Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mad Potter of Biloxi and Frank Gehry 'Pods'

             Pods have landed on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and although they may resemble something from outer space, these buildings are the work of prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, known for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, among so many other beautiful creations.
            Gehry designed the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, which celebrates the ceramic works of George Ohr, known as the “Mad Potter of Biloxi.” Ohr wasn’t as crazy as he was an excellent marketer; his reputation helped sell his innovative and experimental ceramics, according to museum curator Barbara Johnson Ross. In addition to Ohr’s unique works are buildings hosting visiting artists; the City of Biloxi Center for Ceramics, which offers art classes; the Mississippi Sound Welcome Center; the Pleasant Reed Interpretive Center in a reconstruction of a 19th century home (the original was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina) and the Creel House Neighborhood Center.
            But the complex of buildings, including the “Pods,” is an exhibit on to itself. Gehry believed the Ohr Museum should conform to its environment, merging with the century old live oaks. He called the museum complex, “Dancing with the Trees.” The Mississippi Sound Welcome Center, for instance, includes an overlook nestled within the oaks but with a stunning view of the Gulf of Mexico.
            What grabs visitors’ attention the most, however, is the Knight Gallery, otherwise known as the “Pods.” They are still under construction (and renovation due to Katrina) but one will open this July with a permanent exhibit of Ohr’s work.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Husbands only!

            We spotted this doghouse on the way to a plate lunch at Johnson’s Boucaniere in downtown Lafayette, Louisiana. It sports a sign, "Private Property, no trespassing!"
             Got us wondering who would want — or be brave enough — to trespass on a doghouse. Not to mention be small enough to fit inside! The rooftop hits an average person about shoulder high. Maybe there’s a problem with transient dogs in the downtown Lafayette area who can read?
            But in case you’re wondering what lunch we enjoyed, since Lafayette is one of the nation’s top foodie towns, Johnson’s Boucaniere’s cuisine consists of delicious meats they smoke out back. They are famous for their boudin (pronounced boo-dan), including a boudin sandwich between locally produced Evangeline Bread that’s to die for. We enjoyed the smoked meat salad — trying to be healthy — that featured smoked pulled pork atop a bed of lettuce, sweet cherry tomatoes, cheese, chopped onions and a special sauce that tied things together beautifully.
             So maybe the dogs in the neighborhood come for the meats, and become so full of goodness pass out in the doghouse.
     Or maybe it’s a sign to neighborhood wives that this doghouse is reserved for one particular husband.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

            Russian-born entertainer Yakov Smirnoff has been making funny as well as artwork for the past few decades plus he owns a theater in Branson where he make appearances when he's not on the road. We were there this past week listening to the Rankin Brothers perform, two incredibly talented musicians — and brothers — who can mimic numerous performers from the 1950s on. Their parents were seated next to us and so excited that we came to hear their boys play. 
            But back to the weird part.
            Upon visiting the Yakov ladies room, the first thing we spotted was a plaque upside the toilet dispenser that proclaimed “For Your Royal Hiney.” That was funny enough, but behind the throne was a curtain with a knob to the right. When you pull back the curtain, there’s a smiling Yakov watching you with the following announcement: “Take the curtain off the hook. The curtain falls and I won’t look.”
             We wondered if we were the only ones graced with his face, since no one else seemed to be giggling in the stalls. When we emerged from our business, however, it was clear all the ladies stalls had curtains and knobs waiting for them. So Yakov, your job hit its mark with us, if no one else noticed.