This Week’s Various

As always, unless otherwise noted, all pics here copyright Deep Fried Kudzu. Ask me before using in any fashion. Thank you.

The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta is doing a beautiful, folk-art take on the Wizard of Oz (2/25 – 3/11): …will feature a folk art concept in details large and small — from a Toto made of spools to flying sock monkeys and a found-object Tin Man.

“We spent a lovely afternoon going through the High Museum. I did discover the Emerald City in this tiny wind chime,” said Set designer Kat Conley, referencing the museum’s folk art collection. “The whole story is about coming home and finding joy where you are. It’s very much an American story and this is a very American style.”

…Costume designer Sydney Roberts said the department looked to (Howard) Finster’s representations of angels to create original fabric for the costumes of Dorothy and the Wizard.

Variety ran a lukewarm piece about the movie, Jayne Mansfield’s Car, written by Billy Bob Thornton and set in 1969 Alabama: “In line with some of Thornton’s earlier films…steeped in the language and atmosphere of the rural South; its characters’ tendency to speak in soulful anecdotes and monologues reps an unabashed throwback to a mostly bygone literary and cinematic tradition.”

Rocky and Carlo’s in Chalmette had a fire this week but they plan to reopen in mid-April; the Shed in Ocean Springs had a fire this week too but they’re already reopened.

There’s a place called Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ at the Excalibur in Las Vegas.  You knew there was going to be a drink called the ‘Sweet Home Alabama Slammer’ (Southern Comfort, Plymouth Sloe Gin and orange juice) but some of these others (Jack Daniel’s and pickle brine, together?)…

20K Homes, Greensboro AL

Auburn’s Rural Studio has 20k home news: In June of this year, Rural Studio hired Marion McElroy, a 2002 Rural Studio alumna, as the $20K House Product Manager.  …She is beginning to formulate an initial plan to move from $20K Project to $20K Product.  While continuing to research the target clients and how to deliver the product to them, Marion is taking steps to move the projects out of the research area. This includes activities such as conducting complete architectural reviews, including code review and FHA compliance; discussions of the need, placement and method of completing model homes, or show homes, for potential clients, and a branding and marketing plan.

From the Smithsonian food blog this week: at a cookbook conference in NY, “one panel of historians and scholars extolled the value of texts traditionally relegated to the basements and attics: community cookbooks.

…includes an 1878 book from Mobile, Alabama entitled Gulf City Cook Book Compiled by The Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South. As Alison Kelly, the reference librarian who curated the collection, said, “if you thought community cookbooks were just chicken croquettes, this book will change your mind.”

Compared to today’s cooking, some of the book’s recipes—turtle soup or terrapin stew, for example—reflect a changing Southern ecology. The recipes also serve as a document of a profound cultural shift: the decline of hunting, wild game, chitlins, and pig’s feet. Perhaps this is best exemplified by the utterly mundane treatment of squirrel. 

…Recently, Heather Smith issued a call for the resquirrelification of the American diet—an effort to transform the garden-variety rodent into a “drive-through cheeseburger of the forest.” While that may seem somehow exceptional now, the Alabama community cookbook is a reminder that, at least in 1878, there was hardly anything extraordinary about stewing up a squirrel.”

Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens, Summerville GA
Howard Finster’s daughter is displeased with his depiction in a play at UGA.  And the Chattanooga paper writes about plans for Paradise Gardens now that it is owned by the county.

Eating Alabama, a documentary about a couple who took on a project eating exclusively food grown/raised in the state, will premiere at SXSW.

Ruby C. Williams at Kentuck
Ruby C. Williams was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from her hometown’s Plant City Black Heritage Celebration. Ruby’s Produce Stand and Art Gallery sits on her portion of the land handed down by her grandfather and, after her mother’s death, parceled out to Williams and her six siblings. She grows black-eyed peas, strawberries, onions, turnips and other crops.

Brightly colored paintings share the roadside stand with turnips, collard greens and other offerings. Next to a hand-painted sign that reads “Ruby is in the field, call me, please” are her latest creations, some priced at $750 or more.

Yay, sweet Ruby!

The Charlotte in 2012 DNC host committee has put out a RFP now that they are “looking to work with a Barbeque sauce vendor as part of the merchandising effort for the Convention. We are looking for a set of three different types of BBQ sauces, mustard, vinegar, and tomato that represent the different styles from around the Carolinas. They would be sold in our merchandise store.”

Thornton Dial
Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial‘ opens at the New Orleans Museum of Art on February 24 and runs thru May 20.

Just guess where the National Blues Museum is going to be.
St. Louis.

On March 8, the contents of the now-closed Mardi Gras Museum in Kenner will go up for auction.

The Army Corps of Engineers and local historians are reaching out to descendants of 300+ slaves who are buried in two cemeteries west of New Orleans that only a handful of people know exists, even though they’re on the National Register.  And there may be 5800 unmarked graves in the oldest black cemetery — Lincoln — in Montgomery.

Bean Pie
CNN’s eatocracy ran a piece this week about Bean Pie, and wow did they ever get comments.

The T-P’s king cake winner is the pecan praline king cake at Manny Randazzo’s!

Crystal Bridges’ $30MM deal + Tennessee’s Fisk University’s Stieglitz collection = lawsuit, thanks to a no-sale stipulation by the donor

February 22-26: 24th International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis.

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