Paducah music scene mainstay, J.D. Wilkes & The Dirt Daubers, which is composed of J.D. and Jessica Wilkes, Rod Hamdallah, and Preston Corn. However, several follow-up conversations with those in attendance confirmed that their set rocked the house quite thoroughly.

Luckily, even though we missed out on the final act, KET captured much of the three performances on film for an installment of their aforementioned series, Kentucky Life, which will be airing on May 11th at 7pm (CT) and May 12th at 4pm (CT). In addition, the segment will also be available for viewing on the series’ official website: http://www.ket.org/kentuckylife/. Fans of the show are encouraged to interact with host Dave Shuffett and the producers of Kentucky Life via their Facebook site at facebook.com/kentuckylife.

As Grimm explained to us several days after the concert, “We are producing a segment featuring the Paducah music scene for our weekly magazine program, Kentucky Life. Now in its 18th season, this year the show has had a music emphasis. We are excited about the opportunity to feature the breadth of talent and different styles you can find in Kentucky.”

Regarding the general details and intention of the series, Grimm says that, “Kentucky Life is an award-winning weekly program that aims to document Kentucky’s great diversity. While individual stories focus on local communities, the Kentucky Life crew strives to connect each one to the state at large—to help Kentuckians celebrate their unique regional characters and cultures while bringing them closer together through stories of the rich heritage we all share.”

Other music/history scenes, areas of the state, and performers featured on the acclaimed KET series thus far, include Cumberland River of Harlan County, a “Chitlin’ Circuit” retrospective that focuses on the history of African American musicians (based in Christian County), Tin Can Buddha from Jefferson County, Paul Gilley from Morgan County, Renfro Valley of Rockcastle County, Billy Harlan of Muhlenberg County, a retrospective piece centered on 1950’s hills music via John Cohen’s photography (based in Knott County), and Coralee & the Townies of Fayette County.

While it may at first seem somewhat peculiar that a simple suggestion on J.T.’s behalf helped to spark such a distinctive show and overall experience, as well as KET’s interest, Grimm says it’s really not that uncommon. In fact, many of the show’s story ideas come from faithful viewers of the program.

Overall, however, it was a deeply collaborative effort spawned and made possible by many hands both at KET and in the Paducah community. And, in the end, that’s what the entire night was all about: showcasing a portion of what the Paducah music scene has to offer and the sense of appreciation for creativity the community shares.

Though the growth of a scene like Paducah’s takes a notable amount time and effort to create and successfully maintain, they show that it is not only possible, but that it’s also enjoyable and fun—and the example we witnessed that Friday night was inspiring to say the least. If anything, we should all take note of the possibilities that await our own communities here in Hopkins County. While we, as a whole, have made strides in the realm of promoting arts and entertainment over the last decade, there is still plenty of work to be done.

To check out a live performance from the Solid Rock'it Boosters, which took place during the Maiden Alley Cinema's 2nd Annual Oktoberfest in 2012, click the video player attached below.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jeff Harp

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Madisonville Writer Garners Acclaim

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (3/8/13)—Story-telling, in all its forms, is a decidedly human trait; it’s one of several centuries-old attributes that separate us from the common housefly.

But what inspires us to keep telling and listening to these fictional anecdotes?

Ultimately, we are always consciously, or even unconsciously, seeking an escape from the tedium and drudgeries of the daily “norm,” and a well-written piece of fiction, a well-told story, or an intriguing film or play can sweep us off into a vivid world of tragedy, comedy, terror, or enchantment that can be just as “real” as any eight-hour day drinking coffee behind a dusty desk. Moreover, we are captivated by characters that face the same sorrows, joys, hurdles, and insecurities that we encounter in our day-to-day lives. That being said, it’s no wonder that the vicarious relationship we develop with a believably well-rounded, but fictitious character, is oftentimes just as romantic, freeing, powerful, and therapeutic as the fictitious setting. We, as readers and audience members, can relate to the characters’ internal and external conflicts from a relatively safe distance, and we inevitably learn about ourselves in the process.

Yet, it’s the creators of these characters and imagined worlds that hold the real power at the end of the day. Be it a writer, director, actor or actress, venerable family story-teller, videographer, or painter, it’s the architects of these make-believe characters and universes that reach into our subconscious and find the undeniably universal human truths—or simply give us entertainment.

For Madisonville native and Western Kentucky University student, Jacob Short, 24, the ability to craft a perceptive, well-told story has been fostered over more than a decade. From his time as a youth re-writing and tweaking the oftentimes fantastic stories found in video games, to his current life as a flourishing literature major and film studies minor at WKU, Jacob’s love for writing pieces that affect his audiences in a deeper, yet off-handedly comic and otherworldly sense has garnered attention from talented, like-minded peers, and has even resulted in some notable accomplishments.

Among these successes, stands one of Jacob’s earlier collegiate-level works, Estriatus. Though originally conceptualized as a novel, Jake’s uniquely-inspired tale of one character’s world-changing bout with heartache gained the attention of director/producer Nate Spicer, and—after being transposed to the medium of a striking short-film—went on to win WKU’s 2011 Film Festival.

Today, that same passion for writing intriguing and original stories has led Jacob, as well as locally-based director Chris Young, a slew of actors, and many other helping hands, to the creation of a new, genre-hopping film, Alone Down There, which is due for release this summer.

As filming for the ADT project wrapped up several weeks ago, I contacted the fervent writer/producer (who I should also note is my cousin) to find out more about the film, his writing process, his inspirations, what he hopes to accomplish with writing and filming in the future, and much more.

Luke Short: What got you interested in writing and filmmaking?

Jacob Short: I've always had an affinity for storytelling and writing. When I was incredibly young, I would play video games like Mega Man on the Nintendo, and would periodically write terrible little stories about him and draw pictures to go along with it. I think that's probably where a good deal of it started. I was drawn into these little worlds as a child and began to make little mental tweaks to them. It just developed over time, and eventually I found myself critiquing certain video games and films, thinking of ways the story could have been better. As for film, it may be cliché, but I watched Fight Club when I was a freshman in high school and remember being blown away by it. The feeling was euphoric and all I could think of was how badly I wished I could create something that would make someone feel the same way.

LS: What was one of your first projects?

JS: I had done tons of these absurd short videos with friends before I ever really tackled anything with gravity. I remember one night, I saw the remake of [Rupert Wainwright and Tom Welling’s] The Fog with some friends and we all agreed it was atrocious. When we got back from the theater, we made a satirical piece about how the scriptwriter, producer, and director all got together and got the project rolling. We then filmed some kind of aftermath in which all three were in some massive state of depression over the poor reception it got. It's hard to remember all the details on that. My first real film project was Estriatus, which I guess I'll talk about later.

LS: When you write out dialogue, what’s your process? Do you try to imagine actual characters talking and interacting?

JS: I like to focus heavily on both character creation and dialogue. When I'm writing a scene, I do my best to envision the entire setting and how those characters would behave and speak relative to that scenario. Once I finish a script or story, I'll go back and re-read everything to make sure that I haven't created anything stale or out of character.

LS: What’s your take on writing a script versus seeing it come together? Is that process ever frustrating?

JS: I've been fortunate enough to not be too frustrated with the conversion of my writing into a film format. Working on smaller sets where I have the opportunity to be there in person and help the process move along generally means that I get to give my input on how certain shots should look or how the scene is pulled together. There are occasions where certain ideas I have can’t be done or have to be cut out simply due to time constraints or slight creative difference, but it’s never been drastic or something that would hurt the overall quality of the production. There are always those moments when you’re on a set and anxiety seeps in, and you start to worry about whether or not the image in your head will sync up with what ends up on screen, but you learn to let it go and trust the director and crew.

LS: You’re short film, Estriatus, was the winner of Western Kentucky University’s 2011 Film Festival. Tell me a little bit about that film and how you got involved with the festival.

JS: So, Estriatus is an interesting one. Just about everything involved in its creation has a bit of humor to it. It came to me one day while I was in class. Basically, I had a philosophy and psychology class back-to-back, which is a terrible thing to do when you have problems paying attention. I had been thinking about how most disaster-type films are always world-shattering as opposed to psychological; that's where it started. The name “estriatus” comes from Latin, meaning “lively green.” The story involves a setting in which the color green has vanished, substituted by a dull gray.

When I came up with the story, I had intentions of writing it as a novel. I had a friend [Nate Spicer] who was incredibly skilled when it came to film and I had been pestering him about working on one of my scripts for quite a while. Eventually, I bumped into him at a party and was pitching him this little suspense horror script I'd written, and offhandedly mentioned Estriatus. He instantly latched on to the idea. I figured it could have been enthusiasm enforced by the alcohol, but the next day he called me up asking me to run it by him and get it in a script format. It went through a lot of revisions, some fairly heavy, but the finished product was something I was pleased with. Outside of winning the WKU film fest, he also used it for his Capstone project in the broadcasting department and landed a “distinguished” on it. The Capstone system is used for certain majors; it’s basically a project you pitch and put together to show you can apply what you've learned in your field. A “distinguished” is the highest possible grade and it’s only permitted to five percent of the graduating projects. WKU even used it to advertise themselves.

LS: Today, you’ve entered into the post-production phase of a new film, Alone Down There. What’s the storyline of the film?

JS: Alone Down There is my latest creation. We wrapped on filming a few weeks ago. It's a bit of a difficult piece to explain, as it’s a bit of a genre mash-up. The first half is a bit of a pulpy action piece, whereas the second descends into a thriller, if not outright horror. Basically, the setting is one in which magic exists, but it’s not something the common person would know of. The protagonist takes the form of an unnamed thief who attempts to break into “Limbo” in order to save his significant other. As he makes his attempt, the audience is subject to his obsessive nature, as well as an interesting cast that exists in the eccentric setting.

LS: You wrote the script for Alone Down There. What was your inspiration for the story?

JS: There were a number of inspirations for the story. The first half is heavily inspired by Guy Ritchie-style actions sequences, but with the attitude of Doctor Who or a Joss Whedon piece. The second half is a modernized twist on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The title comes from a Modest Mouse song; I felt the lyrics matched perfectly with the Thief's mindset and overall plot.

LS: How did you manage to collect the funding you needed to make this one possible?

JS: We filmed a teaser trailer, popped a website up, and got a kickstarter campaign going. A large amount of the donations were achieved through there—we reached our goal at the time, which was $10,000—came from fans of the teaser, friends, and family. A good number of our producers put their own money on the line as well. It was a very moving thing to experience. It was very surreal to see something I wrote receiving such support and dedication. In the beginning, it started off as something I would have easily called my own, but after seeing everyone else’s enthusiasm and emotional attachments to it I think it kind of turned into our collective vision.

LS: Who are some of the actors/characters in the film?

JS: Johnathan Stone was our lead, playing Thief. I had met him through some mutual friends well before the script was ever written, and wasn't even aware he was an actor at the time. When we initially started looking for a cast, his name came up and I instantly thought he had a perfect look for the role.

Chris Baker was an actor I had worked with before in Estriatus, and he was fantastic, but he ended up with a small role in that film. I had hopes of working with him again and had run some ideas by him afterwards, but nothing ended up sticking. We wound up filling every role except for King, who is this eccentric David Bowie-inspired, drug-peddling gang leader/warlock. I had never seen Chris play anything close to this type of character, but I had an idea that he would somehow fit it like a glove. One day, I was walking through the mall in Bowling Green a few months before the film was set to shoot and saw him. It caught me completely off guard, because I was still under the assumption he had moved. I sent him the script that night and we had an audition a few weeks later. He just nailed everything we were looking for in the character.

Lastly, I have to mention Alex Altus, who plays the Belial, our antagonist. I can't say too much about his role, but he had read a character description we’d posted up online and messaged us right away. He lives in Lexington, KY, so instead of conducting the audition in person, we had it online. We basically had him read his line as me and four other producers just stared at him over the screen. When he finished, we thanked him for the read, said we'd be in touch, and, as soon as he logged off, all of us started gushing about it. Seeing his performance was like seeing Belial in existence.

LS: Who else is on board?

JS: Chris Young was the director for the film, and it was thanks to him that the project really got off the ground. I had heard through a friend and fellow writer that a production group was looking to work on a film in the Bowling Green area, and that they were having a competition of sorts to determine what they worked on. I submitted a very rough cut of Alone Down There and it was selected over a few other scripts. From that point, Chris and I would have meetings and go over options and details for the story. Without his enthusiasm and love for both filmmaking and the story, this project would have never started.

Nate Spicer, who directed Estriatus also ended up helping with the project as a crew member. When I had heard he was going to be involved on set, it was a massive relief. He's immensely talented and having him on set was a great asset to the production process.

Andrew Swanson was our executive producer and played an integral part in getting the gears turning both in pre-production and on the set. When we were filming, if I wasn't focused on what was going on in front of the camera and running ideas by Chris, I was usually running errands for Andrew and making sure that we had everything lined up for the next shoot day.

One very important person I have to mention is Ashton Duncan, Chris's girlfriend, who handled our catering. She worked nonstop to make sure that the cast and crew were all happy and fed, which means a great deal when you consider the length of our shoot days.

LS: When we first talked about the project, you was mentioned that you’d already gotten a lot of notable attention regarding ADT. Can you say anything specific to the public about that?

JS: Not much I can say regarding this one, currently. We do have a number of film festivals I know we'll be sending the film off to.

LS: When do you hope to release ADT?

JS: If everything gets done on time, we are hoping for a late May to early June release. We definitely want it out in time for summer.

LS: What are your ultimate goals with filmmaking?

JS: My goal as a writer has always been very intrinsic to who I am. I like making people smile and laugh. I leap at opportunities to provoke thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Nothing has ever matched the feeling I get from talking about an idea with someone or showing them one of my films or stories and having them come back to me saying they were entranced or horrified. Film—and a number of other collective media—serve to provide an escape from reality, and I can’t help but feel that it’s unbelievably cool to think that I could provide that escape, that reality. I wouldn't care what form of media it took. There's also a certain romanticized feeling of immortality involved in it. It may be overly ambitious or egotistical, but the thought of creating something that leaves its mark in culture and art fascinates me. Who doesn't know the name Shakespeare or Hitchcock?

LS: Where can people find out more info on your films, including ADT?

JS: We have a Facebook page and a website for Alone Down There. The official website hasn't been updated too much, as the guy in charge of it is currently swamped with post-production work. As far as getting a hold of some of my other work, I don't have a website up, but if anyone wants to track down my Facebook page, I'd be more than happy to respond to any questions, messages, or requests to see any previous films or current writings.

LS: Any shout-outs, added info, or just plain old strange stories are welcome here.

JS: If there is one shout out that is essential here, it’s one that goes out to the Bowling Green community and WKU. Local businesses have helped out a great deal in the production, and a great fan base has really kept us going and strong through all of this.

Another one—comically less mandatory—goes out to my parents who have both supported me in my pursuits and ensured I watched a number of awesome movies growing up. Trying to do this for a profession isn't what you would call a financially secure decision. It's intense and frightening at times when I consider the odds. Having family and friends who support and encourage me is something that's irreplaceable. I honestly can’t say for certain what or who I would be without that.

I'll also go ahead and mention some of the interesting and funny moments that happened on set.

The second day of filming we were shooting some scenes in one of the school buildings. The specific area we were using didn't have any classes, but there were still some students for the winter term that had classes elsewhere, and a number of professors were there. It got pretty difficult to shoot a few scenes, because we would periodically have kids and teachers walking through shots not realizing they were scrapping takes, so Andrew Swanson grabbed me and decided we would block off certain parts of the building to limit it. Before a series of important takes, we had agreed on shouting down this hallway, requesting that nobody leave the rooms for a moment. Andrew’s particular, choice phrasing was, "Nobody come out of your rooms, we are about to start shooting!” He was so adjusted to being on film sets he hadn't considered the poor choice of words, given the location.

We also had a large number of massive beards on the set courtesy of the crew. For a few days, a friend of mine who is a film major helped out on set, but he hadn’t really gotten to know or meet most of the crew. One day, we were shooting outside of a bar and when we pulled up to park, he saw our editor, Nate Davis, sitting down hunched over in army fatigues. Nate has this massive beard and my friend’s first comment was, "Oh no, that homeless guy is going to be in the shot, that's awkward.”

If you would like to view Jacob Short/Nate Spicer’s short-film, Estriatus, in its entirety via Vimeo, please click here.

For more information on Alone Done There, visit the film’s official site by clicking here. You can also find more on Alone Down There via the film's official Facebook page by clicking here.

To watch a trailer for Alone Down There, click the video player attached below this article.

Sugg Street Post
Writing/Interview by Luke Short
Photos/Images courtesy of Jake Short/Alone Done There

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