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Arrivederci Roma, Ciao Athens (Alabama)

Posted: Oct 01, 2007

I have just returned from ten days in Italy (Venice, Florence/Tuscany, and Rome) and am way behind on my blog, so please bear with me. I am somewhat jet-lagged, and I am preparing to leave for Jackson, MS, on Wednesday to participate in the Fannie Lou Hamer Symposium and the tenth reunion of the 1997 Harvard summer seminar on the History of the Civil Rights Movement.

Italy surpassed my wildest dreams. Venice was a vision, Florence was amazing, the wedding in Tuscany with a reception (seven hours including a seated dinner and dancing after) in a huge medieval castle was like something out of a fairy tale, and I was surprised to discover that I loved Rome.

I am only including a couple of photos (Venice and ancient Rome) as I am still trying to figure out how to save to my computer from one of those online albums. More on Southerners see Italia later.

Meanwhile, Alabama is the place to be this month! This weekend Athens State University will host its 41st Annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention featuring musicians and music lovers from over thirty states including Europe and Canada.

The anthology of Alabama poetry, Whatever Remembers Us, is getting rave reviews across the state from the Mobile Register to First Draft (Alabama Writer’s Forum magazine), and there will be readings by the featured poets at various venues in the state, including Birmingham (October 7, 2 PM, at Jonathan Benton Booksellers) and Huntsville, AL (TBA).

Other events in Alabama this month include a reading by distinguished poet Adrienne Rich at the Bama Theatre in Tuscaloosa on Monday night, October 8, and several appearances around the state by renowned Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham. Windham will be the featured storyteller at the 1st Annual Spirit of Athens Storytelling Festival on October 25th in Athens, AL.

Robert Clem’s documentary about the life of Eugene Walter, Last of the Bohemians, will debut October 26 at the Arts Alive Festival in Mobile. I had the great pleasure of meeting the delightful Mr. Walter a number of years ago and found him utterly beguiling. Don't fail to read his "autobiography" Milking the Moon.  

Regarding new films, on October 16 Alabama Public Television will premiere a documentary entitled Mr. Dial Has Something To Say. The film investigates the problems of classism and racism in the elite world of visual art by following the story of Thornton Dial, a 79 year old African-American artist from Alabama’s Black Belt.

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