Jazz Fest, New Orleans
Doug MacCash's article in today's Times-Picayune "What's Cool Under the White Tents" is about the art at Jazz Fest (going on this coming weekend too) and among others, he mentions my new friend Chris Beck:
Based on preview photographs, Georgia artist Chris Beck's recycled sheet-metal clothing is my favorite of Jazz Fest 2010 crafts.
Beck, a carpenter by trade, was renovating houses in Dalton, Ga., in 2008 when the housing market crashed. With time on his hands, he turned to art. Inspired by folk artists such as Charlie Lucas and Mose Toliver, Beck began combing dumps for cast-off metal to shape into sculpture.
When his mother gave him an old ironing board, Beck began creating a sheet-metal shirt to place atop it, and a style was born. Beck, 36, prefers rusted sheet iron from the roofs of old chicken coops and barns, which he bangs and wrinkles, then cuts and welds into full-size suit coats, waitress uniforms, coveralls....
He colors his creations with recycled house paint, seals them with automotive clear coat, and assigns them names such as "Wes, " "Tiffany, " and "Mrs. Patterson" to reflect the real folks whose wardrobes inspired them.
Beck's sculpture seems to stitch together pop and folk art perfectly. Look for his work in Contemporary Crafts tent J. Prices range from $400 to $2,200.
Hipstamatic app on my iPhone!
Here are some random things that have wound up in my inbox lately that I thought I'd share...
There may be only one place in America to see the Scripture verse John 3:16 painted on a tailgate removed from a Dodge pickup truck, propped up against a fence next to a historic cemetery.
It's the same place where giant red plastic letters from a defunct movie theater are nailed to a wooden fence, spelling out "His Word is Real."
Those distinctive creations are the work of folk artist Joe Minter of Birmingham, part of his African Village, a yard full of hand-painted boards and pieces of metal, stacked and mounted in ways that may make sense to no one but Minter himself.
"Every piece has got a story," Minter said.
Aberdeen is having its Southern Heritage Pilgrimage this weekend. We were there back in January when there was just a little snow on the ground. They have a historic cemetery there with several interesting monuments.
Billy Brasfield escaped his hometown of Aberdeen, Miss., population 6,400, only to return on a one-man mission to save it.
But now that he has built a career as a top makeup artist — his rate is as high as $5,000 a day and his clients include Katie Couric, Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks — he can’t seem to keep himself away. For at least five days each month, when he is not in New York at a magazine cover shoot, or in London on the set of a music video, or in Los Angeles preparing a star for the red carpet, Mr. Brasfield trades makeup brushes for a paintbrush and gets to work on one of the Victorian houses of the town, Aberdeen, Miss.
Since 1990, he has been buying run-down historic houses in the decidedly sleepy town of 6,400, and fixing them up to rent or sell. So far he’s bought 16, making him something of a force in the real estate market of an area where there is little new home building. But Mr. Brasfield, 43, has yet to turn a profit; Billbo Cribs, the company he set up for this endeavor in February, after years of “doing it all by the seat of my pants,” is $45,000 in the red, he said.
“A business manager is looking at me going, ‘What are you doing?’ ” he said. “But it’s not about that to me, and I do believe that as sure as I am sitting here that I will come out winning.”
He is trying to save Aberdeen “one house at a time,” he said.
Although he goes by Billy B in the fashion industry, he is still known as Billy Brasfield here. He grew up in what he calls the “mom-and-pop shop” era, when doors were left unlocked, kids played outside without trouble and Main Street was booming. “It was a fantasy place, like Mayberry R.F.D.,” he said.
After two years of junior college, he made his way back to New York in 1983 and got a job at the cosmetics counter at Macy’s. “It was learn how to do it or get fired,” he said. He promptly taught himself how to apply makeup, discovering a natural talent that was eventually spotted by a Vogue editor, who introduced him to an agent. Within two or three years, his work was appearing in magazines like Glamour and Vanity Fair.
After his father died in 1986, and he realized that his mother was never going to leave Aberdeen, he decided that in spite of his disaffection he wanted to do something to make it a better place to live, “for the town and ultimately for her, too,” he said.
In either New York Magazine or The New Yorker (we subscribe to both and I can never remember which had which article) there was a mention of frozen mint juleps. Well, actually the biggest mention of them lately has to be in the April/May issue of Garden and Gun in an article called The Southern Invasion of NYC.
...has spent 30 years breeding hogs to return them to their pureline mother breeds from Africa and Europe. By leasing his stock to be raised by Amish farmers, Fudge maintains ownership of his genetic investment while being assured his hogs grow up naturally, foraging afield and roaming freely.
Once we left Chattanooga on Saturday, we drove down to Atlanta to see the Dogwood Festival. It was at Piedmont Park and is one I think we will try to make certain that we visit each year. Here are some pics:
This weekend, we went to Four Bridges Arts Festival and also drove over for a minute to Faux Bridges, which is just a few artists in the parking lot down from Winder Binder Gallery. From what I understand, the group that makes up "Faux" is actually there every week, but use the Faux name the weekend of Four Bridges as a little bit of a joke. That one I won't do again - just nothing there that appealed (although I have to say, if you're in town and have never been, you can walk through it in two minutes flat just to see):
Hi, I'm Ginger, a 7th-generation Alabamian.
I am married to the best person I have ever known, and we are just smitten with our two sons -- who are just 15 months apart!
I love to travel, cook, read (nonfiction), and study folkways.
I enjoy self-taught / vernacular art, bottle trees, dioramas, chenille, seersucker, toile, Indian mound sites, WPA books, letterpress, gardenias, camellias, orchids, festivals, handmade things, and Southern traditions/culture/folklore.
I am a graphic designer. I like to make things look pretty.
I try to be a collector of experiences.
And I'm so happy you're here.
You can email me at:
ginger [at] deepfriedkudzu (dot) com
1. The cover of Juke Joint Soul CD
2. Courthouse protest in Harvard College Economics Review
3. Archibald's BBQ in Southern Belly
4. Katrina pics in Louisiana PBS documentary, Surviving the Storm
1. Home pics in an urban design and architectural pattern book for Michigan City, IN
2. Perry County Courthouse pic in Thicket Magazine
3. Boll Weevil Monument pic in the French Journal Insectes
4. Bryant Store pic in the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, magazine OnStage
5. Boll Weevil Monument pic and Coldwater Books pic in Thicket Magazine
6. Talladega Courthouse pic in Thicket Magazine
7. Various pics, Encyclopedia of Alabama
8. Several pics of Joe Minter's art environment for exhibit including him at Vulcan Park and Museum
9. Organizing feature at Apartment Therapy
10. Doe's Eat Place tamales at Gourmet.com
1. Mississippi Amish community pic in the Jackson Free Press
2. Interview with me about DFK in Thicket Magazine, Summer Issue
3. Several pics of B'ham and Alabama for an exhibit at Vulcan Park and Museum
4. Causeyville General Store pic used in web interactive game 'Adventure A-Go-Go' for Starwood Hotel's new brand, Aloft Hotels
5. Oxford Mound pic in the Indian Country Today newspaper (and a hundred other places)
6. Monroeville Courthouse / Mockingbird pics in Good Reading Magazine
7. Pensacola Futuro house pic used by New York Daily News
8. Benjamin Butler pot in the National Park Service's literature at Lowell National Historic Park
9. Moundville pics in educational film on indigenous people by University of Chile
10. Slugburger at SeriousEats
11. Oxford Mound for the Institute of Southern Studies
12. Indian mound pics used in the movie The New Daughter
13. Gift wrap station idea produced for Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine
14. Snowman cutout for yard fun idea produced for Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine
15. Star of David idea produced for Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine
16. Dreidel pad game idea produced for Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine
1. Several pics in the book Alabama's Civil Rights Trail: An Illustrated Guide to the Cradle of Freedom
2. Article featuring Deep Fried Kudzu in Exodus, the Samford University Magazine
3. Contributor, Best Road Trip Ever! iPhone App
4. Peaches Cafe pic for Barefoot Workshops Documentary
5. Poster in Crit Architecture Journal
6. Consultant on MS Culinary Trail for MS Tourism
7. Stone bath mat idea produced for Lowe's Creative Ideas Magazine
8. W.C. Rice's Cross Garden image at Art21
1. Crawfish boil pic for Avia Boutique Hotels
2. Feature about DFK and making Easter baskets for children in homeless shelters, with a tutorial on naturally-dyed eggs, for the Publix Supermarket FamilyStyle magazine
3. Interview with me about DFK and travel in Alabama on the arts program, Tapestry, on the Bham public radio station, WBHM
4. Cover photograph of All Saints Chapel at Sewanee for UDC Magazine
5. Pics of Julia Tutwiler's church and monument for Escambia County Historical Society newsletter
6. Photograph of J.W. Renfroe building for company literature
7. Pic of American Village sounding board for Society of Colonial Wars book
8. Adjudicated grant applications for folk art fellowship, apprenticeship and roster for the Mississippi Arts Commission
9. Pic of a Koolickle for FoodandWine.com
10. Pic of Vincent Oliver's Hippodrome for Black & White
1. Gee's Bend Quilt Mural pic for Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement book
2. Rural Studio Animal Shelter pic in Moundville Times
3.More images at Encylopedia of Alabama
4. Koolickle image at the BBC
5. 'I Heart Alabama Gulf Seafood' feature for Alabama Gulf Seafood promotion
1. The Hermitage, Nashville, TN
2. Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, LA
3. The Alluvian, Greenwood, MS
4. Le Royal Meridien King Edward, Toronto, ON
5. Le Meridian (now Golden Tulip) Apollo, Amsterdam, Holland
6. Imperial Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark
7. W New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
8. Le Meridien, Eilat, Israel
All-Time Favorite Shows:
1. The Waltons (The Waltons will always be my favorite show!!)
2. Downton Abbey, Little House on the Prairie
3. Six Feet Under and The Sopranos
4. Homeland and Curb Your Enthusiasm
5. Mad Men and Big Love
1. Sunset Boulevard
2. Gone with the Wind
3. Coal Miner's Daughter
4. Urban Cowboy
5. Muriel's Wedding
6. Mommie Dearest
7. Driving Miss Daisy
8. The Color Purple
9. Lost in Translation
10. Romantics Anonymous
Book: 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men' by James Agee
Play: 'The Last Night of Ballyhoo' by Alfred Uhry
Poem: 'A Supermarket in California' by Allen Ginsberg
Singer: Eva Cassidy
Inspiration: Eugene Walter
1. Commander's Palace, New Orleans, LA -
Don't Miss: every single thing there is *amazing*. Be sure to have Creole cream cheese cheesecake for dessert, too!
2. Antoine's, New Orleans, LA -
Don't Miss: the fish, the soft shell crabs, and the baked Alaska...and the service is incredible.
3. Doe's Eat Place, Greenville, MS -
Don't Miss: steaks (one steak serves two easily) and tamales.
4. Chez Fonfon, B'ham, AL -
Don't Miss: everything here is great...even the hamburger is amazing!
5. Taylor Grocery, Taylor, MS -
Don't Miss: catfish, catfish, catfish.
6. Lusco's, Greenwood, MS -
Don't Miss: pompano, and the atmosphere - with the tables with curtains and the little buzzer.
7. Jacques-Imo's, New Orleans, LA -
Don't Miss: 'Godzilla Meets Fried Green Tomatoes'. Oh yes.
8. Big Bob Gibson's, Decatur, AL -
Don't Miss: barbecue and white chicken sauce. White sauce got started here.
9. Leatha's Bar-B-Que Inn, Hattiesburg, MS -
Don't Miss: beef ribs.
10. Drago's, Metairie, LA -
Don't Miss: charbroiled oysters.
11. Ninfa's, Houston, TX -
Don't Miss: (the original Ninfa's on Navigation) ohmygosh this place makes me so happy I can't wait to go back and have the entire rest of the menu.
12. The Bright Star, Bessemer, AL -
Don't Miss: trout almondine, snapper throats, prime rib.
13. Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca, AL -
Don't Miss: Ezell's is a *real* fish camp - right on the water with excellent catfish (obviously), fried pickles, and hush puppies.
14. Duchess Bakery, Cullman, AL -
Don't Miss: doughnuts early in the morning while they are still hot.
15. Gambino's Bakery, Metairie, LA -
Don't Miss: the Doberge: it is six layers of yellow butter cake with custard between each layer and the whole production is covered in fondant.
16. Rabideaux's Sausage Kitchen, Iowa, LA -
Don't Miss: anything and everything they have there is wonderful!! Bring a cooler.
17. The Dillard House, Dillard, GA -
Don't Miss: the process: your table automatically gets everything on the menu that day, and you can ask for more of whatever you like. Expect three or four main dishes, six or so side dishes, and dessert.
18. McGuire's Irish Pub, Pensacola, FL -
Don't Miss: Everything there is wonderful - especially the prime rib.
19. Wintzell's Oyster House, Mobile, AL -
Don't Miss: Wintzell's is just fun! Go to the original - the one downtown on Dauphin Street. Obviously famous for their oysters.
20. The Dinner Bell, McComb, MS -
Don't Miss: it's a revolving tables restaurant. Especially good dressing and eggplant.
21. Walnut Hills, Vicksburg, MS -
Don't Miss: making friends with everyone at your table. Another revolving tables restaurant.
22. Niki's West, B'ham, AL -
Don't Miss: whole fried flounder, and dozens of vegetables available, all of them excellent - when ordering, just think of your two or three favorite and chances are, they're available. Don't miss the rutabagas.
23. Bob's Clam Hut, Kittery, ME -
Don't Miss: Bob's may be a clam hut, but they make the most *amazing* lobster rolls.
24. Faidley's, Baltimore, MD -
Don't Miss: The crabcakes. Best ever. Ever.