Thursday, October 18

Lighting the Fire: The Symposium [Unofficially] Begins (Part 2 of 2)

Oh, hello again. When we last left you, we were walking up the hill from the Powerhouse, bound for Thacker Mountain Radio at the Lyric Theater. It was packed with Oxford residents, University faculty, students, and staff, and a healthy cohort of SFA sympsoiumgoers.

This week, Thacker celebrated its fifteenth birthday. And instead of getting its learner's permit, it blew out its candles with the SFA. Congratulations to Thacker for fifteen years on the air!

As usual, Thacker's house band, the Yalobushwhackers, were on fire, playing to open and close the show. They sang plenty of food-themed songs, ending with Hank Williams's "Hey, Good Lookin'."

Three SFA symposium presenters gave readings this evening during the show. Randall Kenan read a short story about a megachurch barbecue, John Dufresne read poems about eating in and dining out, and Monique Truong talked about the roles that food and hunger played in her novel Bitter in the Mouth.

Now, here's where we get to brag that our symposium unofficially began with a bang and a whistle (not a whimper). Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band performed the North Mississippi Hill Country music that 23-year-old Sharde learned from her grandfather, the late, great, Otha Turner. Stay tuned for more of Sharde and her band later this weekend.

When Thacker was over, it was time for a brief intermission. And as everybody knows, nothing says "intermission" like barbecue bologna dogs with mustard and slaw. These beauties were dreamed up by Kirk Lovejoy, the charcutier (and bolognier) for the City Grocery restaurants.

Fortified by our snacks, the crowd was ready for the world premiere of Joe York's newest film, Pride & Joy.

Joe has made over 30 short films for the SFA. In Pride & Joy, some of the people and places from those films return, alongside new faces, dishes, and locales from Richmond, Virginia, to Snook, Texas. If Joe's earlier films were short stories, he's just finished his first novel. The threads that hold it together are sense of place; love of labor; and connection with family, friends, and strangers through the common bond of food.

We can't wait for you to see Pride & Joy. Stay tuned for details about winter screenings in New York, Atlanta, and Charleston, followed by a television premiere on South Carolina ETV in spring 2013.

And Joe, you've done us proud! 

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When the movie ended and the lights came up, Sharde Thomas and her band processed out of the Lyric, leading the crowd onto the Square, just as her grandfather did at our first barbecue symposium a decade ago.