Matthew Mazzotta’s Morphing Open House

York, Alabama

Looking straight on, it appears to be a little house.

Open House Theater, York AL Then, one sees the ‘arms’ to each side Open House Theater, York AL

This is artist Matthew Mazzotta‘s Open House, 2013 in York, Alabama

Open House Theater, York AL

It unfolds to make a space with built-in seating area. From the press release:

The metamorphosis of Open House is designed to require cooperation. It takes four people one and a half hours to unfold the structure. The foundation is made of used railroad ties which anchor the custom fabricated industrial hinges to five rows of stadium seating. The rows of seats fold down with the aid of a hand winch and enough manpower to counter balance the hefty, but agile structure.

Critical Impact
Through the project, the artist hopes to directly address the lack of public space in York, AL by providing a physical location that becomes a common ground for community dialogue and activities. The new structure carries the weight of the past through the materials that were salvaged and repurposed from the old structure,most visibly the original pink siding. When Open House is fully unfolded, it provides an opportunity for people to come together and experience the community from a new perspective. When it folds back up, it resembles the original abandoned house, reminding people of the history of what was there before.


Similarly, his Storefront Theater in Lyons, Nebraska

Interesting: Cloud House

Te-Lah-Nay’s Wall

A few months ago, my sweet friend Anne and I visited the late Tom Hendrix’ monument — the largest un-mortared rock wall in the US and more importantly the largest memorial to a Native American Woman, called the Wichahapi Commemorative Stone Wall and/or Teh-Lah-Nay’s Wall (or Te-Lah-Nay’s Wall), in Limestone County, Alabama.

Teh-Lah-Nay was Tom’s great-great grandmother, and was from the Yuchi (Euchee) tribe. She and her people were forcibly removed from this area of Alabama in the 1830s to be sent to the Indian Nations in Oklahoma. She later walked all the way back from Oklahoma to Alabama, and is the only person known to have successfully returned home.

On one visit, Tom told us the story, and we purchased his book, If the Legends Fade. He said that he sent all money from it to Oklahoma, where Yuchi girls are learning their native language – and these girls will also be sent to college with help from the funds. There are only a handful of people right now that know Yuchi language, so it is vitally important that it be passed down.

On this visit, Anne and I were so happy to meet Tom’s son, and I purchased this primitive stone stack statue. Love looking at this each day and being reminded of Tom and his incredible, heartfelt achievement.

Our first visit to the wall here.


Took these pics back in April but I’m thinking of hearts and Valentine’s Day for whatever reason (though, um, don’t take me here for a romantic getaway):  Motel Heart of Dixie in Dadeville, Alabama

Moving Time

I was thinking about earlier this year when the weather was magnificent. First thought: when I was one of the lucky people at a conference (I think there were about a dozen of us) who got to go up the clock tower at Samford Hall at Auburn. It sounds as though they don’t let many people do it, and those who do must be led by a University architect. We were warned about wasps, though they weren’t bad at all, and by exertion, because it’s several stories up and some of it is by shipladder. Easy-easy though.

Loved seeing the bell and setup on our way up, because a couple of years ago, I got to be friends with Patty Allen, the widow of Robert Allen z”l who co-wrote the Auburn fight song with Al Stillman z”l (they’re the same pair who wrote ‘Home for the Holidays’). She is fabulous! I sent her a pic of this after my visit, and she said she wants to come see it in person sometime. It plays ‘War Eagle’ at noon each day.

At the top, we made our way to the clock. If you make it, you’re allowed to sign your name to the backside, and every Aubie mascot has done it, too:

The architect pulled the clockface back:

Here’s me in front of it, for scale:

And that view! Yessss

Real Movie Set Town

The 2017 Alabama Historical Association (AHA) fall pilgrimage will be later this month, centering on Abbeville, Alabama, which is just ripe to be the setting for a mid-century period film. Jimmy Rane, the ‘Yella Fella’ (if you’ve ever been to a lumber yard or just watched an Auburn game on tv, you likely know his Great Southern Wood Co) is responsible for so much of the preservation here: what would be vacant storefronts become throwback shop windows to when kids wore Buster Brown or Red Goose shoes and one bought Philco radios.

I’m going to miss meeting Jimmy (it’s during my birthday weekend and we have other plans) and getting to tour more of the town, but we were there this summer and got to walk around with the boys, including a lunch at Huggin’ Molly’s, a restaurant and soda fountain that is now the home to the fixtures from a 1926 drugstore shop in Pittsburgh. Also: the place is named after a town legend:
…a giant of a woman, maybe 7 feet tall and as big around as a bale of cotton.

Some say her ghost still walks the streets of Abbeville late in the night, sweeping her black skirt as she goes. If she happens upon you, she chases you down, gives you a huge hug and screams in your ear.

While the food is what it is: easy lunch food, the people are friendly. The manager came around and was explaining that the Coca-Cola sign hanging here is worth as much or more than everything else in the building put together, as it’s one of only a very few still extant:

As cute as the downtown area is during the day, it’s even more impressive at night when the signs are lit and the neon is going.