Writing Contest Header

Calling All Writers! Enter the UPK Ekphrastic Micro-Writing Contest

If you’re not headed to the Appalachian Writers Workshop this weekend at Hindman Settlement School, you can still take time for writing—and a chance to win a Kentucky Writers Prize Pack!

Ekphrasis, if you don’t know, is writing inspired by art. The art can provide a setting for the writing, provoke a response from the writer, elicit a memory, or anything that allows the writer a chance to “converse” with the art through words. We’re hosting an Ekphrastic Micro-Writing Contest, and picking 4 winners to share with the community.

Here’s how it all works:

We’ll give you two images to pick from for Ekphrastic inspiration. Using one of the images as your jumping off point, craft a poem or short story as your contest entry. Entries should be 300 words or less, or your piece will be disqualified. Submit your entry using the Google Form below by Wednesday, August 5 at 5 pm. We’ll announce the winners Friday, August 7.

What will you win?

1 Grand Prize Winner will win a prize pack of 3 Kentucky fiction or poetry books published by the University Press of Kentucky. View our fiction titles here. Find poetry titles here.

3 Runners-Up will win 1 Kentucky fiction or poetry book of their choice published by the University Press of Kentucky.

All the fine print: Winners will be chosen by UPK staff members. Only U.S. residents are eligible to win. Entries must be less than 300 words and use one of the two images provided as inspiration. Submit entries using the Google Form below by Wednesday, August 5 at 5 pm.

The Prompts:

Image 1

Bottling Line Split Carol Peachee The Birth of Bourbon

“Bottling Line Split” from The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries by Carol Peachee

Image 2

Sewing Table Kentucky By Design

“Mahogany Sewing Table” from Kentucky By Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture edited by Andrew Kelly

C-SPAN’s Cities Tour Visits Lexington and “Reads” a Few Great UPK Books

On a mission to feature the history and literature of cities across the U.S., C-SPAN’s Cities Tour rolled into Lexington this weekend to explore all things Bourbon, Bluegrass, and Book-related! The Cities Tour team sat down with Mayor Jim Gray, UPK authors Maryjean Wall, Karl Raitz, Paul Holbrook, and Tracy Campbell, and toured unique Lexington landmarks like Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, Keeneland, and the Mary Todd Lincoln House. We’re sharing a few of the videos here, but hop over to the Cities Tour website to watch all of the videos.

Books by featured UPK authors:

Videos:

Videos are not embedded. You will be re-directed to the C-SPAN site.

Maryjean_Wall_CSPAN_video Paul_Holbrook_CSPAN_Video Karl_Raitz_CSPAN_Video Tracey_Campbell_CSPAN_Video

University Press of Kentucky Books Broadway

Reading Down Broadway: Books from the Great White Way

The lights of Broadway have long allured performers and audiences to the streets of New York. Modern films, dance, and today’s theatre continue to draw inspiration from the illustrious names who first brought music and choreography to the stage. Some names have endured, and others have been overshadowed or lost in history. But recently published biographies of legends like Florenz Ziegfeld, Busby Berkeley, and Charles Walters bring the magical musicals of the past into the present.

Ziegfeld and His Follies Book University Press of KentuckyZiegfeld and His Follies
A Biography of Broadway’s Greatest Producer

Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson
$40.00 hardcover

The name Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (1867–1932) is synonymous with the decadent revues that the legendary impresario produced at the turn of the twentieth century. These extravagant performances were filled with catchy tunes, high-kicking chorus girls, striking costumes, and talented stars such as Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Marilyn Miller, W. C. Fields, and Will Rogers. After the success of his Follies, Ziegfeld revolutionized theater performance with the musical Show Boat (1927) and continued making Broadway hits—including Sally (1920), Rio Rita (1927), and The Three Musketeers (1928)—several of which were adapted for the silver screen.

Louise Brooks Ziegfeld and His Follies University Press of Kentucky

Louise Brooks during the time she worked as a Ziegfeld Girl, circa 1925. Though she appeared in only two of his shows, Ziegfeld had a portrait of her hung in his office. Courtesy of Jerry Murbach.

In this definitive biography, authors Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson offer a comprehensive look at both the life and legacy of the famous producer. Drawing on a wide range of sources—including Ziegfield’s previously unpublished letters to his second wife, Billie Burke (who later played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz), and to his daughter Patricia—the Bridesons shed new light on this enigmatic man. They provide a lively and well-rounded account of Ziegfeld as a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a lover, and an alternately ruthless and benevolent employer. Lavishly illustrated with over seventy-five images, this meticulously researched book presents an intimate and in-depth portrait of a figure who profoundly changed American entertainment.

Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld’s Broadway

Eve Golden
$40.00 hardcover

Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway Eve Golden University Press of Kentucky

Ziegfeld’s first wife, Anna Held in a photo by W.M. Morrison, 1897. Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Miscellaneous Items in High Demand Collection, LC-USZ62-54859.

Anna Held (1870-1918), a petite woman with an hourglass figure, was America’s most popular musical comedy star during the two decades preceding World War I. In the colorful world of New York theater during La Belle Époque, she epitomized everything that was glamorous, sophisticated, and suggestive about turn-of-the-century Broadway.

Overcoming an impoverished life as an orphan to become a music-hall star in Paris, Held rocketed to fame in America. From 1896 to 1910, she starred in hit after hit and quickly replaced Lillian Russell as the darling of the theatrical world. The first wife of legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held was the brains and inspiration behind his Follies and shared his knack for publicity. Together, they brought the Paris scene to New York, complete with lavish costumes and sets and a chorus of stunningly beautiful women, dubbed “The Anna Held Girls.”

While Held was known for a champagne giggle as well as for her million-dollar bank account, there was a darker side to her life. She concealed her Jewish background and her daughter from a previous marriage. She suffered through her two husbands’ gambling problems and Ziegfeld’s blatant affairs with showgirls. With the outbreak of fighting in Europe, Held returned to France to support the war effort. She entertained troops and delivered medical supplies, and she was once briefly captured by the German army. With access to previously unseen family records and photographs, Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld’s Broadway reveals one of the most remarkable women in the history of theatrical entertainment and the vibrant world of 1900s New York.

Mae Murray
The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips

Michael G. Ankerich foreword by Kevin Brownlow
$40.00 hardcover

9780813136905Mae Murray (1885–1965), popularly known as “the girl with the bee-stung lips,” was a fiery presence in silent-era Hollywood. Renowned for her classic beauty and charismatic presence, she rocketed to stardom as a dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies, moving across the country to star in her first film, To Have and to Hold, in 1916. An instant hit with audiences, Murray soon became one of the most famous names in Tinseltown.

However, Murray’s moment in the spotlight was fleeting. The introduction of talkies, a string of failed marriages, a serious career blunder, and a number of bitter legal battles left the former star in a state of poverty and mental instability that she would never overcome.

In this intriguing biography, Michael G. Ankerich traces Murray’s career from the footlights of Broadway to the klieg lights of Hollywood, recounting her impressive body of work on the stage and screen and charting her rapid ascent to fame and decline into obscurity. Featuring exclusive interviews with Murray’s only son, Daniel, and with actor George Hamilton, whom the actress closely befriended at the end of her life, Ankerich restores this important figure in early film to the limelight.

Buzz
The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley

Busby Berkeley Buzz University Press of Kentucky

The finest of all water ballets, “By a Waterfall” from “Footlight Parade.”

Buzz Busby Berkeley University Press of KentuckyJeffrey Spivak
$39.95 hardcover

Characterized by grandiose song-and-dance numbers featuring ornate geometric patterns and mimicked in many modern films, Busby Berkeley’s unique artistry is as recognizable and striking as ever. From his years on Broadway to the director’s chair, Berkeley is notorious for his inventiveness and signature style. Through sensational films like 42nd Street (1933), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Footlight Parade (1933),and Dames (1934), Berkeley sought to distract audiences from the troubles of the Great Depression. Although his bold technique is familiar to millions of moviegoers, Berkeley’s life remains a mystery.

Buzz is a telling portrait of the filmmaker who revolutionized the musical and changed the world of choreography. Berkeley pioneered many conventions still in use today, including the famous “parade of faces” technique, which lends an identity to each anonymous performer in a close-up. Carefully arranging dancers in complex and beautiful formations, Berkeley captured perspectives never seen before.

Employing personal letters, interviews, studio memoranda, and Berkeley’s private memoirs, Jeffrey Spivak unveils the colorful life of one of cinema’s greatest artists.

Charles Walters
The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance

Brent Phillips
$40.00 hardcover

Charles Walters and Velma Ebsen University Press of Kentucky

Charles Walters and Velma Ebsen on-stage, Between the Devil (1937). Photograph in author’s collection.

From the trolley scene in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’s last dance on the silver screen (The Barkleys of Broadway, 1949) to Judy Garland’s timeless, tuxedo-clad performance of “Get Happy” (Summer Stock, 1950), Charles Walters staged the iconic musical sequences of Hollywood’s golden age. During his career, this Academy Award–nominated director and choreographer showcased the talents of stars such as Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, and Frank Sinatra. However, despite his many critical and commercial triumphs, Walters’s name often goes unrecognized today.

In the first full-length biography of Walters, Brent Phillips chronicles the artist’s career, from his days as a featured Broadway performer and protégé of theater legend Robert Alton to his successes at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He takes readers behind the scenes of many of the studio’s most beloved musicals, including Easter Parade (1948), Lili (1953), High Society (1956), and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). In addition, Phillips recounts Walters’s associations with Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, and Gloria Swanson, examines the director’s uncredited work on several films, including the blockbuster Gigi (1958), and discusses his contributions to musical theater and American popular culture.

Mamoulian
Life on Stage and Screen

David Luhrssen
$40.00 hardcover

Rouben Mamoulian University Press of Kentucky

From Rouben Mamoulian’s “Applause.”

In Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen, David Luhrssen explores the life and works of Rouben Mamoulian, as well as innovations in film and on stage from the 1920s to 1950s. Though he only produced and directed sixteen films during his career, he was one of the first great directors to bridge the gap between the silent and sound and black and white and color eras, but he remains largely ignored by both film and theater historians. An Armenian immigrant from Russia, Mamoulian was influential in defining American theater and cinema. Luhrssen reveals how this fascinating and mysterious figure, working in the heart of American culture and entertainment, left a lasting impact on both Broadway and Hollywood.

Throughout his career, Mamoulian interacted with many great names in the arts. He collaborated with dancers such as Martha Graham and Fred Astaire and choreographer Hermes Pan. On stage he oversaw such future Hollywood stars as Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Claude Rains, and Sydney Greenstreet. He also directed an impressive list of actors on screen, including Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Henry Fonda, and Tyrone Power. Despite being one of the highest paid and talked about directors of his time, Mamoulian was not attracted to the culture of celebrity. Except for a reported affair with Garbo and occasional sightings in the company of starlets, he was seldom the subject of gossip columnists or show business writers. His public life was defined by his role as a director, where he was remembered for his exuberance and intelligence, as well as his habit of smoking cigars.

Chinn_06

No One Stands a Chance in Colonel Chinn’s Cave House

In a state known for it’s characters, it truly takes someone special to build a reputation like the one of Colonel George M. Chinn (1902–1987) . Growing up in Mundy’s Landing in Kentucky MaverickMercer County, Kentucky, Chinn earned the nickname “Double Chinn,” thanks to his robust physical frame and family’s surname. Robust not only in stature but in personality, Chinn had highly diverse interests and accomplishments, and he was influential not only in Kentucky, but across the world. He played on the 1921 Centre College national championship football team, was personal bodyguard to Governor A. B. “Happy” Chandler, and served in the armed forces during both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, becoming an accomplished ordinance engineer and designer of the M-19 automatic grenade launcher.

Yet one of Chinn’s most lasting and notorious legacies is his cave house. During prohibition, he blasted a cave into the limestone cliffs of the Kentucky River and used it as an illegal watering hole and gambling den called “Chinn’s Cave House.” Unsurprisingly, the cave did cause Chinn a few legal headaches but, as the excerpt below from historian Carlton Jackson’s Kentucky Maverick reveals, this twentieth-century renaissance man always had a trick up his sleeve. Continue reading

Blueberry Bourbon Beer Punch Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book University Press of Kentucky

We’re not ‘Blue’ about this Bourbon Punch

Yesterday, we brought you a suggested menu from The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook for your 4th of July cookout. Today, let’s talk signature cocktails! There’s no better place to turn than The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book for martinis, cocktails, and punches featuring every Kentuckian’s favorite spirit. For an on-theme 4th of July punch, we’re recommending the refreshing (and blue!) Blueberry Bourbon Beer Punch. Or, if you’re looking for a drink with more “sparkle,” check out last year’s recipe: The Kentucky Sparkler.

Blueberry Bourbon Beer Punch

From The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book by Joy Perrine and Susan Reigler.

Don’t chuckle over this seemingly unlikely combination of ingredients until you’ve tried it. It’s summer in a glass.

  • 2 bottles cold Wild Blue™ blueberry lager
  • 1 can (12-ounce) frozen Minute Maid™ pink lemonade (defrosted, but no water added)
  • 2 ounces blueberry-infused bourbon (Lightly crush 1/3 of a full pint of blueberries and combine with remaining whole berries and bourbon. Shake and let steep 3 days. Strain, label, date, and refrigerate.)
  • 10 ounces water
  • 2 lemons cut into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Into a 1 1/2 – 2 quart glass pitcher, pour the bottles of beer. Add lemonade, bourbon, and water; stir. After the foam subsides, squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges. Stir. Add ice and blueberries. Stir again. Serve over ice.

Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book University Press of Kentucky

4th of July

Food + Friends + Fireworks + Fun = A 4th of July Celebration

In The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook, Maggie Green offers up not only delicious, seasonal recipes using fresh, local ingredients, but also provides menus to make holiday planning easy. For a classic, Kentucky-proud celebration, Maggie’s menu includes:

  • Ale-8 One Slow Cooker Pork Barbecue with Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
  • Sweet and Sour Creamy Coleslaw
  • Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Nina’s Potato Salad
  • Sweet Bourbon Baked Beans
  • Buttermilk Black-‘n’-Blue Berry Cobbler
  • and Fresh Herbed Lemonade, Sweet Iced Tea, or mix ’em up in an Arnold Palmer

You’ll find a personal favorite of ours below, or a printable version of the recipes on Maggie’s menu here. For more great meals (and recipes), The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook is available wherever fine books are sold.

Succulent Pork Barbecue

Every Kentucky cook needs a good pork barbecue recipe up his or her sleeve, and I have learned several juicy tips over the years.

First, a bit of terminology: the best meat for pork barbecue is an economical, rectangular roast from the top part of the pig’s shoulder called Boston butt, Boston roast, fresh pork butt, or Boston-style butt. (Don’t ask me why a pork shoulder is called a butt.) Pork shoulder is sold bone-in or boneless, in sizes ranging from 4 to 8 pounds. I consider this cut the chicken thigh of a pig—the meat is moist, dark, and distinctive. The well-exercised muscles in the shoulder crisscross around a bone and are supported by collagen and tendons, with fat marbled throughout. Because of this hodgepodge of muscle, tendon, and collagen, the meat has to be coaxed into tenderness. Given enough time to cook, though, it shreds easily for the best pulled pork barbecue around.

The flavor varies, depending on the method of cooking—smoked, oven-roasted, or slow cooked—but the end result will be fork-tender goodness. What does fork tender mean? Poke a fork in the cooked pork and twist: the meat shouldn’t feel tight, and it readily falls apart.

Ale-8 One Slow Cooker Pork Barbecue

Nothing holds a candle to home-smoked meat, but this slow-cooked version works in a pinch—a large pinch piled high on a bun, that is. It uses Kentucky’s own soft drink, Ale-8 One. This spicy soda, bottled in Winchester since 1926, is sold around the state. If Ale-8 One isn’t available, substitute a spicy ginger ale. Just like a true, wood-fired smoking process, low and slow is the rule. For best results, start early in the morning or let the pork slow-cook overnight. In my (oblong) slow cooker set on low, the pork takes about 11 hours to reach a fork-tender state. Check the tenderness of the meat after about 10 hours to gauge how quickly or slowly your slow cooker cooks.

Makes about 12 servings

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • One 4- to 4.-pound pork shoulder or Boston butt pork roast
  • One 12-ounce can Ale-8 One
  • 2 tablespoons Barbecue Dry Rub
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, or the barbecue sauce of your choice

Place half the onion in the bottom of a slow cooker. Lay the pork shoulder on top of the onion. Pour the soda over the pork and sprinkle with the dry rub and remaining onion. Cover and cook on low for 11 hours. At this point, the meat should be fork tender, which happens when the internal temperature reaches about 200 degrees F. If it’s not fork tender, turn the meat over, cover, and cook for 1 to 2 more hours. When the pork is done, place it on a platter and shred and chop the meat. Keep the meat warm, and serve the barbecue sauce warm on the side. Alternatively, discard the juice from the slow cooker and place the meat back in it. Mix in the barbecue sauce and warm before serving.

Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This sweet sauce, flavored with bourbon, is inspired by a recipe I developed for Barbara Smith.

Makes about 4 cups.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • One 12-ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup Kentucky bourbon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup Kentucky sorghum or molasses
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, chili sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, sorghum, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve warm, or let cool and store in glass jars in the refrigerator.

Kentucky Fresh Cookbook Maggie Green

Robert Crane Bob Crane Sex Celebrity and My Father's Unsolved Murder

Bob Crane’s Murder Thirty-Seven Years Later: His Son, Robert, Remembers

On June 29, 1978, thirty-seven years ago today, Bob Crane, the erstwhile star of Hogan’s Heroes was found murdered in an apartment in Scottsdale, Arizona. Still one of Hollywood’s most famous unsolved murders, Robert Crane, Bob’s eldest son, still works to reconcile the loving father he knew with the man who was front-page tabloid news. In an essay for The Daily Beast, Robert recalls his father’s journey from  Hogan’s Heroes, to sex addiction, to murder.

Excerpted from The Daily Beast, May 31, 2015

On Thursday, June 29, 1978, I was 27 years and two days old. I had just interviewed Chevy Chase, the hottest star in Hollywood at the time, for an article I was doing for Playboy’s new Euro-hip Oui magazine. I was spiraling up in a thermal of great possibilities when I encountered a nasty downdraft.

I received a call that Thursday afternoon from my dad’s business manager who said there was a rumor my dad had been shot. He hadn’t. But someone had crept into the apartment where he was staying in Scottsdale, Arizona, while doing a dinner theater gig, and bashed his head in with a blunt object while he slept. My dad was two weeks shy of his fiftieth birthday.

Read the full article online.

Crane Sex Celebrity and My Fathers Unsolved Murder Bob Crane Robert’s memoir, Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father’s Unsolved Murder was released earlier this Spring.  In this poignant memoir, Robert Crane discusses that terrible day and how he has lived with the unsolved murder of his father. But this storyline is just one thread in his tale of growing up in Los Angeles, his struggles to reconcile the good and sordid sides of his celebrity father, and his own fascinating life.

Crane began his career writing for Oui magazine and spent many years interviewing celebrities for Playboy—stars such as Chevy Chase, Bruce Dern, Joan Rivers, and even Koko the signing gorilla. As a result of a raucous encounter with the cast of Canada’s SCTV, he found himself shelving his notepad and tape recorder to enter the employ of John Candy—first as an on-again, off-again publicist; then as a full-time assistant, confidant, screenwriter, and producer; and finally as one of Candy’s pallbearers.

Through disappointment, loss, and heartbreak, Crane’s humor and perseverance shine. Beyond the big stars and behind-the-scenes revelations, this riveting account of death, survival, and renewal in the shadow of the Hollywood sign makes a profound statement about the desire for love and permanence in a life where those things continually slip away. By turns shocking and uplifting, Crane is an unforgettable and deeply human story.