First it was the blogs, then it was the real newspapers and wire services. Every major media outlet in the country seemed to pick up earlier this week on the online buzz over Knoxville native Brad Renfro’s exclusion from the montage at Sunday’s Academy Awards show in memory of Hollywood figures who had died during the previous year. There was no clear answer for the oversight: the 25-year-old Renfro died on Jan. 15, well inside the Feb. 1 cutoff date; the memorial sequence, which concluded with footage of Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger, isn’t limited to Academy members or former Oscar winners; and the outcry clearly shows that Renfro had maintained enough celebrity to warrant his inclusion.
“Unfortunately we cannot include everyone,” a spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences told the Associated Press. “Our goal is to honor individuals who worked in the many professions and trades of the motion picture industry, not just actors.”
Hell or High Water
Local bluegrass/rock/Southern Gothic storytellers Medford’s Black Record Collection are set to release their second album, Eccentricity NOS, on March 5. It’s the band’s first release since original members Matt Foster and Michael Davis added bassist Clint Mullican and drummers Deric Dickens and David Whitaker to the line-up; the difference is noticeable on the first single, “Hell or High Water,” a barreling banjo-rock number that’s as relentless as anything the group’s ever done. Elsewhere the disc returns to the brooding, old-timey territory of the 2006 debut The Flattville Murder Album, heavy on dark-minded narrative, harmony vocals, and traditional instrumentation.
MBRC will play a CD release show for Eccentricity NOS at Preservation Pub on Saturday, March 8, at 10 p.m. They’ll also play at WDVX’s Blue Plate Special series on Friday, March 7, at noon.
My, What Big Ears You Have
AC Entertainment is developing a loose-knit series of edgy, non-traditional performances and exhibits called Big Ears, designed to highlight and promote the company’s avant-garde shows. Friday’s concert at the Bijou with Swiss composer and pianist Nik Bärtsch’s group Ronin is the first official Big Ears event (see our interview on page 25); the series also includes the Video Art/3 Visions exhibit at the Knoxville Museum of Art, on display through May 4.
“Big Ears events will take place in a variety of venues—whatever is best and most conducive to the overall experience,” according to an AC Entertainment press release. “Whenever possible, we’ll incorporate opportunities to meet and interact with the artists: workshops, question-and-answer sessions, pre-show discussions, and more. We’ll engage with local artists and cultural organizations to find new possibilities and connections. And we’ll strive to keep ticket prices very affordable to make it a little easier to explore and discover. Big Ears is an evolving concept, and we want you to be part of that evolution.”
You can subscribe to the Big Ears mailing list by sending a message to BigEars@acentertainment.com.
Party on, Wade
Local banjo picker and songwriter Wade Hill is now hosting a 30-minute music show on community-access channel CTV. Wade’s World features live music from Hill, Robert Lovett, the Hogman, and guests every Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
“I think it will be a great way to showcase the talent we have here in the area,” Hill says. “Me and my band will be playing bluegrass music on the show, plus we will feature and encourage all styles of music from our guest artists.”
Bonus points for the old-style mimeographed flyers announcing the show: “The show will feature live bluegrass music and lunatic behavior! So watch Wade’s World.”