A Beautiful Confluence of Alabama Finery

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Later this week, one of my favorite artists, Nall (who is from Arab) will exhibit his works as well as those of 16 other Alabamians (incl. Kathryn Tucker Windham and Jimmy Lee Sudduth) in NYC in a gallery at the 55 Water Street Building, which is owned by The Retirements Systems of Alabama (!), and also also appearing will be the FloraBama Players and chef Frank Stitt of Cullman, who owns Highland Bar and Grill (among other Bham culinary institutions).

"With Alabama, the soul needs to be explained. The artist says what he feels, he is expressing from his soul. This beauty and this truth and this richness is far superior than what the world looks at Alabama as being," Nall said in a phone interview from his house in Fairhope, a tranquil resort at Mobile Bay and one of the half-dozen places around the world he calls home.

The best part of all is thinking how accessible all this goodness is here in the South.

My 7th-grade teacher was friends with KTW and would tell us lots of very good Jeffrey stories, including that Jeffrey once picked up the phone at Ms. Windham's house once when she called to chat. I've seen KTW do storytelling a couple of times, and I and grew up like every other child in Alabama reading Jeffrey's ghost books.

We bought one of Jimmy Lee Sudduth's paintings from him a few years ago at Kentuck, where he sets up beside a tree - no tent or anything - and when his stack of paintings is gone, he just leaves.

I've eaten a few times at Highland's. I'd really like to try Chez Fon Fon....it's been open several years and I've just never gone.

I could theoretically walk into Monty Stabler Gallery this afternoon and buy a Nall. If I had an extra $6-11k, that is.

And, if I wanted, and truth be told I do, I could go down in a couple of weeks to Gulf Shores and watch the mullet toss while the FloraBama Players did their thing.

Maybe Av would enter, toss a mullet, and get a t-shirt. Fun!

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