If I had a helicopter: Magic City Art Connection, Mullet Toss, Sandestin Wine Festival, Vidalia Onion Festival, Jazz Fest, Double Decker Art Festival, and the National Cornbread Festival.
***Panoply in Huntsville has been canceled due to the storm damage.
Magic City Art Connection, Birmingham
Blessing of the Fleet, Bayou La Batre
Pepper Jelly Festival, Thomaston
Battle of Selma Reenactment, Selma
Interstate Mullet Toss, Orange Beach
Alabama International Film Festival and TroyFest, Troy
Sacred Harp Singing, Mabsen Methodist, Ozark
Lebanese Food Festival, Birmingham
Bob Sykes BBQ and Blues Festival, Bessemer
Geneva Festival on the Rivers, Geneva
Sandestin Wine Festival, Destin
World of Nations Celebration, Jacksonville
Crawfish Festival, Pensacola
SunFest, West Palm Beach
Shrimp Festival, Fernandina Beach
Fun Fest, Navarre Beach
Suwannee River Jam, Live Oak
Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia
Slotin Folk Art Auction, Buford
Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage, Various Towns
Pine Tree Festival, Swainsboro
Crawfish Festival, Woodbine
Celebrate Clayton, Clayton
Americana Festival, Athens
Sacred Heart Garden Festival, Augusta
Tour of Hidden Gardens, Savannah
Jazz Fest, New Orleans
Tomato Festival, Chalmette
Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette
Etouffee Festival, Arnaudville
Fest for All, Baton Rouge
Spring Arts Festival, Minden
Contraband Days Festival, Lake Charles
Double Decker Arts Festival, Oxford
Southern Heritage Pilgrimage, Aberdeen
Natchez Trace Festival, Kosciusko
Dudie Burger Festival, Tupelo
Lynch Street Cultural Arts Festival, Jackson
Swinging Bridge Festival, Byram
Home and Garden Tour, Corinth
World's Biggest Fish Fry, Paris
National Cornbread Festival, South Pittsburg
Ramp Festival, Cosby
Main Street Festival, Franklin
Spring Tour of Homes, Brownsville
If I had a helicopter: Magic City Art Connection, Mullet Toss, Sandestin Wine Festival, Vidalia Onion Festival, Jazz Fest, Double Decker Art Festival, and the National Cornbread Festival.
Gwen Magee joined the ancestors last night.
She was an incredible quilter.
From her obit that went over the AP:
...Her works were displayed or collected by the Smithsonian Institution and in the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African-American History.
Friends say Magee was working on a commissioned piece at the time of her death — a quilt about the Freedom Riders for a museum in Montgomery, Ala. It was unfinished.
She was a recipient of the 2011 Governor's Award for Excellence.
This is her website; she has many images of her quilts here (nice slideshow) along with some of her comments. MPB's interview with her here.
Gwen had so much more to do. Her pieces are *powerful*. Some political. Always interesting. Strong, strong, strong.
Thank you for your calls, texts, emails, FB messages...I'm responding now but want to let everyone know we are fine. Just wowed by all the sweet thoughts and prayers! A tornado passed about two miles from our home but we were okay, save the loss of a giant tulip tree in the backyard -- took the boys downstairs and they were blissfully unaware anything was going on.
My hometown, Cullman AL, was greatly damaged. Still waiting to hear from Huntsville friends. I spent today bringing food to another friend who lives in Arab, where the power may not be back for four or five more days. I was admittedly a little nervous driving up there -- so many downed trees everywhere, and in some places power lines were criss-crossed on the surface of the road and we were all having to drive over those.
I took one picture. An Otelco truck had traffic stopped today on the road to Arab, right here, and I snapped this pic of a trailer that has been absolutely flattened. Flattened and flipped upside down.
Prayed for the people that called this home while the utility truck had traffic stopped. I had a feeling everyone in front and behind me was doing the very same.
We were close enough to the tornado (the one that stayed on the ground from Tuscaloosa up to Georgia) that debris from where it had already touched down fell in our yard -- we have pieces of someone's roofing insulation, and this chewed-up strip of siding fell onto our neighbor's yard.
Since many of you celebrate Easter, I asked Av this morning if on one of his (ten! he's only taken me three times!) Israel trips he had taken pics there of things that might be interesting. In 1994, he went as part of the Birmingham Interfaith Mission to Israel, which was coordinated by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
This is from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, traditionally the site of Calvary -- and currently the object of a dispute among different Christian groups as to who is actually in charge there...
The Garden Tomb where Jesus was laid to rest after the crucifixion:
The Church of All Nations, which is on the Mount of Olives, and contains a stone that is said to be the place where Jesus prayed before he was arrested:
Here are three pictures from a baptism in the Jordan, in northern Israel. Former Birmingham police chief Johnnie Johnson co-officiated, and the woman being baptized was an 80-something year old Sunday School teacher from Texas who was on the trip.
While going through his old prints from one of his trips to Israel, Av found this image of a home in Northern Israel that used bicycles as part of its fencing:
Last year I took this pic at our first night seder at Av's parents' home:
The second night was at our home. We all gathered in the living room for the first half of the seder before moving to the table for supper and the second half. We started doing the first half that way last year, when it occurred to me that if the idea was to go through the seder as free people, in comfort, that we'd surely all be more comfortable there than at the dining room table for hours. That's a tradition we are going to keep!
For supper, I made chicken piccata, barbecue brisket, potato salad, vegetable cole slaw, deviled eggs, roasted sweet potato fries, and for dessert -- chocolate baby bites cakes and espresso sorbet. Yummm!
We observe Passover, but whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it is happy, hopeful, and sweet! xoxoxo!
Last month, we had lunch at Huggin' Molly's in Abbeville -- it was fabulous. From this article in East Alabama Living:
The restaurant is named after a local legend... “Huggin’ Molly was supposedly seven feet tall and as big around as a bale of cotton,” remembers Jimmy. “She’d walk the streets of Abbeville at night. If she saw you, she’d chase you down, give you a huge hug and scream in your ear.”
If you know Great Southern Wood (YellaWood) and the Yella Fella from commercials, the owner, Jimmy Rane, is behind so much of what makes Abbeville so special and unique. He purchases old buildings, fixes them up, then puts them to use. That's what he's done here with Huggin' Molly's.
A *fantastic* soda fountain:
Shugie couldn't resist sitting at that beautiful marble bar. The boys had grilled cheese sandwiches with different sides, I had a fried green tomato sandwich, and Av had fish. We tried an order of fried cheese biscuits which were so good -- and we brought those home for a snack later.
They had an original To Kill A Mockingbird movie poster in our dining area, too:
This is more of downtown Abbeville. That great Southern Oil Company building, bottom-right? It looks like an old fillin' station, but it's really an office building for GSW.
...and these vintage signs are just retro perfection:
The South Carolina State Museum is putting on an exhibit now through January of 2012 called 'Uncommon Folk' -- they describe the exhibit:
The world of folk and traditional art is explored with art from the State Museum's collection that have rarely, if ever, been seen on exhibit including baskets, pottery, native American earthenware and nontraditional sculptures and art by self-taught and outsider artists.
--Part of L.C. Carson’s “concrete city,” including three recently-conserved sculptures of the Roman Colosseum, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Central American Temple
--a wild west town made of coat hangers
--silhouettes made by Carew Rice and his grandson Clay
--turkey calls and decoys
--Lowcountry shrimp nets
--a flat bottom boat by Willie DeReef, the last of the Gullah boat makers
--whimsical metal “whirligigs”
--paintings and drawings
--metal toys such as a windmill, truck and tractor
--wood carvings by Dan Robert Miller
South Carolina aired a documentary on it also:
The Slotin Folk Art catalog came in the mail this week; the sale, with 1000 lots, is April 30-May 1.
I've lost shoes now to two pictures.
Once, I was admiring this gorgeous magnolia when I realized (too late) that I was standing right next to a fire ant hill. I ran like the wind (in such a rush that my flip-flops are likely still under that tree) and wound up getting only two or three good bites -- the loss of my flip-flops was totally worth it, though:
The second was when I ran through this farm field last month, which was just sloppy wet from rains. I got red mud up to mid-calf. Again, it was worth it, because at the top of this hill outside Talladega:
...are the ruins of Mount Ida:
this will give you an idea), but Mount Ida was begun around 1840. This is how it used to look:
Fabulous, fabulous. My Antebellum Mansions of Alabama book discusses "the magnificent veranda, edged by six superbly fluted columns topped by inverted bell-shaped capitals, a motif extremely rare among ante-bellum homes in the state. Another rare feature of the columns is the foot-rest, a semi-circular iron bar attached to each shaft of the colonnade. These foot-rests permitted greatly added comfort, allowing those who sat looking out over the vast expanse of farmland to rear back and prop up their feet in luxurious comfort. These are the only such foot-props known to exist in the entire realm of Alabama's ante-bellum mansions."
The book goes on to mention that the columns are of brick and plaster, and how marble was used from one of the quarries in Talladega. Windows on the balcony could be turned into doors. There was amethyst glass in the sidelights and transoms. There were fourteen rooms, with two-inch thick heart pine flooring.
An artist was brought in from New York to do false grain wainscoting, and the furnishings were purchased in NYC also. The front parlor was called 'The Blue Room' and was a replica of 'The Blue Room' at the White House. Built in three sections, the home was completed in 1859.
Then, the War came. Rousseau's Raiders depleted the smokehouse and pantries, took the slaves (at one time there were over 180 reported on the plantation), and 32 mules and horses. On another occasion, the wheat crop and two hundred bales of cotton were burned.
In the early 1950s the house was known as undergoing a great renovation, as it was purchased in 1949 by a member of the Kent family who was a 'leading Jersey cattleman'. Mrs. Kent 'has tried meticulously to restore the house to its original grandeur.'
The house burned in the 1950s. This, and something of a retaining boundary wall, are all that's left.
Not far away is the Reynolds family cemetery:
Thanks to Susan for reminding me to put this up -- Austin Art Yards tour is this weekend and my friend (sorry Scott for temporarily forgetting!) Scott Stevens is an organizer *and* one of the "yardists":
Also great news: you can tour the now-to-code Cathedral of Junk again!
Wish I had my own helicopter -- there are so many great things going on this weekend. I'd do Dogwood in Atlanta, 4 Bridges in Chattanooga, the A-Day Game in Tuscaloosa, the prison rodeo in Angola, and wind up at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale. What about you?
Alabama Book Festival, Montgomery
A-Day Game, Tuscaloosa
Grits Festival, Childersburg
Old 280 Boogie, Waverly
Marble Festival, Sylacauga
Magnolia Festival, Gardendale
Arts & Crafts Festival, Dauphin Island
Sucarnochee Folklife Festival, Livingston
Heads -n- Tails Crawfish Boil, Huntsville
Strawberry Festival, Castleberry
Art in the Park, Hoover
SeaBreeze Jazz Festival, Panama City Beach
Delray Affair, Delray Beach
Runaway Country, Melbourne
Hibiscus Festival, Vero Beach
Scratch Ankle Festival, Milton
Edible Mollusk Festival, Sanibel
Rhythm & Ribs Festival, St. Augustine
Down Home Days, Madison
Grapefruit Legacy Festival, Safety Harbor
Mainsail Arts Festival, St. Petersburg
Fired Works Exhibit & Sale, Macon
Dogwood Festival, Atlanta
Wine Festival, Tybee Island
Bear on the Square, Dahlonega
Street Fest, Alpharetta
Mayhaw Festival, Colquitt
Lemonade Days, Dunwoody
Catfish Festival, Washington
Jazz / R&B Festival, Natchitoches
Spring Prison Rodeo, Angola
Crawfish Festival, Lake Charles
Palm Sunday Tour of Homes, Lake Charles
Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale
Spring Pilgrimage, Natchez
Tapestry, Pilgrimage, Vicksburg
Alcorn State University Jazz Festival, Alcorn State
Crawfish Festival, Biloxi
Rivergate Festival, Tunica
Crosstie Arts & Crafts Festival, Cleveland
Ham Jam Arts Festival, Philadelphia
4 Bridges Art Festival, Chattanooga
Dogwood Arts Festival, Farragut
Dumplin Days, Lebanon
Rivers & Spires Festival, Clarksville
The NY Times has written about a new art project going around the country on trucks with slogans like 'Belief + Doubt = Sanity' and 'Look for the Moment when Pride becomes Contempt' and others. Sounds wonderful:
Trucks transport 70 percent of the freight in the United States, according to the Department of Transportation. And if a prominent New York artist and his friends have their way, a tiny fraction of that total — six 18-wheelers full, to be exact — will soon be a variety of cargo not usually found barreling down the interstate: art, fresh from painters’ studios; poets’, playwrights’ and songwriters’ pens; and filmmakers’ cameras.
After years of rumors about a Great American Art Trip in the works, the painter Eric Fischl has announced a privately financed program in which a truck-based roving museum and performance space will tour the country for two years to address what he sees as an identity crisis in American culture.
This is the America Now and Here website; the artists are well known -- visual artists like Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman...playwrights like Edward Albee...poets...filmmakers...and musicians like Sting, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Steve Martin, Rosanne Cash...
(this is a pic we took of the women's section the last time we were in Israel)
Passover is next week, and that means that all the little prayer notes everyone puts in the Wall are cleared out of the crevices to make room etc. If you ever want to put a note/prayer in the Wall, you can go to this part of the Aish website, and one of their students will actually go out and put it in the Wall.
And that leads to the funniest thing put out for this Passover yet:
Paveen Chunhaswasdikul ("Beer"), who lives in Gadsden and is known for his masculine pottery:
...will be showing as one of the 120 artists at the prestigious Smithsonian Craft Show this weekend in Washington. Wow!
There are more pics of Beer's pottery here (he doesn't have a website).
The Smithsonian is also doing an online auction of some of the artists' work, going on right now.
Now through June 12, the Mississippi Museum of Art is exhibiting 'Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Freedom Riders' (of the MS riders) which has a book that also goes along with it.
Restaurant R'evolution is supposed to open late spring this year in the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans (a nice hotel, we've stayed there). The interesting part about that is that John Folse is doing this with the idea of showing how people ate in New Orleans in the 1800s. That will be manifested in seven different dining rooms to represent seven cuisines that influenced the taste culture back then. There will be a market with meats, cheeses, etc. also. The bar will specialize in pre-Prohibition cocktails.
From March 28 - 31, John Folse worked to do a food truck to promote the new season of Swamp People on the History Channel, in NYC. The truck was called "Taste of the Bayou" and they handed out over 13,000 free servings around Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Penn Station, the Financial District, the Port Authority, Union Square and Chelsea.
But seriously, Zagat, when you tell readers about Louisiana food (mallard duck and smoked wild boar sausage gumbo, venison jambalaya, and fricassee of swamp rabbit and wild mushrooms -- yum)coming to do NYC, do you really have to mention Deliverance and advise people they don't have to worry about banjo music?
Also last month, there was a food truck in NYC to promote HBO's Treme, where they handed out free Hubig's pies (yes!), pralines (yes, yes!), and king cake (wha? it's not Mardi Gras season any more, y'all...).
Thanks to my friend Bethanne Hill, a wonderful person and incredible artist (who did this piece for Alabama Folklife about a Sacred Harp Singing School) who talked about the kinetic wind-operated art of Theo Jansen:
Have to show these pics from the cemetery in Holly Springs from when we went to visit Graceland Too (yes it really is 'Too')...Paul asked for fifteen minutes before he was ready for the tour, so we found this...
The fantastic faux bois all around this section:
This monument to "Our Charlie" - Charlie Wells, a little boy who died on Christmas Eve 1872 at the age of four, here with his dog:
sweet little boy:
There were gorgeous monuments all around -- and some of the most elaborate Woodmen of the World stones, too:
When Leslie and I were on our way to Holly Springs for Graceland Too, we stopped in New Albany for lunch.
We were so taken with downtown:
...the gorgeous verdigris on top of the Union County courthouse:
We shopped at Van Atkins Jewelers -- I've seen their ads a hundred times in Mississippi Magazine, and before getting her degree, Leslie worked at a locally-prestigious jewelry store so she knows and loves good pieces. We were pretty impressed with their estate jewelry, but a little bewildered that even in this small town, they buzzed us in rather than having open doors for everyone (maybe that's for their insurance policy). They were nice to us, but all three of the saleswomen spoke unkindly together about an absent customer. Oh, Van Atkins, I really-really wanted you to be sweet and wonderful...
We also had mixed results at Sugaree's Bakery, another place I've seen in MS Magazine. The caramel cake I brought home for our usual Shabbat (Friday evening) supper wasn't as terrific as I wanted it to be, but they made gorgeous iced sugar cookies. Ah, well.
The whole little town was cute, cute, cute though.
Leslie is a believer with me about no chain restaurants. Since it was lunchtime, we joined the locals for a dough burger at Latham's Hamburger Inn:
slugburger trail' (sounds delish, I know!)) but if this is new information to you, they're hamburgers mixed with an extender like flour, crackers, breadcrumbs, soy, etc., developed around the Depression-era, to make meat go further. They're a regional dish, from north-central Alabama to south-west Tennessee, and north-east Mississippi.
I even got an email last week from someone working on improving the Wikipedia entry on slugburgers. Last year, I was talking with my friend Amy Evans from the Southern Foodways Alliance about maybe them doing their own Slugburger Trail, especially when there was talk about Penn's in Decatur closing, and she went over and did an oral history with them (I'll put the clip below).
Like many things, some people hate slugburgers, some people love them, and there aren't too many people in the middle. I love them and turns out Leslie loved this one, her first, here. The burgers come with a side so I chose tater tots for whatever reason, and those were the best tater tots in Creation. I loved that we got to help ourselves to small-bottle Cokes from an old store cooler chest too.
These swivel stools that we sat at, at the counter, are from the old Stagg's Hamburgers which was in an old trolley car:
...and this I took with my iPhone, but how about this old National cash register, with that great hand pointing to the amount due!? ...and that message about how the money has to be in the register...
Dr. Franklin Penn - C. F. Penn Hamburgers from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.
The other day, we saw this castle-inspired water tower in Marvel, Alabama:
Usually I don't pay a lot of attention to water towers, but I've taken pics of a few - like this cotton boll one in Minter City, Mississippi:
...and this one in Mound Bayou, MS (where Peter's Pottery is) which has the city's logo / seal:
...this one at the beach:
...and this tin-man tower means I'm parked at one of my favorite places, McCarty Pottery (updated their website!) in Merigold, MS:
This isn't a water tower, but it's something we saw on a farm road between Sawyerville and Mason's Bend, Alabama - a house on top of a silo: