This Week’s Various

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Margaret's Grocery 2005, Vicksburg MS

Margaret’s Grocery, as it appeared in 2005

Preserving the hidden folk art spaces tucked away in the rural South in the Clarion-Ledger spends time with Suzy Altmann talking about her mission with saving Margaret’s Grocery around Vicksburg, and another friend, Fred Fussell, on Pasaquan in rural Georgia

Moshe Safdie: Crystal Bridges

Moshe Safdie’s model of Crystal Bridges, from a visit in 2014

At Crystal Bridges, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, My Heart is Dancing into the Universe, is reopening. Members may view it first, July 21-26, and it will be open to the public beginning July 28.

Stuckey's at the Empire / Blount Springs I-65 Exit, Alabama

pecan log, May 2021

Stephanie Stuckey on bringing on a revival of her family’s roadside store brand in Atlanta InTown and Garden & Gun:

None of them knew what they were doing, but they figured it out using some old family recipes. Together, they perfected methods for making divinity, pralines, and fudge—those candies came first. And later, Ethel repurposed a family recipe she had for pecan log rolls to include bits of maraschino cherries, and came up with her secret method for getting the nougat to harden just the right amount.  What I love is that those bridge ladies continued for years making Stuckey’s candies until my grandfather built a candy plant. 

Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie LA

The punkah at Oak Alley, 2005

Ways People Kept Cool Before Air Conditioning at Mental Floss, which includes dogtrots, buttermilk, and punkahs

Taiyaki, Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, Atlanta GA

Taiyaki at Kura in Atlanta, 2021

Dallas Magazine with the 32 Finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards includes
Crawfish Étouffée Stuff Turkey Leg (did I miss the Turkey Leg Hut pop-up coming to Birmingham?) and The Armadillo, which is a cookie butter ice cream sandwich: made-from-scratch cookie butter semifreddo, drizzled with cookie butter, and sandwiched between two deep fried Armadillo-shaped cookies.

We had lunch at Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in Atlanta this past week, and it was pretty good — one of those sushi bars where it has the conveyor belt and you just grab whatever looks fun. Shugie loves these, including Sushi Train in Nashville. Anyway, our dessert at Kura was a Taiyaki fish-shaped waffle batter cooked and filled with red bean paste and served alongside vanilla ice cream. Anyway HOW CUTE would an armadillo be? Contact my people for licensing fees, etc. 🙂

Michael Richards: Are You Down? through October 10 at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, not to miss are his Tuskegee pieces

The Frosty, Jasper AL

The Frosty, Jasper AL, 2021

So much love to the dairy bar. This piece at Bitter Southerner by Rory Doyle is on Chuck’s in Rolling Fork.


The large Falkner family plot (William’s is a short distance away) in Oxford, from a 2012 visit

Faulkner’s Advice to a Young Pilot, from Air & Space Magazine:

My Dear Jim: ….You will be on real aeroplanes soon. You should be all right, a good man. Just remember always that flying is fine, and it gets better but you’ve got to stay alive to enjoy it. You will have two milestones to pass, to pay back to the Govt. the cost of training you. The first one is foolhardiness. A lot of pilots don’t get past that. Uncle Dean didn’t. [Faulkner’s brother Dean died in an airplane crash in 1934.] He managed to blow most of the fabric off his top wing before he found out he had done something you cannot do.

Ulysses Davis, Jesus on the Cross, High Museum, Atlanta GA

Ulysses Davis’ “Jesus on the Cross” from a visit to the High in 2015

Savannah’s Beach Institute features works by Ulysses Davis. From the Savannah Morning News:

In 1988, Davis received the Georgia Governor’s Award in the Arts. Davis never sold his extraordinary work, so few people outside of Savannah ever got to see any of it. He once said of his sculptures, “These things are very dear to me. They’re a part of me. They’re my treasure. If I sold these, I’d be really poor.”

Super random.

$34 lobster rolls in Maine this year

Sculptor Anthony Sonnenberg is based in Arkansas; his first solo show is at Gavlak Palm Beach, through July 25

‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ at 25: ‘The Most R-Rated G You Will Ever See’ which, pretty much my exact thoughts after seeing that Disney movie

Epicurean Atlanta is opening in September as part of Marriott’s Autograph collection of hotels; as named, it’s obviously a nod to the property’s heavy emphasis on food offerings, including their restaurant, cafe, and kitchen classroom. The hotel will host the new food festival Gather ‘Round, in October.

Fewer than one in a million cicadas have blue eyes. Here’s one.

The Shaker Museum’s collection is viewable online (it’s physically been in storage for years now) and their new building design can be seen here. Would like to visit either/both of the Shaker areas in Kentucky (South Union, Shaker Village) sometime this year

When I get older, I will be all over this UT Austin TOWER Fellows Program // unrelated, but also this would be a fun weekend // and next summer at Texas A&M

From Pitchfork: “With “To the Sky,” Shaw transforms an 18th-century song from the Sacred Harp hymnal into a jubilant, sweeping piece that exudes wonder. “

Sooo I guess our fam = spelling bee people since Shugie won District and then 2nd place in the county this year, so we’re especially jazzed about this year’s national winner from Louisiana, who also hold Guinness world records for simultaneous basketball dribbling

Robert LeBlanc’s new photography book, ‘Gloryland,’ on a West Virginia church that takes up serpents

The lightning bugs really are synching their flashes

Parade Magazine runs a clickbait article about the two best restaurants in each state, and next to Highlands, lists a chain that exists in 19 other states as the other of the pair for Alabama

Duke’s mayonnaise and Butcher & Bee collab on a tee to benefit Pay It Forward Charleston

Ha I just helped install/develop a *tiny* free library (because we’re trying to focus on curating a good mix of things to read rather than pay for a needless plaque, honestly) at a convenience store in my hometown and I’m thrilled because the first books to go home with people were those for children

How Uncle Johnny in Dallas morphed his ice house in the 1920s into what’s today the global 7-Eleven

Historic Windsor Hotel, Americus GA

the signed portrait of the Carters at the Windsor Hotel in Americus GA, 2019

Seriously, no matter one’s politics, so much to love about President Carter and Rosalynn celebrating their 75th anniversary, but a few things that really…:

From the AJC:
“The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosalynn. That’s the pinnacle of my life,” Carter said.

And you still have nicknames for each other? Mrs. Carter: I call him Jimmy. President Carter: I call her sweetheart and beautiful.

After their four years in the White House, they ignored the trappings of a big city like Atlanta and returned to their hometown, where they settled on a quiet rural life — when they weren’t building houses for Habitat for Humanity, or eradicating diseases around the world or monitoring global elections through the Carter Center.

At the high school, which is now part of the National Park Service, the party was a down-home affair, as guests were served yellow cake with white frosting, icing (fixed it!) topped with the numeral 75 or flowers, along with tomato and pimento cheese sandwiches.

Who Owns Mike Disfarmer’s Photographs? at the New Yorker

Mattis, an inveterate completist, bought the whole batch on the spot, for a total of about twenty thousand dollars, assuming that they were the only ones he’d ever see. Instead, as he put it, “news ricocheted across greater Cleburne County, Arkansas, that some fruitcake art collector in New York had just paid a fortune for a few pages of family albums.” 

Ginger, Senior Pic

…and so tickled that one of my friends out of the blue a week or so ago sent me a text with my senior pic that they still have, framed! THAT is a friend. I don’t even have a copy of one of my senior pics. But this to show, 1/ I *knew* big hair wasn’t going to last and 2/ didn’t have the extra money to spend on that amount of Aussie hairspray

In not-really-unrelated news:

Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens, Summerville GA

Paradise Gardens, from a visit in 2009

The restored steeple on the World’s Folk Art Church at Finster’s Paradise Garden has been reinstalled

Willie Nelson at the Alabama, 2012

Willie concert at The Alabama Theatre, 2012

Willie Nelson’s Letters to America (here at Bookshop / here at Amazon) is out. In his Dear Texas,

Wherever I go, I feel your rivers flowing through my heart. And when we’re apart, I miss your wide-open sky. When we’re together, I like to walk in your rain and let your thunder fill my soul. After the rain, I listen to the songs of your mockingbirds…

Came to love Wayne White via PeeWee’s Playhouse; here’s one from his piece at Bitter Southerner. The other is not nearly as dark.

Architecture Digest mentions the soon-to-open Miss River (“quartzite polished marble bar top, brass detailing on the bar, decorative arched screens, colored stained glass, and textured scalloped wallpaper in soft pink tones”) from Alon Shaya at the (almost open) New Orleans Four Seasons. DuJour also had a piece on what’s new in the city, where they mentioned the Four Seasons, plus Hotel Saint Vincent, The Columns, One11, and The Chloe.

The Museum of Ice Cream is opening in Austin. Also, the NYT in Betsey Johnson’s Malibu mobile home, which is joy.

Poche's, Breaux Bridge LA

sign at Poche’s in Breaux Bridge, 2012

Fear and Loathing on the Boudin Trail, from Country Roads Magazine:

What came next was an epiphany. Using the trimmings from his juicy, peppery briskets, Gonzalez started making smoked brisket boudin. Next came the beef cheek barbacoa boudin, then pork belly “burntend” boudin. Unsurprisingly, as his boudin menu grew, so did the line outside his door.

Jackson says hey.

Harrison Brothers Hardware, Huntsville AL

Harrison Brothers, Huntsville, 2006

Wish there were more pics, but Rooted in History: Interpreting Alabama Folk Art Traditions exhibit is going on now through September 7 at Harrison Brothers Hardware (which is worthy of its own special visit) on the square in Huntsville


Bragwell Blueberry Farm, Cullman AL

Shugie blueberry picking last year in Cullman

It’s time to go blueberry picking (we’re going this coming week), and this week’s Tennessee Farm Table has ‘Tennessee Berries, Cobblers, and Memories of Cades Cove‘. I missed it ’til now, but last week, they replayed Fred Sauceman’s very short piece on Chattanooga’s Moon Pie  at 24:50 on that episode. One takeaway is that even people who work there say the way to eat one is to warm it up in the microwave first.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, University of Texas at Austin

the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, 2016

At the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, the exhibit, Lady Bird: Beyond the Wildflowers and the reviewer from TM loves it

Oxlot 9, The Southern Hotel, Covington LA

Oxlot 9, from a 2017 visit

Beautiful, delicious Oxlot 9 is leaving the Southern Hotel in Covington. Really want to stay with them sometime; the hotel is just gorgeous. Also, apparently Walker Percy Wednesdays = $5 Old Fashioneds in the bar

The hotel’s Garden House is a reno of the 1937 post office there which includes the Xavier Gonzales “Tung Oil Industry” mural:


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Guntersville Lake, Alabama

Well, as soon as we get to the courthouse, this young man will be Alabama’s newest boat captain, haha! He passed his test (it’s taken online) then the state issues the license to make it all official. We’re missing big brother, who’s at camp the next three-plus weeks. Our Jackson/Dallas/Austin/Houston/Lafayette/New Orleans trip (+ short jaunt to Atlanta) is done, so we’re trying to relax but we’ve got blueberry picking, time on the lake, and other fun things planned for the next several days. Hope you’re staying busy in the best, most fun ways too. xoxo!