SoLost is the original video series by The Oxford American that celebrates getting lost in the American South. SoLost is an off-kilter video journey through the side roads, backrooms, cellars and psyche of the modern South. With subjects prospected by master image-maker and Southern back-roads champ Dave Anderson, we delight in the tastes, sounds and myriad cultural delights of this our glorious landscape. Join us every month as we unveil a new episode of SoLost: artful, online video shorts that explore the complexity and vitality of the American South.
Renowned photographers Walker Evans and William Christenberry have found great beauty in Hale County, Alabama; they made some of their best-known work in this famously poor region, where they found inspiration in its simple architecture and in the faces of its people. Yet it was a utilitarian structure and its long-ago date with a tornado that fascinated photographer Timothy Hursley. Why—and how—has he photographed a silo almost a million times? Watch and see.
Xavier Castillo is a shy and enigmatic man. He works in the back corner of a modest second-floor work space, hidden away in a nondescript building in San Antonio's Beacon Hill neighborhood. Xavier would be easy to overlook if it weren't for the fact that he crafts some of the most elaborate dresses in the world for a century-old San Antonio society event called the Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo.
The dresses are stunning works of art that are bizarre in their intricacy and mind-blowing in their ambition. They weigh fifty pounds. They're fifteen feet long. The design process can stretch over three years, and the fashioning of a single dress can take eight months-involving, among other things, more than 200,000 hand-stitched sequins.
At the helm? Xavier, the master. Meet him here and learn all about this new king of queens.
Artists? Yes. Filmmakers? Uh-huh. Photographers? Double yep. Musicians? Fifty-percent yes. Collaborators? Well yeah, but somehow the word collaborator doesn't quite capture the spirit of the whole endeavor... More like the happy warriors of the trippy, gothic periphery of photographic culture.
Were you also wondering if they might be descendants from wolves. Answer? Quite possibly....
And of COURSE they're in New Orleans. Where better to weave their darkly joyful photographic and film-based semi-narratives.
Married too. Met while Jeff was studying painting at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and together ever since.
For ten years the couple has been making eye-popping imagery using a series of obscure (or self-invented) photographic processes to fashion some of the more fascinating imagery you've ever seen. Now, with a ten-year retrospective at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, we decided to catch up with the irrepressible dynamic duo.
Intriguing phrase, but what does it mean? Well, at a small factory in scenic East Nashville, there are cocoa beans (South America's best), multiple tons of beautiful old candy-making machines and several Johnny Cash-lovin' grown-up skate rats making thousands of the tastiest, most unusual chocolate bars & sundry chocolate items you may ever ingest.
Called Olive & Sinclair and founded by boyish chef-with-a-major-sweet-tooth Scott Witherow, the artisanal Tennessee chocolatiers are among the South's first "bean-to-bar" makers of chocolate bars. They're certainly the first to buck the chocolate powers-that-be and make their chocolate with that old Southern staple: pure brown sugar.
Witherow & co. are growing by leaps and bounds and winning over all kinds of chocolate lovers, including Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow, who fell for their chocolate while on location shooting a film in Nashville and promptly shipped hundreds of bars off to friends.
SoLost decided to head to East Nashville to explore O&S's small but intriguing haunt and to find out the answers to the big questions like: "How could you guys be so skinny?" and "What's the most trouble you ever got in with sweets?"
Is one video worth a thousand bites? Probably not, but we did our best. Sink your teeth in, whydontcha?