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 PollsMicroPoll
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,
by Melva Holliman
Praying for May in the south,
Fragrance of sweetness in the air,
Calling to my inner love,
A love, of blueberry, bitter to taste.
Load up the car with buckets,
Tell the kids we will play a game,
Off to the field we charge,
Welcome blueberry season again.
No warning needed when they are in bloom,
They beckon to their lovers,
And lack defense against the enemy,
A predator that can ruin their beauty.
Those that survive multiple,
They are more than a berry,
A cake, tart, pie,
Possibilities are many.
Melva Holliman graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor's in English and Philosophy. She is currently a graduate student at the University of South Alabama working towards a Master's in English.
by Kevin Heaton
Bass bullfrog croakers,
join green tree frog
tenors, in pine bough
choir lofts, over swamp
wrinkled cyprus feet.
I lay me down on mossy
pillows, in peaceful: forgotten,
backwater places, and dream
of Tupelo Honey.
Kevin Heaton lives and writes in South Carolina. His latest chapbook, “Measured Days,” was recently released from Heavy Hands Ink Press, and his work has appeared in Foliate Oak, Elimae, Hanging Moss Journal, Pirene’s Fountain and many others. He is listed as a notable poet at KansasPoets.com. To read more of his work, click here.
by Corey Hutchins
I walked by him with a light air of disdain
as a mask for my unfashionable curiosity and pity.
A heart-wrenchingly beautiful Mexican man,
a boy whose skin the sun craved to seduce with its embracing heat,
Was crouched in front of the coffee shop,
picking up with working hands pieces of plastic and wire.
Everyone walked past him without a second glance,
if they had given him a first.
The manager sternly instructed him to use the bathroom quickly
because they were closing when he finally raised himself and stumbled in.
But I secretly loved his chestnut skin
as I quietly sipped my coffee
And wished I hadn’t looked at him like I had before
for the sake of my friend’s judgment.
Corey Hutchins recently completed her master’s degree in Renaissance literature from the University of Edinburgh and is living and working in Plano, Texas, as volunteer coordinator for the North Texas Food Bank. Her poetry has been published by Windmill, Shinshi, and a handful of stones. About this poem, she says, "I live in Texas, and this particular piece was inspired by the ambivalent relationship a lot of people around here have with the growing Hispanic population. This is someone's first shameful realization of her own hidden racism."
by Dante Di Stefano
I could die there at the Chevron Food Mart,
be reborn at the Kangaroo Express,
and die again at the Oxford Gas Mart.
I could die eating chicken on a stick,
make art from clogged arteries, and express
the perfect poem in the shape of thick
sweet potato fries. I could die between
the aisles of beef jerky and Valvoline.
When I die, the guy behind the counter
has got to be named Dug, spelled D-U-G,
and he’s got to smile, so as to counter
the somberness of all mortality.
Dug, let my life be like catfish deep fried:
crisp, good, dashed with hot sauce before I die.
Dante Di Stefano currently works as a high School English teacher in his hometown of Binghamton, New York. His work has appeared most recently in Poetry, Quarter After Eight, and The Hollins Critic, and he says this poem is part of a collection that connects his travels in the South and the great people he's met.