This Week’s Various

We had the tornadoes, and now the flood.  And my beautiful friend Anna Kline wrote a song, Flood Waters, she performed with her band (Anna Kline and the Grits & Soul Band) just very recently — and it was featured on WLBT in Jackson this morning and again during their 5:30p newscast — it will also play on NBC affiliates across the South and the nation.  *So* proud of her!

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Artnet Magazine just ran a piece entitled ‘Art & the Apocalypse‘ — since that Judgment Day ad ran in USA Today and other billboards, etc recently — in which they mentioned several artists (including Howard Finster, Keith Haring, Henry Darger) and the work they had done depicting that sort of event.  One artist they mentioned was:

Chicago Imagist Roger Brown, who was raised in Alabama in the Church of Christ, referred to Biblical imagery in his art often enough. His An Actual Dream of the Second Coming (1976), for instance, transports Revelations’ doomsday vision to an urban setting not unlike Brown’s adopted city, filled with sinners lost in fiery despair while the faithful ascend to heaven.

I had no idea about the whole May 21st thing until we were eating breakfast on vacation last week (more about that soon) and I open up USA Today to a full-page ad about everything ending.  Wha?

Anyway, Roger was born in Hamilton and raised in Opelika.  He moved to Chicago for college and became a founder of the Chicago Imagist movement.  That’s how he’s best known.  His Kissin’ Cousins (that he produced after he found out about being related to Elvis (he was also related to Tallulah Bankhead)) is at the Ogden.

Does anyone know if the Roger Brown Rock House Museum in Beulah, AL is open now?  I know he was working on it when he passed away in 1997 and it was open for some time, but what’s its status currently?  Please contact me if you know — thanks!

Thanks to my friend Nancy for letting me know about the ‘mystery house’ on Wichita Street in Houston that’s on the market now.

The House on Wichita St - Houston, TX
(Used courtesy Mr. Kimberly under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Thank you!)

Swamplot says: “After the Orange Show, the Beer Can House, and the Third Ward home of the Flower Man, probably no Houston home has accumulated more outsider-art street cred than Charles Fondow’s decades-long transformation of a former Riverside Terrace daycare center into a bubbling stew of half-timbered gables, turrets, and towering rooftop decks.”

So you might think that the interior would be full of happy, boundless excess, but not really.  It’s absolutely very nice but not creative overload.  And it’s only $325k.

The old Hopkins House boardinghouse / restaurant in Pensacola, which is a residence now, is also for sale (even the Sterns wrote about the restaurant in Gourmet, in 2000):

For almost 50 years, the Hopkins boardinghouse in the North Hill district of Pensacola, Florida, offered the best deal in town. The price for a room was always right—but what made this address so extraordinary was that the rent included meals. Spectacular meals. Platters of fried chicken, hot biscuits, sweet-potato soufflé, and other Dixie specialties fairly flew from hand to hand at the crowded communal tables. Extra helpings were never discouraged; when the serving bowls got low, full ones replaced them. Best of all, boarders weren’t the only ones privy to this amazing bounty. Outside diners with good manners and enough change in their pockets were also welcome at Ma Hopkins’s tables. And they still are.

For those of us from, shall we say, less sociable areas of the country, the friendliness at these tables can come as a shock. Instantly, you are dining with folks who feel like cousins, aunts, or uncles, chatting about where you’re headed and where you’ve been, and how about more chicken and who took the last corn muffin? The family feel is enhanced by the maternal propriety of the dining areas. The walls are decorated with souvenir plates; white lace curtains hang at the windows; and in the vestibule, where people wait for a seat to open up, signs advise, “NO HATS WORN AT THE TABLE…TANK TOPS, UNDERSHIRTS, AND MUSCLE SHIRTS ARE NOT PERMISSIBLE.”

After the restaurant closed, it was purchased for $340k in 2005 and is now on the market for $689k.

I think there are some recipes from the old Hopkins House in the Pensacola Junior League cookbook, Some Like it South.

The Washington Post likes Fairhope.  The best set of quotes from the article:

…I stopped by Page and Palette, a bookstore around since 1968. The store displays a full case of Fairhope authors, many recognizable from the bestseller list or airport newstands: Jimmy Buffett, Fannie Flagg, Rick Bragg, Andy Andrews, Winston “Forrest Gump” Groom. 

“The amount of literary people here just blows your mind,” said Mac Pulitzer, great-grandson of the legendary newspaper publisher. “Per capita, this is probably the highest in the country.” 

Pulitzer hopes to contribute to the town’s literary prominence with the Pulitizer Hotel and the first-ever Pulitzer Library, both scheduled to open next spring. He plans to fill the repository with more than 2,000 books, including every Pulitzer prize winner from nearly a century plus the classics. He will also reserve shelf space for local authors. He might need to build an additional wing. 

“I think Sonny Brewer was right when he said, ‘We have more published authors and writers than we do readers,’ ” said Karin Wilson, president of Page and Palette.

Colisseum in Miniature at Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman AL

The AP ran a story verifying that Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman is undamaged after the tornadoes.

The beloved GooGoo Cluster has gotten some attention: “Its makers, Standard Candy Company, have upgraded the candy bar’s ingredients, changed the way it’s manufactured and redesigned the packaging.”  I love GooGoos.  I love getting them at the Opry and even the cheesy part when everyone yells during the broadcast “gotta getta GooGoo”.  The price of a GooGoo has almost doubled but the amount I want to have one has also doubled now.  And I’m loving the retro goodness of the redesigned website too.

A family in Tuscaloosa filmed the tornado coming right at them.  Pretty amazing, especially beginning at the one minute mark.  It really would have been more important to be hiding in your “safe place” – in the bathroom or closet in the middle of your home, though, right?

Tom Fitzmorris has ranked the 300 most essential New Orleans restaurants.  But I can’t believe Port of Call is all the way down to #290.

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL

Big Bob Gibson’s (Chris Lilly’s team) from Decatur won 2011 Grand Champion Memphis in May and also first place shoulder.

The Freedom Rides Museum opened today in Montgomery.

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