R.I.P. Repo Man

by Kentucky For Kentucky on
Kentuckian Harry Dean Stanton spent a lifetime looking for tense situations

Kentuckian, actor, and musician Harry Dean Stanton passed away this past Friday. He was 91.


Born in West Irvine, Kentucky, in Estill County, Stanton left the family tobacco farm to attend Lafayette High School in Lexington as well as the University of Kentucky. He studied journalism and radio art when he wasn’t performing at the school’s Guignol Theatre, and the theatre’s director was so impressed with Stanton that he encouraged him to leave UK and pursue acting in California.


After a stint in the United States Navy during World War II, Stanton landed his first television role in 1954 and his first feature film role in 1956, an uncredited part as a Department of Corrections employee in a picture called The Wrong Man.


Harry Dean Stanton went on to accrue over a hundred film and television credits, everything from Pretty In Pink to Dwight Yoakam music videos to this year’s Twin Peaks revival.


But it was his brooding, lurking, terse weirdo roles in low-budget indie films that endeared him to young audiences in the 1970s and beyond. Everyone can (and should) take this time to look back through his filmography and find something to savor. If you’re a Kentucky for Kentucky fan, you can’t go wrong with the punk rock/comedy/sci-fi/serious business mashup that is Repo Man.

Emilio Estevez as Otto and Harry Dean Stanton as Bud in Repo Man (1984).


Here’s what film critic Roger Ebert said about Repo Man when he saw it in 1984:


I saw Repo Man near the end of a busy stretch on the movie beat: Three days during which I saw more relentlessly bad movies than during any comparable period in memory. Most of those bad movies were so cynically constructed out of formula ideas and “commercial” ingredients that watching them was an ordeal. Repo Man comes out of left field, has no big stars, didn’t cost much, takes chances, dares to be unconventional, is funny, and works. There is a lesson here.


We love that.


Stanton plays Bud, the veteran repo man of Repo Man that takes punk loser Otto, played by Emilio Estevez, under his wing and guides him through the dirty business of legalized auto theft.


In one of the more famous scenes, after imparting to Otto the “Repo Code”, Bud catches some squares causing a scene in the distance and mutters a little diatribe that could have easily come from the real-life Harry Dean Stanton.


“Hey, look at them,” Bud says. “Look at those assholes over there. Ordinary fuckin’ people. I hate ‘em. See, an ordinary person spends his life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations. Assholes. Let’s go get a drink.”


Here’s the excerpt in its entirety. Fair warning, it’s a NSFW clip because Stanton was a NSFW kind of guy. That’s why we’ll miss him so much.



You can appreciate some of this iconic Kentucky artist’s best work, including the official premiere of his latest film Lucky, in some of Kentucky’s most beautiful theaters this September 28-29 at the 7th Annual Harry Dean Stanton Fest in Lexington.

September Night Market

by Kentucky For Kentucky on

Get ready Lexington, the NoLi CDC’s Night Market is back! We’re taking it to the streets from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, September 22nd (first day of Fall!), along the 700 block of Bryan Ave. in Lexington for the ultimate block party. Hell yeah! It’s an epic Northside evening featuring live local music, delicious craft beer from West Sixth Brewing, cool local vendors (like us), food trucks, 5,000 kick-ass Kentuckians (and a few tourists), fresh air, hip outdoor lighting (makes for great Instagram photos) and live Tinder-ing (love).

Once again, we’re a presenting sponsor of this years NOLI Night Market! The Kentucky Fun Mall will be open until 10pm serving up the Commonwealth’s freshest Kentucky gear, Y’ALL gear, Southern Socks and bourbon gear. We also have new kid’s gear and old favorites back in stock!

Come thirsty, hungry or naked… The Night Market will have you covered!


WHEN: 6-10 p.m. FRIDAY, September 22nd


Bourbon On The Telly

by Kentucky For Kentucky on
NBC is developing a bourbon-themed comedy set in Kentucky

Kentucky and everybody’s favorite Kentucky export, bourbon, might be about to infiltrate living rooms across the land in a big way.


According to Deadline.com, NBC is developing a half-hour comedy called Sour Mash about a bourbon-obsessed Latina chemist from Brooklyn who is recruited to become the master distiller at a failing family-owned distillery here in the Bluegrass.


“She finds that making great bourbon is easy compared to dealing with the eccentric family that hired her,” says Deadline.



The show’s writers/creators are Mike Gagerman and Andrew Waller (pictured above), real-life friends best known for the 2014 movie Search Party and the direct-to-DVD banger American Pie: Beta House, so we’ll hold off on giving it the KY for KY seal of approval until we see it.


At the very least, they better film it here and there definitely better not be any of those 15-minute Lexington-to-Harlan drives like in Justified. Get it right, Hollyweird!



Did you know that MILK is currently Kentucky’s official state beverage? That’s pretty insane. Ain’t nobody making TV shows about Kentucky milk. This is bourbon country. Defend the Commonwealth! Check out, sign, and share our petition to put bourbon on the throne where it belongs.


A newly public film illuminates Wendell Berry's vital essay in the aftermath of 9/11

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Kentucky author and farmer Wendell Berry attempted to make sense of that unsensible event and the foolish self-righteousness that allowed it to happen in a 27-part essay entitled “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear”.


“What leads to peace,” Berry wrote, “is not violence but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being.”


In the now-famous essay, Berry also reiterated his lifelong warnings against centralized economies, specialized “educations”, thoughtless political rhetoric, environmental disrespect, waste, and scapegoating of minorities.


Years later, filmmaker Herb E. Smith of Appalshop–the groundbreaking media, arts, and education center in Whitesburg, Ky.–juxtaposed Berry’s words with scenes of rural Kentucky and clips from an in-depth interview about the process of writing in response to crisis and the essay’s continued relevancy.


Today, for the first time, Appalshop has made this work publicly accessible. Kentucky for Kentucky is proud to share it with you.