Category Archives: Tennessee

Two Music Notes

Garden & Gun, Southern in the City blog

Click here for info on a casting call for My Morning Jacket’s upcoming taping of VH1’s Storytellers plus a note about the new Bonnaroo lineup. Everyone’s excited about the 10th Anniversary of this Tennessee tradition . . . except maybe this guy.

2011 Bonnaroo lineup, Manchester Tennessee, Bonnaroo 10th Anniversary, Jim James, My Morning Jacket, Jessica Mischner, Southern in the City


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Filed under I'm just sayin', Music, Southern in the City, Tennessee

Who’s Buying Newsweek? Jon Meacham?

john meacham, pbs, need to know, selling newsweek, southern on the inside, jessica mischner

Illustration: P. Burke for the New York Observer

Tonight is the debut of Need to Know, Jon Meacham’s new show on PBS. Talk about bad timing. Two days ago, the Washington Post Company announced it was exploring the possibility of selling Newsweek, which Meacham has helmed since 2006. Almost immediately, offers to buy Newsweek came rolling in, prompting the lilting historian–who won a Pulitzer last year–to consider rounding up his own group of investors. And you thought you were having a busy week.

Back in January, I spoke with Mr. Meacham about everything from the joy of bad southern food to his love for Newsweek. Here’s what he had to say.

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Filed under Culture, Media, Southern Folk, Tennessee, TV

An Interview with Madame Fortuna

madame fortuna, allison nowlin ward, southern on the inside, jessica mischner

Classic and customizable designs from Madame Fortuna.

I’ve been a fan of Allison Nowlin Ward’s jewelry for awhile now, so when she agreed to answer a few questions for this blog, I was thrilled. Read on to find out where the Memphis, Tennessee native, who designs under the name of Madame Fortuna, finds inspiration–and good sushi–in the City.

You went from working at the Wall Street Journal to launching a jewelry business? How did that happen?

I worked at the Wall Street Journal before, during and after 9/11. We were in the World Financial Center but were relocated to Princeton, NJ to their corporate headquarters. I had had a great job (Photo Editor) in an exciting area, and then it all flipped on a dime—not to mention the emotional reaction to September 11th. I really liked the job, but it all changed and decisions had to be made. While all this was going on I decided that I really wanted to have a vintage clothing store, so my husband (boyfriend at the time) and I (and many others) renovated an old delicatessen on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg before it was so developed! While I had the store, which was called Fortuna, I started making jewelry and [the Madame Fortuna collection] all happened naturally.

What was the inspiration behind Madame Fortuna?

Madame Fortuna is inspired by so many things. I missed New Orleans, where I lived for a time, so I made a necklace of charms to remind myself of the important things. It was a sort of personal rosary. Then I started making things for others, and the response to such personal jewelry was really awe-inspiring. Later I branched out into other designs based on unique and intriguing pieces I found, as well as original designs based on antique themes (Memorial jewelry, Victorian lockets, etc).

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Filed under Design, Louisiana, Shopping, Southern Folk, Style, Tennessee

Billykirk on Design: You’re with me, Leather.

southern on the inside, billykirk, chris bray, kirk bray, fairhaven for sebago, garden and gun auction

The Brothers Bray. Photo: Rose Callahan via Scout Mag

One–well, two–of my favorite designers, the brothers behind Billykirk, have produced a special edition set of his and hers traveler bags for the latest Garden & Gun Club auction, up for grabs until Wednesday. If you’re not familiar with Billykirk, the NYC-based leather goods outfit founded by Chris Bray and Kirk Bray in 1999, you should definitely check out the web site. The brothers were born in Memphis and consider their southern roots one of their main influences. They prize craftsmanship and quality like it’s their religion, and most of their collection is made by a group of Amish leather workers in Pennsylvania. In addition to what they produce for retail at stores like Barneys, Oak and Unis, Billykirk does custom work and collaborates with other brands. Their Fairhaven collection for Sebago, featuring updated oxfords and down-on-the-docks boots, hits stores in June.

southern on the inside, billykirk, chris bray, kirk bray, fairhaven for sebago, garden and gun auction

Photo courtesy of

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Filed under Design, Shopping, Southern Folk, Tennessee

And Speaking of Southerners on TV . . .

We’ll be DVRing two more capital-B big name southerners very soon.

Durham, NC–raised Andre Leon Talley has signed on for three seasons of America’s Next Top Model.  (Vogue readers will have read about ALT’s frequent trips to his hometown–and more specifically Duke University–during his highly publicized battle with the bulge.)

Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize–winning editor in chief of Newsweek–whose Tennessee roots we’ll explore in greater detail in an upcoming post–is in talks with PBS to develop a new weekly show. “Need to Know” will air our country’s dirty public affairs laundry on Friday nights beginning May 7th at 8:30pm. Because nothing says Prime Time like PBS.

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Filed under north carolina, Politics, Southern Folk, Style, Tennessee