Dilettante 36: Southern women

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In early summer, azaleas come to bloom in the Deep South, as well as honeysuckle, hydrangeas, magnolias, and bougainvillea.

Cedar, loblolly pines, white pines, water oaks, white and red oaks, and sweet gum trees line the roads.

In winter, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas are blanketed with vertical brown forest-sticks huddled together for warmth in between black, dried-up cotton fields and wide, shallow rain-lakes. The South’s got some rare air.

The thing transplanted Southerners like me miss most about the South — besides the smell of the air, and thunderstorms, and midnight trains, and food cooked with ham-hock, and singing frogs at night — is getting on an elevator, looking someone in the eye, asking how they’re doin’, and having them actually respond, and start a pleasant conversation.

Anyway it was a slow week of events at the SF Bay Guardian in 1999, so for that nightlife column I reviewed this solo theater show happening downtown. And felt very adult doing so. And I got a tee-niny bit homesick.


Click through to read “Belle Heiress,” originally published in the SF Bay Guardian on January 19, 1999.

This is the 36th entry in my “twenty years ago this week” project from when I was a nightlife columnist at the Bay Guardian, once the country’s largest family-owned weekly newspaper. These “Dilettante” clips, compiled on my portfolio page, create a serial portrait of San Francisco culture at the turn of the century (1997-2001).

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Southern girls of a certain age can spot their Momma’s hairstyle/wigstyle somewhere in this “Hee Haw” photo

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