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Above: the Folk Art Church in 2009
The Paradise Garden Foundation has announced a $900k capital campaign to help restore Finster’s World’s Folk Art Church.
The Kellogg Foundation has pledged $2.3MM to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Above: the extra-hot from Prince’s in Nashville. Av survived (and loved it).
Carla Hall is doing a Kickstarter campaign to open a Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant in NYC.
Not Wonka brand, but Olive and Sinclair from Nashville.
Have you seen the cover for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that Penguin did for the English market? Did anyone else look at this and think (like me): good grief, it’s as though Morton Bartlett did a creepy scene for a novel? Also: there was a lost chapter — well, not so much lost as purposefully left out — of CatCF and the Guardian ran it.
BTW, Roald Dahl (of all things, this was at Smithsonian this week — the other stories in that piece are so interesting) was reportedly buried with chocolate, ‘a bottle of Burgundy, snooker cues, pencils, and a power saw.’
More importantly, Roald Dahl = big hater.
Above: First Presbyterian in Rodney, MS
Chronicling Mississippi’s ‘Church Mothers’ in the NYT.
Johnny Sanchez, the John Besh/Aaron Sanchez restaurant, is now open in New Orleans and I pretty much want to order every single thing on that menu.
And yes to this mural, from their Instagram feed:
Above: Family Reunion Soul Food Family Restaurant (now closed) in Birmingham
A North Carolina family that hasn’t skipped a family reunion in 100 years.
The News and Observer chronicled the 40th anniversary in 1954, noting that 150-plus relatives dined on “countless plates of potato salad, chicken salad, deviled eggs, pimento cheese salads, boiled meats, spiced meats, pickles, relishes of all sorts, hot biscuits and ‘hush puppies.’”
“The desserts pose a problem for the diet-conscious generation,” the N and O correspondent noted at the time, “and the choice is so broad that even the heavy eaters cannot sample them all. There’s angel food, devil’s food, chocolate layer, fresh cocoanut, lemon chiffon, caramel, pecan fluff layer cake, honey whip layer cake, butter scotch pie, apple pie, pecan pie, lemon meringue pie and many, many others.”
Above: the scene Thanksgiving mornings at our home before we make our delivery to a church that feeds its neighbors
The Charleston City Paper on Heather Richie and her Pieways:
And yet here she is, the founder of Pieways, a project that unites oral history and pie made with locally sourced ingredients. Just like in a CSA, people can sign up for Richie’s Community Supported Pie and receive one pie per season, with each season costing $24 a pie.
KSMU interviews MSU professor Bruce West on his book on Margaret’s Grocery, The True Gospel Preached Here.
The works selected for the 2014 Red Clay Survey at the Huntsville Museum of Art.
From the C-L: HUD is telling the city of Jackson to return the $1.5MM given to develop the Farish Street Entertainment District which has failed to materialize.
Above: hot grits we got at the Hot Chicken Festival in Nashville
The foods we’re all tweeting about, as researched at the University of Arizona. AL, GA, SC, NC, FL, LA = grits, TX = brisket, MS = tangerine (not satsuma, which seems more likely).
Someone that went to the friends and family soft opening for The Luminary (Eli Kirshtein’s new restaurant in Atlanta) gave it a one-star review. Even Eli mentioned it on FB. You know, I have occasionally had to have someone take me by the hand and explain things (like when we first got married and went to a gala fundraiser, I asked Av why anyone would pay more than face value for a gift certificate, and he had to tenderly explain that “we are at a *fundraiser* gala so *that’s the idea*. ooooooooh.). Someone do the favor of telling this guy to take it easy on people who have been entrusted with a little gentleness, and who is on the receiving end of an incredible amount of generosity.
Seeing the picture of the neon sign at The Luminary reminded me of this:
I grew up in a town with a Mexican restaurant (Mexican here only meaning they served meats wrapped in various stages of corn- and flour- tortilla undress with copious amounts of cheese and red enchilada sauce, not that it was in any way authentic Mexican food) that had a mural of a Bible on one wall, outlined in neon.
It was the first time I’d ever seen a Bible outlined in neon. It was a strange fascination.
Later, I was a waitress there for one evening and one evening only, during my junior year of high school. The waitress ‘training’ me was much older and had made this her career, and I could tell was terribly irritated by the prospect of showing the ropes to someone my age/maturity level. She was right to have had terrible thoughts, because the only thought I had I was continuous-mode mind-beaming to the Almighty: “please please please don’t let anyone I know come in tonight and see me” rather than appropriate concerns about, you know, refills of cokes and chips and salsa.
Standard uniform was one of these, pulled up just enough on the shoulders to be sad and frumpy. And cheap. I was humiliated but had imagined — before pulling it on over my head — how much more money I could make as a real waitress than at a McDonald’s or Burger King register. I was wrong and came to that realization in a matter of just a few hours. It came into focus when I saw the paltry amounts my seasoned trainer was making on her own, and was fully crystallized when she told me in a mean way that I was going to clean the restaurant that night off the clock. Even at 16 I knew this ran contrary to some law, somewhere. I’m 16. A free agent. Looking for the right place to claim my minimum wage whilst avoiding an atmosphere in which I’d actually be working for free.
Oddly enough, I did later work at McDonald’s for a month (making me one of those 1 in 8 Americans who has worked at McD’s at some point) but quit in protest when they shockingly (ooooh the injustice of it all) scheduled me on my 17th birthday. And rather than migrate to Burger King, I slid over to Kentucky Fried Chicken. And guess what? I worked there almost two years, even into college, and *never* saw anyone I knew. My friends were all too cool for KFC, I guess. My saving grace, to work somewhere so uncool I’d never be seen. It all worked out.
I had other during-college jobs, but here’s maybe one of the smartest job-related things I ever did: my junior year of college, I went to my university’s career office and begged them to get me a job, any job, that had any semblance of what I was majoring in. I had tears in my eyes when I told them I was so afraid that I would graduate and be one of those people who sent resumes to three hundred places who, if they even bothered to answer, would reply that it was great I had an education but too bad I had no real experience. The career office got me one of the lowest-ranking positions in a department I desperately wanted to be in (purchasing) the next town over, and I worked my way up from file clerk to expediter to associate buyer by the time I walked with my cap and gown. I was able to take that experience to my next job where I was promoted another level, and so on and so forth. Kisses to you, college career offices everywhere!
Above: the scene in Bayou la Batre
The nonprofit ocean conservation and advocacy organization, Oceana, had DNA analysis done of shrimp labeled as being from the Gulf, and determined that about 1/3 of it was likely from Asia.
Let’s do this: Big History Project.
Also: I’m taking The American South: Its Stories, Music, and Art by Dr. Bill Ferris of UNC.
(and forget those out-of-state fees, in Germany you can now go to college free, no matter where you’re from)
See you on Monday?
Sam Ezell told me at Kentuck that our beautiful gift, Bernice Sims, was in the hospital and not expected to live much longer; she unfortunately passed away October 23. From her obituary:
She was actively involved in Alabama politics including the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, coordinating the activities of the NAACP in Brewton in secret because the organization at the time was outlawed by the state.
She participated in the beginning of the voting rights marches. She recalled being turned away from the polls because she was black, being given ridiculously long and difficult forms to fill out before she could vote, and being forced to pay a poll tax. She was one of the first to enroll her children in the formerly all-white public schools in her community. She witnessed the violence and heartbreak as well as the triumph that those turbulent times engendered. Once during the civil rights struggle, she was chased by a pickup truck filled with hooded Ku Klux Klansmen. She told of guarding her home with a rifle while a cross burned in her yard.
She took part in the famous Selma-Montgomery March and witnessed the “Bloody Sunday” events on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, an experience she later depicted in dozens of paintings. Little did she realize that her rich life experiences were being stored, just waiting for a suitable means of expression.
At age 52, when her last child had left the nest and after kneecap replacement surgery limited her mobility, she retired from her job in nursing. She earned her GED and by 1984, began taking courses at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton. She gives credit to one of her instructors, Larry Manning, for renewing her interest in art. He took his art history-class on a field trip to the Montgomery Museum of Art, she heard about Mose Tolliver, who lived and worked nearby.
She subsequently visited Tolliver at his home in Montgomery, saw his work and the acclaim he received from it, and decided to pursue her postponed artistic dream that began in those childhood afternoons when she lived near two spinster sisters, one of whom was a painter and introduced her to art. She fondly remembers many afternoons watching her paint, and this piqued her interest in also becoming a painter.
Manning encouraged her to pursue her career as an artist. She specialized in memory painting, rendering scenes from her youth. Colorful scenes of farm life, church activities, church and community gatherings, daily and family life and the civil rights struggles she participated in. She often portrayed playgrounds and scenes of children in her work.
Whenever she was interviewed, she always said, “I’m trying to tell a story in my work. I also try to have a little history for these youngsters coming along. You don’t find it in a schoolbook or classroom. I want them to know things weren’t like they are today. I want them to learn about the struggle people my age had to go through.”
The Post and Courier does a story on the Kool-Aid pie which they say is ‘surging in the south’ (??).
and (this is clearly unrelated) undercover agents made purchases of moonshine at a flea market in north-central Alabama that was being sold as “fuel additive or air freshener”. A still was found at the seller’s residence in Cullman County.
No matter what, let’s do this: Camp No Counselors, a camp for grown-ups. Color wars! Talent show!
The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore has on exhibit ‘The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster’.
Ben Sollee and his group played live for Billy Reid‘s Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Week show:
And speaking of Spring/Summer 2015 in men’s clothing, there’s this.
Keith Sadler’s home in Chicago is art-fabulous.
Gawker: The Southern Belle is a ‘Racist Fiction’
There are worlds of things for us to all rethink and reconsider, and there are worlds of words and symbols which started out as one thing and today mean something else. ‘Belle’ today conjures a mindset that equates to remembering one’s manners and extending one’s hospitality — and has zero to do with hoop skirts and lace parasols. It’s obviously something else to that writer.
If we’re going to mention belles, I have to show my gorgeous great-grandmother born in 1895, named Belle. I have a million stories about her. She was fabulous.
In the piece about belles, Gawker links to one of their previous pieces about a celebrity having a wedding in South Carolina, which goes like this (I’m removing the word that would make any of us blush here, but you get the tone):
The two were wed atop a pile of old slave bones at “America’s Most Photographed Plantation” Boone Hall, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The Notebook was filmed there. Lively and her bridesmaids wore shoes custom designed by Blake’s longtime friend Christian Louboutin. Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine provided music. So did Bette Middler. Martha ******* Stewart “did” the décor and the editorial director for Martha Stewart Weddings described the affair as “a truly enchanting celebration.” G-d was going to put a rainbow in the sky for the event, but thought it would look cheap next to the majesty of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ wedding, so he just added an extra year to the lives of all the attendees, plus six bonus months for the happy couple.
Hyperallergic is giving people the opportunity to have their Instagrams faked by Mark Landis.
At Vox: Teach for America has faced criticism for years. Now it’s listening — and changing.
Medium on Paula Deen: The Leftovers.
Prada Marfa is now becoming a museum.
I was viewing Jeremy Paxman speaking about Rembrandt and the exhibit of ‘Late Works’ that began at the National Gallery earlier this month:
…thinking about Rembrandt’s use of light, thinking about how he portrayed light, and for whatever reason it got me to thinking about someone who called himself the ‘painter of light’ — I know, weird for these two to be in the same sentence, really — Thomas Kinkade (I’m not a fan and don’t have a need to pile on here, but you know…stream of consciousness and all…). Wondering what the TK estate is up to now that he’s been deceased a couple of years, there was this article from the Daily Beast this summer, which led me to this little nugget in the Susan Orlean piece for ‘The New Yorker’ in 2001:
“ten million people own some product featuring his name, and most editions are signed with ink containing DNA from his hair or blood, to prevent fakes…”
*and* there was a subdivision built in California, inspired by the cottages and ‘feel’ that Kinkade portrayed (he helped with marketing and lent his name, though he didn’t design the actual homes). If you’re wondering what that (Salon called them ticky-tacky) looks like, click around ‘Rose Arbor Way’ and ‘Summer Gate Ave’ and environs.
Oh, and there’s actually a paint-by-number Kinkade. But if you’re going PBN, do it big and retro, which is the only real way, like this, which comes off as clever and charming.
P.S. Where Rembrandt lived (you know…today, a museum to his work).
P.P.S. The National Gallery does a very fine monthly podcast.
What else should be the first sentence of an article about a Waffle House wedding?
On Friday, the hash browns at a local Waffle House were smothered and covered with love.
Buckles said everyone seemed confused about what to wear when the couple first announced their nuptials.
“I was like, ‘Y’all, it’s Waffle House,’ ” she said.
One of the weirdest things I heard this week was in a clip from the National Journal from a piece called ‘Do The Most Hipster Thing Possible — Move to Des Moines’ which included this statement:
“Quality of life is a funny thing, because as far as I know, nobody hates where they live, or else they wouldn’t live there, right?“
NYTMagazine on the Must-See Projects at Prospect 3 New Orleans
Above: the wood pile at Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur, Alabama
In Denver, they’re on the search for Alabama white sauce (what some of us call ‘chicken sauce’) that originated at Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur. The writer refers to it as ‘the rare unicorn of sauces‘ and finds it not at a barbecue restaurant but rather ‘Manneken Frites, an Arvada purveyor of Belgian frites, beers and other Flemish street food.’
And Munchies / Vice gives us this about Alabama barbecue (they’re doing white chicken sauce!) in Germany:
And the newest of the bunch, Pignut BBQ, was inspired by a more traditional Southern style. Owner Chris O’Connor, an opera singer, was working in Alabama when he developed a taste for classic ‘cue.
* Ever wondered what manufactured/modular homes in Arizona might look like (me neither, really, but I randomly ran across this)?
* Ah, NPR says I’m not alone in hating voicemail!
* If you need a good cry (no matter which side you are on this): Diane Rehm’s show on terminally ill people and their rights to choose when to die.
* For those of us who grew up with Frito chili pie, Papa John’s has tried to make it into a limited-time pizza. Pass.
* Three words not expected to go together until now: General Tao Poutine.
* Cook’s Illustrated thinks that if we’re searing our steaks first, we’re actually doing it wrong (and lots of other interesting bits here).
* Found out last week that I’m related by marriage to the nice people who own Betty’s Bar-B-Q in Anniston, and Pruett’s Bar-B-Que in Gadsden.
* And for Halloween: F. Scott Fitzgerald dressed as a woman.
Rick Bragg’s new book on Jerry Lee Lewis is fantastic. There’s an excerpt here.
And Scribd is offering a free month of unlimited books — which includes this Rick Bragg book — on any device (500k from 900 publishers). I just downloaded it as a PDF.
Above: Our Lady of Guadalupe in New Orleans
From the WSJ: How Churches Are Slowly Becoming Less Segregated
The Slotin Folk Art Auction catalog for the November sale is now online.
Apparently Casey Nocket thinks her art is so great, she has been going around to national parks and using acrylics to paint pretty much wherever she likes, ON whatever she likes. And you have to read this about the crazy trail of graffiti she has been leaving everywhere. She’s now a suspect of vandalism in eight national parks.
Above: fried chicken from the original Willie Mae’s
Willie Mae’s Grocery and Deli opens today (Willie Mae’s Scotch House is staying put, this is a new venture) at the corner of St. Charles and Cherokee Street.
Bring on that fried chicken.
I want to find Bill Baxley, throw my arms around his neck, and give him a sweet kiss on the cheek. He was interviewed on All Things Considered this month and was asked about his 1976 three-word letter in response to a threat he received from the Klan.
He’s such a gentleman, he wouldn’t repeat it on the radio (this made my heart swoon) although Audie Cornish tried hard for him to, but any good Alabamian knows exactly what he said. Bless him, he said he was worried what his mother would think about him using that language when the Klan published the letter.
Just know: I am Bill Baxley fan club president now.
His letter is included in the new book, Letters of Note.
Above: from a sacred harp singing in Montgomery
Paste runs a review of Buell Cobb’s Like Cords Around My Heart: A Sacred Harp Memoir. In the book, Buell quotes Alabamian Dewey Wright on singing Sacred Harp:
“You eat a good bait of peas and collard greens and drink you some good buttermilk, and you got a meal in you—you ain’t apt to get hungry for the next five or six hours. But you go in there and drink you a bait of soup and you just as well drink you a glass of water, near about it, because that’s what it is—with a little salt and grease to make it good. There ain’t no strength in soup, but there is food value in peas. Sacred Harp singing is like that: You go to an all-day singing and, by the middle of the next week, those songs will still be ringing in you. There’s something to that. Music is one of the greatest things I know of; it’s sung with a joyful noise—so much so that it raises the hair on your head once in a while and makes you feel like you got a hat on. It sorta stirs you up. But now, lots of folks is just squalling and hollering—singing just to make a fuss. That’s like eating soup instead of a good meal.”
Linda Horton won the blue ribbon for pie Kentucky State Fair with her buttermilk pie — but when she provided the recipe to the paper, she gave instructions to use two store-bought refrigerated pie crusts. And that’s against the rules. They stripped her of the blue ribbon.
Let’s go on this American Folk Art Museum art and architecture trip to Cuba in 2015.
And let’s buy: this 1846 estate in Donaldsonville.
So happy to see Eugene Walter’s ‘Love and Comedy’ in/at the Paris Review, Winter 1953.
Oh, stage carpenters, destitute of sacred fire! Oh, union officials, with cabbages for heads! Oh, managers slower than turtles! Where are my zanies and my sweet fools?”
Know how great John Grisham
is was and all (he’s got a new book out)? Well whaaaaat??
This snippet of a review left on Yelp:
I won’t even comment on the food. But I gave the place an extra star because whoever they hired to design the interior must have spent half the design budget on coke because wow – the interior is stunning and definitely makes up for the crumby street view. That wall of foliage made me want to just crawl up it naked, entangle myself in it with one of their sad martinis, and fall asleep in the clutches of nature, letting my prohibition glass slide from my limp drunk wrist to crash upon a table of falsely flattered socialites, reminding them there’s more to like than the illusory facade of neglect posing as fine food, such as a beautiful nude young woman snoozing while suspended in the clutches of vines and ferns.
This kind of crazy is what Yelp was built for.
Speaking of Yelp, though, I have to disclose, I did leave a review this summer. Last November, I went to Schaeffer Eye Center at the Colonnade in Birmingham and had LASIK surgery, and I don’t need my ugs little Emporio Armani glasses anymore:
When I went for my six-month post-procedure exam, I had 20/20 and 20/15 vision. I started with eyesight that was terribly poor: something that would equate to about 20/600, with astigmatism. Being able to do all kinds of things without glasses and contacts is something I never thought I’d be able to do (I even used to sleep in my glasses), thus the review. So, so happy. If any of you are considering it, email me and I’d be happy to chat about it.
Sad to see that OKRA Magazine from SoFAB (Southern Food and Beverage Museum) is on hiatus. Their page background makes the okra-lover in me (and my computer wallpaper) very happy.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Collard greens are “the new kale.” So say the chic eaters. But some concerned cultural guardians fear a new social and economic menace: “food gentrification.”
Gehry’s Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum in Paris is open, and it is magnificent. Gehry said he wanted to “design, in Paris, a magnificent vessel symbolizing the cultural calling of France”.
Mitchell Bat Company makes beautiful baseball bats in Nashville.
AlJazeera America on Mississippi and football:
“While we have problems on a larger scale than the rest of the country, by no means has America solved all of its problems either,” McGraw said. “So just ask the next question. Why does our society play sports at all when we still have, the United States writ large, problems with poverty? Why are we spending our weekends focusing on sports and not addressing these other problems nationwide?”
He said Mississippi and other parts of the Deep South are being singled out unfairly. “That question would rarely be asked of the rest of the country. There is a double standard when we look at the American South and our football and the decadence of our football obsession. We can turn it around and ask the same question of everybody else. It’s a little hypocritical.”
The director of the High, Michael Shapiro, is stepping down and the search is on for a new director.
Part of Prospect.3 is Basquiat in the Bayou (review here) at the Ogden.
Above: Oak Alley from the back
How many people have visited Oak Alley? Soon to be five million, and they’re going to have a party.
Above: Okra and a couple of fried green tomatoes at our home
This actually happened: Georgia Police Raid Potential Marijuana Farm Only To Find Out It’s Okra
Portions of MS Highway 30 between New Albany and Oxford will be, now that the Mississippi Transportation Commission has given its approval this month, “William Faulkner Scenic Byway.”
And: Faulkner’s image is now on a water tower overlooking New Albany.
John Lewis of la Barbecue in Austin is opening a restaurant in Charleston.
Black’s Barbecue is now open in Austin.
Appraiser David J. Goldberg let a family in Carencro, Louisiana know that their desk is actually a rare Louis Majorelle piece from the orchid bedroom suite. It will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in December and is estimated at $250k.
Yes: MLK’s Nobel Speech is an Often Ignored Masterpiece
Twenty-eight Bill Traylor works from the collection of Charles and Eugenia Shannon, dating from 1939 – 42, will be shown at the Betty Cunningham Gallery in NYC beginning this week.