Thursday, January 22, 2009


TLP January 23, 2008

Still inching back toward full TLP issues. For this weekend, a great rock show at Al's on Saturday and the debut of Sean Anderson's doc on KET this Sunday. Hope you can make it out for the show and stay in for the film. Thanks to the Kakie Urch for writing the film preview. Hope all are well.

>> Saturday, Jan/24
ZAVALA w/HOTPIPES, PRABIR AND THE SUBSTITUTES, and THE BLUE SUCKERS @ Al's, corner of 6th and Limestone > 9pm, all ages, $5 > sponsored by WRFL 88.1FM,, CD Central, and

An evening of prowling and adventurous pop that starts with young locals The Blue Suckers, then moves to Richmond, VA's melodic and playful Prabir and the Substitutes, builds to exuberant Nashvillians Hotpipes, then crests-and-crashes with ex-Lex (now of the Vile 'Ville) odd-pop project Zavala (led by Jason Zavala, formerly of The Elephants). Recommended very strongly to fans of The Features, Beulah, and The Trouble With Sweeney. Come out! Come out!

>> Beginning Sunday, Jan/25
(DOCUMENTARY) Sean Anderson's "...damn bad oyster: The Times of William Goebel, Governor" - airing on KET1 and KET KY beginning Sunday, January 25

For those who think the jawdropping gawksport that is Kentucky politics dawned with the introduction of the plaid sportsjacket, the noserubbing 1970s parties at the highflying ranch house off Tates Creek Road, the governors too cheap to pay their own cell phone and Blackberry bills and the surprise early 2000s ascendancy of the Mullet Party, Lexington filmmaker Sean Anderson has got a documentary for you.

"...damn bad oyster: The Times of William Goebel, Governor," Anderson's latest film, tells the story of a singular, notorious Kentucky governor who was reviled, "reptilian," shot on the steps of the statehouse after "stealing" the 1899 election, and sworn in on his deathbed, pretty much only after 18 doctors confirmed that he would certainly die.

The 58-minute film, 18 months in production, but nearly 40 years in the fascination for the Pikeville, Ky. native, airs on KET, beginning next week. The title refers to Goebel's deathbed comment after ingesting his last meal, "Doc, that was a damn bad oyster."

And so, with this set of facts, it is not surprising that Anderson, says that the film, despite a straightforward documentary approach, is "kind of a comedy. There's a farcical element that grows and grows." You're telling us. Overshadowed by his statehouse assassination is Goebel's duel with Gen. John Lawrence Sanford on the steps of the Northern Kentucky bank where the Confederate veteran who Goebel called "Gonorrhea John" in a newspaper article served as an officer. (PS- Stanford, shot in the head, died. Goebel took a slug to his pantsleg.)

And journalist Irvin S. Cobb actually characterized Goebel's looks as "reptilian." And why not? Goebel tussled with the L&N Railroad and Gov. John Y. Brown (the first one, who served in the 1800s), passed the law that allowed the 2,383 votes he lost the 1899 election by to actually count in the tally, and brought the Commonwealth to the brink of Civil War.

"I've known about him since I was a child," Anderson said, in a recent interview at UK, recalling himself at age 6 or 7 encountering a a sketch of the assassination in a history book at his boyhood home.

"Everything I've found says he's the only sitting governor (in the United States) to die by assassination," Anderson said.

There are scant but interesting traces of Goebel in contemporary Kentucky. A plaque in Frankfort commemorates the spot where he fell. A statue in the capital city also commemorates him. And anyone who knows Covington or has hefted a lager at the Goetta Fest or tried to avoid police while breaking contemporary drug and loitering laws, knows Goebel Park, a piece of property once owned by Goebel and donated to the city by his surviving brothers.

These sites and others are visualized in Anderson's film, and Goebel remains one of the only Kentucky governors to hail from Northern Kentucky, Bruce Lunsford's attempts notwithstanding.

Goebel's murder remains unsolved. But that matters not to Anderson's film.

"I'm drawn toward instances of 'official' history versus secret or unofficial history," Anderson said." I like to poke into the dark corners of a subject. Most people focus on Goebel's assassination and get caught up in the whodunnit. That's understandable: almost everyone loves a murder mystery and the trials and controversy provide plenty of grist for that mill. However, I prefer to look at what Goebel did that would make him worth shooting in the first place."

That approach has been borne out throughout Anderson's career. He had some significant cult success with his 2003 documentary, "Rock That Uke," which outlined the resurgence of popularity of the much maligned ukulele, looking into (Yeah, it's a cult film, possibly a suicide cult, I don't know, Anderson says). everything from clubs in the Bay Area to punk adherents who were putting a live pickup into the maligned "party" instrument.

Gov. William Goebel is the ukulele of Kentucky politics. Sean Anderson just plugged him in.

Anderson is a 1988 graduate of University of Kentucky, with a degree in English. He did an M.A. in documentary film at Stanford in 1994. His production work can be seen in Tom Thurman's Sam Peckinpah documentary and in Morgan Atkinson's KET specials of Gesthemene and Thomas Merton.

Air Times for "...damn bad oyster: The Times of William Goebel, Governor"
Thurs. Jan 29 10 p.m.
Sat. Jan 31 3 a.m.

Sun Jan 25 5 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Tues. Jan 27 2 a.m.
Wed. Jan 28 7 a.m.
Thurs. Jan 29 midnight
Sat. Jan 31 noon

Kakie Urch is an assistant professor of multimedia in the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications. She was an editor at The Kentucky Enquirer and The Kentucky Post, newspapers serving Covington and Northern Kentucky.

>> Coming UP!
Fri/February 6 > MATT DUNCAN @ Al's - all ages

Thurs/February 12 > MAHJONGG w/BEDTIME, ATTEMPT, and THREE LEGGED RACE @ Al's - all ages > spsonored by WRFL 88.1FM,, The Lexington Project, CD Central

Mon/March 16 > WOMEN w/CRYSTAL STILTS and JOVANTES @ Al's - all ages > spsonored by WRFL 88.1FM,, The Lexington Project, CD Central

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