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.
Jimmy Rhodes, Jr. is not an ordinary man, not by any stretch. He collects paraphernalia of many varieties— wrestling gear, film props, autographs. He is an accomplished magician. And he just so happens to have (probably) been the youngest mayor in Arkansas history. And he is, well, a mortician. The kind of person who sees dead people for a living.
But in a funny way, these things aren't what make him special. You see, not all of us were raised around a funeral home in a family like his—"Green Acres meets Addams Family," as he describes it—and not all of us possess a gift for making people laugh in the hardest of times. And, of course, not all of us had the benefit of childhood exposure to a hard-drinkin', chewin-tobacco-lovin' donkey, either...
But Jimmy did. So what does it all add up to? Watch and see (and be sure to wait for Jimmy's surprise at the end of the credits).
Cassilhaus is a dazzling home, art gallery, and residency created by Frank Konhaus and Ellen Cassilly, a couple who married in their forties and decided that they would "have artists" instead of children. Ellen, a green architect, teamed with husband Frank to design their modern home to include an adjoining apartment and studio space in the woods near Durham, North Carolina—a wonderful retreat for visiting artists to stay, relax, and make new art. This is the story of that creative community.
When one legendary reporter mentors a future legendary reporter, good things happen—especially when their beat is civil rights in Mississippi.
Bill Minor and Jerry Mitchell have witnessed and shaped history, and they've been doing it for a combined sixty years. They sat down with SoLost to share their stories. Witness the witnesses with us, and see how their storytelling changed the world.
When you're a 34-year-old screenwriter and director, chances are you're doing something right when Sam Shepard says you've written one of the best scripts he's seen "in a long, long time" and agrees to appear in your independent film (alongside a couple of actors named Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon). When that film premiers at Cannes and draws rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic . . . well, you know you're doing something right.
So who's behind all this? A modest man from Little Rock who insisted on filming his third film in Arkansas. His name is Jeff Nichols. We like him. So will you.
The Oxford American & SoLost got exclusive access to the set of his new film Mud and found out more about this talented filmmaker. Join us, won't you?
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.