As many times as The Old Lady has attended VSU concerts in Whitehead Auditorium, she never suspected that the place harbored a secret… a Moeller pipe organ that, when it was installed in the late 1960s, was considered one of the finest in the South.With banks of pipes on both sides of the auditorium the “Mighty Mo” produces a stereophonic effect.
The organ is seldom used, but recently Director of Music for Corpus Christi Cathedral Lee Gwozdz coaxed the instrument with his dazzling skill into showing off its stellar sound before a delighted audience.
Gwozdz is the brother of Donna Farwell, who is married to VSU Head of Music Doug Farwell.
Dressed like a Tennessee gambler, Gwozdz matches musical ability with showmanship to put on a remarkably entertaining performance.This spectacular recital was just one of the many FREE performances available to the public at Valdosta State University.
The Old Lady was cruising the back roads, specifically US 41 south from Lake Park, Georgia to the Florida state line.
And she found the coolest duplex!The two sides are joined by a tilework walkway which illustrates the state borders.
The walkway to one side shows that it is in Georgia… …while the other walkway shows that it is in Florida.The building may have been some sort of welcome station in the distant past, but more recently somebody did live here.And just a little further along the highway into Florida, the remains of one of the Sunshine State’s infamous state-line liquor stores dating from the time when most of the state of Georgia was dry.“To heck with the interstate!” sniffed The Old Lady, “Back roads are the best.”
The Old Lady wants to give a SHOUT OUT to the powerhouse who is the main driving force behind South Georgia Pride: Raynae Jones.
From schmoozing a drag queen out of a snit to negotiating with local law enforcement for extra security so that festivalgoers feel safe, Raynae does it all with a smile on her face.
And even on Festival day when she works the hardest……. Raynae still PARTIES!Raynae’s efforts were recognized last year when the Atlanta Pride Festival folks deemed her an Honorary Grand Marshal in the Atlanta parade.
But as this year’s South Georgia Pride Festival was winding down… Raynae found that there IS rest for the weary… and a well deserved massage.
THANK YOU, RAYNAE JONES… and, thank you to her wife Holly and her little girl Ayla for sharing Raynae with the South Georgia community for this important work.
South Georgia Pride Week kicked off this year with the very first Miss South Georgia Pride Pageant. Six drag queens strutted their stuff and hung tough in pursuit of the glittery crown.Drag is what they call it when you play Extreme Dress-Up and perform (sometimes) for money.
Here’s the synchronicity of the thing: it all happened while RuPaul was receiving an Emmy for his program “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and stating in his acceptance speech:
“The significance [of this award] is we hear the stories of 100 queens—actually now 112 queens—who get to tell their unique stories of survival. It’s so important for all the young people around the world who get to see this show to hear that there is a way for you to navigate this life.”
It takes someone unique to do drag, and to work so hard on both presentation and performance… these performers MOVE!The Old Lady has the greatest respect and LOVE for everybody who has the guts to get up and perform live. BRAVA, DIVAS!
The Old Lady climbed Stone Mountain the other day, the most recent of a series of treks up that rocky trail that stretch back through her entire life.Every time she climbs, The Old Lady looks for messages carved into the rock that have been there since before she was born…… including the inlaid marble plaque reminding the hiker of the first people to use this trail.In late summer the trail is decorated with the signature yellow daisies.From the top, Atlanta is still visible but not as clear as it used to be.The Old Lady feels a sense of belonging, of ownership, whenever she climbs Stone Mountain, because she is descended from Aaron Cloud who held the first deed to the land and who built the first observation tower on the summit out of wooden timbers.
She was vastly amused when, upon descending the mountain, she was offered a Certificate of Achievement for having made the climb!She wondered how many times her great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Aaron Cloud made that climb, dragging heavy wooden timbers!
The Old Lady has driven through Warm Springs, Georgia, dozens of times. She has always looked at the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery as she passed, thinking “I need to stop sometime and check that out!” So, finally, she did.What a delight! Inside the tiny building there are several aquariums housing fish that are indigenous to the Georgia waterways.But the best is outside…… where the bigger cousins of the inside fish live in huge concrete tanks.And the really weird thing about all these weird fish is… THEY ALL LIVE IN GEORGIA WATERS. The Old Lady will be thinking about that next time she stops for a swim.
The Old Lady LOVES odd movies and not on a TV screen either kiddies, she craves the full cinematic big screen experience with the smell of popcorn in the lobby (none for me, thanks, Mr. Natural said so) and slightly musty smelling seats in the theatre.
Hands down, the best movie she’s seen lately is LIFE, ANIMATED.It’s a documentary about a child who is autistic, produced by the boy’s father. Three-year-old Owen Suskind “disappears” into his own closed world and fixates on Disney animated movie DVDs. Some years later the father discovers that he can communicate with his child via Disney movies, the characters, and the dialog.
It is a testament to the power of myth and story, shown through the eyes of a father and an autistic child for whom these modern myths and stories provide a way to make sense of a world that is incomprehensible to the boy through “normal” channels.
During the film Owen grows up, graduating from school and moving into his own apartment and getting his own job. He will always be “different” but he makes his difference to be his own signature and voice, and the thing that he knows better than anyone else.
An inspiring film, a testament to parents who refuse to give up on their “different” child… and also a well-done depiction of what it’s like to be truly, really “different” and how that difference can enrich the world in ways never before imagined.