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This Week's Various

Friday, May 17, 2013

The UK's Guardian does an 11-minute piece on Road Trip USA: Mississippi and possibly no one has ever said 'Panther Burn' so beautifully:


At 8:30 they show our friend Murray Kornfeld (of Kornfeld's Department Store in Greenwood, just right across from the Crystal Grill, you *must* go see him, then go have lunch or at the very least a piece of pie...) holding up a shirt, then a shot of the store.  Loved the spot with Hoover Lee too, and the tiny glimpse of Margaret's Grocery.  The whole thing was great.  Well done.

Also this month The Telegraph publishes a feature, Mud: southern comfort on the Mississippi, and it's like a love letter to the steamboat...

Had no idea (from the Telegraph article) that Viking River Cruises was considering for 2015 making a Mississippi River itinerary.

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Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, based in Ohio, did a super-limited run of flavors inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald (in time for the Gatsby release, of course) which included Blackberries + Sweet Cream, Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam, Dark Chocolate Rye, and Cognac + Marmalade.  Sigh.

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The CBS This Morning feature on GooGoo Clusters won a James Beard award.

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Conditions of workers harvesting Vidalias, in the NYT.

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The Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum is now open in Cleveland, at Delta State. From Preservation Nation:

Quon, like many other children, grew up stocking shelves in the family store. She also went on to earn a college degree, an aspiration that many Chinese immigrant parents had for their children.

“I don’t know what it is about coming from these towns,” she says. “There’s a real connection and a pull, and we feel strongly about supporting and trying to document this past that we have.”


The museum has been in development at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. for about two years, and came into being through the initiative of Quon, current president Raymond Wong, and about a dozen other people. It is currently housed in the archives building at Delta State and features an exhibit of artifacts re-assembled to look like an authentic Chinese grocery, including an original set of doors from Quon’s family store. Wong hopes that eventually, the museum might be a free-standing building, “a place for research and education.”


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The Camellia Grill may have to change its name, but sounds as though the new owner really should have abided by the contract with the previous owner to avoid the whole mess.

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There is a Mississippi Blues Trail Curriculum available for teachers; it's geared toward 4th graders but can be utilized for other grades. Media samples including interviews, field recordings, songs and videos, are included for each lesson. It's a project of the Mississippi Arts Commission, coordinated by my friend Mary Margaret. Yay!

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The As I Lay Dying trailer has been released:


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Texas Monthly has published their 'Top 50' barbecue list.  They do this about every five or so years, and this time, only 18 of the ones on the 2008 list made it.  And why yes, of course Snow's in Lexington made it.  Get ready to be upset if you're looking for Smitty's to be included.  Who's the best in the whole wide world (not just Texas!)?  Franklin Barbecue in Austin.

Appropriately, this week TM promoted the recipe for brisket from the April '11 issue. It includes the directive, 'Hoist the brisket onto the grill, with the thicker end toward the fire and the fat cap facing up. Fill a foil loaf pan with water and put it as close as possible to the firebox. Then find a comfortable chair and read War and Peace.' But to make up WaP's 1440 pages, surely Lonesome Dove and The Gates of the Alamo would be more appropriate.

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Good grief at this somewhat favorable(?) review from Ed Ward for the Oxford American of John Swenson's book, New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans.

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The Eudora Welty Foundation awarded its 2013 Research Fellowship Award to Ole Miss student Ebony O. Lumumba, an advanced doctoral student in English.  She will do research in the Eudora Welty Collection "to explore the inclusion of elements of the African American community in Welty’s fiction and photographs. She plans to spend two months this summer in the archives, reviewing images, personal letters and notes, and published works, in preparation for her dissertation on mothering and foodways of disenfranchised communities in texts of the Global South."

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The Brennan's drama continues.  And that's after last month's (stand-off!?!) drama.

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This week, I found the book 'Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist' and besides the aforementioned, the other most cleverly-named concoction has to be the: Are You There, G-d? It's Me, Margarita.

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Unilever is moving to 100% cage-free eggs for its Hellman's mayonnaise brand, so I dashed off an email to Duke's (world's best) and they replied that: "We do not have any plans at this time to use 100% cage-free eggs. We thank you for your continued support of Duke's Mayonnaise." Well, boo.

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Although there's no Treme to watch right now -- it starts back supposedly this fall, and we're only getting five episodes -- David Simon (whose show is Treme) gets dragged into the discussion about Bravo's negotiated money to film in NOLA for the next season of Top Chef.  There's a whole Twitter back-and-forth, but suffice it to say that Andy Cohen should consider giving the money back plus some and try to come off looking like as much of a mensch as one can after lobbing snarky tweets.  Top Chef is a great show but it's so late to the party in choosing New Orleans and the state of Louisiana as a stage to shoot the show in anyway.  Oh, and you have to love Bourdain's tweet: 'TC is not doing NOLA a favor by shooting there. NOLA does world a favor by existing.'

Treme: The Cookbook will be released July 23; you can preorder now.

'Top Chef' has iterations across the globe -- Greece, Romania, France/Belgium, Finland, Canada, and more.  In Canada it's on their Food Network, and guess what they're showing tonight? Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives -- seriously, but also a show called 'You Gotta Eat Here!' and in that episode they visit a restaurant in London, Ontario that serves a turducken club, and the mayonnaise has (don't forget we're talking Canada) maple syrup.

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"The Crow and The Pitcher" by sculptor Vicki Banks, which was installed at Keys Municipal Park in Ocean Springs, has been vandalized -- someone stole the crow. It's the first act of vandalism to public art according to a board member. I really like how the thief was asked to return it: "If someone took the piece of the sculpture in a moment that they now regret, we hope they will do the right thing and just put it back where it came from or drop it off somewhere so we can retrieve it."  It surely was just someone carrying out a spur-of-the-moment prank.  Hope the crow flies back soon.

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From the Clarion-Ledger:
Myrlie Evers-Williams today (May 11) became the first person in a decade honored with a Humanitarian Award by the University of Mississippi — the same institution that turned away her late husband from entering law school.

The widow of slain Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers was surprised with the award after delivering the university’s 160th commencement address this morning to Ole Miss graduates.


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G-d bless Ka'Nard Allen and the others who were victims at the second line on Mother's Day.  There's a fund that's been set up to give him a good 11th birthday, here.  He deserves goodness.

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Gip's Place, the Bessemer juke joint: the city has said it can't operate as a business and thus can't charge for food/drinks/cover/etc.

Driving the Juke Joint Trail, in the NYT (first stop, the aforementioned Gip's):
“There used to be juke joints all around here,” Mr. Seaberry said as we stood outside, watching the sun set. “Well, a lot of young folks didn’t know how to act, and they just had to close them down.” He looked out across an infinite Delta horizon. “But all my people like the blues.”

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'Here in Oxford, Lafayette County, Mississippi, we have a citizen who refers to himself as a farmer.  A farmer who also writes.  This is William Faulkner, of Oxford, Mississippi.  His family is Old South and he's never been gone from Lafayette County for long, yet the name of William Faulkner has spread throughout the world as one of the greatest writers of American fiction today.'  Parts of this are horribly staged, horribly acted, and Faulkner must've shuddered to see it later, on film. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see these clips as they were presented by CBS for their show Omnibus, in 1952 -- this was just put up on YouTube this week:










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The University of South Carolina just made available on the web one of the pieces of its F. Scott Fitzgerald collection (provided by Scottie): his ledger; one section of the ledger is for Zelda's earnings.

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A couple of weeks ago All Things Considered did a feature on Southern Cross the Dog, the new novel set in the Delta, by Bill Cheng.  Thing is, he's never been to the Delta.  A few days later, the NYT reviewed it, as Seeing Mississippi Sight Unseen.  

From its opening pages, “Southern Cross the Dog” has all the markers of a novel written in the finest Southern gothic tradition. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 sweeps in, taking a few unlucky characters with it. There are references aplenty to race, poverty, the blues, voodoo and an ill-fated brothel.

“I was highly suspicious of this book when I first started it,” said Richard Howorth, the owner of Square Books in Oxford, Miss., and a revered authority on Southern literature. “I was won over.”


Bill Cheng is doing a signing/reading at Lemuria in Jackson on May 20 and Square Books on the 21st.

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The dates for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (the T Bone Burnett / John Mellencamp / Stephen King musical) is going around the country -- as a concert.  USA Today writes:
Described as a "Southern Gothic, supernatural musical," Ghost Brothers uses folk and blues textures to spin a "tale of fraternal love, lust, rivalry and revenge." In it, the spirits of two siblings who died around the same time — while fighting over a girl — haunt a cabin in Mississippi where their kid brother, now a middle-aged man, lives with his two young adult sons, whose relationship is as fraught as their late uncles' was.

As previously announced, an album of Ghost Brothers will also be released June 4...


On October 16, it will be at the Ryman; tickets here.

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The NYT reports on a slave cabin in Edisto Island, South Carolina being moved to the new Smithsonian African-American history museum, scheduled to open in late 2015.

It will be among the featured artifacts, beside Harriet Tubman’s shawl, Nat Turner’s Bible, a Tuskegee Airmen fighter plane and Emmett Till’s coffin. Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s director, called it “a true jewel in the crown of our collection.”

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Lonely Planet on Beyond the Beignets: New Orleans' Modern Food Movement:
‘We are New Orleans-trained cooks but we don’t accept the orthodoxy of food traditions,’ confirms Michael Doyle, chef at Maurepas Foods. ‘I decided I wanted to rethink the corner joint,’ he says of the inspiration behind his buzzing Bywater restaurant. With a highly seasonal menu, favorites come and go but the goat tacos with pickled green tomatoes and a harissa-inspired sauce...have proved such a hit that Doyle had to devise a network of goat farmers in Louisiana and Mississippi to keep up with demand. The chicken leg quarter served with greens and grits and a slow-poached egg is Southern cooking at its best, and in Doyle’s words, ‘allows me to show off that not everything we do is esoteric.’

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Reading this week:
The Rarest Blue: The Remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered
Fresh American Spaces: Romantic - Nuanced - Happy - Cultured - Exuberant

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