Skip to main content

tv   Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown  CNN  May 25, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT

8:00 pm
come frolic, live like caesar, or make money off those who do. drop a few moist bills in a gas station slot, see the full spectrum of human folly and commit some follies of your own. ♪ some time ago something crawled or slithered or grew like a fungus. something that started small, got bigger, lurched like a swamp thing out of the mud and moist earth and humid nights of the delta. then it took over the world. so, next time some smartass foreigner, horrified by our ham-fisted foreign policy wonders out loud what good is america, well, you can always pipe up that the blues, rock and roll, r&b and soul all came out of this place, one state, mississippi.
8:01 pm
♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha la la la la ♪ sha la la la la la ♪ sha la la la la ♪ sha la la la la la la ♪ ♪ right now we're in the middle of downtown jackson.
8:02 pm
farish street. >> a street with a lot of history. what did it used to be like back in the day? >> the street was packed with folks. folks all over. they had their own restaurants, grocery stores, juke joints, i mean, everything happened on farish street that happened in jackson for the african american community. >> the state capital of jackson, mississippi, located along interstate highway 55, just outside what's known as the mississippi delta. it's the kind of place that makes you wonder why did they make it the capital? until you grab hold of what used to be around here. farish street used to be the hub of african-american life in this city, its black commercial, cultural center. when dr. king came to town, he came here. everybody did. medgar evers had an office just upstairs here. musicians like tommy johnson, sonny boy williamson too, and elmore james all played here and the likes of duke ellington, cab
8:03 pm
callaway, count basie and louie armstrong all took the stage at places like the crystal palace ballroom and the alamo on farish street. what happened? where did it all go? >> what killed it was integration. once we were able to break out of our own indigenous black-run businesses, the black-owned businesses died. great for the black race but terrible for the black business. in fact, the only reason you're coming here right now is you have two churches, two funeral homes and the big apple inn. so you're going to either die, worship, or come to my place to eat. and that's the only -- >> or all three. >> right. >> not in that order. >> how you doing today? >> well, hi. >> how y'all doing today? >> back when things were hopping, geno lee's great grandfather, juan "big john" mora, moved to mississippi from mexico city, started a family with an african american woman in jackson. he sold hot tamales out of a steel drum on the corner. in 1939, he moved the operation
8:04 pm
inside, right here. now, the last restaurant on the street. lurking inside, waiting for us, is john t. edge, who leads the southern food ways alliance. >> mr. edge, how you doing? >> well, sir. >> who makes a point, a mission, out of knowing and teaching as much as he can about the real culinary traditions of the south and doing what he can to keep them alive and unmolested. >> thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> look at that. awesome. it's like a dream sandwich. what you go for here are smokes, smoked sausage sandwiches, and these magnificent beauties, pig ear sandwiches called ears, both pretty much served with the same garnishes of slaw, mustard, homemade hot sauce on a soft bun. as i understand it, originally this is one of those nobody wants these things, they're dirt cheap. >> exactly right. in fact, by dirt cheap, the ears were actually free when my great grandfather started getting the
8:05 pm
pig ears, the local butcher was giving them to him because he was just throwing them away. >> so everything we love about pig, the texture, the mix of fatty and lean, all that. oh, that's good. mm. man. that is hard to beat. >> isn't it good? >> mm-hmm. >> it's a good sandwich. >> of course, some hot tamales which at this point in history are about as mississippi as they are mexican. like the blues, they came out of mississippi in the early 20th century as mexican migrant workers came in to replace african-americans, who were headed to work in the great factories and stockyards of chicago and detroit. >> sitting down here, eating tamales, we can sketch a history of mississippi. that's kind of what i'm most interested in doing, helping southerners understand that their foods are as african as they are western european. >> if not more. >> and hopefully -- if not largely. you know, music and all the other cultural expressions of the south. i think food is a sneaky way of getting at some of the serious
8:06 pm
stuff we've been talking about. >> as i told you before, i didn't know what a cool job or what a cool restaurant i had until you showed it to me. i'm just making a living, you know, just like a lot of folks around mississippi. we're not trying to make history. we're not trying to increase tourism. all we're doing is doing what we do. >> there is a discomfort level about exploring southern food ways or particularly mississippi food ways. >> right. >> when you're talking about high-end, traditional southern cooking, you're talking about plantation, slavery cooking, because that's where these recipes came from. so to revel in that, you don't want to tumble into nostalgia. the potential for awkwardness and offense is enormous. >> i want to be careful. i'm not saying that's what i want the south to be. i'm saying that's what people come to the south looking for. >> right. >> they come to the south looking for the past preserved in amber. but the reality is something different. i don't want to fix it. 1865 or 1965. i want it to progress and change. i want to document the change
8:07 pm
along the way and celebrate that change. the burden of race is upon us, and we ain't going to shake it. and that can make us better. >> i'm a yankee. so, for me, it's kind of shocking to see this flag. it means a lot of things to a lot of people. first and foremost meaning i'm not a yankee and i don't much care what you think. there's no doubt that much of mississippi history is ugly. from slavery, which was pretty much the backbone, the foundation of industry here from the get-go, to jim crow, lynchings to church burnings. 14-year-old emmett till, killed for talking sass to a white lady in 1955. the assassination of medgar evers in 1963. the murders of civil rights workers james cheney, michael schwerner and andrew goodman in 1964.
8:08 pm
hell, they had to send in 30,000 armed federal agents, national guardsmen and military police just to enforce federal law allowing a black man to attend state college. a notion that was, shall we say, less than popular here. to be honest, that was about all i had for an image of the state of mississippi. that was all i knew. and it hadn't occurred to me to look further. but i have traveled the world since then, and i have visited and learned to love many places not my own, cultures and beliefs very different from the upper east side of manhattan. why can't i love mississippi? ♪ ♪ ♪ never gonna fall from my spot, i move all this, in september ♪
8:09 pm
♪ black eye october, so you be thankful the party's not over ♪ ♪ we won the race because they ran a lame campaign ♪ ♪ i'm cooking victory, you want a taste ♪ >> pyinfamous is a proud son and resident of mississippi, a youth mentor in jackson's church and public school systems, owner of a marketing agency and hip-hop artist. this town it feels empty, but where is everybody? >> i think one thing is a lot of people think that you have to leave mississippi to be able to do something great, but i think a lot of it is there is so much bubbling in the undercurrent that sometimes isn't seen. and i think it takes an artist who usually takes something that's blank and creates something that's awesome to be able to see the potential in a place, in a canvas, so to speak, that has been vacated by others. >> soul wired cafe, one of the number of places where something is going on, where artists, entrepreneurs, movement workshops, performance spaces,
8:10 pm
set up something new and good in formerly abandoned and neglected parts of town. ♪ yeah, you know the name already ♪ ♪ so there's no need for intro ♪ gather round, because that's exactly why the hood's here ♪ ♪ and if you're trying to find, don't look here ♪ >> this is a deeply, deeply conservative state, to say the least. >> right. >> this is a tough question because i have my own opinion. is it more racist than new york? >> so i think there are some deeply ingrained problems in mississippi that are connected to a very ugly past that we share with some other southern states. however, i think as far as when we talk about racism expressed through a classist lens, i think mississippi and new york are on par, right? >> yeah, no doubt. pyinfamous is originally from clarksdale in the delta and went to ole miss, but he's neither left nor lost faith. he feels an obligation to empower, uplift, educate, to contribute.
8:11 pm
>> one of the important tasks of musicians is being able to really speak truthfully about what's going on without fear of reprisal. right? it allows the audience to then say you know what, you're right. now that you've put it to a nice melody or to a nice beat or you say it in that way, then hopefully then it engages them more and allows them to move. and i don't think any movement in the world has not had a soundtrack, right? regardless of what it is. and so, that's our job. ♪ the hood here, that's exactly why the hood's here ♪ ♪ and if you're trying to find, better look here ♪ ♪ close the blinds ♪ scared to cross ♪ it's not fair to y'all, make room, break rules ♪ the network that monitors her health.
8:12 pm
the secure cloud services that store her genetic data the servers and software on a mission to find the perfect match. and the mom who gets to hear her daughter's heart beat once again. we're helping organizations transform the way they work so they can transform the lives of the people they serve. and five acres of fresh air.
8:13 pm
top three tools: hammer, screwdriver, front loader. happiness is a drive-over mower deck. a john deere dealer can teach tractors to anybody. in the right hands, an imatch quick-hitch could probably cure most of the world's problems. that's how we run, and nothing runs like a deere. see your john deere dealer for great green tag savings on the one family sub-compact tractors. (yells) (whitaxi!!!! ♪ where to? west 76th street. from us the orange juice growers, to you the orange juice lovers. enjoy florida's natural.
8:14 pm
♪ depending on what metrics
8:15 pm
you're using, the mississippi is somewhere between the tenth and the fourth largest river in the world. one thing for sure, it's big. and it's freaking strong. also, you've really got to put your back into it if you're crazy enough to want to paddle a canoe around in its fast-moving waters. what's the source of the mississippi? >> well, anywhere a raindrop falls in 44% of america. if you follow the volume of water, two-thirds comes down the ohio river, but most people will say lake tascam in minnesota. >> john rutski is i guess what you would call a river rat. in 1998 he started the quapaw canoe company, a custom outfit that leads guided expeditions on the mississippi river and its tributaries. as a central part of his operations, he trains local kids from mississippi and across the river in neighboring arkansas under an apprentice program, teaching skills like hand carving canoes, outdoor survival and the ins and outs of guiding
8:16 pm
and the history of the river. most of these kids come from pretty distressed neighborhoods, and the hope, the intent, is that once trained up, they'll stay with the company. ♪ >> nice paddling, tony. you got the feather down. >> thank you. i'll be feeling that tomorrow. buck island. most of the island could be under 45 to 50 feet of flowing river water from april to june with the spring ice melt and rainstorms. >> we do a lot of cooking out here. >> multipurpose and indestructible. >> mm-hmm. the next step in this thing is here are the greens and we should stuff as many greens as we can into that pot. >> into this right here? >> uh-huh. >> all right. so how does your program work? around what age are they generally when they first start?
8:17 pm
>> teenagers, and as soon as they can hold a paddle. the only thing we ask is interest and commitment. >> what does that mean, commitment? >> we have this thing called the three rs, which is respect of yourself, getting good sleep, eating good food, especially before we go on a trip. second one is respect of other people, other paddlers, and of course, the clients. and then the third thing is taking care of the river. and you know, they've been told by their parents don't get on the mississippi river. maybe they don't even know how to swim. and you know, for a young man or woman, overcoming a fear like that and getting in the canoe, and then to have people come and appreciate what you're doing is a life-changing experience. but within that is this incredible bright and beautiful spirit that is intact in the delta. >> sweet potatoes, greens, into the dutch ovens. throw on the corn when getting close. finally, on the wet logs on top of glowing coals, lay some steaks, some pork loin and pork tenderloins right on there. just keep an eye on them.
8:18 pm
we have full spectrum steaks. potato's perfect. >> corn on the cob. >> yeah. hunk of bread. living large on the mississippi. and yes, there is too much food for two people. and yes, that is a whole hell of a lot of meat. and i know it would be awful to waste all that extra. but don't worry. [ bird call ] because these gentlemen are tired and hungry. welcome, gentlemen. >> right on, quapaws. come on. corn on the cob here. greens. >> i'll be cookie. have a little more of this. oh, looking good. i don't want to say i'm good, but i'm good. all right. pork, sir? who's missed a steak here? >> yes, sir. >> need that?
8:19 pm
who needs steak? i feel all crocodile dundee. ♪ beautiful. so all that paddling, how bad am i going to hurt tomorrow? oh, i don't like the sound of that! that hesitation, not a good sign. those tenderloins are nice. good stuff. man, we have mastered the wild today. ♪ ♪ >> the mississippi delta is a big sponge that stretches between the yazoo and the mississippi. it's what's called an alluvial flood plain of about 7,000 square miles, or almost 4.5 million acres.
8:20 pm
this area used to look very different. massive wild old wood forests and swamps. after the passage of the cheerful-sounding native removal act of 1830, the delta became open for settlement by any white people crazy enough, hardy enough, determined enough or just plain mean and greedy enough, to come here. ♪ ♪ >> there's no way to make up for our bad racial past, but you know, the sense of community that keeps people here is evidenced in this place. >> julia reed is greenville born and raised, the daughter of a political family, a writer, author and as delta as it gets. how long you been in mississippi? >> 22 years. i came in 1992. >> john currence is a celebrated chef who left new orleans to come to mississippi and open
8:21 pm
first one, then many more restaurants and businesses in the town of oxford. >> i've stayed busy. >> and this is doe's eat place in greenville. >> this is the great florence signa. >> so good to meet you. >> florence is in charge of the salad bowl and has been -- this is doe's senior sister-in-law. when did y'all open up, 1930? >> '41. >> '41, close enough. >> like a lot of folks around here, dominic "big doe" signa got his start selling hot tamales to go. in the beginning, the place catered to the black community but after word got out how good the food was, white people started coming, which led to a kind of weird accommodation to the segregation of the day. blacks came in the front, white people snuck in the back. the menu expanded with the clientele. what human qualities are unique or marked in the native of mississippi? >> i cannot address mississippi because like i said, the delta's a whole other planet.
8:22 pm
>> okay. better question, then. how does the life-long delta resident differ from -- >> you have to be a little crazy to want to come in the first place because it was like the swamps, buddy. it was under water. i mean, you had to be crazy to come and you had to have enough money to make it work. so, you had some sort of gamblers. that spirit still infuses the place. it's a little reckless. it's sophisticated because they'd all come from elsewhere. you know, you go from the delta to the hills. i mean, we're totally snobbish up here even though we didn't have a right to be. i mean, where you just came from, jackson, are you kidding me? you'd have to be paid money to go to jackson from greenville. >> they feel the same way down there about you guys? >> they don't get us because they ain't got no sense of humor. >> so what about the food? has this place changed at all in -- >> no. >> it's been 20 years since i was here last and literally exactly the same. >> not much in the way of capital improvements or time motion study. the system, such as it is, is, well, crazy.
8:23 pm
eat right here in the kitchen. in the division of labor, the flow of work -- well, i gave up trying to figure it out five minutes in and figured i'll get loaded and eat all this delicious food. the salad thing is famous. hand-tossed in the same wooden bowl for decades. the hot tamales, same as they ever was. >> those tamales are just incredible because they're made with the steak drippings and stuff that you're getting ready to save, so -- >> oh, really? >> it greatly enhances the flavor. >> oh, my god. >> i could eat them until i was sick. >> fries done in cast iron pan on the stovetop. the famous shrimp. steaks on an old roll-out broiler, drippings all over the top. >> and you know, you're not going to get skinny or healthy eating the hot tamales, fried shrimp and steak at doe's. there's no question about it. >> oh, that's good. i'm happy. it's the grease that makes it. >> uh huh. >> that's good.
8:24 pm
you're right about the shrimp. they are delicious. >> the shrimp? oh, yeah. >> is there a dessert i should be saving room for? >> are you kidding me? there is no dessert. it's pretty damn bare bones, my friend. if you ask for one, they will give you a lollipop. ♪ me and you, ♪ and you and me. ♪ no matter how they tossed the dice. ♪ ♪ it had to be. ♪ the only one for me is you. ♪ and you for me. ♪ so happy together! now there's a rewards program that lets you earn points at one place and use them at another. introducing plenti. ♪ ♪
8:25 pm
when it comes to rewards, there's plenti together. ♪ ♪ whenthen some time fords, thfirst tthe two of you.eck-in
8:26 pm
whether setting out for the evening or settling down for breakfast we make sure every weekend is one to remember. doubletree by hilton. where the little things mean everything. so our patients can keep their regular weekday schedules. weekend appointments are available here at cancer treatment centers of america. learn more at appointments available now. my name is mary molina and i'm in the sacramento region. pg&e new technology is being used in all facets of the company and what we do. pg&e is employing these technologies as an investment to the system for the long run. we're not just going to roll up and go home because we live here and we work here and we care about the work
8:27 pm
and we care about doing it right. we all have the same goals to make the system safe and to make the community safe. together, we're building a better california. just because i'm away from my desk doesn't mean i'm not working. comcast business understands that. their wifi isn't just fast near the router. it's fast in the break room. fast in the conference room. fast in tom's office. fast in other tom's office. fast in the foyer [pronounced foy-yer] or is it foyer [pronounced foy-yay]? fast in the hallway. i feel like i've been here before. switch now and get the fastest wifi everywhere. comcast business. built for business.
8:28 pm
♪ ♪ this is exactly what you expect in mississippi, though, right? >> yeah. it's supposed to look like this. >> i moved here from georgia and the thing that struck me when i moved here, driving through the delta the first time, was just how empty it was. you know, it's like everybody left. >> the great migration. three factors. automation, the invention of mechanical means to pick cotton, the call of better-paying jobs in the industries of the north, and of course, freedom. >> people think about the blues as a lament. a lot of blues songs are about freedom, about getting the hell out of mississippi. and there were a lot of reasons to get the hell out of mississippi, for a long time. now there's a return migration. there's that whole period late '60s, early '70s, where kids are bugging out of brown university to come sit at the foot of an
8:29 pm
aging blues man in mississippi. there's a cyclical pattern to that. now you see people kind of doing the same thing with food, like there's a whole generation that wants to come down here and sit at the foot of an aged catfish cook. >> state senator willie simmons has been an elected official of the mississippi delta for 20 years. and he's been running this place, senator's place, for 11. now, what's the difference between soul food and southern, traditional southern food? >> it depends on the culture and what neighborhood you were in. if you were in the black neighborhood, then it became soul. we probably put a little bit more of the throwaway in our cooking, the pig feet, the pig tail, the neck bones and all of that's fatty. >> now you're making me hungry. that's it.
8:30 pm
so, greens? >> collard greens. >> i'm going to have some of that, for sure. is that fried okra there? i'll have a little of that. might need more than one plate at this rate. let me get some mac and cheese. what's that, lima beans? the red bean. oh, man, that looks kind of good, too. yeah, little bit of that. neck bones floating around somewhere? >> right here. >> okay, yeah, i'll have some of those. little rice and gravy on there, yeah. thanks. and oh, i don't know, a piece of fried chicken there. if you got a thigh, that would be great. >> okra's perfect. >> yeah, it is. oh, man, that's good. >> now here in the south, if you want to, you can throw your fork away and just grab a neck bone. >> oh, yeah, i'll be working on that. >> we forgive you and don't hold it against you. >> i could eat this okra all day long, man. it's good. >> i don't know what you think about those greens and butter beans. >> they're nice.
8:31 pm
that's tasty. do you think the right people get the credit for southern cooking as we know it? >> i do. >> you think the right people get the credit? >> people know. people know who's behind this food, whether it's called soul food or whether it's called country cooking. >> how is the delta, the mindset of the delta, different from the rest of the state? >> nobody else can compare with us. there's no one who can sit and talk to you and tell you they represent dockery plantation, where the blues supposedly been born. there's no one else that can tell you in his district is the home of b.b. king, can tell you he represent the area where hayman came from, where jerry butler was born. go on and name others. the staples singers. when we talk about the heritage and the culture and what comes out of the delta, that's all within this district that i represent.
8:32 pm
so, mississippi delta has that pride. ♪ ♪ >> 46 miles southeast is greenwood, a town with a lot of history, most of it of the not good variety. known, unfortunately, as much for byron de lebecwith and tom brady's infamous speech after browns versus the board of education as anything else, fairly or not, it's hard to get past that. during all the years of cruelty and struggle from 1933 on, through it all, and until today, this place, lusco's, was a beloved institution. once a grocery store, it turned restaurant to the moneyed class, served them in discrete quarters in the back, where one could enjoy an alcoholic beverage in what was then a dry state. still going after all these years, and unchanged. why? >> this place is like a
8:33 pm
reliquary of like indiscretions past, you know? >> but maybe to really tell the story of this place, you have to start with a story of its most famous employee, booker wright. he had been working at lusco's as a waiter since he was 14 years old. >> we don't have a red menu. i'd be glad to tell you what they're going to serve tonight. >> in 1965 nbc news came to town, making a documentary on race relations. booker's entertaining recitation of the menu at lusco's was famous around town, so they asked him to do his usual routine for the camera. >> we have great shrimp cocktail, shrimp, half shell. >> but at the end of his usual litany is where he dropped the truth bomb that nobody was ready for. right here. >> now, as for my customers -- i say my customers. they expect it of me. some are nice, some are not. some call me booker. some call me john. some call me jim. some call me nigger.
8:34 pm
all that hate, but you have to smile. if you don't, what's wrong with you? the meaner the man be, the more you smile, although you're crying on the inside. i'm not going to tip that nigger. you don't look for no tips. yes, sir, thank you. what did you say? thank you, sir. that's what you have to go through here. but remember, you have to keep that smile. >> telling the truth was still risky business in 1966 mississippi, and booker wright was not rewarded for his candor. it was not a good experience for him. it did not make him a star. >> not within the white community. but even the stokely carmichael maybe first chanted black power here, that was less important to the black community here than what booker said on the nbc news. >> yeah. the private dining rooms at lusco's are still here. the menu, much the same. steaks, fish, the famous broiled
8:35 pm
shrimp, the lusco special salad with the house italian vinaigrette dressing and a healthy dose of anchovy. onion rings. >> salad makes me happy. >> yeah, me, too. >> mostly the anchovies make me happy. >> yeah, yeah, love those. catfish for mr. edge, the famous pompano for me. >> it's the kind of the mark of being a great restaurant in the delta if you have pompano. >> that's a big damn fish. no way i'm finishing this. sitting here, the booths, the curtains, the whole ring bell for service thing, it seems lost in time. >> we've got a long and ugly history. but one of the things you love about this place is you can't deny the burden of the past. like, it's on your shoulders, right there. america chooses to deny its problems, you know, in many ways. and then declares itself a post-racial society. that shit doesn't fly in mississippi. you can't claim that.
8:36 pm
you can switch it right on again. you're back! freeze it, only from discover. get it at padvil pm gives you the healingu at nsleep you need, it. helping you fall asleep and stay asleep so your body can heal as you rest. advil pm. for a healing night's sleep. and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night,nd. and stay awake during the day.
8:37 pm
this is called non-24, a circadian rhythm disorder that affects up to 70 percent of people who are totally blind. talk to your doctor about your symptoms and learn more by calling 844-824-2424. or visit don't let non-24 get in the way of your pursuit of happiness.
8:38 pm
if you want to succeed in business, mistakes are a luxury you can't afford. that's why i recommend fast, reliable comcast business internet. they know what businesses need. and there's a no-mistake guarantee. if you don't like it, you have thirty days to call and get your money back. with comcast business internet, you literally can't mook a mistick. i meant to say that. switch today and get the no mistake guarantee. comcast business. built for business.
8:39 pm
♪ oxford, mississippi, is a lovely, incongruously eccentric, little island, a mutation, a college town, a magnet for writers, thinkers, and oddballs drawn, perhaps, by its rich literary tradition as the home of one of our greatest authors, william faulkner. faulkner was a mississippi native, a former postman, an outdoorsman and eventual winner of the nobel prize in literature and two pulitzer prizes for fiction. he never graduated high school. this was his house, roanoke.
8:40 pm
faulkner wrote such american classics as "the sound and the fury," "as i lay dying," "light in august" and "absalom absalom." and many of his works took place in a fictional county, a place very much like this place, in mississippi. >> this is where faulkner started his writing career, in this room here. >> for the past ten years, bill griffith has been curator at william faulkner's estate. >> he added this room after he won the nobel prize. on the wall here is an outline of one of his novels. >> that was his greatest book. >> faulkner thought this was his masterpiece. >> jack pendarvis is the author of "your body is changing," "the mysterious secret of the valuable treasure," and "awesome" as well as a staff writer for the game-changing animated series "adventure time," all works of which i am a huge fan. he wrote right on the wall? >> he just wrote on it. >> it's his man-cave. >> it's his version. he said that houses in mississippi who have a family business have one room dedicated
8:41 pm
to the family business and this family's business is writing. >> from as early as 1919 through the early '60s, faulkner wrote extensively about the post-civil war south. he was the first author to do so, at a time when most writers were writing about anything but. >> he always said that he wrote about a south torn between itself, torn between the old ways, the old traditional ways and modern development. he said he was going to break the antebellum code. >> right. >> and he did. he did. >> but? >> he did. and yet, he had those hobbies and interests that were definitely of a gentry class and a gentry nature. >> his portrait on his horse -- >> there's a great example. and his writing habit. that's a great example. you do get to a certain level of success, and all of a sudden, this seems like a good idea, and it's never a good idea at that age. >> at any age. >> exactly. >> was he politically active at all? i mean, there was a lot going on.
8:42 pm
>> he was a middle of the road democrat. that's what he said. he said you have to bring black education up with white education, and since the state of mississippi will not invest in black education, it's up to its citizens to do so. he said that segregation wasn't about being right or wrong. he said any sane, sober southerner knows that it's wrong. it's about wanting to change or not. but people don't want to give up power. fear is still alive and well in mississippi. i think racism is one of those great things in the world that you'll never solve and that's why faulkner wrote about it. ♪ >> writers, as i know from looking in my own dark heart, are generally terrible people. put ten of them together and it's like putting your head in a bag full of snakes. i meet a bunch of them above city grocery, john currence's place on the square. there's the brilliant author tom franklin and his wife, the poet beth ann fennelly. grisham writers in residence,
8:43 pm
megan abbott, jack pendarvis, a poet chayuma elliott. bryce thompson a senior writer for espn. fellow writer on the series "treme," chris. novelist ace atkins. poet derek harell is originally from milwaukee. crime novelist billy boyle from brooklyn. downstairs, currence's restaurant city grocery cranks out many delicious things. the man known as big bad chef, aka johnny snack, is sending some of those goodies upstairs as there's nothing professional writers like more than free food. usually, you put five writers in a room, it's an ugly, hell broth of envy, hatred -- >> we all hate tommy. >> yeah, that goes without saying. >> even me. i hate me worst of all. >> around here anyway the writers are really supportive of each other. for writers to argue would be like arguing over a piece of
8:44 pm
dirt. i mean, what are we fighting about? >> the stakes are too low. >> the stakes are so low. why would you be a jerk about it? >> if mississippi were a country and there were a national hero, dead or alive, by consensus, statewide, who would the statue be of? >> elvis. >> really? it wouldn't be b.b. king? >> it should be b.b. king. >> yeah. >> but it would be elvis. >> but it would be elvis. >> mississippi is -- you know, the joke is it's not a state, it's a club, that it's so small that everybody knows everybody. >> in the middle of mississippi, oxford is an oasis of thought and art and literature and feeling and sentiment and everything. >> they call this place the velvet ditch. >> why the velvet ditch? >> i guess you just roll in. it's pretty frigging comfortable and you don't care much about getting out. right? right? am i right?
8:45 pm
>> no one here seems too bitter about that. >> it's a place that needs help but it's a really great place. we're never leaving.
8:46 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ most weekends only last a couple of days. some last a lifetime. hampton. we go together. always get the lowest price, only when you book direct at grown and squeezed right only flhere in florida,is 100% by the same folks that own the company. (whistle) (yells) taxi!!!! ♪ where to? west 76th street. ♪ we bring that straight from the grove taste from us, the orange juice growers, to you, the orange juice lovers. and you can taste it in every glass. florida's natural. great taste. naturally.
8:47 pm
8:48 pm
♪ ♪
8:49 pm
is there a distinctive barbecue style in the state of mississippi? >> no. not that we can really discern at all. and it's part of the reason that we wanted to do this. we got our hands on this place and sort of been puzzled for years of what mississippi barbecue is all about. the more i dug into it, the less and less i could find. so what we wanted to do is sort of take a look at barbecue that surrounds us and see if we could sort of frankenstein barbecue. >> there isn't really any fixed idea of mississippi barbecue, and other than this place, lamar lounge, john currence's not-for-profit bar-restaurant, there's no other pit-smoked whole hog barbecue in the entire state. a 175-pound pig will feed many mouths. about 250 people eat here a day. now, this is a not-for-profit establishment? >> yeah. >> is that right? >> yeah, it sure is. >> what sort of socialist
8:50 pm
communist stuff are you up to, currence? what's going on? this is the state of mississippi. >> just a feel-good type of guy. >> me, too. i've been here only a week and my sentences are starting to change already, because there's not just a physical rhythm to the speech, but the way i'm organizing my thoughts is starting to change. some of the oxford writers from last night managed to make it out of bed, heads pounding, no doubt, filled with a shame and self-loathing, surely familiar for writers. but like such greats of the past as malcolm lowery, f. scott fitzgerald, and charles bukowski, they too have learned that more alcohol first thing will often make you feel better about the world, particularly if accompanied by freshly baked cornbread, biscuits, pulled pork off that whole hog, sweet jerk chicken and brisket. hell, i feel better already.
8:51 pm
>> the mississippi i perceived is not the mississippi that i've had in my head. i was surprised how sold i was off the bat. if you want to write, come to oxford. >> you think that's true? well, apparently, yes. >> like that line in barton fink, you can't throw a rock without hitting a writer? then he says, do me a favor, throw it hard. [ laughter ] >> it's easy to look at mississippi and go that just happens down there, so we're good, our hands are clean. it's a totally misperceived place. when i came, i fell in love with the place. i never thought that i would. there's something to it, but you can't put your finger on what it is. >> what it is can be found in the dark spaces across the tracks and on the other side of town. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. welcome to the lounge right by the cemetery and back by the river. ♪
8:52 pm
♪ ♪ [ cheers and applause ] ♪ a city i've never been to felt like one i already knew. i just wanted to thank you for sharing your world with me.
8:53 pm
it felt like home. airbnb. belong anywhere. something we do to show resolve. to defend ourselves. to declare victory. so cvs health provides expert support and vital medicines. at our infusion centers or in patients homes. we help them fight the good fight. cvs health, because health is everything.
8:54 pm
8:55 pm
8:56 pm
♪ ♪ what is a juke joint? you've heard reference to them no doubt, but what is it? i guess the first thing you've got to know is it's pronounced "juk" joint. and this one, this is a real
8:57 pm
good one. scholars have suggested the word juk came from the gullah, descendants of enslaved africans, and it meant wicked or disorderly, to dance, or a place of shelter. juke joints started as plantation community rooms during slavery times. they went on to become the small, private african-american run bars, clubs, and lounges, first in rural areas, then in towns and cities, where workers could dance, drink, party, and gamble as a respite from the hard labor of delta sharecropping, tenant farming, house service and segregation. they were often condemned by church leaders as houses of the devil. william "po'monkey" seaberry runs this place, as he has since 1963, and he makes the rules. how long has this been in business? >> i've been in this place 58
8:58 pm
years. i'm 74. >> how did you get into this business? >> i just got into it. something i like to do. everybody come in and enjoy themselves, no problem. >> please explain this policy. no hats backwards and no pants hanging down. what is that? >> that's right. you don't like my rules, don't come. >> what are the rules here? no rap music. >> no. bump-a bump-a bump-a. that gives me a headache in the brain. i love all blues. all of it's good to me, as long as it's blue. >> good r&b? >> that's right, that's right. >> but no rap. >> no, no. >> never. if kanye west wants to rent out the place, you're going to rent it to him? >> i'll rent it to him. >> okay. just in case. >> so i don't have time to work with them. if you ain't come for a good time, stay away from here. >> words to live by. thank you, sir. i love your place. thank you for having us. >> you have to come back again. >> i sure will. >> i'll find somebody to get naked with you. >> uh-oh.
8:59 pm
[ laughter ] >> okay, deejay, you can kick it back on. >> don't forget about it. come. right here. >> thursday night is family night at po'monkeys. mostly locals, a mixed bag. the music is classic r&b and predisco soul. the attitude -- loose. just familiarize yourself with those rules and there won't be a problem. ♪ ♪ >> in the cities of the north where i come from, in some ways we've been able to buy ourselves free from our past. new arrivals pour in with no memory of the ugly parts of our history. we can afford the luxury of the new. we can live in comfortable bubbles, our apartments high in the sky. in many ways more separate than at any time in history. but for mississippi, the past is
9:00 pm
right there to see, still present and coming to terms with it not an abstract discussion, but the daily business of life. -- captions by vitac -- ♪ how does the joke begin? three men in a bar? but it's not a bar. imagine the bronx. a corner bodega, maybe a luncheonette, a diner. three men strictly by coincidence find themselves at the same place at the same time. sitting at the counter and across the room. the door opens and who walks in? deejay kool herc. three men who created the soundtrack to the whole wide world.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on