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This Week's Various

Friday, January 22, 2016

Joe Minter's African Village in America, Birmingham AL

Joe Minter's African Village in America Art Environment, Birmingham AL

Joe Minter and Ginger (me)
The incredible Fred Scruton took this pic of Joe and me (2013) in one of Joe's sculptures.

Loving that the Artnet piece, Unexpected Artworks Dominate This Year's Outsider Art Fair, which is going on this weekend in NYC mentions Lonnie Holley and my sweet friend Joe Minter's work there:

The fair opens boldly with a two-artist presentation by James Fuentes, of sculptures by Lonnie Holley and Joe Minter...

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First Baptist Church, Rodney MS
a visit to the church we made in 2012

This is how the Baptist church in Rodney is looking, with the Mississippi River flooding now.

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Pasaquan, Outside Buena Vista GA
a visit to Pasaquan pre-restoration in 2012

CNN ran '16 Things to See and Do in the US in 2016' includes the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum outside Birmingham, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opening this fall, and EOM's art environment Pasaquan in Georgia which will reopen to the public later this year.

Kohler, who came in to do preservation on the site, gifted the property to Columbus State University in December.

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Atlanta Food Walks put out a press release about their Downtown Southern Food Walk and Dr. King's love of food:

"Dr. King's first memory was standing at the bread lines during the Depression. In his letters, he compared the quality of food at the jails where he was imprisoned; though the conditions at the Albany, Georgia jail were brutal, he wrote that their breakfasts of sausages, eggs, and grits, were generally good. In fact, one of his last conversations on that fateful day in Memphis was about what they would be eating for supper," Akila McConnell, owner of Atlanta Food Walks, explains. "Our Culinary Storytellers intertwine Dr. King's story with the history of Southern food, from slavery through the Civil Rights Movement to today's fusion cuisine."

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'Parchman Prison' Quilt by Hystercine Rankin at Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson MS
'Parchman Prison' Quilt by Hystercine Rankin at Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson - from a visit in 2013

At Texas Standard: Not Your Grandma's Blanket: Can a Quilt be Modern Art? A new generation of quilters is challenging the convention that their work is simply a craft. (Really, Gee's Bend answered this, but the article is about 'modern quilters' as well.)



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Sweet Jessie Zenor (who also was with Rural Studio) had her 'Green House on Porter' in Ocean Springs featured at Bitter Southerner.

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20K Homes, Greensboro AL
one of the 20k homes in Hale County

Rural Studio's partnership with Serenbe to build its $20k homes there for artists to use while in residence at Serenbe turned out to cost about $135k for two of them plus a deck. Sounds like it was completely worthwhile and Rural Studio learned a lot, though, in what it would take to further mainstream their acceptance and construction beyond Hale County, Alabama where RS is based. From ArtsATL:

The houses are not only too small, they are too cheap. Contractors work on commission, generally 20 percent of construction costs. Says Smith, “A contractor won’t get out of his truck for less than $20,000.” That’s kinda hard to do if the house costs less than $100,000. In addition contractors assess costs based on past experience and rely on subs for materials estimates, usually based on square footage. You can bet that nary a contractor has, like Rural Studio, actually counted the number of two-by-fours needed on a project.

Images here at Atlanta Magazine.

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The trailer for The Free State of Jones has been released:


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This 11k sq ft Philip Johnson contemporary in Dallas is on the market for $27.5M.

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At Munchies: Robert’s Western World Is a Bastion of Country Music and Fried Bologna

Robert’s is still carrying the flame for the very idea that you can still play country music in 2015—in front of a live audience, with no cover—and people will be so excited about it that they’ll pay you enough to survive. And as a guest at the bar, you can enjoy all of this while eating a fried bologna sandwich.

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Tomato Aspic
I like to serve aspic in cups...

The New Yorker runs Tatyana Tolstaya's piece, Aspic:
It’s a special kind of religion, making the aspic. It’s a yearly sacrifice, though we don’t know to whom or for what. And what would happen if you didn’t make it is also a question mark.

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Hanna Raskin writes in the Post and Courier about Edna Lewis' short three-year stay at Middleton Place and her legacy there:

"It was really Alice Waters on the West Coast and Edna on the East.”


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Beignet at Cafe du Monde, New Orleans LA
of course

The Mercury in Australia did a story on travel in the US South (Louisiana, really) with a piece titled, 'If you’re taking a culinary tour of the American deep south, know there’s more than fried chicken on the menu'

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From the press release:

A major example of American folk art sculpture with strong Southern history will be presented for sale at the 2016 Winter Antiques Show by Americana specialists David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles. The one-of-a-kind apothecary trade figure known as “Tom Long” was made to advertise the Athens, Georgia medical office and pharmacy of Dr. Crawford W. Long (1815-1878), famed as the pioneer in the discovery of surgical anesthesia.

The Winter Antiques Show is held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City from January 22 to 31, www.winterantiquesshow.com

The poplar and yellow pine figure stands 58 inches tall and was carved in Athens by Charles James Oliver, circa 1851-1855, and retains a fine old painted surface. For nearly half a century it stood outside Long and Billups Pharmacy on Broad Street in Athens, Georgia, until 1909, when it was acquired by Joseph Jacobs (1859-1929), an apprentice of Dr. Long, who went on to open his own pharmacy in 1884 in Atlanta, where two years later he earned a place in American history by introducing the first Coca Cola fountain drink to the public.


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It's always complicated. Here, WV Public Broadcasting on Revisiting What Happens When Strangers With Cameras Travel Inside Appalachia

What happens when strangers with cameras go to Appalachia? It’s a complicated topic that many Appalachians have strong feelings about. This week, we revisit our most popular episode from 2015. Since this first aired, Vice Magazine has published another article by photographer Stacy Kranitz. It's the latest in Kranitz's photo essay series called, "There Aint No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down", which takes its title from the song by Brother Claude Ely.

More of Stacy Kranitz' series here.

The other Vice photo essay, Bruce Gilden's Two Days in Appalachia, is here.

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Black's Barbecue, Lockhart TX
the only two places to eat -- Black's and home

In the Washington Post: Move over, foie gras: The latest rage in Paris is . . . classic American barbecue

In 2013, Abramowicz quit his highflying job as a marketer of luxury goods (think cognac and champagne) to apprentice at the 65-year-old Louie Mueller Barbecue, a famous standard-bearer in Taylor, Tex.

“All wood,” Abramowicz says, referring to the lack of assistance from gas or electricity in the J&R cooker, shipped from Mesquite, Tex. The Beast gets its name from the giant, two-ton smoker. “I had to keep it real.”


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Robbie Fulks' Meditative new 'Alabama at Night' from Rolling Stone:

In 1936, writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans traveled to Alabama to document the lives of sharecropping families in the Great Depression for Fortune. The harrowing experience was eventually published in book form as Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which has proven influential for future generations of writers.

Among them are Chicago-based alternative-country pioneer Robbie Fulks, who wrote his new song "Alabama at Night" from the journalists' perspective. "We were not there to talk, we were only there to see," he laments, describing the heartbreaking scenes of poverty he sees with empathy.


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Mount Ararat Cemetery, Nashville TN
Mt Ararat Cemetery in Nashville, where some Edmondson monuments had previously been installed

William Edmondson's Boxer was the top lot at $785k in Christie's sale, 'Liberation Through Expression: Outsider and Vernacular Art' -- it's a new world record for this genre. Yesssss!!!

from ArtNews:
And yet calling Edmondson himself an outsider at this point is full of problematic implications. He was the child of freed slaves, worked for a time as a janitor in a Nashville hospital, and didn’t start making sculpture until the age of 57. But, as stated in a biographical note on the artist published by the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, which organized an Edmondson show in 2011, he was also exhibiting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as early as 1937, when he was the first African American artist to receive a solo show at that institution.

HuffPo on Why Big Auction Houses Want In On The Growing Outsider Art Craze:
For Zimmerman, the more eyes on the historically under-appreciated and undervalued pocket of the art world, the better. "I hope it grows and people who are unfamiliar with it now will know it by heart in 10 to 20 years," she said. "I hope the work thrives. I want it to take on a life of its own and be in every major museum. I want this to be a part of the art world that people just can’t ignore."

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Barber's Milk Mural, Pontotoc Mississippi
taken in 2008 -- sign in Pontotoc, Mississippi for Barber's Milk

From the Atlantic:
Milk, Bread, and Eggs: The Trinity of Winter-Storm Panic-Shopping
Why do people reliably stock up on the same things before they get snowed in?

...and one source mentioned that other thing we stock up on for hurricanes: alcohol.

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At Slate this week: 'In This Impoverished Mississippi Community, Teacher Assistant Is a Coveted Job. It Pays $9 an Hour.' (they're talking about Greenville). Also: Today almost all the students in the Greenville Public School District receive free and reduced lunch.

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4-H Exhibit - Peanuts, Watermelon at Neshoba County Fair
4-H exhibit at the Neshoba County Fair

Virginia Willis is developing 13 half-hour shows for PBS for a series to be called "Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lovers' Tour of the Global South" -- it's expected to begin airing in January 2017.

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The new Grammy museum in Cleveland, MS will have as its first exhibit "Ladies and Gentlemen...the Beatles" when it opens in March.

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Banh Mi at Le Bakery, Biloxi MS
the banh mi at Le Bakery in Biloxi

Over the last couple of months, media has made much of how some are offended by the history (or not) and authenticity (or lack of such) of food. The bahn mi served in the dining hall at Oberlin wasn't really (I've eaten in the dining hall at Oberlin: leave your expectations elsewhere) plus some dissatisfaction with the undercooked rice there coming across as 'disrespectful', Clemson Dining served another 'Maximum Mexican' day then the university apologized, and while Whole Foods encouraged people to eat collards there was some upset as to whether this grocery store wasn't crediting -- actually ruining per Ebony -- or whether the idea of a dish of peanuts and collards they depicted was even a thing (it is).  Food wasn't the only source of ire: yoga too.

Different but not different, at the New Yorker, Hua Hsu writes Chinese Food and the Joy of Inauthentic Cooking:

...Talde and Bowien’s books suggest a shadow aspiration: to pay tribute to the anonymous genius of immigrants, and to build a “strange and awesome” new America in their honor. Inauthenticity becomes a kind of power, a refusal of someone else’s expectations and tastes. The great lengths that diners are willing to travel to eat their food, the hours they are willing to wait for a seat at the bar, may dramatize a desire to return, impossibly, to something unrecoverable—the “flavor memory” of childhood, the simple ecstasy of a packed family dinner table, a transformative Styrofoam plate of food-court stir-fry. A wish to glimpse highs more common in some neighborhoods than in others. Sometimes it has nothing to do with taste at all, but instead is about the chain of associations triggered when you hear the squeak of a lazy Susan, or the sound of a bundle of chopsticks being run under a faucet, and you remember the rote explanation for why your family has an extra refrigerator in the garage, secreting all the ingredients that make you different—that will one day make you special.

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Buc-ee's, Luling TX
the Buc-ee's in Luling

Three years late in seeing Ken Herman's statement in the Statesman:
If you haven't been to a Buc-ee's your life is hollow and incomplete.

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Phillip Ashley Rix of Memphis has been named Official Chocolatier of the Grammy Awards Gift Lounge. From the Memphis Business Journal:

23-Karat Gold Salted Caramel Pecan Praline will also be a featured parting gift for guests of the official Grammy Celebration. The Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 5.

Rix handcrafts each praline using a rare purple bean cacao, roasted Mississippi Delta pecans and Fleur de Sel. Each praline is laced with 23-karat gold leaf, and the 68 percent single origin dark chocolate shell is finished with 23-karat gold dust. Each piece retails for $79.

He's just finalized a deal that will have his chocolates sold through Neiman Marcus and Horchow -- they'll ship direct from his shop in Memphis.

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Frank Fleming
a Frank Fleming piece in the Southern Living offices, 2009

Frank Fleming wants everyone to know he's back in Birmingham and welcoming commissions.

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Thanksgiving Pies, 2014
among these pies for Thanksgiving are a couple of my buttermilk pies

The Daily Meal's Best Pie in Every State:
Alabama = buttermilk pie
Arkansas = chess pie
Georgia = peach pie
Louisiana = king cake pie
Mississippi = Mississippi Mud Pie
Tennessee = Tennessee Whiskey - Pecan Pie
Texas = Sparkling Grapefruit Pie

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There's an exhibit on the African-American cookbook collection at Alabama's W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, now through early February.

Comprising some 500 volumes, the David Walker Lupton Collection documents everything from the industry’s origin in the 1800s to the celebrity cookbook craze of the 2000s. It is especially strong in cookbooks that look back to Africa, celebrate the concept of “soul food,” or originate within local community groups.

In addition, the Libraries recently acquired the personal collection of one African-American cook, Viola Pearson Ragland. Donated by her son, Rev. Wylheme Ragland, these books sometime focus on African-American foodways but often simply reflect the main currents of American cooking.

Another exhibit going on now, in Maine, is What to Eat and How to Cook It: A Celebration of the Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery, The author of the piece about it in the Portland Press Herald mentioned:

In “La Cuisine Creole,” published in 1885, I found lots of “gombo” recipes, including Oyster Gombo with filee. Ingredients: “a grown chicken, 50 oysters and a half-pound of ham to flavor the Gombo.”

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Frito Chili Pie
frito pie at home - but not tosti elotes

Via Phoenix New Times: La Carreta de Lily serves something like a Frito chili pie, but it's called 'tosti elotes':

The snack is made using Mexican-brand Tostitos (salsa verde-flavored, for an extra layer of salty spice), mayonnaise, melted butter, chili powder, lime, granulated queso cotija, fresh-off-the-cob elote, and, to top it off, a hit of Mexican hot sauce.

...The process involves slicing open a bag of Tostitos, dumping a bunch ingredients over the chips, and finally, planting a plastic spoon into the stiff muddle of chips and creamy goop...

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Uneeda Biscuit Sign, Meridian MS
not biscuits in this sense, but the Uneeda Biscuit sign in Meridian

Garden and Gun had a blind taste testing of fast food biscuits -- they made the field *very* small and didn't even include Whataburger or Biscuitville. Here are the results. Thing is: the really good fast-food biscuits, if we must -- and we all must at some point really -- are the ones under the heat lamps in tinfoil bundles at gas stations and Piggly Wigglys. Alas, the Pig doesn't have a drive-thru.

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Deer Mount on Tree in Front Yard, Ocean Springs MS
front yard, Ocean Springs

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