Wednesday, October 27, 2010

tea and blood

The two funniest people I've ever met, Juliet Hope Wayne & Dan Kennedy, stop for a spot of tea and some violence during The Unchained Tour.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This, my friends, is the Andalusia Foundation, or the adult home of Flannery O'Conner. I popped in as it was literally on the road to my destination, Madison. No veers or side roads. There it was. Roadside adventure of literary greatness. It helped that a storm was letting up, and I was tired from inching forward in it, so I needed the break. Behind the home is the family barn, servant cottage, a milk house, and the present-day sound announcements of a few car dealerships. There are also many, many discarded pieces of furniture and plumbing that the grounds are more of a not-for-sale junkyard. Or, did Flannery liken to The Misfit (more than we know) and have Hulk-esque throw tantrums? The porch was the most striking. The thunderstorm had the screen door banging and the rocking chairs knocking the wood. Once inside, the lower level is on display which luckily contains Flannery's bedroom where she composed the bulk of her work. I shivered in Georgia-September. It was touching to be there. I was in the house where Flannery wrote all morning and then took guests on the screen porch till late in the evening. I sat on that same porch and tried to realize how she conjured such wicked characters. Answer: She was Catholic.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

becton morgan, ouija boards, & cumberland island

Above are photographs by an old high school friend named Becton Morgan. We hadn't seen each other in ten years but there we were at her latest opening in Savannah. We'd crossed similar state lines at different times but now live blocks away from each other. I've seen a lot of openings here lately and this was a truly wonderful one. The concept was the themes of the southern gothic writers (William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor primarily). There were images of antebellum ruins, leaves blown onto a church pew (my favorite!), violence (So Flannery!), and abandonment. I've been on a color photography kick and mostly because of my obsession with the 1960's and 70's photographers that ruled it (then and some still---Eggleston, Leiter, etc.) I find a particular thrill in perfectly printed black and white photography. Partly because I spent uncountable hours in college perfecting one photo at a time and there is a meditative joy to it (okay, it's also a pain in the ass). Otherwise, a wonderfully printed black and white image carries a grace, an accessibility and immediate rush of a feeling.

Many of the photos from her latest exhibition are shot on Cumberland Island. It's a near abandoned stretch with the antebellum ruins of Thomas Carnegie's estate (the less famous of the Carnegie's), marooned shrimping boats, wild horses, and therein some epic landscapes. If you visit the link you will find not only great history, and ruin photographs, but also the simple fact that Cumberland Island has a large shark population. Needless to say, Cumberland is my next big road trip once this Unchained Tour winds down.

On a side-note, I share the eeriest Ouija board experience of all time with Becton. In my senior year of high school I was in a production of Picnic by William Inge. I played the bitter old schoolmistress that's always slapping cold cream on her face and getting sloppy drunk. It was good fun. After the run, the cast and crew headed out to Jennifer Borntrager's lake house. The boys ended up watching The Matrix. The rest of us girls, ten in total, went into a room across the way and played Ouija. After a few harmless questions, the spirit "Rowena" got a little bitchy. Then, Jennifer admitted that Rowena was her aunt and had killed herself in that room. Good times! We'd all taken our fingers off the board at this point and were in need of additional oxygen. Jen said not to worry and that Rowena didn't want to hurt us, right? The cursor began moving by itself saying, No No No. So we think okay, great. Then the cursor aka Rowena says, I will hurt you. An inexplicable thump from below flew the board and all ten of us up and then back down. Eight of the girls ran screaming and jumped fully clothed into the lake. Why? One need not question any behavior after experiencing a demon or whatever... The other two girls, myself and Jean Parker, grabbed each other and cried ourselves to sleep. We were convinced that Rowena was underneath the bed getting ready to drag us by the feet into hell and/or kill us. We survived. We all slept with a light on for months to come. Surprisingly or not, I did keep playing Ouija.

more from the unchained tour

Photos from the Bird's first drive! This was filmed so expect a smile-filled short from the documentary crew soon. It was a momentous occasion with travelers (adult drinks in paper cups--Savannah is alkie), beautiful sights, and lots of attention. The school bus was gutted and in replacement of the chairs are a recliner, a futon, a booth, a headboard and fold out bed, more chairs, and cupboards waiting to be filled with books, road games, and snacks. So yes, if there were ever a time to come to Georgia it would be right now in this fine month of October!

Also, another video clip from the doc crew showing our painters:

Unchained Tour: Prologue Part Two from Unchained Tour of Georgia on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

blood, sweat, and tears

Just a month ago, I was down and out wondering if I'd fallen off the ladder. I was studying ghost stories for potential tours and wondering if I would lose my teeth due to cavities I never managed to fill when I actually had dental insurance. Here I am now with an upgraded to Publicity Director for Unchained Tour. I got to scout around Madison (blog prior) for an event but to little effect as it was cancelled. The store Dog Ear Books moved to Athens and the city of Madison is furious their bookstore is leaving them, sad too but mostly furious. This is one of the ironies of our times. If the store had done a little better it maybe could have stayed. So, if you love your local independent bookstore pump some money into it or you'll be pissed off when it boxes up for the next best town. I've attached a video that is the first clip of our documentary crews work. It makes me all teary and moved. More to come! So many great people are involved from Dan Kennedy to Cary Ann Hearst, and so many more.

Unchained Tour: Prologue from Unchained Tour of Georgia on Vimeo.

Also, here's the link for an amazing story by my new pal and Moth founder, George Dawes Green, called "The House That Sherman Didn't Burn."