by Jake Cole
Tucked away in the shade of a rusted cotton gin factory and ivy-covered trees, the post-industrial graveyard of The Goat Room proved a fitting backdrop for the hopeful birth of a new kind of business in Atlanta.
[caption id="attachment_3734" align="aligncenter" width="500"] A crowd gathered outside the Good Food Truck.[/caption]
Benefiting the Atlanta Street Food Coalition, the Southern Swap Meet, held May 21, showcased some of the businesses attempting to gain permits for food trucks in the city, as well as performance art and independent vendors.
Among the food vendors present were
Good Food Truck, specializing in American, especially Southern, food with international twists
Tamale Queen, a taco and tamale vendor
King of Pops, an ice pop stand with exotic and seasonal flavors
Lafayette's Fancy Boiled Peanuts, a gourmet peanut vendor
Westside Creamery, an ice cream vendor
In-between snacks, attendees could watch The Collective Project, a performance art troupe that offered "re-enactments" of the history of the food truck, as well as various musicians.
Also in attendance were the performers of the Dance Truck, a portable dance venue promoting its unorthodox platform alongside the food trucks. Dancers performed both inside the Good Food Truck and in the bed of a time-worn yet still virile 1955 Chevy.
[caption id="attachment_3735" align="aligncenter" width="500"]
Thank you notes and correspondence this summer just got a bit more Southern with the U.S. Postal Service's announcement of a Forever stamp featuring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. The 17th inductee into the "Legends of Hollywood" stamp series, Peck is best remembered by Southerners for his award-winning role in "To Kill A Mockingbird." Stamps are available at local post offices, the Postal Store website or by calling 800-STAMP-24. Mockingbird fans also have until June 28 to apply for a first-day-of-issue postmark by attaching stamps to an envelope and addressing it to:
Gregory Peck Stamp
Los Angeles Marketing Department
7001 S. Central Ave., #307
Los Angeles, CA 90052-9998
Monroeville, Alabama, hometown of Mockingbird author Harper Lee, also celebrated the stamp's release with an event at the courthouse. (A total of 13,873 stamps were sold!) A special postmark from the town post office, affectionately known as Mockingbird Station, is available through May 31.
Festivals celebrating cornbread, biscuits and MoonPies are taking place throughout the Volunteer State this summer.
By Kate Spears
May is here and, in the South, we all know what that means … the start of festival season! I guess I’m what you could call a festival junkie. Early each year, I scour the web and other media outlets for local festivals and slowly, but surely, each weekend of the upcoming months gets filled with events. I don’t always make it to every festival I pencil in, but some take more priority. This year, I kicked off festival season with the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
South Pittsburg is just off Interstate 24, close to where the borders of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama meet. This tiny town comes alive for the festival, held the last weekend of April for the past 15 years. South Pittsburg is also home to Lodge Cast Iron, and since every true Southerner knows cast iron bakes the best cornbread, this is a perfect tie-in for the festival.
After making the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Knoxville, the Southern beau and I met up with some Nashville friends who were joining us, and prepared to experience all the Cornbread Festival
Last month, we got an email from author Jackie Garvin. She wrote: "If the name of my blog, Syrup and Biscuits, doesn't give it away, my accents, stories and recipes will attest to the fact that 'I'm Southern by the grace of God.' Any project that elevates our Southern traditions, heritage and food is of interest to me." Doesn't get much more Southern than that!
Jackie also has a post titled "Syrup and Biscuits on Syrup and Biscuits" that explains why she chose the name for her blog and includes a recipe, of course. Read her post below, "like" Syrup and Biscuits on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @syrupnbiscuits.
"Syrup and Biscuits" on Syrup and Biscuits
by Jackie Garvin
posted on April 25
My granddaddy ate syrup and biscuits almost every morning of his life that lasted for 90 wonderful years. Cane syrup was his favorite. He’d sop up the thick, rich, dark amber liquid with a hot biscuit and declare, “That Top O’ The World sirp sho’ is good.” Early in my life, I had the notion that syrup and biscuits represented something very good. That’s exactly what I want “Syrup and Biscuits” to represent. Goodness. Just simple, honest, unpretentious goodness.
Some of my earliest
Writer Tara Lynne Groth, author of the first and only guidebook to the Bonnaroo Music Festival, “How Do You Roo? A Survivor’s Pocket Guide to Bonnaroo," has agreed to give away two copies of her book in conjunction with the summer music festival story she wrote for us. "Sounds of Summer: How to Survive Heat, Port a Potties, Dust and More at the South's Slew of Summer Music Festivals" took some of Groth's tips from her book and applied them to several music festivals taking place throughout the summer. According to North Carolina’s MerleFest, which celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year, “one-fifth of American adults now attend festivals while on vacation, with music festivals being the most popular choice." What to do when there's no shade? Create a breezeway by placing a tarp between your tent and car, says Groth. Suppose there's a sudden downpour? Leave the umbrella at home and carry a poncho. What if the weather suddenly cools off? Visit the merchandise booth for a commemorative hoodie.
Whether you're planning to attend Bonnaroo June 9-12 in a field in Manchester, Tennessee, or just want to read about the 10-year-old festival, see instructions below on how to win a copy of Groth's
by Evan Guilford-Blake
There is mist falling through the chilly Saturday afternoon sky, and the still-stark trees tilt from the wind. There are small pits, small swells in the old road. Now and again, the old shocks fail to cushion her and with one hand she holds to the dash to keep from bouncing. With the other, she touches her stomach.
The roundness is just-visible to Walt, still invisible to nearly everyone else, though she has seen it for weeks, felt it, she’s sure, for longer than that. She runs her other hand over it, watching the road, the rain, thinks the baby, the baby.
“Are you cold?” she asks Walt.
“Me? No. ’re you?”
Megan nestles herself tighter into the seat. “Little,” she says.
“Turn up the heat.”
She does. “Seems chilly, even with it on.”
“We should get it checked again anyhow, huh?”
“Uh-huh,” he says, as the car bucks once again, this time with more force. “Walt,” she says, “be careful.”
“I am,” he says. “It’s this road.” He leans over the wheel, hands together at twelve o’clock, chin atop them, eyes fixed. “You okay?”
“Yeah. I guess.”
He smiles and nods. “How ’bout … ?”
She runs her hands over her stomach. “Yeah, just, I can feel it
by Jake Cole
Until March 12, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University exhibited the works of Georgian folk artist Howard Finster. A former Baptist reverend who painted sacred art, Finster committed himself to art in 1976, and when he died in 2001, left more than 46,000 works. Fortunately, many of them can be seen in the permanent collection at Atlanta's High Museum of Art.
Of all the artists throughout history to dedicate their services unto God, Finster is the most like a child who brings home deformed, papier-mâché atrocities for Mom, who must warily tack them on the fridge to avoid a scene. Disproportionate body features—all bulging eyes and Cubist rictus grins—typify Finster’s paintings and sculptures. Using pop culture icons like Elvis, historical figures like George Washington and religious figures such as John the Baptist, Finster crafted screwball paeans to God using everything from tractor acrylic to the tools he once used to repair bicycles.
A consummate showman, Finster built his magnum opus, a sprawling den of ever-expanding folk art dubbed “Paradise Gardens,” as a roadside attraction. It bordered on satire, presenting faith as an outdated curio for bored families looking for something to pacify pestering children. In
by Lydia Ondrusek
She combs the seaweed from her hair
and sings them home
from everywhere — her children,
riding memories, and
bearing swords of saints.
“yes, the waves roll out
so far, my dear ones, and
my, the sea is very large
to roam; and
oh, the waves are very tall,
my darlings –
but look – they are forever
She combs the seaweed from her hair
and sings her ancient song –
her children sail through hurricanes
to bear her magic back, ere long;
in hopes they fill, with tears of joy,
her emptied crescent moon.
In hopes they’ll be there, dancing,
the next time Nola sings.
Lydia Ondrusek lives in Richardson, Texas, and often writes about Southern experiences and locations. She has had fiction and poetry published online and in print since 2008 in a diverse range of publications that include Flash Fiction Online and Falling Star Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @littlefluffycat.
by Shermika Dunner
Thanks to an offer from Crowd Surf, I was fortunate to see Amos Lee’s April 29 performance at Workplay in Birmingham, Alabama. His music combines blues, folk, soul and more, and the sold-out crowd was overjoyed to hear it after all the devastation from an F5 tornado that recently tore through Southern states, hitting Alabama the hardest.
Some songs Lee performed included, “Colors,” “Careless” and “Truth,” in addition to those from his latest album, "Mission Bell." People were tapping their bare feet after kicking off their shoes, and Lee was well received by the ladies, as they gushed about being so close to the stage and sung along to his tunes. He hails from Philadelphia, but definitely has Southern influences in his speech and music. (He greeted the crowd with a cheerful, “Hey y’all.”)
In July, Lee will go on tour with Lake Charles, Louisiana, native Lucinda Williams, but for now Southerners can see him during tour stops in Roanoke, Richmond, New Orleans, Memphis, Asheville, Myrtle Beach, Gulf Shores, Manchester, and parts of Florida. Visit amoslee.com to find out when he'll be in a city near you.
Crowd Surf is an online music marketing company that focuses on utilizing social
Last month, we posted a poll on our website to find out whether readers thought Gulf seafood was safe to eat a year after the oil spill. With the spill anniversary falling on April 20, the safety issue was at the forefront of minds across the country, and campaigns like "Serve the Gulf" in Alabama sprung up to fight the perception that seafood is still tainted by oil. The results of our poll show that Southerners are still eating their seafood (78%), while people in other parts of the country have concerns. This isn't surprising, since many of us who live near the coast probably know a fisherman or shrimper and have witnessed firsthand the quality of seafood coming out of our waters - and thoroughly enjoyed it on our plates. The findings below just prove that if you do believe Gulf seafood is safe to eat, then tell your friends and family members in other regions that it's safe to order Gulf seafood in a restaurant or buy it in the grocery store.
Gulf Seafood Poll Results
78% of survey participants believe Gulf seafood is safe to eat.
22% believe Gulf seafood is not safe to eat.
Folks in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas,