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Celebrating the people and the stories of the city we all love: Jackson, Tennessee.
After you crank your car down from the sixty-five miles-per-hour speed limit, you’ll make a turn onto a shaded, gravel road, and if you are lucky you’ll catch your first glimpse of the exotic: radiant peacocks, enormous camels, ancient buffalo, and vibrant zebras. In a way, you will feel that you have just stepped into a new world filled with wonder and excitement. And you’ve only just pulled in. Tennessee’s only drive-through safari park is truly a captivating place.
When I tell people that my family moved from Seattle—and that we didn’t move to Jackson because of family or a job—I often get the response, “Why would you move here?” Really it all started with woods. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, about his own time living in the woods, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
As I pulled up to Alamo Pride Cut & Sew Factory in March of 2014, I had to focus on the bold colors associated with spring that had taken hold across the Mid-South. The air was clean, and the morning dew blanketed fresh azalea and dogwood blossoms. I needed to focus on the beauty around me to keep from crying and mourning the life in Hong Kong I had left behind. “This is what the South is,” I said to myself as we drove past farmlands and well-manicured lawns heading into town.
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Earlier this year, downtown Jackson got quite a face-lift with the addition of the Jackson Walk area. One of the first businesses to open in that new retail space was Beyond Vogue, a blend of hip and classic trends from fashionable cities such as L.A. and New York City. Beyond Vogue carries a curated selection of sleek accessories, select modern home decor, and an assortment of contemporary women’s clothing.
On the hillside of a Humboldt vineyard, in what was once a barn in the land’s historic farm days, is the Companion Gallery, where local ceramicist Eric Botbyl has his studio as well as a gallery shop featuring work by fellow potters from around the country. It’s a quiet place where the doors are left open to catch the breeze on spring days like today and is kept warm by a wood-burning stove in the winter. It’s surrounded by twenty-two acres of grapevines and neighbors the Crown Winery’s Tuscan-style villa.
￼￼￼￼We started packing shoeboxes when “He-who-is-now-taller-than-I” could fit his chunky-monkey baby legs through the slots in the front seat of the grocery cart, likely with one of those hypoallergenic seat covers. We would fill our box with necessities: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, and such. Maybe some nifty socks or a hat. Of course, you had to have a coloring book, crayons, and some candy. Oh, and those Little Debbie Swiss Cake rolls. Oh, stink, they will melt in transit. Hmm. . . .
We gathered in a living room of earthen walls painted mint green with a dirt floor covered by tarp. Our hostess sat aside from the group on a bench lining one of the walls so that we could all have a seat in a circle of sunk-in couches and ottomans. Alemaz Bola is a mother of five and an entrepreneur. She wore a head wrap striped with the green, yellow, and red of the Ethiopian flag and sat meekly aside as if to stay out of the way, despite the fact that we came to hear her story.
One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to go shopping for antiques, and Yarbro’s Antiques has always been one of the best places to go in Jackson to find a great variety. Yarbro’s is made up of booths stocked by a variety of sellers. Some dealers specialize in collectibles such as linens, military items, or glassware, and others sell things like seasonal decor or restored furniture. There is a little bit of everything with prices ranging from $1 all the way to $10,000.
Madison Academic Magnet High School is presenting the musical Grease this week, directed by Becky Fly. This is truly a Madison Academic Fine Arts Department production. Music Direction has been led by Kristy White (Band Director at Madison) and Lindsey Patterson (Choral Director at Madison), and the Art Department helped with the sets. The production consists of thirty students and ten crew members. Becky likes getting students involved in theatre because they learn more than just acting skills.
Eggs. Flour. Milk. Sugar. Your basic ingredients for a cupcake. But so much more than that goes into the cupcakes at HaliHannigan’s Café & Cakery. Five years ago a cozy little space in the Columns bedecked in pink and black opened its doors—and its heart—to the Jackson community. Neill and Christi Bartlett, the husband and wife team that co-own HaliHannigan’s (whose name is derived from various parts of the names of their three daughters), were ready for a change.
“Your destination is on your right,” said my iPhone, notifying me that I had reached 1683 South Highland Avenue. I turned my head and saw nothing. Where was the food truck? I pulled into Popeye’s, put the car in “Park,” and stepped outside into the slightly muggy end-of-September-in-West-Tennessee weather. Scanning the landscape, my eyes fell onto a neon green trailer in the middle of a parking lot. I began my approach and saw “KC Finn’s” printed on its exterior, accented by several four leaf clovers.
My first semester of graduate school in Greensboro, North Carolina, the main thing I remember about poetry workshop—besides the necessity of snacks to feed the muse—was a diagram that my professor drew on the whiteboard one afternoon. Becca wrote WHAT THE POEM IS ABOUT above two intersecting arrows. Then, she labeled each end of the arrows. Viewed as a compass, the west represented the start of the writing process; the east represented the end of the writing process.
We had a blast last year at theCO's first annual celebration of theCOtoberfest—but what is it exactly? Check out this video by Kevin Adelsberger highlighting the best of last year's event, and join us this weekend for an even better time!
I was never a baller. I wanted to be one, though. The grace and fluidity with which truly great basketball players move is unparalleled in any other sport. I was jealous. I’m tall and used to be pretty thin, but I never had the grace the true athletic players seemed to have. Gravity appeared to have a stronger hold on me than it did my teammates and my opponents. Sure, I was able to dunk a ball for a period of time in my 20’s and early 30’s, but it was off one foot and more of a “rim grazer” than a true “flush.”
Food trucks have become a staple in bigger cities like Memphis and Nashville, but Jackson is beginning to acquire its own selection of these unique culinary experiences. Eatbox Food Truck is Jackson’s first gourmet food truck, and their menu changes just about every time they set up for an event. Eatbox’s most popular items are their varieties of gourmet meatballs. In fact, last September the Travel Channel featured their gourmet meatballs in a segment on Bonnaroo, which Eatbox has worked the past three years.
“Crows are family.” This wasn’t precisely the first utterance from Denton Parkins, but it was certainly the most arresting. He’d already gone through a list of remedies for crows and mice, his major competitors in the pumpkin and strawberry market. Crows, it seems, are wily creatures and sociable; he proposes to me that, “the crows scope us out.” I sense that he and the crows, from long dwelling together, have become familiar with one another’s faces.
Some might say Jackson has its fair share of Mexican restaurants, and now that food trucks keep popping up, it seems impossible to decide where to go when you're in the mood for a good taco. While plenty of our local establishments have excellent options, a few have dipped their toes into more daring ingredients, bold flavors, and unconventional combinations.
The West Tennessee State Fair is one of Jackson's most colorful, crowd-drawing events all year. Check out this video from Madison Academic student Tori Phillips giving a glimpse inside the transformed Fairgrounds.
Richard Hannay gets swept into a spy thriller in the Jackson Theatre Guild's current production of The 39 Steps. When a gun is fired during a theater production, the seductive Annabella Schmidt convinces Richard Hannay to take her to his room for safety. While there, she is murdered. With her dying breaths, she mentions the mysterious "39 steps" in relation to a spy plot but does not reveal its meaning. Hannay, now a murder suspect, flees the country, follows Annabella's few, vague clues to discover the meaning of the 39 steps.
One of the most well-known attractions in Jackson is Brooks Shaw & Son Old Country Store, a place both residents and visitors love. One of my earliest memories of the Old Country Store is from a field trip I took in kindergarten, where I was so excited about the barrels upon barrels of candy! The main draw of the Old Country Store is definitely the traditional Southern food buffet, which ranges from $8 to $13.
Some of my favorite things about Jackson’s many weekend entertainment options are the gambling, exotic dancers, and running from the cops. Of course, I am a sucker for the more romantic selections as well, including salsa dancing and island-inspired drinks, all of which can cause a woman’s inhibitions to wave bye-bye at the door. All of these are what make Jackson what it is—a lively city teeming with less-than-honest citizens looking for even less honest entertainment.
One of the most perplexing and discouraging realities the modern world confronts us with is a disconnection from our past and the past in general. We are separated from the first European settlers of West Tennessee by just less than 200 years, but we have less in common with those ancestors than they themselves would have had with the Ancient Greeks or Romans. Time is a relative construction in this sense, just like it is in physics.
Summer brought a whole new round of fresh Jackson cuisine to our diets! Check out these twelve local restaurants and food trucks, four of which are brand new to our city, then join us for some cozier options as fall approaches.
When the white-tailed deer show up in my backyard, it’s like witnessing a direct link to an age almost forgotten. I freeze in my tracks, and I can’t help but think about their unbroken chain of ancestors going back into the ancient past. These animals were here long before any settlers arrived from Europe. They were the hunted long before rifles replaced bows and arrows. They knew these lands when the waters were still clean and the air was still fresh. They knew these lands when there were no cars and no railroads.
Lauren Pritchard (LOLO) doesn’t care what you think about her, and just to make sure you never forget it, she named her new album In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Sh*t. This particular album is a collection of very self-aware songs that seem to offer the listener a firm idea of where Lauren’s direction as an artist is going. This is Lauren’s first release since her 2010 full-length, Wasted in Jackson, and it is without a doubt a departure from the sound that characterized that album.
“We help any person with any disability realize their potential.” Star Center President Dave Bratcher’s summary of the non-profit is simple, but a tour of the facility will quickly show just how far it reaches into the community. Since their start in 1988, they have grown into a thriving center serving a wide range of clientele by listening to the needs of the community.
Rain falls steadily against the sidewalk, bouncing back up almost as soon as it brushes the ground, and all I have for a shield is my military-green rain jacket as I hurry into Alba. Throwing off my hood, I spota guy in a sharp polka-dotted button-up and a girl with cool eyeliner sitting in the corner of the coffee shop. Together, local artists Hunter Cross and Cameron Briley combine their talents as The Skeleton Krew, an original band with a 60s-inspired, blues-rock vibe.
I still remember the conversation I had with my mother after I got my first tattoo. It went a little something like this: Me: So, I need to tell you something. Mom: What happened? Me: Nothing happened. I got a tattoo. Mom: WHAT?! Me: I said, I— Mom: WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!! Me: I just wan— Mom: THAT’S JUST STUPID! You know those things never come off! Me: Yes. I know, but— Mom: So, now you drink beer AND have a tattoo?! Well, you’re just white trash!
To call Jackson home sometimes feels like a betrayal of the place that taught me the meaning of that word. Two hours east on I-40, home is a small white farmhouse on top of a hill with a porch swing and a bed of roses that welcome you to the front door. At home, the sound of that swing’s rusty metal creaking still steadies me like I imagine the ticking of a metronome does for a novice musician. There are days when I ache for the rhythm of home, just as we gasp for air when deprived of breath.
On Our Podcast
This Weekend: Christmas in the City
If you've enjoyed a scoop of gelato, bought some furniture from Coffman's, or perused Oz's Rare & Used Books, you've probably overlapped into Seth Chandler's life in some capacity. Today on our podcast, Kevin Adelsberger interviews this man behind local advertising and public relations company DCA/DCPR, a business with an intriguing history and rich portfolio of work.
Christmas was a big deal at my house. Throughout December, every radio (one in each room) was tuned to the same station, promising no escape from that beautiful—though maddening, for some—collection of classic standards and contemporary holiday tunes. That little kid, still roaming the corridors of my psyche, remembers Dad sitting next to the radio, waiting patiently to hear each of his perennial favorites, while Mom baked cookies destined to be set upon festive red and green trays.
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541 Wiley Parker Road | Jackson TN, 38305
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