This Week’s Various

Thanks, Y'all Mississippi Sign
above: a pic I took of one of the signs Mississippi put up in response to Katrina help in 2005

Bitter Southerner Season 2 Ep 1 podcast (in collab with GA Public Broadcasting): What We Talk About When We Talk About How We Talk on…how we tawk.

Nick Cave Soundsuit at Jepson Center for the Arts, Telfair Museums, Savannah GA

above: a Soundsuit I took a pic of from the Nick Cave exhibit at the Jepson in Savannah in 2017

There’s a 2011 Nick Cave Soundsuit in tomorrow’s MCA Chicago: Life Benefit Auction and the starting bid is $60k.

Waffle House

People are good. When only one man was working the kitchen at a B’ham-area Waffle House, this happened (from the WaPo):

“There was literally no one else working but him,” Crispo said in an interview with The Washington Post…

…“It was a transition so smooth I initially assumed it was a staff member returning to their shift,” Crispo wrote in an email he gave The Washington Post. “It wasn’t. It was a kind stranger. A man who answered the call. Bussed tables, did dishes, stacked plates.”

…Soon after, Crispo said, a customer in a dress got up, walked behind the counter and started making coffee.

“She figured out how to do the coffee maker. She was in a sequined dress and heels,” Crispo said. “She tried to take an order or two but then she went to busing tables. It was bizarre to see someone doing that in a sequined dress and heels.”

Donaldson, LA Museum - Lemann

above: the Lemann building in Donaldsonville has been on the list for several years now

The Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation has published its 2019 list of most endangered places.

above: a pretty Greenberg smoked turkey (Sam Greenberg is so nice!) we had a few years ago

So according to Google Trends, the most-searched Thanksgiving recipe by state goes like this:

Alabama & Tennessee — sweet potato casserole
Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas — dressing
Georgia — honey baked ham (wha?)
Oklahoma: deviled eggs

Southern Interiors: Photographs from the Do Good Fund is on view at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn.

In college, my HS boyfriend Jeff and I thought we were living the high life when we’d spend dining credits at the place on campus with cloth napkins. Um, this is next level.

Red Velvet Cake above: just a slice of an an easy, one-layer red velvet I made one night with supper

Never had the red velvet cake at Bob Sykes (the pies are pretttttty good, though!), and apparently it is so amazing that it has its own carry-out line at the holidays. Here’s the surprising part: theirs has no cocoa. This is no criticism, but red velvet aficionados: isn’t cocoa a prerequisite (otherwise you’ve got a red, food-colored yellow cake)? That doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. I bet it’s crazy good. In any case, good on Van Sykes for recognizing the value of Sharon Mayes, who the article reports has made the desserts so popular that he pays her a percentage of the dessert sales in addition to her regular earnings.

Orbix Hot Glass: Glass Ornament Blowing Class
above: hahaha! Cal and me at Orbix. He does the real-artist part.

The Cal Breed: Signs of Lift exhibit is going on now at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts through January 12, 2020. In past years, I’ve gone with some friends to do glass blowing at his studio — Orbix Hot Glass — in NE Alabama, and (’tis the season) he offers ornament classes.

Brennan's New Orleans
above: an upstairs dining room at Brennan’s

Hungry, Hungry Hippocampus: The Psychology of How We Eat at NPR:

“Food is not just nutrition that goes in your mouth or even pleasant sensations that go with it. It connects to your whole life, and it’s really a very important part of performing your culture and experiencing your culture.”

Love, love, love getting all your emails, and so glad to be posting again! xoxo!

Tatte, And Pies Forever

Homemade Ollie's Chocolate Meringue Pie

Oh yeah. I’m starting to get in full pie mode.

I saw a post at Food and Wine a few days ago about the Boston-based bakery, Tatte — that happens to be one of the first places that Suzanne (my Cambridge bestie — she works at Harvard) and I went when I visited her.

From F&W:  The first time I walked into Tatte Bakery’s Harvard Square location, I’m pretty sure I gasped. The space was striking: stark black chalkboards adorning white-tiled walls, shelves stacked high with packs of candied nuts, pastries as pretty as the custom mosaic floor. Every aspect of the place felt deeply curated, homey, and warm. Stylized just enough to be beautiful but not intimidating, the bakery was unlike any I’d ever experienced.


Here are some pics I took of our visit to the Harvard Square Tatte:

Tatte Bakery, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA

Tatte Bakery, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA Tatte Bakery, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA

Tatte Bakery, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA Tatte Bakery, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA

Tatte Bakery, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA Tatte Bakery, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA

Tatte in DC will open spring 2020.

I’m starting to figure out how many pies to make this year, and leading up to that is figuring out what flavors to make. Email me your flavors and let’s collab on ideas!

I also thought this piece about pies in bar form at F&W was interesting — it would be somewhat easier to get a bunch of servings done at one time, but considering that all but a handful that I make for family and friends goes to various places in Birmingham that feeds the homeless or the food insecure, my heart wants them to be traditional, not just cranked out for the sake of efficiency. Still, though, bars are fun.

I might try that for some kind of low-key Friendsgiving one evening with people just coming in and out over the course of a few hours rather than having a set “please arrive at 7p” kind of thing. Lots of fall-inspired cocktails and savory bites set on platters everywhere. And dessert…I mean, chocolate-espresso pie bars? Yasssss.

Since I love pie, thank so many of you for sending me fun pie things all the time (and I’m a little behind on answering DFK emails since I started posting again, but I’m getting there! Thank you!). Really nice is this one of a bakery in Toronto called Lamanna’s that does a dessert pizza that *has little pieces of pie on it*. And ohmystars THIS isn’t even pie but gets my full endorsement. COOKIE.

Really considering adding this to the repertoire: creme brulee pie from the NYT

More pie talk as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Loving hearing from all of you! xoxo!

Avalon, Tesla, And a Million Dollar McLaren

We had an amazing weekend in Atlanta. It was part of Shugie’s birthday, and he loves

  • a/ great restaurants, which, ha. We really didn’t go anywhere great, and the most interesting thing we did was get carry-out from BurgerIM (see?) an Israeli hamburger chain (due to wanting to be in the room for the Bama-LSU game). The boys said the hamburger tasted like Five Guys, so pretty meh to them, but I had a grilled chicken which was delish.
  • b/ great hotels, and while we didn’t stay at his fave, the Atlanta Ritz, we did stay at an Autograph Collection, which had more character than your garden variety Marriott.
  • c/ cars, and he totally scored in that regard

We checked in Friday evening at the Hotel at Avalon, in Alpharetta. Avalon, as it turns out, is a shopping village including valet service, with the usuals (Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, etc) but also Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Sundance, a pretty big Apple store

Avalon, Alpharetta

— and because I’m always trying to get that good-Mommy gold star, a Tesla dealership. Or Tesla shop? Or Tesla place-where-they-have-a-three-cars and you-can-place-an-order?

Shugie at Tesla, Avalon, Atlanta

The people there are super nice. Shug was spending quality time at Apple, and Shugie and I went over to look at our choices. I’m open to getting a Tesla at some point, but really would like to wait until the battery will allow more output in miles. I like driving in the middle of nowhere and not have to really consider tethering myself to a radius involving a 240v outlet. Shugie on the other hand, is just in love with cars and they were so kind in showing him how to open the door (make an ‘L’ shape with your hand, press down on one side), encouraging him to get behind the wheel, answer his questions, and we talked colors and wood trim. I was starting to come around by the time it was time to go.

Shugie at Tesla, Avalon, Atlanta

A cousin of ours has a couple of Teslas and really enjoys them, and maybe Shugie will get one when it’s time.

We also drove over to the Lamborghini dealership. They were incredibly nice and helpful there, too. I joked to the salesman that our family “are merely Lexus drivers” (but let’s not forget I drove a series of junky cars in college which included a LeBaron with a blown head gasket that was eventually also a car-b-que, a Buick sporting a lovely primer & Bondo combination, and okay another Buick that had such substantial electrical problems that I was out an alternator every couple of months). Anyway, we had a good laugh about it — I didn’t want him to think we were truly in the market for a $100k+ car — but explained how much Shugie loves next-level cars, and we were encouraged to look at everything, ask any questions, etc.

Lamborghini Interior

Shugie would really like to get some sort of internship at Lamborghini in college, and in the next couple of years take a factory tour, and we were even told who to get in contact with in Atlanta and Italy to get that scheduled when we’re ready. Just so, so, so nice and helpful.

Lamborghini Interior

Motorcars of Atlanta also stocks Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, McLaren…

Rolls Royce Interior

And here is a $1M McLaren that is truly a work of art

Shugie with McLaren McLaren


Our stay was at the Hotel at Avalon, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Very pretty, and we were within super-easy walking distance to all the shops and the theater there. The boys were very happy to wear the robes provided. We’ll definitely consider staying here again.

Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA

Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA

Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA

Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA

Ummm I ordinarily wouldn’t share this pic but the library wallpaper here is something else:

Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA

Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA

Hotel at Avalon, Alpharetta GA

Oh! Marriott is in the midst of a roll-out of bulk toiletries rather than the little individual bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc. and here, they were stocked with fabulous Molton Brown in Indian Cress for hair, and body wash and lotion in Orange & Bergamot. Love.

This Week’s Various

Longhorns. Cullman Co AL
Cullman County, Alabama longhorns.
Super-short various this week for whatever reason. xoxo!

Lowland Kids: Growing up on a Disappearing Island about Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana showed at this year’s SXSW and can be viewed in its entirety here. From the HuffPo piece:

As a result of rising sea levels, coastal erosion and hurricanes, Isle de Jean Charles is starting to disappear. Since 1955, the 22,000-acre island has lost roughly 98% of its land, and the future looks bleak. Some estimates predict it will be fully submerged under water in five to 25 years. It’s why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved a $48 million federal grant ― the first of its kind ― to relocate the community, primarily Native Americans, to higher ground by 2024. As part of the voluntary resettlement project, Louisiana is developing a new area about 40 miles northwest of the island on some 515 acres of land.

On view in Times Square, Kehinde Wiley’s 27′-tall bronze ‘Rumors of War’ in the CSA-general-atop-warhorse genre (except this time, not) has been acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. It’s slated to be installed permanently at the VMFA on December 10. The piece was purchased via Sean Kelly Gallery in NY. From the press release:

Sean Kelly states, “Kehinde’s work has always sought to address the historical imbalance of the representation and depiction of the black body in art historical and cultural contexts. Rumors of War extends that investigation into the sculptural realm with his largest three-dimensional work to date. The work deals head-on with the history of racially divisive and provocative Confederate monuments which venerate the American Civil War.”

How Three Guys from Houston are Cooking up a Revolution in Texas Barbecue by Brett Martin at Smithsonian:

“We don’t want to be a novelty.” They have added their distinctively Asian items slowly. A sensational Vietnamese banh mi—stuffed with pickled vegetables, chicken liver pâté and Hoang’s smoked turkey breast. That loamy, tingling Thai green curry boudin, which is a profound tribute to both Southeast Asia and Cajun Country. A frequent special of fried rice made with leftover nuggets of smoky brisket. “It’s not really Chinese. It’s not Vietnamese. It’s just fried rice,” says Robin.

Jack Daniels Tennessee Apple is a thing.

Love: at the NYT, At Tennessee Titans Games, the Fiercest Tailgaters are Kurds. Nashville’s big Kurdish community has fallen hard for football, and parking-lot feasts that feature biryani but no alcohol.

“There is a misconception that just because we come from a different background, we can’t like the same things other Americans like,” Ms. Kucher added. “But I’ve been in America for so long. It’s hard not to adapt to the culture. Football is a big part of American culture.”

It has been announced that the new 183528 sqft Kinder Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will open Fall 2020.

Popular Photography with William Christenberry, an unlikely icon of Southern photography and the Ogden exhibit going on now


Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR

Three monuments of particular interest at Bellwood Cemetery in Pine Bluff, Arkansas:

This double-sided chair monument for John George Galster and his wife Anna Maria Volkle Galster. Both were born in Germany.

 Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR

This one for Robert Williams, who died in 1889 at the age of 62. What fabulous tile on this monument:
Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR

Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR

And Rev John F Carr:

Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR

Bellwood Cemetery, Pine Bluff AR

This Week’s Various

It’s been crazy long since I’ve published at DFK — and even longer since I was in the habit of doing a ‘Various’ post, but I’m ready to get back into it. Here are some bits:

Laura Pope Forester Laura Pope Forester
above: from a visit we made to the Pope home in 2012

The Pope Store Museum in Ochlocknee, Georgia is having an open house Saturday, December 14 from 6-9p with $20 donations/car going to further the restoration of Laura Pope Forester’s works there.

The WSJ on the Folk Poetry of Home Movies (you may be prompted for a subscription on that link) on the Private Lives, Public Spaces exhibit that just opened at MoMA:

Artists, celebrities, world travelers, and the public at large, using 16- and 8-millimeter equipment, employed this unregulated, democratic form of personal filmmaking to produce work that is by turns vigorous, sentimental, frank, and sometimes transgressive. Sadly, these films were also rarely preserved and commonly abandoned, often ending up as flea market curios or stock footage as more consumer-friendly video formats arrived in the 1980s. Private Lives Public Spaces, the Museum’s first gallery installation of home movies and amateur films drawn exclusively from its collection, shines a light on a seldom-recognized cinematic revolution.

The Mississippi Museum of Art will present the documentary ‘Finster’ by Ava Leigh Stewart on Thurs, 11/21 at 6:30p (free).

Do not do not do not miss the Nick Cave: Feat. exhibit there which just opened and will be on through Feb 16, 2020.

Feat. was at the Frist last year, and here’s my post from that exhibit, if you’d like a peak. I can’t help myself:
Nick Cave Feat. Exhibit at the Frist in Nashville

William Eggleston in the Real World is now available on DVD and VOD.

While we’re on photography, Ernst Haas: Visionary Color is *everything*.

The Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee — it had been officially closed to visitors for years but unofficially I think people were still getting in — burned to the ground last week. From AD:

The house was supported by an 80-foot white oak tree and stretched up to five stories to include 80 rooms, including classrooms, bedrooms, and a kitchen. A snaking staircase linked the floors, and in true Southern tradition, there was a large wraparound porch. The interiors married quirkiness with spirituality, showcasing an intricately carved pulpit with wooden pews, a towering cross, and a hand-carved Bible.

Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom is on view at SCAD Museum of Art through Jan 5, 2020.

Artist Isaac Julien acknowledges not only the power of Douglass’ ideas, but also his extraordinary presence as the most photographed American of the 19th century. Douglass had a clear understanding of slavery and the cultural and political forces that impacted the world in which he lived, and his work on behalf of human rights continues to inspire us today.

Isaac Julien is a pioneer of the art of the moving image who, since the early 1990s, has innovated a distinctive non-linear, multiscreen form of storytelling. Drawing from painting, architecture, photography, performance, and sound design, Julien constructs poetic narratives of hybrid scenes that create a space for meditation on political and cultural questions.

St. Michael's School, Convent LA
above: at St. Michael’s in Convent, Louisiana, a pic I took in 2012

At the Washington Post: What’s wrong with assigning books — and kids — reading levels and yes it seems odd that The Grapes of Wrath has a Lexile of 680 (3rd-4th grade), TKAM is 870 (4th-6th gr), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid is 950 (5th-9th). Some extreme examples here, though.

Nice: Rare Square Books (above Square Books Jr) has opened in Oxford.

Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market, Money MS
above: Bryant’s Grocery in Money, Mississippi

Tallahatchee River (Glendora) Emmett Till historic marker gets bulletproof cover.

Dooky Chase's, New Orleans LA
above: Dooky Chase

The 30′ mural of Leah Chase at the new terminal at MSY — Leah’s Kitchen will be there, as will Angelo Brocato’s, Folse Market, Lucky Dogs (duh), Ye Olde College Inn, and several others.

Inside a Fried Oreo, from vendor at Sucarnochee Folk Life Festival, Livingston AL
above: I once had a bite of a fried Oreo at the Sucarnochee Folk Life Festival in Livingston, Alabama. Once.

The new options in food at the Texas State Fair this year included a stuffed (with dirty rice, cream sauce, grilled shrimp) turkey leg — which sounds amazing; fried potato salad; and a jell-o shot made up of champagne & chablis, watermelon jello, with jalapeno slices on top.

The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation is selling 40 (!!) works by Bill Traylor (via David Zwirner Gallery, priced between $60k-500k), to benefit the Harlem Children’s Zone.

WLD’s daughter Julia says in the NYT, “He really likened Traylor to the greats — the Giacomettis, the Kandinskys.” Jeffrey Gilman, president of the foundation, remarks “We’re hoping for the art market to see this as great contemporary art and not just as outsider art…Given Zwirner’s position in the contemporary art market, we’re hoping he can introduce this to a larger audience.”

Regarding the proceeds of the sale of these works by a former slave going to the Harlem Children’s Zone, Louis-Dreyfus said a few years ago: “There is something terribly natural, terribly right, about having the Bill Traylor collection turn into money for his progeny.”

A historic marker honoring Bill Traylor was dedicated last week in Montgomery.

Greenbrier Restaurant, Madison AL above: white sauce on chicken at Greenbrier

The ‘A Taste Through Time’ Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama Food earlier this month at the governor’s mansion included barbecue with six different regional sauces and one of them was spicy orange from east Alabama…and I would like to know more about that. Who/where?

The Slotin Folk Art Auction is November 9-10. I bought a great Sybil Gibson from them several years ago. Included next month are some nice Finsters including George Washington, and a shadowbox, and a BF Perkins porch swing.

James Marion Sims Statue, Montgomery AL
above: the Sims monument in Montgomery

New York is wrestling with its own monuments issue, but this time regarding *new* ones — a movement afoot to establish several, with an emphasis on people historically overlooked for such honors.

Side note: a few years ago when the issue of looking over existing monuments came up, the only one taken down was that of J. Marion Sims, the 19th-century man considered the ‘father of gynecology’. In NY, he founded the Women’s Hospital, then helped found the NY Cancer Hospital which today is Sloane-Kettering. He undertook unspeakable experiments — ~30 surgeries on one woman in particular — in his work to find a cure for what was then considered a “hopeless malady” (and one that millions of women in certain parts of the world still suffer with), and the artist who was initially chosen to create a new work where his monument had stood named hers “After Anarcha, Lucy, Betsey, Henrietta, Laure, and Anonymous” after the women who had been subjected to those procedures.

That artist eventually stepped aside, and Vinnie Bagwell was awarded the job. The name of her monument: ‘Victory Beyond Sims’.

A monument of Sims, who was in Alabama for some time before moving to New York, is on the grounds of the capitol in Montgomery.

‘5 Southern Plays You Should Have Read Already’ is a thing, and of course includes ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ but what I really want to talk about are these laser-cut book jackets.

Jerry Saltz and Justin Davidson on the MoMA revamp, via Vulture, is good stuff.

J.D.: The second problem is sound. Especially in mixed-media galleries: I paused in front of Jasper Johns’s Flag, where a handful of people were talking in low voices, and there’s a pocket of resonance in that corner that’s practically crypt-like. Plus I heard two different soundtracks coming from the gallery to my left and a third coming from a Merce Cunningham clip to my right. I believe excessive exposure to that kind of acoustic confusion eventually leads to psychosis.

…and Saltz saying: I recall cascades of architect argot about micro galleries, auto-critique, institutional interfacing with the city, surgical interventions, gestures of variation on the white cube and the black box, social and performative space, and “a large new architecturally significant staircase.” Then Liz Diller actually talked about how her spaces were for “installations … performance, lectures, different kinds of events” and “certainly not paintings on a wall.” I recall thinking, Oh, my God, more of that old 1980s painting-is-dead nonsense.

Super-random: Saltz has a mention of how great WPA post office works are.

So much love for this one I took a pic of in Crystal Springs, Mississippi:
Crystal Springs Post Office Mural

Justin Devillier’s new cookbook, The New Orleans Kitchen, is out. His La Petite Grocery is one of my faves, and Balise (now shuttered) was one of the great breakfasts of my life. Balise had an impressive collection of Butch Anthony works. Justin’s newest restaurant is Justine, on Chartres.

Blue Crab Omelette, Balise, New Orleans
above: this blue crab omelette from Balise was EVRAthang

Speaking of Butch, I didn’t see him at Kentuck this year and didn’t think the lineup was either as true to what Kentuck is/was supposed to be (tons of self-taught, visionary art) or it has changed overall, and I’m deeply missing the vibe that was there when Lonnie would make things on the fly, and Jimmy Lee Sudduth sold paintings while sitting under a tree, and Amos cranked out letterpress. It was too much ‘cute’ this year. Dang.

Butch Anthony Twangelism, Balise, New Orleans
above: One of Butch Anthony’s intertwangalisms on view at Balise before its close

BTW, Lonnie has been on tour (if I remember, he’s either in or just back from South America), and Amos Kennedy is killing it everywhere he goes. Rockstar.

Artist John Henry Toney passed away October 24.

Make It Right, Lower Ninth Ward New Orleans
above: from a 2010 visit we made

Brad Pitt and Make It Right Foundation are facing lawsuit in New Orleans for “shoddy construction” and wow you have to think that this is going to give people serious pause about putting themselves on the frontlines of spearheading this kind of thing. Not that there aren’t deep issues with the design/construction (MIR actually sued its primary architect) — and remember that the residents did pay for their homes, they weren’t gifted. Ouch all the way around.

If you’re in the right kind of mood to read Pete Wells eviscerate Peter Lugar Steak House in Brooklyn, with mention that “the Department of Motor Vehicles is a block party compared with the line at Peter Luger,” shrimp cocktail tastes like “cold latex,” and even Nietzsche gets evoked, here you go.

The Menil Collection, Houston above: from a visit in 2015. No photography is allowed inside.

The Rothko Chapel in Houston won’t open until late spring 2020 now, due to a discovery that the building’s structural support needs to be reinforced with steel rebar.

Banksy in Birmingham
above: I photographed this (short-lived) Banksy in Birmingham in 2008

Banksy Captured, a photobook by his former art dealer Steve Lazarides, will be released in December. It contains hundreds of images of the art & artist (obscured) never before seen by the public, from the years 1997-2008.

B’s Cracklin BBQ, Savannah  above: B’s Cracklin in Savannah, from January this year

The B’s Cracklin BBQ in Atlanta burned down months ago, but reappears with counter service at the new Beltline Kroger. I went to the Savannah B’s Cracklin earlier this year and really did not enjoy it, from the blase food to the prickly cashier. They have so many fans, though, I surely just went on an ‘off’ day.

A new biography of Janis Joplin, Janis: Her Life and Music, was released last week.

Waffle House
above: from a Waffle House visit in 2013

Foie gras will no longer be sold in NYC beginning in 2022. But completely unrelated, the Popeye’s chicken sandwich is back on November 3. And completely unrelated to that, Waffle House has a Poet Laureate.

Abbeville, Alabama
above: perfect for places like Abbeville, Alabama, which has the Huggin’ Molly

The ‘Legends & Lore’ marker program is expanding. From their website:

Established in 2015, the Legends & Lore grant program helps communities celebrate their local folklore and legends with roadside markers. This unique marker program is the only nationwide effort of its kind. Legends & Lore gives communities the opportunity to commemorate a part of their local cultural heritage that might not typically be found on a historic roadside marker. Some of the newest Legends & Lore marker examples are Champy the lake monster in New York State, the Ballad of Naomi Wise in North Carolina and the Alderson Lion named “French” in West Virginia.

Margaret's Grocery 2005, Vicksburg MS above: Margaret’s Grocery, from a visit in 2005

From Bitter Southerner: The Kingdom of Heaven is a Country Store, on Margaret’s Grocery and efforts to preserve the site

El Rancho Restaurant, Etter TX
above: El Rancho in Cactus, from a visit we made in 2005

“Somebody should photograph all this vanishing Texas before it’s forever lost.” at Texas Highways

Podcasting: Dolly Parton’s America

Ruby City, the contemporary art center, has opened in San Antonio. The website makes a point of how the founder, Linda Pace, shared her architectural dream design with Sir David Adjaye, buuuuuttttt.

National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis above: pinpointed on Memphis at the National Ornamental Metal Museum

Kelundra Smith writes This Excellent Memphis Restaurant Neighborhood Is Reinventing Food Activism for Food & Wine. and includes mention of a bakery where the employees are parents in families transitioning out of homelessness. At Global Cafe, a cafeteria:

“People try the food and then they ask about our culture and our country,” said Fayha Sakkan, whose chicken kabob and okra and beef stew are two of the day’s most popular dishes. “Then, they start to wish us happy holiday when they know it’s a Muslim holiday. Everyone is like family here.”

Old Monroe County Courthouse - To Kill A Mockingbird
above: the Old Monroe County Courthouse, from a visit we made in 2006

Yes Yes Yes, from The Guardian:

The hit Broadway play of To Kill a Mockingbird, adapted by The West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin, is to open in London, it has been confirmed. The play will arrive in the West End in spring 2020, marking the 60th anniversary of the publication…

Richard Thomas will star in the national TKAM tour.

Also: Partners in Preservation (via the National Trust for Historic Preservation and AmEx) has awarded $125k to the Monroe County Courthouse for structural work to preserve the site. This is the site the TKAM courthouse was based on. Among the other winners: the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah.

Georgia Peach Cobbler at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta GA above: the peach cobbler at Mary Mac’s in Atlanta

The AJC did this ummmm completely unnecessary video to communicate that Thanksgiving at the James Beard House is a thing, and this year, will be catered by the Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach. For dessert, they’re serving something called “cobbler with consequences” and doesn’t that just (also unnecessarily) sound like it will amp up any weird built-in family T’giving vibes? Hilarious!

“Everything was going great ’til they served cobbler with consequences”
“Cobbler with consequences?”
“Yeah. Then it all just fell apart with Uncle Greg. He’d been holding on to some things.”
“Well duh.”

On view at the Hudgens Center in Atlanta (Duluth), now through November 23 is Delta Hill Riders: Photographs by Rory Doyle. From the photographer’s site:

This ongoing series explores the subculture of African American cowboys and cowgirls in the rural Mississippi Delta — a far cry from the Wild West. A recent article from Smithsonian estimated that one in four cowboys were African American during the Civil War — yet this population was drastically under-represented in popular accounts. This project sheds light on a band of horse riders historically overlooked.

Christenberry: In Alabama Exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art
above: the stellar exhibit of Christenberry at the Mobile Museum of Art in ’17

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art has announced that they have acquired a grouping, Christenberry’s Ten Southern Photographs, taken between 1978 and 1981 in Hale County. These are large-scale images. Their exhibit on view through March 1, 2020, Memory is a Strange Bell, includes 125 of his works.

The Ogden has also acquired iHome (2012) and Sleepy Church (2014), two archival pigment prints by RaMell Ross from Ross’ South County, AL (A Hale County) project. It is that project that brought about the documentary Hale County, This Morning, This Evening. A solo exhibit of Ross’ work will open at the museum in Oct 2020.

Friends, there’s so much more I want to share with you, and I want to get back to almost-daily posts. I’ve sorely missed connecting this way, and are so grateful to those of you who have reached out, asking me to get this going again! xoxo!

Chicago in Auburn

The last time I was at Auburn’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art was just before their summer ’17 renovation, when Jiha Moon’s “Double Welcome, Most Everyone’s Mad Here” exhibit was on.

From the press release: ” Moon’s witty and ironic work explores how Westerners perceive other cultures and how perceived foreigners see the West. Korean born, now living in the United States, Moon asks the pertinent question, “Why do people love foreign stuff so much? When we travel to other countries, explore different cultures and meet with new people, we tend to fall in love with things that are not our own. People have a soft spot for foreign things. The world is so interconnected nowadays, how can you even tell where someone or something ‘comes from’ anymore?” In her work, Moon acts in the role of a traveler and explores the notion that identity is not beholden to geographic location.”
Jiha Moon: ‘Traveler’ 2013. Ink, acrylic, screen print, and tie-dye fabric on Hanji

What I’m really so excited about is the JCS’ new exhibit, ‘Creative Cadences: Works by Roger and Greg Brown’ (open now, through November 3 of this year). Excerpts from the press release:

The Brown brothers, who were raised near Auburn in neighboring Opelika in the 1940s and 50s, both showed significant creativity at an early age

Roger Brown moved from Alabama after high school and attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where his career as a serious artist intensified. By the time of his death in 1997, Roger Brown had risen to international prominence as one of the leading artists to emerge from the Chicago Imagist school of the late 1960s.

..(his) images and sculptural objects included in “Creative Cadences” reveal the influences of folk art, pop culture, Early Renaissance painting and his Southern roots.

…Several of the pieces in this exhibition are informed by aspects of Alabama life and culture that Roger drew inspiration from,” said Cynthia B. Malinick, director and chief curator of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. “The 1990 oil on canvas portrait of Hank Williams is a fairly clear example.”

Along with a diverse sampling from Roger Brown’s oeuvre, more than 30 of Greg Brown’s charcoal and pastel drawings, linocut prints and a series of papier-mâché sculptures will be featured in the exhibition. An Auburn University alumnus, Greg Brown is a working artist and published author currently the midst of a second book on his family genealogy. Unlike the 2007 folk art exhibition at the museum that exhibited only Roger Brown’s artwork, this year’s show places him in the spotlight alongside his much-lauded sibling.

…Regarding the influence of Southern roots in their work, Greg Brown believes Alabama was fertile soil for nurturing the artistic growth of both Roger and himself. “There is a richness in the South that benefits an artist,” Greg Brown said. “The climate, the beauty and the relaxed, free, laid-back lifestyle—it fills you full of poetry.”

I know the Ogden has at least one of Roger’s works in its collection (one being ‘The Seven Lost Plagues’ and I really think I’ve seen his ‘Kissin Cousins’ there too), but quickly, I was able to find two other examples of his art from visits I’ve made to other museums:

This is Roger Brown’s ‘Clouds over Alabama’ at the Memphis Brooks
Roger Brown’s ‘Trailer Park, Truck Stop’ at Columbus Museum in Columbus GA (pic from a 2014 visit)

Roger Brown’s Chicago storefront home/studio/museum and his works therein are managed by the School of the Art Institute, and it can still be visited. Here, a video of Roger doing a walk-through of his staggering collection in 1995:

Great Chicago Reader article.
Galleries with Roger Brown pieces available.
Wondering: what is the visitation policy/status of the Roger Brown Memorial Rock House Museum in Beulah, Alabama.
The study collection on FB.
NYT obit.