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Mississippi's 2015 GRAMMY Nominations
The 2015 GRAMMY nominations were announced last week, and Mississippi is well represented! The 57th ...
The 2015 GRAMMY nominations were announced last week, and Mississippi is well represented! The 57th Annual GRAMMY awards will take place on February 8, 2015, and will be broadcast live by CBS. The first ever satellite GRAMMY Museum is scheduled to open on the campus of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, in September 2015.
Here are the 2015 GRAMMY nominees with Mississippi ties:
Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Meanwhile Back at Mama's
The Band Perry
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Gentle on My Mind
Best Blues Album: Juke Joint Chapel
Bobby Rush with Blinddog Smokin'
Best Blues Album: Decisions
Best Folk Album: A Reasonable Amount of Trouble
GET ON UP Soundtrack
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Q&A with Mississippi Author Catherine Lacey
Earlier this year, I was invited to spend a little time in Tupelo to familiarize myself with the ...
Earlier this year, I was invited to spend a little time in Tupelo to familiarize myself with the area and the many attractions it has to offer. It is important for our team at Visit Mississippi, as the state tourism office, to have an understanding of every corner of the Magnolia State. This knowledge helps us best share the Mississippi story with potential visitors, and helps us better serve our partner organizations (such as Convention & Visitors Bureaus, museums, hotels, shops, restaurants, etc.).
Several colleagues and I traveled the Natchez Trace north from Jackson to Lee County, where we were greeted by Jennie Bradford Curlee, public relations director at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Jennie Bradford gave us a driving tour of Tupelo, pointing out the great destruction from the April 2014 tornados and explaining to us how she brought a neighborhood full of parents, kids and pets into her family’s basement to weather the storm. Jennie Bradford recently received the Rising Star Award from the Southeastern Tourism Society, largely due to her leadership in PR and emergency preparedness surrounding the tornados.
While in Tupelo we toured the sacred Elvis Presley Birthplace, the incomparable Tupelo Automobile Museum and the state-of-the-art Tupelo Aquatic Center. We also ate at a few of the farm-to-table restaurants popping up around town. But the highlight of the trip for me was a visit to Tupelo Hardware on Main Street in downtown. Opened in 1926, this hardware store turned everything shop is family-owned and just so happens to be the location where Elvis’s first guitar was purchased. The store’s proprietor, George Booth, shared animated stories about the Presley family, international tourists and the myriad of items for sale in the store.
George and I struck up a conversation about a local folk artist named Elayne Goodman (one of her Elvis portraits—made of buttons—hangs in Tupelo Hardware) and then we began to talk literature. George walked me to a long counter and picked up a paperback, encouraging me to buy a copy of his daughter Catherine Lacey’s debut novel, “Nobody Is Ever Missing.” What I discovered was a masterfully written work surrounding protagonist, Elyria, and her wanderlust quest for self-awareness.
Catherine and I recently corresponded about her Mississippi roots and her current work. Here is what she has to say.
VM: You were born and raised in North Mississippi. As a young person, were you aware that Mississippi was a “literary” place?
I guess it depends on what you mean by a “literary place.” [Mark] Twain and [Willie] Morris were favorites in our house; my grandmother was a librarian at Mississippi State University for over three decades; we read a lot together and one of my earliest memories is listening to Faulkner's “A Rose for Emily” on cassette tape in the family van. At the same time I knew that a childhood with this sort of emphasis on reading was and still is an anomaly in the South. Books and literacy have a history in the South but not as much of a present as I'd like to see.
The older I've gotten the more I've understood why the American South is such a rich setting for fiction and breeding ground for writers. In a word: tension. (Or, in two words and a hat tip to Flannery O'Connor: mystery and manners.) All good fiction needs tension, and the South has plenty of that to offer. But I don't think I really appreciated the Southern literary tradition until I moved from New Orleans to New York at 22. I started reading more [Flannery] O'Connor and [Barry] Hannah, but also I could see the South more clearly from afar.
VM: When did you realize that you were interested in becoming a writer? Do you remember your first writing experience?
I never thought about becoming a writer; I was just always writing. I remember filling up notebooks and diaries with stories, fictive and real, as soon as I learned how to write. By the time I started wondering how I'd make a living, I had all sorts of ideas but it was never being a writer since I'd been doing that forever and no one had ever paid me to do so. I was a cook for many years and I liked that just fine; it was meditative and left me with the mental energy to write. It's only recently that I've been making money from writing, which still is baffling to me.
VM: Do you feel like your experience as a Mississippian has influenced your writing?
I always felt a little out of place in Mississippi, and people there always thought I was from somewhere else, so I guess that sense of estrangement is a kind of influence. In many ways I feel very much at home in certain parts of Mississippi and completely alien in others. I don't know where that sense of half-estrangement came from so I think that's part of what originally pushed me toward the solitude of writing, to unpack myself.
VM: “Nobody Is Ever Missing” is a great balance between dark and light—the dark emotions of Elyria and the light, beautiful places she is often surrounded by in New Zealand. Tell about your approach to the main character and setting.
I went on a 3-month trip to New Zealand in early 2010 alone and found it very relaxing and beautiful, so I started writing fiction set there. Elyria, the narrator of the novel, was built as a counterpoint to the stillness of the landscape. It happened sort of unconsciously and slowly. The first thing that came was the landscape and a figure moving through it.
VM: Elyria experiences a great deal of self-doubt but is conversely extremely adventurous & brave. Tell me about the juxtaposition of these traits in your main character.
I don't think I consciously constructed her character that deeply. I was drawn to a narrative voice that was internal and recursive, but I like to be surprised by what a character does. I just follow the voice and ask questions. I don't want to plot everything out beforehand.
Looking back, I think self-doubt in a person can drive them to be a bit reckless. When a person believes she's doomed, she may to either shrink away from the world or just go a little wild since it won't make any difference. Elyria sort of does both. But she was built more out of intuition than premeditation.
VM: “Nobody Is Ever Missing” is a popular novel set in an exotic location. Do you have any plans for fiction based in the American South?
I'm not working on anything that is predominantly set in Mississippi, but there might be some references to the South in the next novel. We'll see.
VM: Your family’s business, Tupelo Hardware, has literally been a cornerstone of the community for decades. Has your family been supportive of your creative career? How does the experience of growing up on small-town Main Street influence your work?
They're all very supportive! My father and brother are the third and fourth generations to work at Tupelo Hardware. They sell my book there along with the wrenches and knives and Elvis paraphernalia. As a kid I answered the phone during the summers. I guess in some ways writing fiction is like answering the phone. The waiting, the voices.
VM: Who are some of the other young writers (Mississippi born) who we should be on the lookout for?
Mary Miller is a fiction writer from Jackson and in residence at Ole Miss right now. I loved her collection of short stories, Big World, and I'm looking forward to getting into her novel, The Last Days of California.
Kiese Laymon (also from Jackson) has a book of essays called How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. It is an absolute must-read for all Mississippians. It is full of engaging, enraging, beautiful, funny and brave stories about race and prejudice in the South.
Also, Katy Simpson Smith has just released a historical novel called The Story of Land and Sea that sounds very interesting and impressive.
Record Number of Films Made in MS in 2014
The Mississippi Film Office is finishing up its most successful year to date, having ...
The Mississippi Film Office is finishing up its most successful year to date, having hosted the likes of Woody Harrelson, Anna Kendrick, Dan Aykroyd, and Renee Zellweger as they filmed major feature films here. Yesterday the Mississippi Business Journal ran a piece that highlighted this record year. Below is an excerpt with corrections in bold.
SWEET 16 — Record number of films made in Mississippi in 2014
By Jack Weatherly
Sixteen movies have been made in Mississippi in 2014, a record for the state.
“And I have no reason to believe that 2015 won’t be even better,” said Ward Emling, director of the Mississippi Film Office.
Nothing particularly magical happened this year, Emling said of the industry that is known for magic.
The bumper crop was brought in by hard work — and persistence.
A film that will wrap up this month is good example of the results of those virtues.
"We’ve been working on ‘Life At These Speeds’ since 2010, and it’s finally here,” he said of the film directed by Leif Tilden.
Alison Eastwood, daughter of famed director and actor Clint Eastwood, was also in the area with her film "Battlecreek."
The Mississippi industry got serious in 2004 with the establishment of rebate incentives that encourage movie makers to choose the state.
Rebates in the past 10 years, through August of 2014, have totaled $9.2 million, according to the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
The industry estimates it has spent between $70 million and $80 million this year in Mississippi, Emling said.
Rebates in 2014 were $645,754 through August, according to the Department of Revenue.
The state has made strides since the days when it would show up on the Hollywood radar only because of Mississippi’s rich literary heritage.
“Baby Doll” (1956), for instance, was based on Tennessee Williams’ screenplay. It was shot at a dilapidated antebellum house in Benoit.
But gone are the days when seedy elegance, small-town quaintness and haunting landscapes were about the only attractions for “location shots.”
A western, “By Way of Helena,” was shot in and around Greenwood this year, standing in for Texas.
The Coen Brothers shot “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) in 11 of the state’s counties. Emling said the joke during production was “O Brother Where Aren’t We?”
Ole Miss Tailgating Featured in the NY Times
In a piece called, "Tailgating Goes Above and Beyond at the University of Mississippi," The New ...
In a piece called, "Tailgating Goes Above and Beyond at the University of Mississippi," The New York Times highlighted the elevated experience of many fans on Game Day.
In many tents, food is served on silver trays, drinks splash through fountains and chandeliers hang from the metal supports. Fur coats abound. Jackets, ties and cowboy boots are common.
Prominent chefs are hired to cater meals, and chicken is a favored entree. “You don’t want to be a chicken in northern Mississippi on game day,” said Tim Walsh, the executive director of alumni affairs.
The tents themselves can be fashion statements. Some fans hire interior decorators. One tent on the Walk of Champions (the Grove’s Main Street) is painted with zebra stripes. One of its owners is Jane Foster, a converted Mississippi State fan. She brings in a rock band once a year.
GameDay in Starkville: Weekend Events
There’s no Gameday like Our Gameday! Mississippi’s College Town is excited to welcome ...
There’s no Gameday like Our Gameday! Mississippi’s College Town is excited to welcome ESPN’s College Gameday to Starkville for what promises to be another historic weekend of Bulldog gridiron action. We look forward to extending our own brand of Mississippi hospitality to thousands of SEC fans visiting as the #3 Mississippi State Bulldogs take on the #2 Auburn Tigers. Championship football is the main event, but with everything from pumpkins and barbecue to cowbells and hoops, there is plenty for fans, young and old, to enjoy! In addition to a great schedule of events, we hope visitors will browse Starkville’s many wonderfullyunique shops and delicious restaurants. While you’re here, please load up our Google Map of Downtown shopping and dining for a virtual walking tour of great style for all ages and the eclectic tastes of the New South throughout the weekend.
Pumpkinpalooza, Starkville’s annual harvest fest, kicks off a great weekend of fun with a spooky flair on Friday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This year’s event featuresMaroon Madness with the MSU men’s and women’s basketball teams. Former MSU basketball great, Darryl Wilson, will tip off the official MSU vs Auburn Pep Rally at 6:30 p.m., along with Bully and the MSU Cheer Squads. The Pep Rally will be followed by Maroon Madness at 7:00 p.m. at the half court set up on Main Street. Coaches Rick Ray and Vic Schaefer will address the crowd, and both teams will hold shoot-arounds, dunk contests, and other interactive events. Players will also be available to sign autographs with the kids.
Mississippi Welcomes College GameDay & SEC Nation
The state of Mississippi is thrilled to welcome visitors on Saturday, October 4, as four of the ...
The state of Mississippi is thrilled to welcome visitors on Saturday, October 4, as four of the nation's top 12 teams face off in SEC college football. For the first time, both Mississippi teams boast a 4-0 record in the same season.
Here's what you need to know about Saturday’s games, and what not to miss during your visit to Starkville or Oxford.
SEC Nation in Starkville
Mississippi State (#12) will play Texas A&M (#6) at 11 am, with coverage beginning at 9 am Central. While you’re at Mississippi State, pay a visit to the John Grisham Room – which houses memorabilia from the writings and achievements of the bestselling author – and the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, one of only thirteen presidential libraries nationwide and five on university campuses.
On Friday, take in a night of live music at the Bulldog Bash, a free concert that takes place in the historic Cotton District and typically draws 35,000 fans. This year’s lineup includes Justin Moore and The Dirty Guv’nahs.
On Sunday, enjoy special shopping and dining hours with Bulldog Brunch and Browse. Participating shops and restaurants downtown & around town are open from 11:00am – 3pm.
ESPN's College GameDay in Oxford
Ole Miss (No. 11) faces Alabama (No. 3) at 2:30 pm Central, and College GameDay will begin broadcasting from The Grove at 8 am.
Because of the many artists, musicians, writers, and chefs who have found inspiration here, Oxford is known as the “Cultural Mecca of the South.” During your stay, don’t miss Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner. Stop by the Ole Miss Library, which houses the personal blues album collection of B.B. King and a Mississippi collection of works by William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and John Grisham. Walk around Oxford's historic square, browsing the shops and exploring the storied culinary scene.
This Friday (and all Fridays before Ole Miss home games), take a historic double-decker bus tour through the Ole Miss campus, the town square, and other points of interest in Oxford. The hour-long tours cost $5 and leave at 2 pm from the Oxford Visitors Center, 415 South Lamar Blvd.
Many restaurants are open for Shop and Dine Sundays. Discover why Oxford is renowned for its food and drink!
We hope that you enjoy your stay with us!
Greetings from the Governor
Welcome to the great state of Mississippi! Every region offers one-of-a-kind experiences that you ...
Welcome to the great state of Mississippi! Every region offers one-of-a-kind experiences that you can’t get anywhere else. We relish life in Mississippi and want to share our passion with you through song, literature, food and art.
As you scroll and click your way through our online resources, we think you’ll feel our enthusiasm, too. We invite you to explore our official tourism website and to start planning your journey through the Magnolia State today.
On behalf of the people of Mississippi, we look forward to having you as our guest. We hope that you’ll return again and again for the real, down-home experiences that you can only get right here.
Governor Phil Bryant
Top 5 Ways to Use the New VisitMississippi.org
Welcome to the new visitmississippi.org! We’ve designed our new site to make it easy and fun ...
Welcome to the new visitmississippi.org! We’ve designed our new site to make it easy and fun to plan your trip to Mississippi. As you move through it, you’ll be able to filter attractions by your interests, and by the area of the state that you’ll be visiting. You can save them to a custom trip itinerary, then email, print, or share it on social media. Read on for the top 5 things that you can do on our new site.
1. Discover what you can see and do in Mississippi.
If you’re new to Mississippi and want to know what you might do here during your trip, start with the Regions page. You’ll learn what each of the five regions of our state has to offer visitors. If you know which region(s) you’d like to visit, click into its page from the top navigation to see only the attractions in that region.
Click on “See & Do” to see all events and points of interest throughout the state, then filter them by region and topic. Hover over “See & Do” to view pages about focus areas, such as Music & Arts and Golf & Sports. Looking for something specific? Use the search bar at the top of the site. You can also translate the site into several different languages.
Interested in visiting places that have been covered by the media? Refer to the “As Seen In” section of the home page to see a few highlights, and find more Media Coverage in the Press Room.
2. Find out about upcoming events.
Did you know that Governor Phil Bryant has declared 2014 the Year of the Creative Economy? That’s why we launched Mississippi Homecoming, a statewide celebration of the arts, culture, music, and food that make our state like no other place on earth. Learn more and find a Homecoming event for you, or see all events listed on our site.
3. Stay current on what’s happening around the state.
At the bottom of the home page, you’ll see a news feed (What’s Happening) with stories related to tourism around the state. On the blog we feature upcoming events, points of interest, and culture, and we can bet that you’ll discover something new. In the footer of our site, you can find us on social media, where you can see up-to-the-minute updates and participate in giveaway contests. Check out the Press Room for our press releases, and media coverage of Mississippi tourist destinations.
In the footer, you can get to know our Tourism Partners, the convention & visitors bureaus and associations around the state. Visit their websites for events and attractions local to each area.
4. Order a free tour guide.
The 2014 official Mississippi tour guide features Clarksdale resident and Ground Zero Blues Club owner Morgan Freeman in its cover story. In the guide, you’ll find feature articles on some of our state’s most fascinating attractions, including tours of working farms and movie locations, Civil War sites, and outdoor adventures. The best part of the tour guide? It’s free to download or receive by mail.
You can also request a variety of other free materials by mail: a golf guide, a Civil War Historical Sites Map, a Blues Trail map, and a blues festival calendar.
Now it’s time to start planning your trip! The Trip Planner tool is designed to help you build a custom itinerary quickly and smoothly. When you click on a bookmark, you’ll be prompted to enter your email so we can save your itinerary and send it to you. Our “smart site” will also keep track of your interests so it can suggest things to do that are most relevant to you.
We invite you to stop in at one of our 13 Welcome Centers, located on the perimeter of the state as you enter Mississippi. Have a cup of hot coffee on us and let our friendly staff know what you’re looking to experience while you’re here.
Thank you for stopping by the new visitmississippi.org! Feel free to Contact Us with feedback on the site, or for anything else that you need.
Camping Road Trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway
CampingRoadTrip.comFor the nature and outdoors enthusiast, there’s no place like the Natchez ...
For the nature and outdoors enthusiast, there’s no place like the Natchez Trace Parkway. It crisscrosses three states for 444 miles, 300 of which are in Mississippi. Along the way, you can enjoy a number of activities, from cycling to fishing, and see a wealth of natural and cultural landmarks. This five-day itinerary highlights the must-sees on your trip.
“A road trip down the Natchez Trace Parkway can be an awe-inspiring experience. It may not hit you at first, but when you drive along the Parkway, you'd be traveling down the approximation of a 10,000-year-old pathway so steeped in history that, if it could, it would tell you tales of wonder you'd never read in any book.”