July 25, 2009 8:57:00 PM
Adele Elliott - [email protected]
Denizens of large cities love to boast about the cultural events, performances and limitless entertainment available to them. In some ways they are right. However, it seems to me that very few take advantage of this wealth of artistic opportunity. Most people just stay home, in front of the "boob tube," in a sort of semi-catatonic state.
And, who can blame them? Large metropolitan areas have equally large traffic jumbles, difficult parking, and (dare I say it?) terrifying crime rates. In New Orleans, which is only a medium-sized city, attending a play or concert means finding a parking lot blocks from the theater, and usually paying about $20 to $30 to house your car for a few hours. It is almost impossible to park free. (My sister once paid $50 to park for an afternoon matinee in New York.) And ,don''t even think of parking on the street; tow trucks lurk in the shadows, waiting to pounce on the naive.
But, Columbus is different. We rarely pay for parking, and more rarely have our cars towed, a harrowing and expensive experience. It is easy, too, to dress up. We will probably not be running from muggers in our darling evening shoes.
"So what?" you say. I hear the mantra of Columbus: "There''s nothing to do here. Columbus is sooo boring."
Well, I dare you to check out the week of back-to-back events celebrating Tennessee Williams during the Tennessee Williams Tribute and Tour of Victorian Homes Sept. 7-13. There is something for everyone.
For Tennessee connoisseurs there will be performances of favorites like "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Glass Menagerie." I''m looking forward to "The Dog Enchanted by the Divine View." This is one I''ve never heard of, but the title intrigues me.
Local favorite Brook Hanneman plays Blanche DuBois in "Streetcar." Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis will also appear in little ol'' Columbus.
Charming Victorian homes will be open to the public, scholarly lectures are planned, and we will hear art songs (from Tennessee''s poems) by pretty Molly Jane Carpenter.
If none of this appeals to you, there are luncheons, dinners and parties. Who would want to miss a chance to sample creations by Anne Freeze, Sarah Labensky, Beth Proffitt and Roger Busby? These opportunities do not come up often.
I can''t possibly list all the events honoring our native son, Tennessee Williams. You will just have to run down to the Welcome Center to pick up a brochure.
Although the Tribute and Tour will not take place until early September, I''m telling you in plenty of time to make plans. This is a wonderful time to invite out-of-town guests, as well. A list of hotels, and bed and breakfasts, is included in the brochure. Look for the elegant, stylized portrait of Tennessee popping from a bright turquoise cover.
I am often asked how I know so much about the goings-on in Columbus. One of my favorite sources is the Local History blog sent by The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.
This is a nice surprise that shows up in my inbox each month. It has info on new books of regional interest, chronicles of Columbus families, and a ton of interesting stuff.
My favorite recent article was entitled "Convicted murderers whose victims weren''t dead." (Fortunately, these did not happen in Columbus.) It details three cases where overwhelming circumstantial evidence led to some very tragic results. Innocent men were found guilty. Later the "deceased victims" resurfaced, in quite good health. Alas, some of those found guilty had already made it to the gallows.
Like everything at our wonderful library, the blog is free.
Mississippi is a place with a wealth of culture, both high-brow and very down-to-earth. We don''t worry much about crime, or pay for parking. The big problem is deciding which event to attend. Not even I can do them all! Why would you live anywhere else?
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. E-mail reaches her at [email protected]
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.