Alex Mercedes Emphasizes Arts

“Mercedes Emphasizes Arts in Holly Springs” – a Slice of Life article (text as printed in The South Reporter on March 6, 2014) A performing artist inspired by every facet of life, Alex Mercedes teaches piano, gives lectures, and leads workshops that connect the mind and body. With a dream to introduce art to a small town, Mercedes left San Francisco in the summer of 2012 to come to Holly Springs and do exactly that. Her plan was to start an artist residency called the “Artist Retreat and Conference Center”, which would present the community with original works of art, inspired by the South. The residency would have been open to painters, writers, musicians, and performers. While the timing hasn’t been right for Holly Springs to host such a retreat, Mercedes’ dream to bring the arts to our town succeeds in a few unexpected ways. She shares her passion for music by teaching private piano lessons, playing piano at Grace Lutheran Church on Sundays, and by taking an active role in programs such as Behind the Big House. “It’s (creating art) about being open and inquisitive, and playful,” she says. Additionally, Mercedes offers workshops (or “playshops”, as she prefers to […]

Alisea McLeod, Slice of Life

“McLeod – Teacher, Researcher, Writer” – a Slice of Life article (text as printed in The South Reporter on March 6, 2014) Dr. Alisea McLeod, Professor of English and Humanities at Rust College, was recently appointed to be Rust’s new Interim Chair of Humanities. As part of the job, she’ll oversee multiple courses including Religion, English, Foreign Languages, Speech, Communications, and Mass Communications, as well as a tv and radio station. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like an overwhelming amount of work, but McLeod is delighted with the opportunity. There’s so much potential in this job to teach, and she’s excited to see students discover their life’s work. After all, it was during the pursuit of higher education that she found hers. And she’s been researching, and writing about it ever since. Grounded in history and genealogy, the subject of McLeod’s work was inspired by the personal experiences she had growing up. Her point of interest: the emancipation and migration of African-American families from the South. “Like many families, my family didn’t talk about the past very much. My father tried to, but I think at the time he was raising us, people expected you to have a new […]

Shannon McNally Yoga & Music

“McNally Balances Yoga, Music” – a Slice of Life article (text as printed in The South Reporter on March 6, 2014) The word “Namaste” has a new musical ring to it thanks to one Holly Springs resident. In between album tours, singer-songwriter Shannon McNally brings one of the most popular forms of exercise, yoga, to the gyms of Holly Springs through scheduled classes and private yoga sessions. In her classes, McNally stresses the importance of deep breathing for improved focus, strength, and balance. She asks students what they would like to improve, and then tailors each workout based on their requests. The workout is also adapted to meet the needs of students with physical difficulties, and so, is very inclusive. It all coincides with McNally’s mantra: yoga is for everyone, regardless of where you start. Students are encouraged to focus only on their own practice, and not to make comparisons with one another. The class results in a welcoming, and relaxing experience. “It’s like music,” she says. “You don’t know who needs it.” McNally credits her own yoga practice for teaching her to slow down, and focus. In this way, yoga has enriched the other creative aspects of her life, […]

Lost at Sea

“Lost at Sea” – a report from the Marshall County Historical Museum (as printed in The South Reporter on November 21, 2013) Lieutenant Jim Bright Buchanan of Holly Springs, Miss. flew into Pearl Harbor without any guns. A radio operator on a B-17 aircraft, his squadron left San Francisco for the Philippines on Dec. 6, 1941, with a scheduled stop at Hickam Field in Honolulu. There, the plane would be armed for battle before picking up a battalion march in the Philippines. That was the plan. The surprise attack by the Japanese meant the squadron couldn’t land at their scheduled stop. Instead, they were diverted to Wheeler Field in the central part of Honolulu. The attack on the Harbor was in full swing, but they were safe. Born in 1915, Buchanan left work as a bonds salesmen in Memphis, Tenn. to enlist in the Army Air Corps in March of 1941, at the age of 26. After the incident at Pearl Harbor, he soon qualified as a bombardier. Mrs. Frances Buchanan, Lieutenant Buchanan’s widow, recalls during a recent interview that it was an exceptionally patriotic time. “I don’t think there has ever been a more patriotic time,” she said. On […]

Witches, Ghosts, and Halloween

“Witches, Ghosts, and Halloween” – a report from the Marshall County Historical Museum (as submitted to The South Reporter for publication the week of October 30, 2013) One day a year children can be anything they want to be. Well, almost. Depending on a household’s values or beliefs, the choice of costume for a child on Halloween has its limits. Some costumes can be too graphic, too risqué, too weird, or too “witchy”. There’s varying degrees of all of these things, and some costumes can, actually, be too graphic or too risqué for common decency. In terms of “witchy”, I relate this to whether or not a child is allowed to dress up like the stereotypical witch or ghost for Halloween. Some children are. I wasn’t. Instead, my mom sewed elaborate costumes that were pumpkins, clowns, Popples, and princesses. The Popple was especially nifty. For anyone who remembers the 1980s plush toy by Mattel, my costume even had a pouch I could roll myself up into and bounce around. In researching the origin of Halloween for this article, I realized how unintentionally Victorian it was for Mom to exorcise the spookiness out of my holiday. During the 1800s, the holiday […]

Long Island Summers

“Long Island Summers” – a report from the Marshall County Historical Museum (as printed in The South Reporter on October 24, 2013) Since taking the helm of the Marshall County Historical Museum as Interim Director on 01 July 2013, Chelius Carter and the Museum’s intrepid staff have busied themselves with a thorough inventory of everything that is contained within its three floors, a formidable task. The inventory process is being done to make the collection searchable, as it will be logged into a database, making it more accessible for research and help in bringing more visitors to our area. Though Lois Shipp’s daily presence is dearly missed, her impact upon the Museum and its immense collection assembled during her tenure is ever-present. The inventory process will be of help in planning future programs, thus ensuring that Miss Lois’ legacy will continue to evolve. The inventory process, though tedious, has not been without it “eureka” moments. In fact, if you were to take the tour at the Marshall County Historical Museum, you would uncover an array of oddities, old southern history, and estate treasures. There’s a feeling of archaeology, bringing to light buried treasures, as you take the tour. The itch […]

For the Birds: Urban Roost

“For me, I can only imagine it’s much worse than when I grew up,” said Daryll Peirce. “Hot dogs were hot dogs, not pork, not meat, not anything, they were hot dogs. And I would eat them cold two at a time out of the fridge after school.” Daryll opened the fridge and pulled out a tray of eggs. His wife, Rosy, stood next to him holding their 2 year-old daughter, Poppy. “Everything now is prepackaged and totally removed from the source with colro, texture, ingredients, shiny packaging, cartoons, etc.” He held up a tray of eggs. The colors ranged from red, to orange, and green. Rosy explained that each of their chickens was a different breed, and so produced different colored eggs. “I’ve always felt the need to be close to my food source,” said Rosy. “I guess I sort of see raising chickens like an extension of gardening. I try to grow fruits and veggies, so why not try to grow eggs as well?” Daryll agreed that the chickens were “97% Rosy’s deal”. Having grown up near downtown Denver, Colorado, Rosy liked the idea of living on a farm. Her earliest memories in Denver were of her and […]

For the Birds: Outreach in Davis

For volunteers of Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue, weekends are spent reaching out to the public through pet adoption fairs, bird care workshops, lectures, and community service. This group of shots was taken during a spring adoption fair at the Davis Public Library in Davis, California, where the public was invited to see and touch these unique birds. Thanks to connections made at this event, some birds found their forever homes.

For the Birds: ‘Parront’ Diane Pinko

Volumes on domestic birds, dog training, and gardening were stacked neatly by subject, revealing Diane Pinko’s interests as soon as we entered. Diane’s Bay Area home was warm, tidy with a few expected pieces of furniture and ceramic knick-knacks, but not cluttered. Two black Standard Poodles roamed from the living room to the back bedroom, passing by bird cages and standing perches. Like the birds we were there to meet, the dogs were both rescues, adopted by Diane. I unpacked my camera, and Pam, the Development Director of Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, flipped to a new page in her notebook. Diane peeked over her glasses with a rosy smile, and offered us shortbread cookies and coffee. I happily accepted. This was our fourth shoot for the day, but not the last. A few minutes later, halfway into my coffee, she began to introduce us to her flock. A Species Coordinator at Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, Diane specializes in finding homes for African Grey parrots and Canaries. If a potential adopter contacts Mickaboo for either of those bird species, they may end up meeting Diane and her birds. For our purposes in this shoot, a Blue Fronted Amazon named ‘Charlie’ made […]

Old Crow Tattoo Presents Friends & Lovers

From the original press release: “Old Crow Tattoo and Gallery presents Friends and Lovers A collaborative art exhibition and experience New artworks and installations by Shrine, Lauren Napolitano, Andrew Luck and Charlotte Drury “Friends and Lovers” is an art exhibition that hopes to examine the varying relationships between artists and their artwork by curating a show based on the artists’ experiences with each other. More so than solely making decisions on the merits of each person’s artwork individually; a simple framework was put in place by choosing 2 groups of artists: one set as “friends” and one set as “lovers”. The exhibition speaks to trials and tribulations relationships can endure, while also highlighting how a nurturing and loving artistic partnership can be reflected within art. This statement can be applied to both groups interchangeably, thus making the inter-connectivity of the artists and the artwork so interesting and vital.” On view until March 23, 2013 Old Crow Tattoo and Gallery 362 Grand Ave Oakland, CA