Category Archives: Alabama

The Meaning of Tea


“The Meaning of Tea” by Scott Chamberlin-Hoyt is a beautiful film on the Southern Arts Federation’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. The film visits 7 countries and explores the role that tea plays in various cultural rituals. Chamberlin-Hoyt explores the people, landscapes and rituals of England, India, China, Japan, Morrocco and France. He also includes one sort of embarassing clip about a town called Tea, South Dakota.

He should have included something better about the U.S. There are tea rituals here. I once saw a girl order a shot of vodka in her iced tea during lunch at the Ground Zero Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. There was definitely some kind of ritual involved in that. At the time I took it to be the age old ritual of impressing a guy. But maybe she wanted to impress his grandmother who was also with us. Maybe that’s just what they do at Ground Zero. Or maybe that’s just how Memphis girls do when they get out of town for lunch.

Southern Art Federation
Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers including tour schedule, filmmakers and venues
“The Meaning of Tea” website including trailers of the film

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Filed under Alabama, art, film, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina

Marion Post Wolcott

A Marion Post Wolcott exhibit opens today at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and runs through December 21. Read more about this New Yorker who became a photographer for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression:

Interview with Wolcott (Smithsonian archives)
Wolcott biography (Wikipedia)

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Filed under Alabama, art, museums, photography

Rural Studio

‘Hale County Animal Shelter’ (Alabama) by Rural Studio, 2006
(courtesy Timothy Hursley)

Auburn University’s Rural Studio is one of 16 projects representing the United States at the Venice Biennale’s 11th International Architecture Exhibition. The exhibition, titled Into the Open: Positioning Practice, explores the relationship between architecture and community.

Rural Studio is a highly acclaimed design/build program for Auburn architecture students. The program’s intention is to provide the rural poor with homes and community facilities that “aspire to the same set of architectural ideals and virtues as projects with substantial budgets and prosperous clientele.” Samuel Mockbee, the program’s legendary founder, is quoted as saying ““Everybody wants the same thing, rich or poor … not only a warm, dry room, but a shelter for the soul”. The best thing is that the students use local imagery for inspiration and local materials in construction. They also live in the community while they work on the project.

Beautiful, innovative, socially responsible planning and design combined with lessons on professionalism, volunteerism, and individual responsibility….right on, right on.

Rural Studio will also have an exhibit at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona this October. In March, Rural Studio won the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture from La Cite de l’architecture et du patrimoine.

Rural Studio here:
Mockbee here:
Venice Biennale here:
US exhibit here:

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Filed under Alabama, architecture, people