10 films that dive into the beauty and terror of Southern life.
By Jake Cole
"Gone With the Wind" may be the film that dominates the conversation when it comes to the South, but it's hardly the only great movie about the region. The South may not grace the screen regularly enough, or at least not as something more than a cultural punching bag, but there are movies that capture both its reality and cultural spirit. From a silent masterpiece to modern works of poetry and progressiveness, these 10 films should be on every Southerners' to-watch list.
The General (Buster Keaton, 1926)
The Civil War was at the heart of American cinematic innovation in the medium's first few decades, from D.W. Griffith's medium-changing "The Birth of a Nation" to a little film about a woman named Scarlett. The conflict even made for seminal comedy, as seen in this movie Orson Welles called "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made." Keaton's rebel engineer moves through a world as realistic as the still photographs to come from the conflict — and as absurd as anything the great clown could come up with. Epic in
by Jake Cole
5 Essential Albums
Building a solid Louis Armstrong collection necessitates digging through endless singles collections. Such is the nature of music made before the fifties and even beyond. The lack of truly definitive box sets for Armstrong's material, or at least official or in-print box sets, makes the task all the more difficult. (This, however, is finally being rectified with the upcoming release of a 10-CD monolith titled Satchmo: Louis Armstrong, The Ambassador of Jazz, due out August 8 in Europe and hopefully making its way across the Pond shortly thereafter.) There are a handful of truly solid albums out there that fans should own in addition to the various compilations. These five a affordable packages are musts for those seeking to introduce themselves to Satchmo.
1. Hot Fives & Sevens
Bypass Columbia's shoddily produced (and slightly more expensive) box set for JSP's more-than-affordable four-disc set that not only stands as the document of Armstrong's early years, but the definitive statement of jazz as an emerging art form. With these recordings, Armstrong rapidly evolves jazz from a staccato, folk-inspired group sound to a spotlight for elegant solo improvisation. Armstrong strains on some notes, but that is the price for innovation, and
Residents and tourists of St. Simons Island, Georgia, might be familiar with a concession stand called The Snow Shack. A snowcone business owned and operated by couple Charlie and Melissa Turner (pictured with their two kids on the right), the "shack" can be found at the East Beach concession stand. The Turners specialize in organic syrups in flavors like raspberry lemonade and Georgia peach, and would like to take their snowcone show on the road year-round. A Kickstarter campaign was unfortunately unsuccessful in raising funds for a true shack on wheels, but the Turners aren't giving up. Visit them at St. Simons Island and contact them through Kickstarter to help support their snowcone dream.
Deep South intern Jake Cole interviewed Melissa about her snowcones and her plans to bring them further South as part of our summer focus on some of the South's best snowball stands. Submit your favorite stand to our Snowball Photo Contest for the chance to win Cypress Tees' "Cajun Sneaux" t-shirt and a few additional prizes in the works.
Why did you decide to start selling snowcones?
My husband, Charlie, is a pastor. We left a comfortable, well-paying church job to join a much smaller church in downtown Brunswick,
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.
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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