This Week’s Various

KPBS: Can Salvation Mountain be Saved? “It took artist Leonard Knight almost 30 years to build a colorful mountain out of adobe and paint in the middle of the Imperial Valley desert. It’s called Salvation Mountain and it draws thousands of tourists to the area. KPBS arts reporter Angela Carone finds out why a monument to religious salvation, now needs its own savior.”

The NYT on the 20th anniversary of the Outsider Art Fair.  MAKE skateboards is selling Royal Robertson decks?!

One of my very good friends’ husband has just written a book that was reviewed by the AP and ran in the Washington Post, Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned.  You can preorder at Amazon now (it’s out on Jan 31).  He’s a defense lawyer well-known for his high-profile cases, particularly those involving people on death row.  The last paragraph of the article: “In every case, my fervent stance against the death penalty precludes a person or the government from taking any life, for any reason,” he writes. “Only the G-d I believe in should do that, without human intervention.”

The T-P goes to Haydel’s for a king cake tasting to determine who has the best, they write, “A waiter in a tuxedo served us judges a Haydel’s traditional cake, a cream-cheese-filled king cake, and the newest flavor, the chocolate-chip-brownie filled king cake. It has a strip of brownie dough baked onto the top.”

From the press release: Lauren Rogers Museum of Art presents Eudora Welty’s Garden: Photographs by Langdon Clay on display in the Stairwell Gallery February 9 through April 1. The public is invited to attend a Gallery Talk by Clay Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. with a reception and book-signing to follow.  ((If you’re thinking Langdon Clay’s name sounds familiar, his wife is Maude Schuyler Clay.))

Chat-N Chew, Florence AL

(this is not the sign for the show, but it reminded me of this place in Florence I took a pic of in 2006)

Playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder (who wrote the play ‘Gee’s Bend’) will debut ‘Chat and Chew Supper Club‘ (tickets here) March 1-4 and March 8-11 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Mobile.  After a year of being at home with her baby, she said, “I knew it was time to put away the purple velour track suit I had lived in for the past year and reclaim my life. I enrolled my daughter in daycare part time, bought myself a pair of sassy boots, and started cooking and writing again.

“I still craved adult conversation and a place to wear my sassy boots. That’s when the ‘Chat and Chew Supper Club’ was born. Part essay, part performance, part dinner with friends, ‘Chat and Chew Supper Club’ is a thoughtful and humorous monologue about food (there is chocolate involved), friendship (everyone needs a friend willing to help them hide a body) and the best advice ever given (requires nudity).

“So grab a bottle of wine and join me in the kitchen, where you’ll hear me talk about all the things we hunger for while I cook you supper,” Wilder says. “Then hang out with me and a table full of strangers for conversation and a home-cooked meal.”

A source of her funding is RocketHub (think Kickstarter) — and she’s almost 50% of the way there.

The FLW Heller home in Hyde Park (Chicago) is on the market for $2.5MM.

The 27th Alabama Clay Conference will be in Birmingham from February 16-19.  There will be a trade show, an exhibit, a clay market, and other ceramic exhibits going on in town.

The Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory — who won ‘best key lime pie in Florida’ by Florida Monthly eight consecutive years — has moved (!!) from Key West to Pigeon Forge (!!!).  And to help fit in, they’ve started making candy flavored with Jack Daniels.

Jesmyn Ward from DeLisle, Mississippi, who wrote Salvage the Boneswon the 2011 National Book Award for fiction.  From the NBA site: A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker largely absent, he doesn’t show interest in much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fifteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pit bull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to a dramatic conclusion, the unforgettable family at the novel’s core—motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to face another day.

I was going to tell my friend Joey Brackner, who is executive director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture about the JB Skinner jug (est. $2500-3500) that was featured on an episode of Antiques Roadshow this month, but when I looked it up, I found that he had already been consulted about it; the article is at PBS here.

I don’t even like wallpaper, but this is the best wallpaper everrrr.

Friday’s NYT op-ed by Randy Fertel (Ruth’s son) on Mississippi River Delta erosion, and what needs to happen now to help turn things around — starting with BP penalty money being turned over to Gulf states.  Note, the Times had to rewrite the piece as they originally ran it on Friday as the Mississippi Delta (think Clarksdale, Greenwood, Belzoni, etc) rather than the Mississippi River Delta, which is where Randy is talking about.  I made the link to their corrected piece.

Very nice: Tupelo Honey in Asheville is shipping 30 brown butter pecan pies to our troops in Afghanistan for Valentine’s Day.  Seen their newish cookbook?  And they’re expanding into Knoxville now.

The AP reports on Yiddish being taught at college, including Emory.  yay!  And the NYT reports on ‘A Jewish Museum Shifts Identity‘.

Jimmy Descant's Art, Kentuck Festival of the Arts, Northport AL

(a not-great pic I took of his work at Kentuck a few years ago)

On view through April 8, Jimmy Descant: The Shape of Louisiana Commenting on the Shape of Louisiana at the Ogden.

There is a ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ iPhone case.  And Universal Orlando will start a nightly water show this spring that includes clips from TKaM and other movies, all voiced over by (you guessed this already) Morgan Freeman.

“Let Saigons be Saigons Lemongrass Mint Julep with Lychee” with recipe, from

Lunch at Swett's
(this pic from a lunch we had there a couple of years ago)

Meat and Three Swett’s, in Nashville, is now serving barbecue that they make in a pit ‘fired by hickory wood alone — no gas’. “Gas and wood, it’s not the same flavor,” Swett said, contending that gas can give meat sulfurous taste.” Amen!

Reuters reports from Sundance:
Julie Dash, who directed the television movie “The Rosa Parks Story,” is in final negotiations to direct Angel Entertainment’s feature “Tupelo 77,” Angel’s Bob Crowe said Sunday.

The movie is set in a small town in Mississippi in the summer of 1977. It tells the story of a group of women of various ages and races who are regulars at a roadside diner. The summer of 1977 — the year Elvis Presley died — is the hottest on record in Mississippi.

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