Kevernacular (Kevin Lynch) is a veteran, award-winning arts journalist, educator and visual artist. He won The Milwaukee Press Club's 2013 gold award for "Best Critical Review of the Arts" for my Culture Currents blog "Edward Curtis Preserved America's Vanishing Race for Posterity." The Aug. 22 posting reviewed a photo exhibit at The Museum of Wisconsin Art by Curtis, who documented the passing of America's original Native American culture and society in the early 20th century.
He was a long-time staff arts writer for The Capital Times in Madison and The Milwaukee Journal, where he was lead writer of a Pulitzer-nominated Newspapers in Education project called "That's Jazz."
KL at the Blue Plum Music and Arts Festival, Johnson City, Tennessee, June 2012. photo by Sheila Lynch
Among other publications, he's written for Down Beat, The Village Voice, The Chicago Tribune, New Art Examiner, Rain Taxi, American Record Guide, CODA (The Canadian jazz magazine), Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, Scene PBS TV magazine (Minneapolis), Graven Images: A Journal of Culture, Law and the Sacred; The Shepherd Express, OnMilwaukee.com and he has been a featured blogger on roots music for NoDepression.com. He's taught cultural journalism, English rhetoric and composition (while earning half of the credits for a PhD. in American Literature), and film studies. He served as a music program host for WLUM-FM and WMSE-FM in Milwaukee. He's also working on a novel, Melville's Trace or, The Jackal. Kevin is a also a visual artist and studied jazz piano and theory at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. A recent hand disability keeps him from piano playing these days. He lives in Milwaukee.
STATEMENT: In blog writing and reporting, I strive to maintain and espouse the same journalistic standards of professionalism cultivated in over 30 years as a working arts journalist. Given the freedom of the blogosphere, misinformation compounds and spreads at an alarming rate. So, maintaining such standards is more important than ever, even as I welcome the new freedom and vibrancy.
My blogger's moniker suggests a particular hybrid quality as a cultural observer. My sense is that meaningful distinctions between fine and vernacular art blur in the cultural currents -- aside from functional genre names. I've covered and researched both realms plenty and categories help identify and clarify -- fine vs. folk vs. pop art - but there's no hierarchy of quality among genres or traditions, in my mind. As Duke Ellington said, "There's two kinds of music, good music and bad music."
"Vernaculars speak" implicitly nags the old culture-class question of, say, who's better: Bob Dylan or Dylan Thomas? Pop culture poet/songwriter Bob Dylan is taken seriously today by intelligencia, of course -- almost to death. But I think that beyond Bob, and because of him, the craft and art of songwriting has spread and grown almost exponentially in many vernacular idioms, often in new hybrids. And that phenomenon is important and noteworthy.