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About Rich Copley & Copious Notes

  • Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. It’s a pretty broad beat, but Rich delights in finding influences of the past in the present and showing fine arts fans the value of pop culture, and vice versa. ~ Copious Notes is a blog covering that broad spectrum. If you want to read about specific areas of interest, such as theater or opera, click on one of the categories to the right and you will be whisked away to all posts in that category. Also, look around the blog for links; multimedia items such as photo albums, videos, and interviews with artists; and other nuggets. Have fun, and thanks for dropping in. The header for this blog was designed by Danny Kelly and the illustration was drawn by Camille Weber.

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May 21, 2008


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I have to disagree with the homeboys. Since Louisville and Lexington vote totals were much closer but the huge voting disparity was in rural Kentucky, if national news media were to find value in talking to individual Kentuckians (rather than examining demographic and exit poll data), it would make sense to talk to rural Kentuckians. Of course, there is always the dilemma of whether to talk to the Eastern Kentucky coalminer or the owner of the car dealership.

However, since exit polling does seem to indicate that lower income, working class white voters are those Clinton targeted in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky, it should come as no surprise if the media had chosen to talk to the tobacco farmer, laborer, coal miner, or timber cutter. I think the value of this is limited, though. Few people are going to say on camera what that they would never vote for a N_____ for president.

We do know, however, that twice as many people in Kentucky compared to Oregon said Obama's race was important and they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. Exit polling revealed that extraordinary numbers of Kentucky voters attend church regularly, and those same voters could not comprehend how Obama could be a churchgoer and not believe the same things as his preacher, in sheeplike fashion. We know that those voters considered Rev. Wright's comments, however they understood them, played a large role in their decision not to vote for Obama. We know that demographically there is a significant difference in overall educational achievement between Oregon and Kentucky.

Thus it is not an unforgiveable error if national media conclude that the people, like my professional coworker who explained his vote for Clinton as "I'm not prejudiced against black people. Some of my best workers have been black, and I get along fine with them. However, the only time I ever had to discipline them though was because of the blacks" probably cast votes based on racism whether they have learned to excise the "n" word from their vocabulary in unfamiliar company.

It is, uncomfortable as it may be for us to confront, a fact that we live in a predominantly homogeneous state with a history of: supporting the South in Western Kentucky during the Civil War followed by lynchings; selling slaves in Lexington followed by segregated neighborhoods and churches today; having Eastern Kentucky counties where black folks were banished in the 20s during Klan activity. We have incredibly low numbers of elected officials who are people of color (or women). It is convenient, for those of us educated in Kentucky's (or other states') best schools and who surround ourselves with open minded, like-minded fellow Kentuckians, to wish that we were the predominant, new breed majority in Kentucky today but there is considerable factual evidence that we are not so. In fact it is normal for all human beings to generalize their own condition as prototypical of all people. Maybe we just wish that CNN would add disclaimers like "while the vast majority of Kentucky voters remain poorly educated people who make electoral decisions based upon sensational media stories about religion and who don't normally encounter people of color in their daily lives, there are educated, thoughtful Kentuckians who made informed decisions, too."

Marianne Mosley

I agree with Chuck. I was glad they didn't interview anyone from KY because they would have picked the most stereotypical hillbilly they could find. On "The Daily Show" after the WV primary, they showed a woman who said she didn't vote for Obama because he was "a Muslim," and another who said she didn't vote for him because his name was Hussein. Jon Stewart got it right, I think, because their joke was a Welcome to West Virginia sign with "We don't do interviews" underneath. At least he acknowledged that most of the state would be embarrassed to be associated with the people featured in the interviews.


As someone in one of Oregon's college towns, I gotta say we have quite a few rural white voters (as a matter of fact, Oregon is far more white than Kentucky), so I'm not sure I would trust commentators on either state. Especially after I went through several presidential cycles in Iowa — people who don't live in the states often don't know what the heck they're talking about. You know what was weird, and I found pretty classless, last night? Obama campaigning in Iowa, not mentioning Oregon — the state that put him up in delegates — at all. Poor Oregonians have one chance at the national spotlight in a primary, and it skitters away, back to the Midwest. Ah well, it was a brief week or two of candidate appearances for the politics-starved Oregon residents (I don't count myself there since I was in Iowa during the caucuses this year).
Guess you feel the lack of attention as well. Or bizarre lack of understanding. Immersion journalism this ain't!

Nick Sprouse

I still can't figure out how John King's map of Kentucky on CNN had Lexington in the wrong location! According to CNN, Lexington is to the west and south of Frankfort and voted for Clinton. Fayette County, on the other hand, is a "very small county to the east of Lexington", and voted for Obama.

Seriously, how did they get that wrong??

Rich notes: At one point, King also had Louisville in Anderson County.


I'm going to echo what Chuck said. A friend from Lexington who's in LA right now called me yesterday to say how ashamed she was at Kentucky. The press finds the biggest rubes to interview, and the entire country thinks THAT'S what Kentucky is like.

It's a real shame that the rest of the world has no idea how many smart, cultured people we have here.


I agree. As someone who frequently enjoys watching the election returns live on TV, I was excited to finally get to see my own state in the spotlight. Unfortunately, I was dismayed at the coverage even from my preferred network on MSNBC. The repition of an exit poll that claimed 2 out of 10 Kentuckians cited race as a factor was particularly jarring. I would never deny the existence of latent racism in Kentucky or the world, but I don't think the question was fairly framed and I suspect that those who did cite race were alarmed by the Rev. Wright debacle. In any case, why not talk to these people? I also found the division of educated and "un-educated" people to be insulting. Some of the finest minds in the nation are in Kentucky, but what's more, those "uneducated" folks may not have degrees, but that doesn't mean they aren't smart. Check out the new issue of Appalachian Heritage for George Brosi's prediction that Appalachia is about to be "discovered" again in light of the coming elections. Ok, rant over.


Consider yourself lucky. Here in West Virginia, the networks made it a point to only interview people from the poorest counties, and thus the most unenlightened subjects possible. It would be like covering a New York election from the ghetto. (Surprising we never see that, isn't it?) No interviews that vary from the network's stereotypes are allowed.

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    Questapalooza 2008

    • Twilight
      In it's third edition, Questapalooza attracted 6,500 people to Quest Community Church in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 31, 2008. The music lineup was Kirk Franklin, Kutless and needtobreathe. In addition to the tunes, festival goers enjoyed carnival attractions, contests, heard a sermon and witnessed baptisms.

    Ichthus 2008

    • Casting Crowns - Mark, 'Praise You in this Storm'
      The 2008 Ichthus Festival was a roller coaster ride. The week started with the first project by Ichthus Ministries' environmental initiative: ECOS (Earth Commission, Operation Simplify). Then there was the severe thunderstorm June 9 that leveled 14 out of 19 tents at the festival site, with only two days left to open. And it did open, earlier than ever with a Thursday morning battle of the bands. That was followed by one of the hottest Ichthus days ever, and we aren't just talking about Skillet's set the night of June 12. The next day was Friday the 13th, and it turned out to be unlucky for the fest, with thunderstorms scuttling the evening lineup. But as it often has, Ichthus rallied with a fun and worshipful Saturday. The Herald-Leader crew was out there all week. Here's our photo album.

    UK Wind Ensemble goes to China

    • UK-China
      May 19 to 29, 2008, the University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble is taking a trip to China, where it is scheduled to play six concerts and visit seven cities. The tour finds China eagerly anticipating the 2008 Summer Olympics while also mourning the loss of tens of thousands of its citizens to a devastating earthquake on May 12. This photo album begins with images taken by the Herald-Leader's Whitney Waters at event's leading up to the ensemble's departure.

    Actors Guild of Lexington

    • Valentine
      Actors Guild of Lexington's early spring production is Tom Stoppard's brainy drama, Arcadia. The show is a mystery over several centuries involving math, science and literature. Here's a look at some images from the show, which runs through April 6 at the Downtown Arts Center, by Herald-Leader photographer Charles Bertram. The photos are copyrighted by the Herald-Leader.

    Winter Jam 2008 - Rupp Arena

    • MercyMe
      After years of going to -- excuse us while we clear our throats -- Louisville, Winter Jam finally came to Kentucky's true big house, Rupp Arena, March 6, 2008. That gave Lexington a heaping helping of MercyMe, BarlowGirl and Skillet, as well as others. This is a little record of the event.

    UK Opera Theatre

    • 'Hansel and Gretel' - The Witch and Hansel
      The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre is presenting its production of Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" through March 8, 2008 at the Lexington Opera House. To give more students a shot at the stage, and for the sake of the singers' voices, two casts were fielded for this production. University of Kentucky photographer Tim Collins shot both casts. Here's a selection of those images.

    Amber Rhodes

    • Amber Rhodes live
      Lexington Native Amber Rhodes is a budding country star, shopping a hit independent release around the country, hoping to land a recording contract with a major label. To take a peek into the life of an aspiring country star, and to see how much work it is, I went down to Nashville to spend a day with Amber, as she works to get her name out there. Here are some pictures from that trip. All photos are copyrighted by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

    Summer Theatre 2007

    • Beauty & the Beast: The village
      Between June 21 and Aug. 2, eight new plays or musicals opened in the immediate Lexington area. That was an extraordinary number of shows for a summer in the Bluegrass State. Here, we offer a photo album from behind the scenes and on stage.

    Ichthus 2007

    • Switchfoot - Tim Foreman
      Ichthus 2007 took place June 14-16 at Ichthus Farm in Wilmore, Ky. Among the featured performers were Switchfoot, Relient K, Newsboys, Third Day and Phil Keaggy (photo, above).

    Laura Bell Bundy

    • Take It From the Top
      On April 29, 2007, Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy realized her dream of creating a role in a Broadway musical when she took the stage of New York's Palace Theatre playing Elle Woods in 'Legally Blonde.' It's a goal she'd been working toward since age 10, when she played monstrous child star Tina Denmark in the Off Broadway hit 'Ruthless.' Her 'Legally Blonde' performance earned Bundy a Tony Award nomination for best leading actress in a musical. Over the years, Herald-Leader photographers have chronicled Bundy's career. These are some of their best shots, along with a few other photos.

    Superchick's Generation Rising Tour in Winchester

    • Group 1 Crew
      Superchick's Generation Rising Tour came to Winchester's Central Baptist Church, May 11, 2007. Joining them were DecembeRadio, Krystal Meyers, Nevertheless and Group 1 Crew. Photos by Rich Copley.

    Stephanie Pistello

    • 'The Diviners,' 2002
      Stephanie Pistello graduated from Lafayette High School and Transylvania University. She went to New York to pursue an acting career, but returned in August 2006 with her New Mummer Group to present Tennessee Williams' "Candles to the Sun" at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

    The Shakespeare portraits

    • 2003: Brandon Jones as Othello
      Since 1999, the Herald-Leader has previewed the Lexington Shakespeare Festival with profiles and environmental portraits of the actors or directors involved in each show. This is a gallery of those fantastic images.

    October 2008

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