A video supplement to “Social Engineering” by John T. Edge, published in the Summer 2019 issue.
“Written in tight script on one of those green-and-white guest check pads, her words account a surrealist barnyard: ‘gecko elastic, cookie armpit, giraffe crotch, zebra elastic.’ I had noticed Rachael working on the far end of the bar, pulling costumes from cubbies and then carefully refolding and restacking each one. But I hadn’t realized that she was doing triage, making note of which of the thirty or so costumes they stock needed repair.”
—John T. Edge, “Social Engineering”
An installment in John T. Edge’s Points South column, Local Fare.
Costumes transform their bar into a theatrical production, Feizal said to me that day in the jungle room. “You watch someone put on a Big Bird suit and then you ask, what will the Big Bird do? You give two banana costumes to two guys and then stand back to watch what happens. Pretty soon the dude at the bar in the banana costume sees the dude in the booth in the banana costume. They hug. And they start buying each other drinks.”
Rosalind Fox Solomon’s Liberty Theater comes from a period of traveling throughout the South between the 1970’s and 1990’s, documenting the influence of discrimination from Alabama to Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Drawn initially to these images of displaced funeral bouquets as a distraction from his own grief, Joel Whitaker came to observe these abandoned flowers and sentimental ephemera as a necessary counterbalance to the somber etiquette of death, a reminder of the “impermanence of the original, well-planned, and ordered memorial.”
The images in Michael Wriston’s project, Ask and it Shall Be Given to You, traverse the often unseen, rural corners of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, capturing the stillness and vivid life of small towns, their residents, and the land that holds them.
In his striking interior and exterior glimpses of the funeral industry in the rural South, Tim Hursley’s photos feature shots of errantly parked hearses, casket showrooms, ranks of carved granite, and portraits of rusted silos and warehouses that look, too, by nature of their juxtaposition, like rows of planted headstones.
A Southern Journey from the Summer 2018 issue.
I am again driving through the moon-flecked summer night, the hot dead bugs against my windshield summer night, the benzene-sulfur-streaked chemical stacks streaming into the gleaming Gulf summer night. It is so damn hot down here, so sultry, but I don’t want to turn the air-conditioning on in my little red fuel-efficient rental vehicle; I want to breathe in the heat, bathe in the heat, dance with it! And I happen to find a watering hole where I can do just that, in the belly of the belly of the belly of the beast. The Neon Moon Saloon, a cement-floor biker bar in industrial Houston. There’s a lively game at the billiard table, rough red-faced men at the wooden bar, a glowing neon cabinet of booze. It is an end-of-the-world type of place, and this is the end of the world.