Governor’s Suite, 360, and Florence-ish

My friends and I were upgraded to the Governor’s Suite at the Marriott Shoals which was so very nice

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence ALi

This was one of those areas where the designer’s brief was ‘stick with conservative, and by that we mean ferns and burgundy and cord covers’ but you know, this room has probably seen its share of Powerpoint presentations, soooo

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

I spent several years working in a very tasteful office building in a very tasteful corporate park. This kitchen area triggered me hard.

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

Actually, haaaaa, we loved it and it was super nice to have all that space. I forgot to even take a picture of the bedroom, and there were two bathrooms, too, but this is a Marriott so you know, it was that Marriott bathroom with the dark wood and the beige.

And we definitely loved the jukebox.

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

stuck on disc 39 because St Paul & The Broken Bones and we have great taste

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

This is the Shoals, after all, so besides the Rock-Ola, this framed Gibson from Sam Phillips is displayed in the room. The label reads This one of-a-kind, custom made Gibson guitar was presented to Sam Phillips by the Gibson Guitar Company to celebrate 50 years of Sam’s Sun Records and the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

Governor's Suite, Marriott Shoals Hotel, Florence AL

Supper was at the 360 Grille there on site. Just down a hallway and obv up the elevator…

360 Grille, Florence AL

We timed our reservation for sunset, and it was perfect — I think it did take about an hour to go all the way around. I’ve only eaten at five revolving restaurants (this, both in Atlanta, San Antonio, and the Skylon in Ontario) but I’d love to take a trip and do more of them. There’s a list here.

360 Grille, Florence AL

360 Grille, Florence AL 360 Grille, Florence AL

I was boring and just had the salad after we shared the charcuterie board, but everyone really liked what they had

Caesar Salad, 360 Grille, Florence AL

There are so many great places to eat in Florence, but I’m glad we got to do this. My fave fave fave is Odette, but we also like Stanfield’s River Bottom and Stagg’s Grocery for hamburgers, Rice Box for quickie Chinese, Factory for light lunch, and Trowbridge’s for sandwiches & ice cream. On the list to try: Smokin on the Boulevard for barbecue to go, Red Clay Table, and George’s Steak Pit. And there’s a Doe’s Eat Place in Russellville that we definitely want to get to because we love the original.

PS if you do find yourself in Florence or Sheffield, it really is the perfect, perfect place to just walk for blocks downtown and stop in this shop & that, whatever looks interesting at the moment. A couple of other interesting hotels to consider, too: GunRunner and The Stricklin. And you can always picnic around the dams, go up to the Trace and see Teh-lah-nay’s Wall, drive downtown to see Victorian and even Sears kit houses, do a music tour, walk around LaGrange, see Nitrate Village One, the FLW Rosenbaum house…tons to do.

Some various Florence and Florence-ish pics

Wedding Chapel at LaGrange College Site, Leighton AL

Wedding chapel at LaGrange

Trowbridge's, Florence AL


The Tall Man with the Low Prices, Florence AL ELEANOR, downtown Florence AL

downtown Florence

Do Not Block Frozen Meat, Florence AL


Teh-Lah-Nay's Wall - Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall by Tom Hendrix, Florence AL

Teh-lah-nay’s Wall

Billy Reid, Florence AL

Billy Reid

Bar, Odette, Florence AL


Homeless Carwash, Sheffield AL


This Week’s Various

Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens, Summerville GA

Paradise Garden // 2009

The American Folk Art Museum is putting together a trip to Atlanta April 22–26, 2020. Among the activities are visits to Pasaquan, Paradise Garden, the Slotin Folk Art Auction, and the High. If you’re thinking of saving the airfare and live close enough to drive to the home base hotel (the Artmore, where four nights of lodging is included), the rate — including meals, travel, activities — is $2200pp/double, $2400pp/single.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art put out a press release on 1/28 that they purchased a rare stoneware storage jar by poet and potter David Drake:

“David Drake was the only literate enslaved African American potter with a known body of work in this country. This remarkable jar, which bears a date, signature, and an original 4-line verse by Drake…”

…”this jar is to Mr Segler who keeps the bar in orangeburg / for Mr Edwards a Gentle man — who formly kept / Mr thos bacons horses / April 21 1858″ [on opposite shoulder] “when you fill this Jar with pork or beef / Scot will be there; to get a peace, – / Dave” [and 25 slashes] 

Face Jugs

some of my face jugs

The online Slotin Auction: Pottery, Quilts, Folk Art, Americana is February 8 and begins at 10a EST. Heavy, heavy on the face jugs.

Atari is getting in on the hotel business, and they’re building one in Austin.

Rosenbaum House, Florence AL

The Rosenbaum House, designed by FLW // from a visit in 2002

Listening to: Texas Monthly’s podcast, Boom Town

Reading: Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright and I just finished Peggy Wallace Kennedy’s The Broken Road: George Wallace and a Daughter’s Journey to Reconciliation

There’s just worlds more substantive, deep, important information in Peggy Wallace Kennedy’s book — and I won’t go into that here — but there are little zany bits included too (a little bit of a respite), like the year Cornelia hosted “Christmas a l’Orange” at the governor’s mansion: after sipping orange juice in the First Lady’s Room, they had a supper of “duck a l’orange, creamed sweet potato orange cups, orange-glazed squash, orange bread pudding, and ambrosia” — George asked one of the servers if he couldn’t just be brought some barbecue instead. Also: an instance where a local tv reporter was instructed to go to a Montgomery grocery store where beneath a pile of bell peppers would be found a copy of Cornelia’s divorce petition.

And I’m in the middle of the FLW book, where the author believes that the man who set the fire and committed murder at Taliesin was from Alabama, though it was long believed that he was from Barbados, as that’s where he’d claimed.

The newest installment of Kentucky Route Zero is out, and in describing it, Hyperallergic mentions “magical realism, Southern Gothic, Tennessee Williams” and the game site describes it as “a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway running through the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it.”

Alabama Football Game

Bryant-Denny // 2018

Seen at the NYT T Magazine piece, from the John Paul Gautier spring 2020 couture show, RTR y’alllllll.

View of Biloxi, 7.27.2005

Biloxi // July 2005

In thanks for John Grisham mentioning Mary Mahoney’s in two of his books (The Runaway Journey and Partner), the restaurant has for 20+ years shipped to him a cooler loaded with “shrimp and house specialties like crawfish etouffee and oyster stew, and always with the restaurant’s famed gumbo” at Christmas.

Part of the BBC America doc, “Seven Worlds, One Planet” was filmed in Hinds County, Mississippi to record synchronous lightning bugs.

Olde Walker Drug Store Antiques, Attalla AL

antique store cameras, incl Polaroid 230 // 2020

I missed this earlier, but last spring, William Eggleston: Polaroid SX-70 was published, including 56 of his photographs taken with the camera.

The MIT Museum currently has on exhibit The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology:

…over 250 original works by 175 artists, including Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Barbara Crane, Harold Edgerton, Walker Evans, Hans Hansen, David Hockney, Dennis Hopper, Gyorgy Kepes, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and William Wegman. The exhibition also showcases more than 75 artifacts–including cameras, prototypes, experimental films and other technical materials–from the MIT Museum’s own historic Polaroid collection.

BTW, Polaroid still sells the SX-70.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Birmingham AL

original glazed // 2017

Krispy Kreme’s upcoming Times Square location: “From the mixing of raw ingredients to the iconic glaze waterfall, the shop will showcase the end‑to‑end doughnut making process… And guests can take that first bite while sitting in the world’s largest Krispy Kreme doughnut box with stadium‑style seating, offering the perfect view of the doughnut theater across the shop.”

cotton fields in Louisiana

cotton field in Louisiana // 2006

From Barron’s: when a North Carolina denim mill closed in 2017 after 112 years, their remaining selvedge was in high demand. Dan Feibus of Vidalia Mills bought 46 of the looms from the plant, and started to remake things there in Louisiana. That’s bringing 600 jobs; product will be shipping Q2 this year.

Imogene + Willie in Nashville will be using it. And the supply chain? Well, the cotton is already there in the area, so:

“If you look at the typical supply chain in Asia, there’s about an 18,000-mile round trip. The carbon footprint of that is at a scary level,” says Vidalia Mills Senior Advisor Robert Antoshak, who works closely with Feibus. “Our supply chain is about 100 feet.” 

… the cotton enters one side of the facility as raw material and begins a limited-resource process to be turned into yarn. The yarn then goes to the other side of the building, which is the cut-and-sew side of the business, turning textile into clothing…

Giant Virgin Mary Candle, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio TX

Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio TX // from a visit in 2016

Texas Public Radio with How Jesse Treviño Created So Much Of San Antonio’s Public Art

Dockery Farms, Cleveland MS

Anyway, thinking of sunny weather. Have a great weekend! xoxo!

Put a word on it.

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans Moxy Hotel, New Orleans Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

The new Moxy just opened in Memphis a few weeks ago. We stayed at the one in New Orleans (that’s where all these pics are from) and…while we liked it, it just seemed like it was trying waaaaay too hard. It’s ripe for Fellow Kids.

There are literally pegs on the wall instead of a closet. And no long surfaces to lay out a suitcase. Moxy is like if you already have the clothes on you’re going to wear for a night out, you’re going to crash and just jet the next day, we gotcha. And getting a complimentary cocktail just for checking in — at a bar — somehow is a thing. PS the only coffee is in the lobby, and there’s a communal ironing room because there aren’t irons in the room.

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

From their site:

Let’s start with a poker chip at check-in that gets you a complimentary snack or thirst quencher at the bar.

…Don’t say we’re not creative. Head down the hall to our communal ironing room, where you can either get your clothes ready for the day or simply take some Instagram-worthy photos. You’ll see what we mean once you’re in there.

…Mooch off our free Wi-Fi and electricity while you’re down there. We don’t judge.

…Sorry not sorry — we break hotel rules. It’s more fun that way.

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Also, this next part is my favorite. Know how in Portlandia, there was “put a bird on it”?

At the Moxy, they’re like: put a word on it.

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Strong Hobby Lobby decor aisle vibes.
Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Aisle 7 next to the live / love / laugh ones is prob:

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

call sixty-eight for bedtime stories

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

IKEA sez hey.

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

the designers, on rev two, will make the word UP! upside down

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Corporate memo: Bethesda will send dank anti-motivational messages using nouns as verbs for in-room chalkboard communique every Monday and Thursday to keep things lit.  

Moxy Hotel, New Orleans


Moxy Hotel, New Orleans

Actually, it was a fun experience and amusing to see what Marriott did with this brand. I hope it’s one of those things where they keep pushing money into it so it keeps changing, and it’s good to see that they’re not going cookie-cutter (so many Marriotts look just like every other Marriott. Hilton’s the same. Have you ever stayed at a Hampton Inn? Congrats because you now know what 98% of them look like.). Nice: the Moxy in Atlanta looks different from Chattanooga looks different from Chelsea, so they’re trying to infuse a local look into each. Curious to see what this room will look like in three years. Will it be new, or will it be this moment in time preserved in amber?

Austin to SA and the St Anthony

Wanted to show the boys downtown Austin, so we walked around a little and stopped in at Voodoo Doughnuts.

Voodoo Doughnuts, Austin TX

Shugie got an apple fritter, and they had just come out from the kitchen, still hot. I had a bite, and amazzzzinggggg.

Voodoo Doughnuts, Austin TX

Drove around a little…

Austin Motel, Austin TX

Visited Uncommon Objects

Uncommon Goods, Austin TX Uncommon Goods, Austin TX

Uncommon Goods, Austin TX Uncommon Goods, Austin TX

Shop dog!

Uncommon Goods, Austin TX

Supper was Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood — it wasn’t quite as good as last time, but that just gives us an excuse to try other places this summer when we’ll be in town again. We didn’t get to go back to Franklin this time, either, as they were on holiday break.

Salt Lick BBQ, Driftwood TX

Salt Lick BBQ, Driftwood TX Salt Lick BBQ, Driftwood TX

Made it to San Antonio and got nice pics of the Alamo…

The Alamo, San Antonio TX

My genius idea was that since we were there in late December, it would be so much cooler weather than when we’re in SA during summers, and hopefully not so much of a wait for the riverwalk boats.

w r o n g.

Well, I mean, I was right about the weather being great.

Y’all. People were lined up in an hour+ wait *for tickets* (though you can buy them online) and then to board was maybe double that. That was a big nope so we just walked the riverwalk for a long time, which was great, and I don’t think we even really missed riding so much.

The Riverwalk, San Antonio TX

Here’s the super fab part — we got upgraded at the St Anthony to a suite and it was fantastic. Beyond, even.

The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX

Two robes, so the boys each got one, and see that dark gray rectangle in the bathroom mirror?

The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX

The boys could watch ESPN while taking their showers.

The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX

The lobby was so pretty that we spent a fair amount of time just lounging around

The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX

The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX

The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX The St Anthony Hotel, San Antonio TX

Previously, we’ve stayed a couple of times at the Marriott Plaza (we love their pool and grounds, namely) but the St Anthony is going to be our new place, I think. There are some other really fun hotels there to think about, though — Hotel Emma, the Mokara, or maybe if the boys want to stay further from downtown and spend more time in the water, the JW Marriott SA Hill Country Resort & Spa looks very nice and um, we might not ever leave their lazy river, actually.

When we return, we’ll try to do these museums, too:
Centro de Artes
Spanish Governor’s Palace
Ruby City
Blue Star Contemporary
The McNay
and the SA Museum of Art again.

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!