This Week’s Various

A short ‘various’ this week…

The first menu at Husk Nashville includes crispy bbq pig ear, grilled and marinated Alabama squid, chicken wings with comeback sauce, pokeweed fritters with pimento cheese, killed lettuce, and Mennonite asparagus.

Atlanta is getting a giant ferris wheel.

From Ball:
“2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the first series of jars designed by the Ball brothers, each jar intended to be better than the one before. 1913 saw the launch of the first true “Perfect Mason” jar. These limited edition blue Ball jars are a celebration of the heritage featuring period-correct blue color and embossed logos on the front and back. These vintage-inspired blue jars maintain all of our modern standards for quality and reliability. Perfect for all of your home canning needs… or as a collectible item!”
…and I found them, at Target:

A man from Birmingham is getting love — from GoodFood (huge) no less — for opening a restaurant called SoulFood Kitchen in Australia:
Mac and cheese is cool. Buffalo wings? Tres chic. Barbecued ribs? Oh please. American food is so on-trend right now and every trendy pub and bar in Canberra knows it. Whether it’s Ox in the slick East Hotel in Kingston, or Elk and Pea in hipster Braddon, we all love pulled pork and ribs these days.

But if anyone has a claim to be king of the capital’s sudden southern food scene, it’s Victor Kimble. The Alabama native with a colourful past and a love of soul food is known for his cooking demonstrations at the markets in Belconnen and Fyshwick and an online empire of spices and seasonings. Now he’s opened a restaurant – and not a moment too soon.

The LA Review of Books interviews James Franco on ‘As I Lay Dying’ as a movie:
MB: One of the critiques often made of “As I Lay Dying“ is that the writing is too “literary” and doesn’t accurately reflect the vernacular of Mississippi or the South. Did Faulkner’s use of language and style create any particular challenges for you?

JF: No, like I said above, we turned the literary writing into spiritual moments. The story can be read on two levels: a Southern family’s petty struggles, and an epic about the universal struggles of being human.

MB: Did you make any special consideration of the novel’s Southernness in your film? Did you worry that your characters might accidentally come out looking like hillbilly stereotypes? Since you filmed so close to Faulkner’s home in northern Mississippi, how important is Mississippi to the film thematically?

JF: Yes, our production design and our characters all feel Southern. We also cast many of the roles in Mississippi, including the boy who played Vardaman, which added a lot of Mississippi authenticity to the film. I wasn’t worried about stereotypes; all the actors were so good and so smart they easily avoided falling into stereotypes.

MB: A lot of documentary films and photographs were made about the South during the Great Depression, when the story takes place. Did you have any of these in mind when you were thinking about the visual aesthetics of your own film?

JF: I suppose. My costume designer and production designer pulled many references.

MB: How did you handle the novel’s meditations on the insufficiencies of language and the arbitrary nature of words, what Addie calls “shape[s] to fill a lack”?

JF: We used that whole monologue in the film. So, Faulkner’s language speaks for itself.

Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington bestowed honorary degrees on Michael Kimmelman (sr critic, NYT) and William Christenberry who is professor emeritus there. Of Christenberry, the associate provost remarked:
You were called to Washington in 1968 to teach at the Corcoran as a promising young painter from Alabama, the place whose characteristic red dirt still grounds your heart and colors your soul. Already under the influence of Walker Evans, the photographer of Depression-era tenant farmers in Hale County, Alabama, you found yourself returning again and again to that essential heartland, making your own photographs of what for you was the fertile source of your creativity.

In incomparable paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and your own collection of signs of the South, you have created a world that not only reinvigorates and sustains your personal life experience but also opens to all of us a window through which past and present interpenetrate. From satin Klan dolls to graphite gourd trees, from time-lapse color photographs of the demise of Coleman’s Café to a scaled-down sculpture of a timeless country church in Sprott, you find the means to remind us that memory lives in the imagination, and imagination in memory…

Albany, Georgia is working on a museum dedicated to their native daughter, Paula Deen. The house she grew up in has been acquired, and Paula still has the original furnishings in storage.  For whatever reason, she mentions:
“I still have mama’s living room set and daddy’s — they had separate rooms later on because daddy had to sleep with a night light on and mama couldn’t.”

Helena, Arkansas
A story on Thrive in Helena, Arkansas at the HuffPo.
Thrive’s Helena Entrepreneur Center (HEC) was their first major development project, which began after receiving a seed-funding grant from the Walton Family Foundation by way of the Delta Bridge Project (a community development initiative that created a 10 year county-wide strategic plan). Through the HEC, Thrive has worked aggressively to launch new businesses in Helena, and the results have been remarkable. To date, nearly 50 community members have attended an eight-week class to gain an understanding on feasibility, of which 10 have moved on to the process of starting their business.

Strategic partnerships at home and across the country are at the heart of Thrive’s work. Its newest partnership as a Trustee for Kiva allows Thrive to expand its offerings to HEC participants, and makes Helena an environment that is friendly to entrepreneurs and innovators. Its potential impact on the Delta can’t be overstated.

Reading this week:
Groundwaters: A Century of Art by Self-Taught And Outsider Artists by Charles Russell
Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar
Down on Parchman Farm: The Great Prison in the Mississippi Delta by William Banks Taylor

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