This Week’s Various

Holly Herndon grew up in Johnson City, Tennessee and the tradition of Sacred Harp music there inspired her…if you taught aliens to sing with us from the Denson book, you’d have something like her “Frontier.” It is magic.

Gee's Bend Collage from a visit to Boykin

Can Gee’s Bend—the Tiny Alabama Community Behind America’s Most Dazzling Quilts—Become an Art Destination to Rival Marfa? A series of initiatives spearheaded by the Souls Grown Deep foundation aims to transform Gee’s Bend into a tourist hub.

A series of initiatives, some of which have been in the works for years in collaboration with local residents, will be formally announced today. The first is a collaboration with Nest, a nonprofit that promotes handmade crafts, which will work to make Gee’s Bend quilts more accessible for purchase online and enable Gee’s Bend quiltmakers to license their work for reproduction. Additional projects may include the development of a cultural center, a hub for quilting workshops, a marketplace for locally sourced goods, walking trails, cottages for people to stay, and community-run Airbnbs. 

Vulcan Mural Project, Downtown Birmingham AL

Vulcan Mural Project, downtown Birmingham

The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UACED) is cataloging community murals to make a mural trail, and is accepting submissions now. wants to know about your community murals.

Roadside Bar-B-Que, Birmingham AL

Perfection Never Taste So Good at Roadside Bar-B-Que in Birmingham

So very confused by this going on in NYC, from the NYT — is it Dixie Stampede minus the horses, plus the Wagner?

…On Site Opera, a company that interprets operas in nontraditional venues, takes “The Ring” to Texas as a country-and-western tale, complete with Siegfried, the Rhinestone cowboy, in “Das Barbecü.” The production, with music by Scott Warrender riffing on Richard Wagner’s themes, lyrics by Jim Luigs and a cast that includes singers from New York City Opera and Broadway runs about 2 1/2 hours. It includes a family-style barbecue dinner of brisket, chicken, mac and cheese, cornbread and desserts.

Do you have to be in juuuust the right mood to listen to Daniel Johnston too? Far Out has come out with their list of his ten best songs of all time.

At Roadtrippers, As Slab City grows, the community of outcasts, squatters, and desert dwellers grapples with the cost of its unique freedoms

East Jesus’ main attraction is an elaborate outdoor “art museum” that’s open to the public year-round, featuring a wall of broken TVs covered with pithy messages, a car adorned with baby doll heads, and other oddities. Behind the museum is where East Jesus residents actually live, in an intricate maze of trailers surrounding a communal living area.

…and the pics are everything. Plus a weird part of me wants to text my friends “I’m literallllllyyyyyy texting you from East Jesus.”

Also, T ran this piece on intentional communities.

And After Culinary and Literary Acclaim, She’s Moving to the Woods: The chef Iliana Regan created a hit Chicago restaurant and wrote a tough, award-winning memoir. But her real dream lives in a cabin in northern Michigan. And, how crazy beautiful are the pics of food at Elizabeth, her restaurant.

Joe Minter's African Village in America, Birmingham AL

a pic I took of Joe last month

At artnet, What Art Defined the Civil Rights Era? We Asked 7 Museum Curators to Pick One Work That Crystallized the Moment and Carmen Hermo, associate curator, Brooklyn Museum chose Joe Minter’s 2013 ‘Children in Jail’.

I’m still struck by my memory of this work, five years after seeing it at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama.

Joe and Hilda were thrilled to be included. I contacted Carmen Hermo to let her know, and she was really glad to hear how happy it made them. xoxo!

In Texas, Gas Station Restaurants Serve Roast Duck and Momos at AO with mention of a ceviche place in a Dallas Shell station. Also: I really want to tell you about the really great gas station Indian food in Lexington, Alabama — Taste of India: Taste of India, Livingston AL

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery AL

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery

In Montgomery, the Lynching Memorial is expanding, with a gift shop, soul food restaurant, and shuttle service, plus:

The Legacy Pavilion will include a monument to women, men and children who were victims of racial terror lynchings in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War and during Reconstruction. It will also honor civil rights figures including Martin Luther King Jr., Claudette Colvin, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Jonathan Daniels, Jo Ann Robinson, and E.D. Nixon and describe the role Montgomery played in fueling a civil rights movement.

Barbie Exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art

faux gelatin, part of the Barbie exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art

I catch this kind of thing on Instagram because I don’t do FB anymore, but at Salon, various aspic-loving groups are discussed

In the wake of such pro masterpieces, amateur jelly makers chime in with their own creations: raspberry suspended in a clear, prosecco-filled mold; algae jello with lychee and coconut milk; carbonated rose lemonade with strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry-infused rum. By and large it’s a surprisingly supportive group, wherein members really are just trying to push their culinary limits. 

One of NPR’s weekly emails a few days ago was on photography and mentioned a piece from last summer on Mobile’s Azalea Maids: The Dress Hasn’t Changed but the Girls Have. The photographer, Adair Freeman Rutledge, is on IG and waaaaaay sidenote: she has the Wagoneer of my dreams.

Here are the results of the Christie’s Outsider Art auction last week, and the estimates were low, low compared to what the sales realized in most part. A 1930s double-handled cup by William Edmondson had an est of $4-6k and went for $175k.

A Battle for the Soul of Marfa at Texas Monthly.

All went reasonably well until Judd died unexpectedly at just 65 in 1994, when Chinati had only $400 left in the bank. By the time the Crowleys took up permanent residence in 1997, Chinati was on life support. So was Marfa. Even the Dairy Queen was closed.


If there was a period that could be labeled Peak Marfa, it would have been around 2012 and 2013. That was when national publicity reached its zenith, with glowing if slightly confounded stories about this art oasis in the desert, in Texas of all places. Morley Safer of 60 Minutes did a feature called “Marfa, Texas: The Capital of Quirkiness.” Vanity Fair’s story was called “Lone Star Bohemia.” Vogue: “From Marfa to the Moon: A Weekend in West Texas,” written by Ballroom cofounder Fairfax Dorn. And so on. By then hotelier Liz Lambert had opened El Cosmico, her new inn close to Chinati, where guests could choose to stay in an Airstream trailer or a tepee or a yurt. There was a “hammock grove,” and guests could reserve, for $85, a soak in a wood-fired Dutch hot tub.

Barbie Exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Anyway, hi from the Barbie exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Finally got around to seeing it this week; it closes 1/26.

Have a great weekend, friends! xoxo!