This Week’s Various

Memphis in May.

Ouch.  The NYT does a piece (with slideshow) to determine if your home is over-propped.
Guilty as charged: vintage typewriter (tho mine has Hebrew keys), monogrammed towels (um, I’m Southern, we monogram everything), taxidermy (we once bought a jackalope for Av’s office, and Shugie has three of the Savannah Story busts from Anthro), LeCreuset pots (are you kidding, I have tons), bar cart (inherited), fresh flowers (we have Shabbat once a week, it’s tradition).

Someone at the P-R in Mobile puts together a piece from past editions of the paper, and this week they ran this from 1862:

“How would you like a mint julep this warm day? In lieu of the fragrant concoction itself, we can only present you with a souvenir of the departed luxury:
“There is a compound, a sort of beverage, on top of which we dimly remember to have seen strawberries floating their pleasant fragrance, mixing sweetly with the more pungent aroma of a vegetable production somewhat of the color of grass; the whole blended and amalgamated into a perfect bouquet by the flavor of a liquid said to have been imported from France, where it is put up by sundry eminent chemists, among others by that celebrated savant, Mr. Otard, as Bordeaux. The compound had a pleasant gurgling sound, produced by small and transparent lumps of ice, causing a delightful coolness, blandified by a saccharine infusion. Drawn into the mouth by moderate suction applied to a straw, one end of which should be firmly but gently held between the lips, while the other is inserted into the glass vessel known as a tumbler, in which the ingredients are usually mixed, we have known people to swallow a considerable quantity without any very marked expressions of repugnance.”

The Southern Independent Book Awards Finalists have been announced.

This from Black Book Mag on Asian influences in Atlanta’s Southern food:
For example, at South City Kitchen, chef Chip Ulbrich makes a spicy collard green kimchee that he pairs with smoked pork belly, and at the festival he combined this dish with spicy pan-fried chicken livers with sesame. At Empire State South chef Hugh Acheson serves his striped bass in a dashi broth, adds kimchee to the rice grits, braises octopus in a fennel broth, and gives the smoked duck a leek and blood orange marmalade.

Treasures from the Rubble, a new documentary about the Fayette Art Museum.

The NYT writes about Wal-Mart possibly building next to a family’s historic cemetery in Florence, Alabama — but the issue isn’t so much the cemetery they know about — it’s where the 80-or-so slaves on the plantation were buried that’s the question:
Dianne O’Neal still lives on the rustic cattle farm that her husband’s family has owned since his great-great-great-grandfather purchased the land in the 1830s. She still stays in a log cabin built from chestnut trees that his ancestors chopped by hand.

But one aspect of the family’s long history here in northern Alabama is not so well preserved: Coffee Cemetery, an overgrown one-acre graveyard where the ancestors of her husband, Edward O’Neal, and their slaves are buried.

That has become a pressing matter in Florence because Walmart plans to build a store right next to the graveyard. The O’Neals’ biggest concern is that nobody knows exactly where their ancestors’ 80 slaves are buried.

While the white members of the Coffee family lie in graves with limestone markers, historians say, their slaves are most likely buried without headstones. And it was a common Southern tradition to bury house slaves in one place and field slaves in another, or sometimes to let slaves choose a burial site for their own family members.

That has left little evidence. “The only absolutely certain way to know who was there is to dig,” said Ms. O’Neal, 65, a retired art conservator who has led the family’s opposition to the development. “And that’s something we obviously think should be avoided.”

Friends of the Cabildo this weekend: tour of some of those great French Quarter courtyards.

Roberta Smith approves of the new Barnes in Philadelphia.

Coal Miner’s Daughter is going to be on Broadway, and guess who is going to play Loretta.

NYT ponders: Why did Arthur Miller not give Willy Loman a surname like Schleifer?

Read this in the NYT Magazine — Blues Travelers, fife and drum, in north Mississippi:
“You Yankees,” says my fellow concertgoer Matthew Tamke, wrapping his powerful arms around my head as though it were a football that he was about to rush into the end zone. “We’re not the Mississippi you think we are.” Tamke and I are at the annual Otha Turner Family Picnic, a legendary jam session that takes place every summer behind a tumbledown sharecropper’s shack deep in Mississippi’s hill country. The interracial crowd is a few hundred strong and drawn from nearly every stratum of local life — bikers, college kids, workingmen, toughs, gentlemen farmers. And then there are a couple dozen like me: urban cosmopolites eager to hear the deepest roots of the blues. Tamke calls himself “a redneck,” and he’s attacked me because I’m from The New York Times. Shouting into my ear over the music, Tamke makes me his megaphone for what he wants the outside world to know: “Our races have melded together, we share everything,” he says, voice trembling. “We love each other.” He’s squeezing my skull so hard it feels like it might pop, and it’s clear that he’s under the influence of something very powerful. The moonshine or the music, I don’t know. Finally, when it seems something is about to crack — my neck, or Tamke’s tenuous hold on sanity, or both — he lets me go. “It’s sacred,” he says, choking up. “It’s ancient, man.”

Hugh Acheson on Southern food and while he’s done probably a hundred interviews in the last hundred days, this is one of the more succinct and better ones.

The Red Clay Survey: 2012 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art at the Huntsville Museum of Art, May 20 through September 16, 2012.

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