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.

Monmouth Plantation (1818), Natchez MS
1818 Monmouth is in foreclosure and the United Mississippi Bank took it over this week.  The Riches have owned it since 1985.

The AJC reports that pottery patriarch Bull Hewell, whose family had been forming clay since 1850, passed away this month at 85.

Dirk Staschke (wow! look at that work!), who grew up in Huntsville and lives in Vancouver now, will have a solo exhibit, Feeling Feels a Lot Like Flying, at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington: …Desire and consumption are at the heart of this lush and ultra‐realistic installation. Inspired by the bountiful Vanitas still‐life paintings of 16th‐century Northern Europe and the excessive ornamentation of the Baroque period, Staschke seduces the viewer with his voluptuous organic forms while exploring themes of excess and its effects.

A master ceramicist whose work has been shown internationally, Staschke is best know for his banquet style displays of flora, fauna and food. In Falling Feels a Lot Like Flying, an exhibition specifically created for Bellevue Arts Museum, the artist takes his work to a new scale. Comprised of more than ten large pieces, the exhibition captures the beauty and opulence of a moment in time – creamy and syrupy stacks of sweets – yet, decay and collapse is looming right around the corner. “Dirk Staschke’s work reminds us of the consequences of our desires,” says art critic Colette Copeland about the artist’s body of work. “The sculptures resonate beyond the art object, asserting themselves in a dialogue which questions the social/political culture in which we live.“

The exhibit opens March 1 and runs through May 27.

The Oxford American‘s Marc Smirnoff just can’t take it anymore and goes off on Garden & Gun.

Channel 42 in B’ham visits the Cross Garden in Prattville:×2&show_title=0&pf_id=9624&va_id=3308078&auto_next=0&auto_start=0&volume=8

Tom Fitzmorris writes that “Arnaud’s has formed a semi-secret society that has special dinners every month or two” and that the idea of the Speakeasy events is to shine a light on some older recipes.  The latest supper (2/29) included: Frog Legs Provençale, Crawfish Bisque, Pompano en Papillote, and Floating Island.  While Tom tries to be cute and sound as though it’s somewhat secret, it really isn’t — they’ve been doing them since last May, I think — but when making your reservation, Arnaud’s supposedly tells you what the ‘secret knock’ should be when you try to enter. Arnaud’s put the menu for the October Speakeasy supper on their site; it was in honor of Ken Burns’ Prohibition special on PBS, if I remember correctly.

The Washington Times has a piece about Rolling Fork and Mont Helena (it’s the home on a mound there).

King's Tavern (Oldest House in Natchez), Natchez MS
Natchez’ King’s Tavern, the oldest building in Mississippi, which started as an outpost on the Trace, has been run as a restaurant the last 45 years and closed last week.

Also closing this week: Madidi, in Clarksdale — the report was picked up by the AP.  It was owned by Morgan Freeman and Bill Luckett.  The one-and-only time Av and I had supper there, we saw not one, but two roaches (one on the top of the chair next to Av, just looking at him, and the other hanging out on the wall.  Nice.).  Ugggghhhhhh.

The WSJ ran a charming piece about a lovely 91-year-old who wants to bring bridge food back:
Maggy Simony thinks canapés and chicken à la king are ready for a comeback.  So for that matter are tea sandwiches, Waldorf salad, lobster Newburg on toast points, and, for dessert, some nice cream puffs—all homemade, of course, and in sufficient quantities to serve several friends over a leisurely game of bridge.

These dishes—and the idea of consuming them over a genteel card game—spring from another, largely vanished era.

Ms. Simony, on the cusp of turning 92, has become the self-appointed curator of the cuisine and customs surrounding the ladies’ bridge lunch, a ritual popular throughout the early and mid-20th century, when bridge was all the rage and President Dwight Eisenhower played at the White House…

The Grammys…there’s a Grammy Museum in Los Angeles — and the first satellite Grammy museum may be in…Cleveland, Mississippi. The Cleveland Music Foundation, a non-profit created to raise funds for the project, has already secured $3.5 million. It hopes to raise an additional $3.5 to $5.5 million more from Bolivar County and private donors.   …The project remains in its preliminary stages. No architecture firm has been hired, and agreements with the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles have not yet been put into writing. Still, Hammons says the project is moving quickly and hopes it will be completed in 2014.

The promo for Druid City Arts Festival from Bama’s Creative Campus later this month (warning: the music is pretty loud from the beginning):

Druid City Arts Fest 2012 from UA Creative Campus on Vimeo.

The AP reports that FLW’s Taliesen West will have various eco improvements including 4000 solar panels (but they’ll be installed away from the main structure, not on the roof).

The National Civil rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis is looking to mint its own sponsored Tennessee car tag; they need 1000 reservations at $35/ea before June 30 of this year for the state to issue the plates.

Today begins the With Signs Following, Works by Kate Fowler and Mark Strandquist show at Gallery5 in Richmond.  It is “a documentary film and multi-media installation” whose “work chronicles one of the last remaining serpent handling churches in West, Virginia and its gradual decline.”

With Signs Following illustrates a deeply spiritual community, struggling to maintain an isolated
congregation in the technological era. Through video portraiture, sound design, and time-based elements, the artists capture a fading belief system, and the lives of its practitioners.

This installation will precede the premier of the completed documentary film, “With Signs Following.” The screening will be included as a part of the James River Film Festival.

signs and following trailer from Mark Aloysious Strandquist on Vimeo.

Ernest Hemingway’s boyhood home in Oak Park, Illinois is on the market for $525k.

The Catholic Standard has an article about stained glass windows from Bucks County PA being installed in a church in Greenwood.  The priest says, ““Greenwood is the poorest county in the poorest state in the United States,” said Father Plata, who has also served in Chicago and Milwaukee. His statement is proven by U.S. Census figures which show that 36.5 percent of all Greenwood residents live below the poverty line, compared to just five percent in Bucks County.” but actually, according to the census…the poorest county in Mississippi is Holmes County (think Lexington and Tchula), where 43.4% of people there live under the poverty level.  They’re not the kind of stats that are fun to think about.  Anyway, it’s terrifically nice that these windows came to Greenville.  Pic here.

Doug MacCash of the T-P loves the Thornton Dial exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art.  The best paragraph of his review is the one that’s the most obvious and needs to be made more obvious: I won’t be the first to point out that Dial presents some problems in art-world categorization. Because of his background, Dial is described as a folk or outsider artist. But, if you didn’t know his personal history, Dial’s brand of found-object expressionism would seem to drop directly into the 20th-century art-historical mainstream. When the exhibit first opened in Indianapolis in February 2011, Time Magazine critic Richard Lacayo argued that Dial’s style relates to textbook found-object sculptors from Pablo Picasso to Robert Rauschenberg.  There’s an interesting element that puts Dial in the folk/outsider movement rather than the circle that encompassed Rauschenberg and others.

Ever had a disagreement with someone as to who the hero of To Kill A Mockingbird was?  Enter Book Club Fight Club.

…and tickets to see the community production of TKAM in Monroeville went on sale yesterday.

Do you know the three sisters of the garden?  It’s an old legend, but true in that all three crops help each other thrive: corn, beans, and squash.  Rural Studio Farm went to Amos Kennedy Jr.’s studio and made some posters about it; pics here.  More pics here.

Eddie Vanison’s latest Mardi Gras Indian suit.

The LA Times writes this week, Salvation Mountain is Missing its Guiding Spirit.

Tennessee’s William Gay passed away February 23rd and the Washington Post ran an article; in it they have an excerpt of his writing, “The way the earth looked and smelled rolling off the gleaming point of a turning plow, the smell of the mule and the feel of the sweat-hardened harness and the way the thunderheads rolled up in the summer and lay over the hills like malignant tumors and thunder booming along the timberline and clouds unfolding in a fierce and violent coupling and seeding in the furrows a curious gift of ice that lay gleaming in the black loam like pearls.”

The WP writes about him, “He chose construction work to pay the bills, explaining that it was work that allowed him time to think about stories. He kept his ambitions to himself.

“You don’t come out on Monday morning and then tell these guys you’re working with about this sonnet you wrote over the weekend,” Mr. Gay once said.

One day, he was inspired while painting a closet. Standing on a bench and holding a brush in his hand, the words to a new story came to him.

“It was a guy talking to an undertaker,” he told the Nashville Tennessean in 2001. “His wife had died and the undertaker was discussing funeral arrangements, and the undertaker says, ‘Of course, there’s an option we ­haven’t considered. We could always animate her.’ And the guy says, ‘Animate her?’ And the undertaker says, ‘The motor functions would be somewhat impaired, but it would be vastly superior to the grave.’ ”

Thanks to my friend Julia for this link at NPR: ‘Rasputin was my Neighbor’ and other True Tales of Time Travel — one example: 1. Lincoln Assassination Eyewitness Goes On TV In 1956
In 1956, on the game show I’ve Got A Secret, host Garry Moore brought on 96-year-old Samuel Seymour. Here’s his secret: He was sitting in Ford’s theater the night Lincoln was shot. He was 5 years old and remembered John Wilkes Booth bounding from Lincoln’s box onto the stage. Here he is on television, describing what he saw:

This week, I read She by Kathryn Tucker Windham, which was published late last year, posthumously.  A lovely little book.  What I’ll be reading next was given an incredible review in the NYT, Girlchild, and it’s sure to not be lovely in the same way.  Since graduating college, I’ve read very little fiction, but this is going to be a great exception.  And from another part of the universe, Julian Fellowes discusses season two of Downton Abbey (love, love) in the NYT and says he wants to catch up on Mad Men (also love — and the new season starts March 25).

March 4 is the last day to see the frescos of the Byzantine Fresco Chapel in Houston; it’s a very interesting story — they’re going back to Cyprus after a 20-year stint here in the US. In 1987, the Menil Foundation and the Church of Cyprus reached an agreement. De Menil, the parties agreed, did not own the frescoes, but had acquired them and restored them on behalf of the Church of Cyprus. By then, the de Menils and their backers had spent $1.75 million to save the frescoes. In exchange, the church agreed, it would allow them to reside for 20 years in Houston, where the Menil Foundation would show them in a chapel consecrated as an Eastern Orthodox church. That 20-year clock began ticking on Jan. 1, 1992. Go here for the article and to see the pics.

Later this year: Louisiana rum.

Golden Moon Casino, Choctaw MS

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians just got a new $78MM loan for debt restructuring. Their latest promotion? “Pearl River Resort, it’s like Vegas with sweet tea.” Ohhhhhh.

The Saint Hotel on Canal (the Audubon building) in New Orleans is the new ‘Autograph Collection‘ in Marriott’s line of upscale boutique hotels.  Best of all: the Sweet Olive restaurant there (Chef William Stoltzfus who was at Coquette) has a collection of William Hemmerling artworks, which if you know his art is entirely appropriate — and maybe/probably that’s why the restaurant is named that in the first place?

There’s a nice article at Architectural Record about design-build programs like Auburn’s Rural Studio, and UVA’s Initiative reCOVER and its work in Haiti.  Humanitarian design isn’t just a fad,” Fisher says. “Students recognize that as a profession, we’ve largely relied on fee structures that allow us to do work for wealthy clients, while most of the world’s population doesn’t benefit from our services. There’s a growing sense that at some level we have to take responsibility for the shelter needs of all seven billion people on this planet.”

The Daily Tar Heel has an account of a deep-South roadtrip; the most disturbing part?  Second sentence, fourth paragraph: At UNC, introductions are often followed by a familiar disclaimer: “I’m from the South, but I’m not Southern.” Really, UNC?  That’s how people follow up their hellos in Chapel Hill?  There are plenty of people whose profession it is to listen and help those who are afflicted with it out of their own self-hate. Find one you like talking to about that.

The Atlantic has a nice slideshow of WPA posters.

Felder Rushing is this year’s Grand Marshal of the Mal’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jackson (the 5th largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the nation) and he’s going to be in his truck — the one that’s planted, and has the bottle trees my friend Stephanie Dwyer made. I’ve heard he’s going to try to have a big surprise for the parade too.

Jerry Brown Demonstrating Pottery at Jerry Brown Arts Festival, Hamilton AL

The Jerry Brown Arts Festival is this weekend in Hamilton, Alabama.

This is what Yelp was made for: we were looking for somewhere different to eat in Chattanooga and came upon the reviews for Lamar’s.  Black flocked wallpaper + silver lame + jukebox of 45s + fried chicken…yesssss.

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