Category Archives: grassroots art

National Civil Rights Museum/Memphis, Memphis BBQ/not on Memphis, City grocery, Square Books and Snack bar in Oxford, MS

I went to the Lorraine Motel where MLK was murdered for the third time today and was amazed to see that a woman who was protesting a proposed civil rights museum on the site back in 1989 was still there with her protest signs. She apparently thinks it memorializes the murderer. I disagree. I was as impressed today as I was during my second visit to the site (when it was a museum) about 9 years ago with Noah. It does a powerful job of laying out what led to the Civil Rights Movement and eventually MLK’s murder, with a dramatic finale: the (now glass-enclosed) motel room where MLK was shot on the balcony.It was poignant to visit this place now, with so much racial unrest. Still.

 

The City Grocery, Oxford,MS

Tonight we are staying in another really cool Airbnb in the woods south of Oxford,MS.  It’s on the ground floor of a house in a rural area with an unlikely contemporary art gallery (the Tree House Gallery) on the edge of a two lane winding country road. We have our own apartment with not one boring piece of furniture, artwork or rug. Shabby chic, interesting art everywhere, antiques, rugs from foreign lands. It’s a treat. And there is a huge screened in porch above us that I hope to linger on tomorrow morning.

Our Airbnb in the woods outside Oxford

Not surprisingly, my stomach is rebelling from all the rich food we have been eating. We tried another BBQ place recommended by locals (Memphis BBQ in Horn Lake, MS) but didn’t like it as much as Central BBQ – atmosphere was too fast foody. In Oxford, we stopped to browse in  the charming and very Southern square at the famous Square Books and had a beer on the second floor balcony of  The City Grocery, a beloved second story old bar overlooking the square (which reminds us a bit of Franklin, TN) and ate rich food at Snackbar nearby (fried oysters in a creamy sauce for me and dirck and I split “Vietnamese coffee ice cream” which had thru-the-roof butterfat content. My stomach is starting bubble up again just thinking about it.)Locals were raving about new places — Saint Leo’s (for pizza) off Oxford’s Square and Grit in the tiny town of Taylor (famous for the Taylor Grocery, a southern restaurant in a building that barely looked open anymore (part of the charm, apparently). Sadly, it wasn’t open on a Monday.

Memphis airbnb

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Airbnb, grassroots art, memphis, mississippi

Kooky Kansas: pt. 2 Lucas

While grassroots art can be found – as it should be – scattered in random rural locations throughout Kansas, there also is  a self-conscious concentration of it in the small Kansas town of Lucas which has a  storefront museum in some old  limestone buildings devoted to grassroots art. This is the art stereotypically practiced by self-taught, iconoclastic loners – like  farmers and ranchers –  but also by  trained artists and savvy hipsters living in remote places  and it ranges from enticing odd to childlike to a little scary.  A relative of folk art, grassroots art sometimes is called visionary art, naïve art, or primitive art.

You’ll see it all in Lucas – not only at the Grassroots Art Center but at a few other locations in town. When we visited a few years ago in December, someone from the museum took me, my husband and two young-teen kids, to a plain little unheated bungalow on a quiet street a few blocks away – and inside was the most astonishing sight. Every single room was covered with Barbies – yes, that Barbie – and other dolls.  There were  Barbies dripping from walls covered in aluminum foil and  piled up in the bathtub, Barbies exotically-decorated and decked out in every which way. If this hadn’t been labeled “art” it might instead be viewed as a  “cry for help.”  We were all a bit spooked walking around this ice cold bungalow of Barbies – including my daughter who was never a huge Barbie fan but played with them occasionally.  Check it out yourself at http://www.kansastravel.org/isis.htm

In the backyard is local Lucas legend Florence Deeble’s  Rock Garden – a rather worn collection of “concrete postcards” – sculptures depicting famous places Florence visited, such as  Mount Rushmore.  A few blocks away, is the real Lucas masterpiece (which inspired young Florence and spawned the Grassroots Art Center) known as The Garden of Eden.  Again, stay tuned.

Leave a comment

Filed under grassroots art, kansas, kansas state