Six Breakfasts

On our Just Folks questionnaire, we end by asking all of our respondents to make one final choice: Bagels or biscuits? It’s an important question when trying wade through your Southernness and your New York-ness, and a person’s answer can speak volumes about their identity on a cultural and personal level. It also brings me to the topic at hand: breakfast. As the cliché goes, it’s the most important meal of the day (I would argue it’s also the best, because eggs…and cheese, and bacon, and bread, etc). Breakfast has so many forms, changing with our tastes as we age or relocate. It can say a lot about a person, how you choose to kick off your daily culinary journey — who you’re going to be that day, how you’re going to approach the world, where you are in life. With that in mind, here are six breakfasts I’ve eaten.

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French Toast Casserole and Scrambled Eggs on a Long Wooden Dining Table; Louisville, KY: Once or twice a semester, our school cafeteria would have Breakfast Day. In my personal opinion, these were the best days of the year. It was the one day that I would look forward to our school-provided hot lunch. This was a time before we all figured out that you could eat breakfast food whenever, and no one would bat an eye. Our dining room — yes, we called it the dining room not the cafeteria — was lined with long tables made of dark wood and chairs too large to fit around them. We ate family-style in grade school, passing scrambled eggs back and forth and learning our table manners. I ate at those same tables for thirteen years, and I think about it every time I eat breakfast food not for breakfast. It still feels a little like a treat, like I’m not really supposed to be doing it.

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Syrup-Drenched Pancakes on a Tan Plastic Plate; Brevard, NC: Camp meals are the best — both Zelda and I will extol to you the merits of being able to make a whole room break out into song over pancakes (or in her case, crêpes). My last summer at camp, my cabin, as the oldest campers, was basically in charge of starting the day. We’d get to the dining hall early, set up all the bright green painted tables with tan plastic plates and cutlery that was bent and twisted in every direction from years of use. We’d ring the bell to call the rest of the camp to eat and lead them through many choruses of song, banging on tables and playing the cups long before Anna Kendrick. A week later, when we had to cover for the CIT’s who usually did the dishes, I’d curse people (like me) who had no regard for the people that cleaned that plate and poured their syrup with reckless abandon. I loved Rockbrook, but I never loved it more than at breakfast — teenage and preteen girls singing at the top of their lungs at eight in the morning.

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Bacon, Sausage, Eggs, Biscuits and Gravy on a Salvaged Wood Dining Table; Snowmass, CO: My mom and I used to go skiing every spring with her two best friends, Carol and Dave, and their daughter, Taylor. One year, my grandparents went with us. It was an exciting trip, and while the most impressive story to come out of that trip is my grandma riding in a dumbwaiter, my favorite bit was on the final full day when we gathered around the dining table for what we like to call a “Horty” breakfast. That’s the full Southern breakfast fixin’s, most importantly biscuits and gravy. There’s nothing quite like biscuits and gravy to bring people together: There’s a reason they call it soul food.

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Sourdough Cinnamon Toast, standing on a Linoleum Kitchen Floor; Norris Lake, TN: My mother’s parents lived on a branch of Norris Lake just outside of Tazwell, Tennessee. It was four-ish hours from Louisville, and we drove down at least one weekend every summer. My grandmother, Gaga, would make sourdough bread from scratch before we came down to visit. Being at the lake always made me wake up with the sun, but somehow Gaga was always up before me, up before everyone. My room was off the long narrow kitchen. When she heard the creak of my door, she’d cut two slices of the new loaf, add butter and cinnamon, and fill the house with amazing smells that never ceased during our time there.

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A Spinach, Bacon, and Red Onion Omelet in a Lime Green Chair; Towson, MD: The omelet station in the main dining hall was always crowded. Every time we’d get to brunch, no matter how early, there was always a long line. Except for once. One magical day, I saw a glorious opening. Seizing it, I got myself a fresh omelet without having to totally miss out on having brunch with my friends. Truly, it was one of the finest food-based achievements of my college career, second only to my triumph conquering the Monday before Thanksgiving meal. The result from both was the same: sitting around vaguely IKEA-esque tables with my cohort, gorging ourselves on the unlimited food the meal plan provided, eating off hangovers, and laughing loud.  

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A Corn Muffin and a Can of Diet Coke standing on the B38 Bus; Brooklyn New York: Breakfast in New York isn’t as glamorous as Audrey Hepburn makes it look. We can’t all sip our coffee and eat a croissant outside Tiffany’s as the sun rises. My commute is longer here, and like most people I often use that extended time to do things I couldn’t do if I was driving — like eat breakfast. I usually just stuff a muffin or a banana in my bag and grab a can of Diet Coke before heading out the door and end up eating it on the bus or over my desk when I get to work. Not the most exciting or unique meal, but it’s still indicative of a time and a place and who I am right now. I like where I’m at in my life, for the most part, and if that means breakfast is a literal balancing act, then so be it. I’ll have time to scramble eggs later.

Photos via: SkinnyMs, Ethan Calabrese (Delish), Pillsbury, Kidspot, SailusFood, All Recipes

Eat This, Drink That: Chocolate Chess Pie and Strawberry Gin Smash

Summer is in full swing here in New York, which means one thing: We do our Eating and Drinking in the comfort of Zelda’s apartment with central A/C, because no one wants to turn on an oven in Scout’s apartment (a location which is currently a temperature roughly akin to the sixth circle of hell). But despite the high heat, Eat This, Drink That is back with another couple of tasty treats! This month, we have chocolate chess pie and strawberry gin smashes.

Chess pie is a traditionally Southern treat, somewhere between a pudding and a tart. OG Chess pie is a buttery, sugary treat the color of summer sunshine, and it can only be made better with chocolate, right? The epitome of this treat for us is from Louisville’s own Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen, which introduced us to many wonderful treats over the years: the chocolate chess pie, the Dutch apple pie, the upside-down cupcake. Far from any of their locations, we decided to try to hack it ourselves.

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Scout used this recipe from Tessa at Handle the Heat, which calls for the following ingredients: one unbaked, 9-inch pie shell (we generally buy our pie crusts here in the kitchen of Z&S, Pillsbury all the way), 1 ½  cups of granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, one 5-ounce can of evaporated milk (about ⅔ cup), 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (melted), 2 large eggs, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

This recipe is super easy, which is just the way Scout likes it. The more we do these posts, the more Scout realizes that maybe she just wasn’t meant for the kitchen life; some of us just aren’t. But our chocolate chess pie only takes a few steps, and offers huge rewards for minimal effort. Step one: Combine the dry ingredients (sugar, salt, and cocoa powder) in a medium-sized bowl. Next, whisk in the wet ingredients until combined into what Scout would call a yummy chocolate soup.

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Line your pie pan with your crust and pour the mixture in. We would suggest a smallish pie pan if you have one, to create a thicker pie in the end. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the outside is firm and the middle jiggles just a bit. Let set for a while so you don’t end up with chocolate soup. You can use this time to run out to buy ice cream and whipped cream, or to make yourself a cocktail! You deserve a drink, after all.

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This month’s drink is very of the season, featuring two of Zelda’s favorite summer ingredients: gin and fresh strawberries. The gin smash is an oldie, dating all the way back to the late 1800s, which is basically a julep minus the bourbon. This variation, courtesy of The Kitchn, adds strawberries and lime juice for a sweet twist and a tart kick.

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For this drink, you will need 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, 1 lime, 3 fresh strawberries, 3 ounces of gin, club soda, and a sprig of mint. Combine your sugar and the juice of half the lime (the Kitchn calls for one wedge, but we found that wasn’t quite enough) in the bottom of a tall glass (Note: The glass we used for pictures, while very pretty and new to Zelda’s kitchen arsenal, was not quite tall enough. We recommend something slightly bigger to make your muddling easier, and to allow for a proper ratio of liquids.).

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Once the sugar is completely muddled, slice two of your strawberries and muddle them, gently, in the bottom of your glass. Let sit for five minutes, so the flavors have time to meld. Then, fill your glass with ice, add the gin, and top with club soda. Garnish with your mint sprig and final strawberry, and drink up!

These drinks are, first off, very pretty. Flavor wise, we admittedly found them underwhelming at first. But given time to mellow and for the strawberry flavor to infuse the drink, they transformed into a refreshing summer treat! The Kitchn also offer a large-batch version of their recipe, and we’d be very curious to see how a pitcher of these babies fared. We posit that it could be even better than the individual version. Stay tuned for updates.

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P.S. While we initially enjoyed our pie warm and gooey, the best part about this recipe is that it tastes just as good chilled! We both ate the leftovers straight from our refrigerators for breakfast the next morning. And can vouch for their deliciousness. Let’s be real: No one wants a hot pie in this weather.

Southern Summer Reads

Summer is upon us, those hazy, humid days when the very air seems heavy and time oozes by like molasses. More than any other, this is a Southern season to us, made for iced tea and lemonade, juleps and swimming holes, lightning bugs and thunderstorms. And what does summer demand if not a summer read — those delicious, all-consuming books that sweep you up and away into another world. Sometimes called beach reads, although we find them equally suited to front porches or air-conditioned bedrooms, they are sunnier fare. You can leave your Proust’s and Yanagihara’s for the rain-soaked weeks of fall: When the mercury is up and our foreheads are perpetually sweaty, all we really want is a great, captivating story. Here are some of our favorites.

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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Author: Rebecca Wells

Published: 1996

Setting: Lake Quinault, Louisiana

Features: female friendship, mother-daughter drama, Cajun French, a striptease, an oxygen tank

Quote: “She longed for porch friendship, for the sticky, hot sensation of familiar female legs thrown over hers in companionship. She pined for the girliness of it all, the unplanned, improvisational laziness. She wanted to soak the words ‘time management’ out of her lexicon. She wanted to hand over, to yield, to let herself float down the unchartered beautiful fertile musky swamp of life, where creativity and eroticism and deep intelligence dwell.”

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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Author: Fannie Flagg

Published: 1987

Setting: Whistle Stop, Alabama

Features: tomboys, vacation bible school, barbecue sandwiches, The Weems Weekly, a railway accident

Quote: “Are you a politician or does lying just run in your family?”

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The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Published: 2009

Setting: Jackson, Mississippi

Features: maids, journalistic ambitions, fried chicken, the Junior League newsletter, chocolate pie

Quote: “I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.”

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Gone with the Wind

Author: Margaret Mitchell

Published: 1936

Setting: Clayton County and Atlanta, Georgia

Features: unladylike spirit, a brothel, carpetbaggers, architectural horrors, the siege of Atlanta

Quote: “‘Sir,’ she said, ‘you are no gentleman!’  ‘An apt observation,’ he answered airily. ‘And, you, Miss, are no lady.’”

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The Little Friend

Author: Donna Tartt

Published: 2002

Setting: Alexandria, Mississippi

Features: a mysterious death, Genghis Khan, Christmas gifts, a black tupelo tree, a would-be girl detective named Harriet

Quote: “A training program. This was Houdini’s secret.”

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Prodigal Summer

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Published: 2000

Setting: The Appalachian Mountains, Virginia

Features: a park ranger, an entomologist, coyotes, mountain women, the extinct American Chestnut

Quote: “If you never stepped on anybody’s toes, you never been for a walk.”

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St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

Author: Karen Russell

Published: 2006

Setting: The Everglades,  Florida

Features: alligator wrestling, nuns, Swamp Prom, Sleepaway Camp for Disordered Dreamers, the exoskeleton of a giant crab

Quote: “My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there-and then bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses.”

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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Author: Carson McCullers

Published: 1940

Setting: an unnamed mill town, Georgia

Features: best friendship, legal insanity, deaf-mutes, a piano, a diner

Quote: “She wished there was some place where she could go to hum it out loud. Some kind of music was too private to sing in a house cram full of people. It was funny, too, how lonesome a person could be in a crowded house.”

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Salvage the Bones

Author: Jesmyn Ward

Published: 2011

Setting: Bois Sauvage, Mississippi

Features: pit bull puppies, canned goods, the myth of Medea, the eye of a hurricane, motherless children

Quote: “In every one of the Greeks’ mythology tales, there is this: a man chasing a woman, or a woman chasing a man. There is never a meeting in the middle.”

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An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Published: 2006

Setting: Gutshot, Tennessee

Features: a child prodigy,  a paramedic-in-training, road trips, tampon strings, the supposed grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Quote: “He liked the mere act of reading, the magic of turning scratches on a page into words inside his head.”

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Author: John Berendt

Published: 1994

Setting: Savannah, Georgia

Features: voodoo, murder trials, a historical mansion, an antique pistol, Lady Chablis

Quote: “Rule number one: Always stick around for one more drink. That’s when things happen. That’s when you find out everything you want to know.”

Just Folks: Andi Morrow

Guess who’s back (back back), back again? That’s right, it’s“Just Folks,” our series in which we talk to Southerners who have found their way to New York about where they’re from, where they are now, and what home means to them.

This week we have Andi Morrow. An actress, writer, and filmmaker from Huntsville, TN, Andi has lived in New York for four years now, along with her comedian husband, Drew, and their dog, Mick Jagger Pup. While she considers herself a “temporary guest” of the city, she loves what it has to offer, even if it does sometimes make her lonesome for nights in her mountain hometown, dancing under the full moon.

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Name:

Andi Morrow

Hometown:

Huntsville, Tennessee

Age:

29

Current City:

New York, New York

Who are you and what do you do?

I am an actress, writer, and filmmaker. I’m the founder of the NYC Lady Parts Film Club, a community that promotes and supports the work of women in the film industry. I grew up on a small farm in a very rural town in East Tennessee, so I’m most at home outdoors. I love to garden, play guitar, go camping, float down a river, and dance under full moons, and I love to make my own homemade natural tonics, elixirs, and beauty products inspired by my Appalachian heritage. I live in NYC with my husband, Drew Morgan, who is a stand-up comedian (also from the South — a very, very tiny place called Sunbright, TN) and our dog Mick Jagger Pup (#mickjaggerpup)!

Time North of the Mason-Dixon line so far?

4 years

What brought you to New York?

From a very young age, NYC had always been my dream. Drew and I are both in the entertainment industry, and this is where we need to be for our careers. Right after we got married, a personal tragedy struck Drew’s family, so we lived in Knoxville for a couple of years to be close to them. It wasn’t part of our plan, but now I’m glad we stayed in the South a little longer. The Knoxville artistic community is so welcoming, creative, and generous. During those two years, I got to explore my art in a way I probably wouldn’t have been able to if I had come to New York right away. It was really difficult to leave our Knoxville community, but we knew it was time.

What’s the most common reaction when people learn where you’re from? What’s something about life in the South that you have to explain to non-Southerners?

It’s usually fascination, which I really like. When I say I’m from Tennessee, most people respond with, “Oh wow, that’s cool!” I really love Tennessee, so it makes me happy that people find it interesting. A lot of people will try to talk about Nashville at first, so I’m up here spreading the good news about East Tennessee!

Describe life in NYC as people at home picture it. Describe life in NYC as it actually is.

I think people back home mostly picture a glamorous, fast-paced, and dangerous daily life. I am pretty busy, but I sleep a lot! I’m still a Southerner, so I like to move at a pretty slow pace. And I’ve never been in a situation where I felt unsafe. I think people forget that New York is home to lots and lots of families. They live in a giant city, yes, but there are still pockets of communities here.

Where do you consider home? Why?

I’m a bit of a wanderer, so “home” is an interesting word for me. But I think home will always be the house I grew up in, where my parents still live, in Huntsville. That house has been in my family for over 100 years. It’s full of my family’s history, and it will always be a part of who I am. I consider Knoxville home, too. I have a big community of friends and artists there, and I feel so at home in that city. Other than that, home is where my husband and pup are!

Do you miss where you’re from? Do you see yourself going back?

I do and I don’t. I miss a lot of things about the South: the community, the scenery, the laid-back atmosphere, the music, my family and friends. But there are things I don’t miss as well. There is this opposition to progress that seems to come with small-town life — an unwillingness to see or accept things any other way. That was always the disconnect for me with my hometown. And I don’t think this is necessarily exclusive to the South; I think a lot of small-town people perpetuate this attitude. I definitely will go back to the South one day, but I don’t think I’ll ever live in my hometown again. I want to be in a Southern city like Asheville or Knoxville. Those are my favorite places. And as an artist, I don’t think I could ever live somewhere again that didn’t have a big artistic community.

Do you consider yourself a Southerner? Do you consider yourself a New Yorker? Why or why not?

I’m Southern as shit! I come from Appalachia, so it’s a different kind of Southern. We are farmers, coal miners, and mountain people. I have a real connection to the mountains and the land. East Tennesseans have historically been very proud, independent, honest to a fault, hot-headed, and stubborn. I am 100% all of those things. I don’t consider myself a New Yorker at all. I’m just a temporary guest. I do really love the city, though, and all the things it provides. I’ve loved meeting people from all over the world, and I’ve found a lot of similarities between them and Southerners. Even on opposite sides of the world, we’ve all had common experiences. I love that.

Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines New York for you?

The movie West Side Story was my first exposure to New York as a kid, which is really funny now that I think about it. The book Just Kids by Patti Smith had a huge impact on me and really solidified my desire to experience this city as an artist. And I don’t think anything has ever more perfectly summed up the NYC experience than the song “New York, I Love You” by LCD Soundsystem.

Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines where you’re from?

Music is the heart of the South, in my opinion. East Tennessee is definitely best-represented through old-time mountain music: Southern gospels, bluegrass, and old-school country. Dolly Parton’s “Early Morning Breeze” is my go-to song when I’m feeling homesick. Waylon Jennings perfectly represents the Southern “give no shits, do what I want” attitude. Sturgill Simpson is the leading voice for this new Southern era. He speaks for a lot of us who love the South so deeply, but have always felt a little out of place there at the same time. There are so many Southern writers I love, but the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker has always really resonated personally with me. It’s told from an African-American perspective, but the themes of abandoning and honoring heritage is something a lot of Southerners of all races can relate to. And then the Bitter Southerner is my favorite current publication. They are doing some really amazing things for this New South movement that’s being ushered in.

What is the best cure for homesickness?

Hanging out with my Southern friends who are in the city! Works every time. If i’m really bad off, I’ll take a trip upstate or somewhere else out of the city. Seeing some green landscape always helps.

Bagels or biscuits?

BISCUITS, DUH!

Want to learn more about Andi and follow her New York adventures?  You can find her on Instagram, on Twitter, and at her website, andimorrow.com.

How To Festival: Basics For Beginners

As we prepare to head back to our old Kentucky home for Forecastle (we may even be flying through the air as you read this), we’re trying to contain our excitement at seeing favorite bands, old and new. But festival-ing is serious business, and it’s best to have a plan of attack to truly get the most out of your experience. And so we present: How To Festival – Basics for Beginners.

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Part I – Travel: Getting to and from the festival venue is key. Forecastle is pretty chill, as festivals go, and it’s not a requirement to camp out (though there is space for that if you like). We like being able to sleep in the comfort of our adolescent bedrooms after a day sweating it out in the sun. But whether you’re camping out or arriving anew each day, how you’re getting there is important. Assuming you’ve got initial travel covered (from your home to the festival city), you need to secure transportation from the place you’re sleeping to the place you’re soaking up the sunshine and the tunes.

If you’re headed to a Bonnaroo-style festival, make sure your get there early enough to place your tent in a prime area. Or if you’re like us and prefer a roof over your head in the evenings, we recommend staying someplace within walking distance of the festival, or securing a designated driver. Safety first! We managed to secure Zelda’s little brother as our chauffeur for the weekend (thanks, broseph!).

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Part II – Weather Preparedness: Zelda texted me on Monday, “It’s supposed to rain all weekend.” Devastating news, yes, but will it stop us? NEVER! This is just another factor we have to take into account for our festival plan. Before you leave your abode, check the forecast and see what you’re up against.

If it looks like rain, pack a poncho or a rain jacket; don’t be the douchebag with the umbrella blocking the view for the people in the back (you don’t want to have to carry  an umbrella around all weekend anyway). Rain or shine, it’s definitely summer, so even if it’s overcast WEAR SUNSCREEN. This is life advice for festivals and general outdoor events: Skin cancer is a real and serious concern, and sunburns will mar all your happy festival memories when you realize you can’t move your shoulders without pain and your eyelids are peeling.

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Part III – Gear Up: Be selective with the stuff you bring. It’s important to be prepared, but you’re going to be mobile for most of the weekend, so the less stuff you need to carry around, the better. Top five things you should have on hand? Water bottle, rain jacket, sunscreen, money, and phone (bonus points for a back-up charger).

It’s also important to dress for function and fashion. I know you want to embrace that sundress life, but don’t underestimate the importance of pockets. And we can’t over-emphasize the importance of your shoe choice. Again, we all want to to look as cute as possible, but your feet won’t thank you for breaking in your new strappy sandals over those three days. This also applies to that comfy pair of flip flops that you love so much. You’ll thank me when the toe thong doesn’t pull through the sole, leaving you shoeless during the last headliner as the rain starts to pour. If you’re not a tennis shoes/sneakers person, may I suggest you embrace the sport sandal lifestyle. My Chacos have lasted me ten years, and they’re still going strong.

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Part IV – Scope it Out: Make a plan. Decide which bands are priorities for you, and which ones you can skip. Plan in downtime to peruse the vendors and rehydrate and eat. When you arrive, get the lay of the land. LOCATE THE RESTROOMS along with the food concourse, each stage, and ways to sneak into the VIP area and use their fancy bathrooms… A lot of festivals have apps where you can create your own line-up and make sure you get to see everyone you desire.

And as corny as it sounds, pick a designated meeting point. That way, if people get lost or you go your separate ways before the end of the day, everyone can meet up when you’re getting ready to leave.  On a related point, you should also have a contingency plan. If for some reason (severe weather, electronic malfunction, etc.) the festival is suspended, know where you’re going to meet and what you’re going to do during that time. Pick a restaurant, bar, or some sort of indoor venue where you can ride out the storm (literal or metaphorical).

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Part V – Forget Everything I Said: Okay, not all of it. But half the fun of the festival life is going with the flow, following your whims and the whims of the weather and the people around you. Dance in the rain. Run barefoot in the dirt and mud. Be a cliché (you know you want to). Enjoy yourself, and don’t stress out about it. It’s meant to be fun, so have fun….but seriously please wear sunscreen.

Inspiration Tuesday: The Living Is Easy

July is in full swing here in New York. The sticky heat of the city has set in, and while humidity is the default in the river valley we call home, it’s not quite the same when it’s accompanied by the smell of hot garbage instead of honeysuckle blooms. So we’re longing for a different kind of summer day, below the Mason-Dixon Line and accompanied by the sounds of rain on tin roofs, the gentle hum of rural roadways, and the snapping of green beans on a covered porch. And maybe, if we’re lucky, a thunderstorm will roll on through.

Art: “Rural Highway, Southern Georgia after Rainstorm,” Raymond Smith (1974, gelatin silver print)

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Poem: “Haiku 228,” Richard Wright

 

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Book: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

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Song: “The Spiritual,” Jukebox the Ghost

 

Video: “Letters to July // 16,” Emily Diana Ruth

Quotation: “A Southern moon is a sodden moon, and sultry. When it swamps the fields and the rustling sandy roads and the sticky honeysuckle hedges in its sweet stagnation, your fight to hold on to reality is like a protestation against a first waft of ether.” — Zelda Fitzgerald

Photos via: Ogden Museum, @PERSILCHEN

July 2016: Forecastle Prep

We’ve written on this blog before about Louisville’s Forecastle Festival, one of the highlights of our musical year. It’s a chance for us to celebrate our hometown and its rich cultural scene, to jam to favorite artists and, most exciting of all, to discover new ones. Some of our favorite bands are Forecastle discoveries from festivals gone by — Wheeler Brothers, The Secret Sisters, Walk the Moon, just to name a few — all little bands getting their start whose sounds wormed their way into our brains as we lay in the sunshine on the banks of the Ohio.

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We’re heading back this year, for the first time in a while. And we’re super excited to see some of our favorite bands play in one of our favorite settings. But our curiosity is also itching for the bands we don’t know, wondering which one may become our new love. These are some of the groups that have peaked our fancy so far, from the bottom of the billings where hidden gems so often lie. From funk to folk and soul to rock, hailing from Nashville, Shreveport, Kansas City, Toronto, and beyond, these duos and trios and 10-piece ensembles have caught our eye. We’re studying up and listening in. And maybe, if we’re lucky, come next weekend our lives will get a fresh soundtrack. As always you can listen along on YouTube or Spotify!

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: So Good At Being in Trouble, Can’t Keep Checking My Phone

Sarah Jarosz: Father Adieu, Over the Edge, Build Me Up From Bones, Fuel the Fire

Caveman: In the City, Great Life

Liz Vice: There’s a Light, Empty Me Out

Anderson East: Devil in Me, Satisfy Me

Wild Child: Stones, Stitches

Banners: Shine A Light, Ghosts

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear: Yellow Taxi, Live by the Water

The Suffers: Giver, Midtown, Gwan

Saintseneca: Happy Alone, Fed Up With Hunger, Blood Bath

Los Colognes: Baby You Can’t Have Both, Drive Me Mad

River Tiber: Let You Go, The City

Seratones: Necromancer, Don’t Need It, Get Gone, Chandelier

Future Thieves: Rosie, Just Sayin’

Myzica: Ready or Not, Wait Just a Minute

The Shadowboxers: Woman Through the Wall, Pusher Love Girl