Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Woodward wants 'Blue Moon' filmed in Kentucky

“There’s a lot of good friends on that wall,” said former Bluegrass Boys musician Raymond Huffmaster of Lauderdale, Miss., while looking at photographs of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys on Friday during the Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration Kickoff at the International Bluegrass Music Museum, 117 Daviess St. Monroe was born in Rosine on Sept. 13, 1911. He died Sept. 9, 1996. “I miss him (Bill Monroe) so much,” Huffmaster said.

And Terry Woodward, an Owensboro businessman and vice chairman of the International Bluegrass Music Museum's board of trustees, wants the producers of the upcoming movie, currently titled "Blue Moon of Kentucky," to discover Kentucky.

"I've been in contact with them frequently," he said Friday during the opening of the museum's Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration.

A hundred or so bluegrass musicians and fans strolled through the rooms on the museum's second floor looking at artwork inspired by the music of the man they call "the father of bluegrass music" and the new exhibit of Monroe memorabilia.

The cafe on the second floor was filled with musicians jamming and others listening to the music.

"Tennessee has an aggressive rebate program (for movies made in that state)," Woodward said. "And they want it filmed there. You'd have to shoot scenes in the Ryman (Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry) in Nashville, but I think the bulk of the movie should be in Kentucky."

Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in last year's "Crazy Heart," recently told ScreenCrave.com that she will star in the Monroe movie with her husband, Peter Sarsgaard.

"Bill Monroe, who invented bluegrass music, had a kind of 'Sid and Nancy'-style affair with this woman, Bessie Lee Maudin, throughout his life, and T-Bone Burnett's going to do the music and Callie Khouri -- who wrote 'Thelma & Louise' -- wrote the script, so we're going to do that together," she told the site.

Woodward said filming will start in March, and the movie is slated for release next September to coincide with what would have been Monroe's 100th birthday.

He was born in Rosine on Sept. 13, 1911. Monroe died Sept. 9, 1996, and is buried in Rosine.

Kitsy Kuykendall, the museum's chairwoman, said she believes the Monroe anniversary will increase tourism in Owensboro and Rosine over the next year.

"I hope so," she said. "I can't imagine any bluegrass fan not wanting to celebrate Bill Monroe's centennial. I'm encouraging everyone I can to come to western Kentucky."

Kuykendall's husband, Pete, is the editor and general manager of Bluegrass Unlimited, the genre's major publication. They live in Warrenton, Va.

Gabrielle Gray, the museum's executive director, said 25,000 bluegrass fans from all 50 states and 42 countries visited the museum in 2009. The Monroe exhibit will bring more to town this year, she said.

Museum needs more space

But the numbers could be much greater if the museum had the money to properly market the attraction, she said.

The city has proposed turning the state office building at Second and Frederica streets into an International Bluegrass Music Center, which would include the museum as well as a lot of performance space.

"We know where Bill Monroe's original tour bus is," Woodward said. "We know who has his original car and who has his last vehicle. We could have had them all on display if we had had the space for this exhibit."

The state office building at 60,000 square feet is almost three times as large as the current 22,000-square-foot museum.

"I took a tour of that building today," Kuykendall said. "I was excited about all the space. That's going to be good for the city."

The museum board will meet in Owensboro on Nov. 6-7 to make a decision on the move.

"I think everybody is excited about it," Kuykendall said. "We just need to hear the details."

"The only concern is financial," Woodward said.

Gray said the Monroe centennial "is huge."

The reception and an-star concert of mandolin masters sold out, she said.

"The roots of bluegrass are here in western Kentucky," Gray said, "and out of roots grows the future."

Woodward said bluegrass is the only genre that can be traced to one man -- Monroe.

The exhibit features one of Monroe's stage suits, a brown Stetson hat and a tie that he pulled off with the Windsor knot intact.

There are pictures of Monroe and his family through various stages of his life, including performances at the White House.

There are showbills, record albums, album covers and the statue that was presented posthumously when Monroe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

The fiddle played by his uncle Pendelton Vandiver at Ohio County dances in the 1920s is on display along with the headstock veneer from Monroe's 1923 F-5 Lloyd Loar mandolin.

In a fit of anger at the Gibson Guitar Co. in 1963, Monroe took his knife and gouged the company's name from the headstock veneer.

Woodward said the museum is hoping to have "a very special" River of Music Party in 2011 to celebrate Monroe's centennial.