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Blog posts tagged with “oxford-mississippi”

May 1, 2012

PHOTO ESSAY: My First Trip to Oxford

oxford mississippi lyric theatre

The Ole Miss Motel is not on the Ole Miss campus. My motel room has a king-size bed with three pillows labeled soft, medium, and firm. The light in the bathroom makes the room shake, but it’s too dark when it’s off. There’s a refrigerator and a microwave and a television that makes a video game noise when the power’s turned on. The Ole Miss Motel is only three blocks from the square.

Everything is walkable in Oxford. The Lyric Theatre has a beautiful entryway, with a black-and-white paisley vaulted ceiling jutting against a stark red wall. Amy LaVere’s upright bass makes me shiver. Joey Lauren Adams is a good reader. Silas Reed has a velvety voice and a hefty horn section. 

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Some boys who play in bands like to hang out at the City Grocery on weeknights. These are the kinds of boys who will take you to Checker’s to get a snack when you’re hungry and your friends are fighting and you need to be walked the three blocks back to the Ole Miss Motel. These are the kinds of boys with manners, who will try to hold your hand but won’t lean in for a kiss at the end of the night. A grizzled, bearded man says the next day that he overheard someone saying how crazy City Grocery was the night before—there were girls pissing in the men’s room. 

Bouré is a nice restaurant to go and eat chicken carbonara for lunch in between naps and watching television at the Ole Miss Motel. All the waitresses wear gingham shirts and have sweet-tea voices and bright pink lipstick. The Double Decker Festival can be seen from the balcony of a new friend’s apartment, or the balcony of a new friend’s friend’s apartment. The people at this apartment play songs like “Holiday Inn” by Chingy and dance like they’re not trying to impress girls, which is the only real way to impress girls. There’s an industrial cooler filled with beer and there are two cats roaming around. At one point, a redhead named Virginia starts kicking people out of the apartment, claiming there are too many people there who she doesn’t know. I am allowed to stay.

—AGE


DAY ONE: Thursday

oxford mississippi lyric theatre

Inside The Lyric 

oxford mississippi lyric theatre

Still inside The Lyric

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The irrepressible Tyler Keith onstage at Thacker 

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The multi-dimensional Silas Reed onstage

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Mary Elizabeth Cochran

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Lisa Howorth

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Julie Anna Murphy

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Outside The Lyric

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Alex Warren, Dent May, Tyler Keith, and Scott Rorie

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Print Chouteau of Flight

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Scott and Finley Hughes

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Lindsey Else, visiting from Minnesota

 


 

DAY TWO: Friday

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Mississippi native

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Sterling and friend

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Print and John Barrett of Bass Drum of Death

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DAY THREE: Saturday

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OA columnist Jack Pendarvis caught, once again, in reflection.

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oxford mississippi city grocery cary hudson

Cary Hudson with OAer Meghan Tear Plummer

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oxford mississippi double decker festival

 

May 1, 2012

PHOTO ESSAY: My Latest Trip to Oxford

The quickest, easiest, most clichéd way to describe Thacker Mountain Radio of Oxford, Mississippi, is to call it a Dixie-fried version of A Prairie Home Companion. That shortcut hardly conveys Thacker Mountain’s enchanting, quirky, and thus distinctive character. If you’ve never heard the show on your radio—or on your Dick Tracy X-12 wristwatch—or experienced it in person, you need to change that. The show is a gift any way you catch it.

The Oxford American was lucky enough to be invited to contribute to a recent installment of Thacker Mountain Radio. Here is a clip of Joey Lauren Adams reading a piece on Tyler Keith by Lisa Howorth from the Mississippi Music issue. Click here to see and hear more segments of the show that we did with Thacker Mountain Radio.

You can absorb other audio goodies on Thacker’s website: www.thackermountain.com

We came to Oxford last Thursday for the Thacker show, and even though we wanted to stay longer than a day, we knew we had to return home immediately. You see, we had left behind a deadline in Arkansas—and OA deadlines are demanding brutes. The main reason we wanted to extend our stay was that the annual Double Decker Festival was taking over Oxford’s downtown square the day after our Thacker involvement. If you don’t know, the Double Decker Festival is an extravaganza of tremendous and (mostly) free music. Among these year’s acts: Mavis Staples, Iron & Wine, Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition, Young Buffalo, the Funky Meters, and Patterson Hood (with dad).

But we had to leave.

Right?

If you have visited Oxford, Mississippi, of late, you will remember how it pulled on you. How it charmed you with sweet, coaxing whispers. How it enveloped you in a slinky, warm embrace and wouldn’t easily let you go.

So we stayed an extra day.

Fact: Oxford doesn’t change even as it changes.

Fact: More than ever, creativity abounds in Oxford—positively springs from the ground and pours from the sky and seeps from the walls. Just about any barroom on the square on any night will be teeming with zany, alert creativity in the forms of writers, teachers, musicians, producers, artists, restaurateurs, scholars, entrepreneurs, prophets, fashionistas, photographers, painters, sculptors, and designers. There they will be, crammed, happily, into one wood-floored room, all of them analyzing and tweaking the universe they so sharply sense.

Fact: There is a new record store in town. It’s called The End of All Music, and a primary owner is Bruce Watson, who is also one of the chiefs of the fabled Fat Possum tribe. Bruce dubbed the place The End of All Music in reference to an insight by the great rockabiller Charlie Feathers, of Holly Springs, Miss., who once called the great bluesman Junior Kimbrough of Hudsonville, Miss., “The beginning and end of all music.” In our little party was an inveterate record-store habitué. You could even call him, with accuracy, an unbearable record-store snob. He entered The End of All Music fearing it might only have superficial boutique-y charms, but when he left—after spending almost a full day in the place—he bored us with his happiness and rhapsodies about: the stock, the groovy design and impeccable neatness of the place, the fair prices of the records, the clientele, and the quirky, smart, knowledgeable clerks. You will be hearing more about this special joint from us later. But for now, we’d advise all music lovers to consider The End of All Music an essential target. We don’t kid about record stores.

Fact: While snooping in Off Square Books, the branch of the mighty Square Books franchise that sells used books and cool magazines and other surprises, we overheard a customer asking a clerk why the music section there was so scant. The clerk responded that they were hurriedly trying to sell all of their music stock so that there would be no music left for sale at the store. They were doing this, she said, so as to throw support for the new record shop in town, The End of All Music. Behavior like that, your OA eavesdropper immediately recognized, was how one demonstrates support of local culture, rather than just…platitudinizes about it. What a remarkable environment.

—MAS

 


DAY ONE: Thursday

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Inside Square Books

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Inside Square Books

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oxford mississippi

Beckett Howorth, son of Richard and Lisa, at Square Books 

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oxford mississippi

Oxford Courthouse

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Mary Elizabeth Cochran with her husband Pat, The OA's online music columnist

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Cole of the band Dead Gaze

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Cole's girlfriend, whose smile made us forget her name

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Musician supreme Dent May


DAY TWO: Friday

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Boy with legs

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oxford mississippi

Two Ole Miss girls who asked for their photo to be taken. We obliged.

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oxford mississippi

Oxford Courthouse at night

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Ole Miss student and Thacker Mountain intern Betsy Lynch

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Probably the last people to be seen hanging out on The Square on Friday night.

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oxford mississippi

Jack Pendarvis-approved chicken on a stick


DAY THREE: Saturday

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Saturday morning!

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Jumpin' Jack Cochran, son of Pat and Mary Elizabeth

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The worth-it wait outside John and Bessy Currence's Big Bad Breakfast

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David at the Ole Miss Motel

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Jimmy and Chris Cajoleas at The End of All Music, Oxford's brilliant new record store

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Young Natalie looking for The Gants' first album

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oxford mississippi

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