More than 60 years after his death at age of 29, Hank Williams still holds a magical power today. Dubbed the "Hillbilly Shakespeare" for the striking imagery of his songs, Williams successfully fused “hillbilly” style with Southern blues, changing the landscape of American popular music forever.
Vero Beach's Riverside Theatre kicked off its 44th season with the powerhouse show Hank Williams: Lost Highway at the Stark Stage that runs through November 12. Written by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik, the toe-tapping musical is a humorous and heartfelt tribute, revealing an intimate portrait of the passionate and troubled man behind the music.
Riverside is hoping to build on their heady success achieved last October with "Ring of Fire" that told the story of Johnny Cash's life. This bio musical follows Williams from his roots in Alabama to his meteoric rise to stardom on the stage of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry. He had 35 top 10 country singles, most of them in a five-year span between 1947 and 1952. Eleven reached the top spot, including timeless classics such as “Move It On Over,” “Jambalaya,” “Your Cheatin' Heart,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” "I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Hey, Good Lookin’.”
The production is co-directed by David and Sherry Lutken with David also serving as Musical Director. The first act unfolds concert style, as we see Hank and his crack band of sidemen work their way up from their earliest performances on the “Louisiana Hayride" to their resounding success at the famed Grand Ole Opry and all the stops along the way.
It was nearly 60 years ago, but the memories come flooding back.
Chuck Carr was a child when he first travelled with his two brothers to the black sand beaches of Tortuguero on Costa Rica's northeast shore to assist an energetic and charismatic zoology professor. A remote tropical village reachable only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero boasted the last big colony of sea turtles in the western hemisphere. Green turtles were so thick, they laid nests on top of nests.
The professor was Chuck's father, Dr. Archie Fairly Carr, Jr.-- a pioneering conservation biologist, an inspiring educator, and gifted nature writer.
"We landed on a grass airstrip and our guide Birdie hustled us into a large dugout canoe where we paddled two miles up the river to Tortuguero," remembered Carr, 71, who had a 30-year career with the worldwide Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx Zoo.
"Monkeys chattering, spectacular green and scarlet macaws, huge iguanas dropping out of trees, at 11 years old it was mind blowing. No telephones. No electricity. We were the Robinson Crusoe family. Daddy was there sizing up the village logistically to put a program together to protect these docile creatures from the influx of turtle hunters."
Scott Kelly needs his space. No, not that kind of space. He is talking how much he misses outer space.
The veteran NASA astronaut set the record (340 days) for the single longest mission by an American astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He embarked on a historic mission in 2015 — blasting into orbit to begin his mission to help study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body. Kelly worked on more than 400 scientific studies during his time on the ISS and conducted three spacewalks before returning to Earth in March 2016.
His new book, entitled "Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery," reflects on his time with NASA and his famous mission. Scott will appear at The Saint Edward’s School Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, November, 1 at 7 p.m. when he takes the stage for a free live Q&A session followed by a book signing. The event has been organized by the Vero Beach Book Center.
The book is a candid account of his remarkable voyage and of the journeys off the planet that preceded it as well as his colorful formative years. Kelly hopes the experiences he describes in "Endurance" can serve a similar purpose for readers. He viewed his time at the ISS as a mission of endurance, not only in space, but from the time he was a kid when he struggled in school.
Washington Irving wrote the famous short story" The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" almost 200 years ago, telling the fearsome tale of the gangly and superstitious schoolteacher Ichabod Crane being menaced by a mighty headless horseman on a lonely night ride. Ever since, it has captured the imaginations of millions.
Readers of Irving’s evocative prose will be pleased to learn that the lush landscape of the Hudson Valley Irving once described still exists. Heading north across the Tappan Zee Bridge (I-287) over the Hudson River, the spectacular views are what Dutch explorers gazed upon almost 400 years ago.
Journeying along the majestic Hudson River is like time traveling through America's history. You follow the trails of Native Americans, sailing ships, and George Washington's Continental Army. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point dominates the western banks, while the eastern shore boasts the opulent Vanderbilt Mansion and many of the grandest estates of the Gilded Age.
Flanked by the Catskill Mountains, the valley’s rolling countryside drew artists to its beauty and inspired America’s first great art movement, the Hudson River School of Art, in the early years of the 19th century. Sharp mountain peaks, deep valleys, spreading woodlands and a patchwork of farms divide the artsy and gentrified communities. Just 90 miles north of Manhattan, the region is celebrated for its plentiful mom-and-pop organic farm stands, “u-pick” apple, berry and wildflower fields.
Perched on a hydraulic scissor lift 50 feet up in the air, for decades the camera crews of NFL teams filmed daily practices often battling thunderstorms, gusty winds and sheets of sideways rain.
Mike Dougherty was the Philadelphia Eagles video director for 37 years. On a sweltering late summer morning a bolt of lightning struck Dougherty's all-metal camera and bounced off his head. His hair shot straight up. An assistant coach got Dougherty down to the ground. Luckily, he wasn't seriously hurt.
Fast forward to 2017. Twenty four NFL teams and 18 teams from the college power-five conferences have switched from the traditional manned scissor lifts to the new mobile “mast cams.” The systems boast high-definition cameras atop a 55-foot telescoping mast-- sort of like a periscope on a submarine-- that are controlled remotely from the ground. The video station that looks like the front of a boat includes a comfy bench seat with protective canopy, color monitors and the capability to run for several days on a single charge.
Rated for 55 miles per hour winds, the MastRcam operator sits at a console with a pan zoom tilt control to shoot practices. The cart can easily be moved around the practice fields. Coaches and players can replay practice highlights in one-on-one meetings and film sessions.
This time around it's a tropical caper for Nelson DeMille. The legendary New York Times bestselling author sets his just released suspense novel-- The Cuban Affair-- on the exotic but troubled island 90 miles from Key West's shores.
DeMille introduces readers to Daniel Graham "Mac" MacCormick, a provocative new character. At age 35, Mac seems to have a pretty good life. He is living in Key West, captain of a 42-foot deep-sea charter fishing boat, The Maine. Mac served five years in the Army as an infantry officer with two tours in Afghanistan. He returned with the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, scars that don’t tan, and a $250,000 bank loan on his boat.
One of today’s most iconic thriller writers, DeMille brings his 20th book (his first with new publisher Simon & Schuster) to the Vero Beach Book Center on Wednesday, September 27 at 7 p.m. when he takes the stage for a free live Q&A session followed by a book signing.
"Growing up I was influenced by some of the greatest British mystery writers such as Agatha Christie, Dennis Wheatley and Dorothy Sayers as well as iconic characters like Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes," DeMille remembers. "Their stories were deceptively simple. I learned the structure of murder mysteries. Plus I knew everyone loves a good who-dunnit."
Where have you gone, Songbird? That was the tune the two-time champion's legion of fans were singing throughout her 4-year old campaign. The power and acceleration Songbird displayed the past two seasons where she dominated her competition just wasn't there.
After a pair of narrow one-length victories early this summer the dark bay filly was run down in the deep stretch by multiple Grade-1 winner Forever Unbridled in the $700,000 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 26. Afterwards owner Rick Porter had seen enough.
“Of course, it's frustrating, very disappointing, I knew we had a decent field to run against," said a clearly discouraged Porter. "Something's not right. She is just not right, and I will get her checked out. She doesn't let horses pass her, that was probably part of it. I am not comfortable that she is 100 percent healthy. Anyway, this is not the Songbird we have been seeing the last three races, just doesn't seem to be the same Songbird, it's only right to have her checked out.
“I thought we would see the real Songbird today, but we didn't see it. I just want to make sure it is not something physical which I would do with any good horse. I always do that.”
Songbird was scheduled to fly out of Saratoga, switch planes in Louisville, Ky. and then fly on to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's barn in southern California. It never happened. Porter insisted Songbird be directly vanned to Lexington and undergo a full evaluation and testing by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Hospital.
For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, prominent daily news-papers and websites. I have written about an array of topics such as arts & culture, chefs, food & drink, business entrepreneurs, travel, history, thoroughbred racing, and the animal and natural world.
I'm currently a regular arts & culture contributor to WFIT's website (the NPR radio station in Melbourne.), Vero Beach Magazine and Florida Today newspaper on a number of topics. Over recent years my work has been published regularly in Blood-Horse, Long Island Boating World and The Hunt and PA Equestrian magazines.
I am a regular contributor to the websites JustLuxe.com and SeeTheSouth.com. JustLuxe is an online magazine featuring the best of luxury lifestyle and travel, while SeeTheSouth features truly unique southern destinations. My travel articles also regularly appear in Florida Today, Long Island Boating world and the Delaware County Times, a major daily newspaper just outside Philly.
I've also contributed a variety of articles to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the Delaware County Times, and the Montgomery County Newspapers. I have been an Arts & Culture correspondent for Newsworks, the website for WHYY-TV (PBS in Philadelphia). I have been a correspondent to ESPN.com, America's Best Racing, the Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.
After spending the past two decades in Wilmington, Delaware, my wife Jane, our Toller retriever Smarty and I have moved to Melbourne Beach, Fla. Located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River, Melbourne Beach sits on the southern end of Florida's "Space Coast." The famed coastal highway A1A runs directly along the Atlantic. Melbourne Beach (pop. 3,000) offers unspoiled beaches with sparkling blue-green waters and thousands of beautiful seabirds and long-legged shorebirds.
Head north 35 miles on A1A and you arrive at Cape Canaveral, for decades our nation's gateway to exploring and understanding our universe. Today, Cape Canaveral is a hub for many of the most exciting new private space projects such as SpaceX, the rocket and spacecraft company founded by Elon Musk (manufacturer of Tesla vehicles). Upwards of 30 launches are planned in 2017.
Back down to earth traveling on two-lane A1A south from Melbourne Beach's compact business area brings you to a series of secluded and undeveloped natural beaches. Bonsteel Park's two-acre beach provides an excellent vantage point to catch glimpses of passing dolphins, while the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is recognized as the most important nesting area for loggerhead turtles in the western hemisphere. It's also home to the gigantic leatherback turtles.
Nearby is Sebastian Inlet State Park which connects the Indian River Lagoon with the Atlantic Ocean. Its jetty break is recognized as one of the surf world's high-performance hot spots. Three generations of world-class surfers have surfed here, including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. The 600-acre park is also celebrated for world-class fishing, and plenty of seabirds and wildlife.
Through my writing over the past decade I have traveled to spectacular destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. and Sun Valley, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming/Yellowstone Park; Saratoga Springs, the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs and Rhinebeck, New York; Port Clyde and Monheghan Island, Maine; Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey; Middleburg, Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia.
Other travel adventures have included Tampa and St. Petersburg, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Florida; and St. Simons and Jekyll Island, Georgia. My travel articles thoughtfully explore the history of the region along with museums, music and the arts, chefs and restaurateurs, wineries and craft breweries, outdoor and sporting adventures as well as profiling intriguing personalities of those regions.
In addition to my writing career I owned a marketing company where I represented a diversified list of clients in the areas of publicity, marketing and business development-- such as the famed Baldwin's Book Barn, Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Kahunaville restaurant chain. In another life I was the founder, publisher and editor of Life Sports Magazine.
Along with Jane and Smarty I look forward to writing about new adventures in Melbourne Beach, the "Space Coast" and other Florida destinations. That's Smarty below with his pals Willie and Nelson.