Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I am still fo' real 'bout Dothan's Rock 'N Roll mural, however, I don't see where the $10,000 is gonna come from. The one described in the article below is gonna cost at least $70,000. That's too high.
Here's my idea. We all volunteer a weekend. We find a wall in Dixie preferably near where Dixie Amusement Co. was located near the intersection with North St. Andrews Street. We get a projector and as soon as it gets dark one Friday night, we project the photo below on the wall and outline it. Come Saturday morning, everybody shows up with their stash of different colors of latex exterior paint and we go to work on the mural.
I don't think that will cost $70,000 and I don't think we'll have to attend any committee meetings with the "Downtown Group" or listen to their "experts".
Scout out locations and let me hear from ya.


Dothan's 14th mural underway

By Corrina Sisk-Casson / Eagle Staff Writer
August 24, 2004

Local artist Wes Hardin spreads paint on the nose of a train which is being depicted on Dothan's newest mural Monday morning. Hardin has painted many of Dothan's murals including "Fort Rucker," The Steamboat Era," and " Sherman Rose - Tuskeegee Airman."
Jay Hare
On the corner of Burdeshaw and Foster streets in downtown Dothan stands a long brick wall between the law offices of Jones and Associates and Choice Inn. Donning a floppy straw hat, paint splattered jeans and a long sleeve shirt rolled up to his elbows, Wes Harden is hard at work painting on that wall what will be known as the longest mural in the southeastern United States.

The Wiregrass Association of Murals commissioned Harden to do "The Train Mural" depicting the story of Dothan in the 1800's. According to local historian and chairman of the mural committee, Wendell Stepp, the trains arrived in 1889 and helped to create Dothan.

"Until the train arrived you couldn't ship the turpentine from here. It was too far to go over to the Chattahoochee River," Stepp said about the 22 mile trek. "So we weren't getting any industry here (in Dothan) until the trains arrived."

Before the trains came to Dothan, Columbia and Abbeville were the largest towns in the Wiregrass. At the time, Columbia was known as the "Gem of the Wiregrass" because it was so nice.

"They wouldn't let the trains go through Columbia because they said the smoke and the noise from it, they even went so far as to say the cows wouldn't let down milk with the train," Stepp said. "They were narrow-minded enough to think that the river traffic would continue forever. So Dothan got it."

Rebecca Pavy, from the Downtown Group, held up a wooden rendering of what the end project would look like. Harden pointed to the picture and said the mural would be read like a book, from left to right, with the earliest part of history showing turpentine gatherers and the harvesting of pine trees for lumber. Then the mural will show the planting of cotton on the cleared fields and eventually progress to the time when trains came to the area.

The mural will stretch 222 feet long and reach as tall as 32 feet in some places. The committee presents artists with a narrative of what they want the next mural to look like. Then the artist researches history through old pictures, talking to people on the street and visiting various locations to get inspiration. The Train Mural is Harden's fifth mural in Dothan. He's worked on murals in the city since 1998. Other murals in Dothan that Harden has done are the A.M.E. Church Mural, the Fort Rucker Mural, Fort Scott Mural, and the Steamboat Mural. Harden's handiwork can be seen in other places as well, including Bainbridge, Ga., Panama City, Fla., and Blakely, Ga. He's also consulting with a city in Virginia to do a mural there soon.

"Each are different, each has their own personality," Harden said of all of his paintings.

Harden has his own studio in Dothan and specializes in portraits. The people that Harden meets often end up in his murals. He said that his sons have been featured in one and Stepp will most likely be in the Train Mural.

"Often times I try to figure out a way to add people," Harden said of his work. "It might be a story about a church, but I want to see people."

The mural project began when some people from Dothan saw murals throughout a town in Canada. They met with others and thought it would be a great fix for a run-down building in the heart of downtown. Today a brightly colored mural about the peanut is featured on the side of the building.

"We made a ruling from the very first," Stepp said. "That no mural is put on a wall because the mural is pretty. We put it on the wall to tell a story. If it don't tell a story we don't want it."

The Train Mural will be the 14th mural in Dothan. The group hopes to eventually expand to 20 murals so that Dothan can technically be called a National Mural City. Today Dothan is only recognized as an Alabama Mural City.

One of the main reasons for the murals is to teach children about the history of Dothan. It's also a way to draw tourists to the area. Some have the misconception that the murals are paid for by taxes, but Stepp explained that this is simply untrue. Instead, the murals are funded through fund raisers and money donated by organizations and individuals.

The Downtown Group sets up tours of the murals throughout the year. Harden and Stepp as well as others are guides. The Downtown Group also offers posters of the murals to be framed if people want to display the art in their homes. Eventually all the murals will be made into posters and signed by the artists.


Vandalized peanuts back in place in Dothan
The Elvis peanut has its black pompadour properly groomed again.

And the giant pink peanut is back in its place.

All is right again with the giant fiberglass peanuts that have been decorating Dothan.

The Downtown Group persuaded businesses to buy 40 giant fiberglass peanuts for $1,000 each and then spend money to have local artists decorate them. The project raised money to maintain murals in the city that is famous for the National Peanut Festival each fall.

On the night of March 23, vandals damaged two peanuts and stole the pink peanut that stood in front of the Dothan Civic Center. The pink peanut, which promoted breast cancer awareness, was found by railroad tracks in Midland City and returned to Dothan.

The Elvis peanut in front of the Days Inn had its sunglasses ripped off and it right arm, hand and hair damaged, but the damage was repaired last week.

"Elvis is back," hotel manager Michael Miller said.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Circlewood's own Johnny Townsend sent a SUPAH Clapton story so my wish wuz granted.

Johnny Townsend

Here is Bobby Dupree and Keith Brewer's version of Jimi's Cream Farewell Party.It differs from Townsend's

On the 18th and 19th of October, 1968, Cream played at the Forum in LA in what was billed as the Wheels of Fire Tour, but also was known as their Farewell Tour. Keith and I were sitting at the house in Studio City and Russ Shaw showed up at the door. He asked where the other guys were, and we told him that Rusty and Ed had dates, and Townsend was shacked up in his room with his girlfriend Lisa. He said to get dressed quick; we were going to a party. We hurried up and jumped in his car and took off toward the canyons. We arrived at Jimi’s house, and after being cleared at the gate we went in. Jimi was throwing a party for Cream’s Farewell Concert, and we were lucky to have been invited. We went in and there were lots of folks, some eating the finger food, some with drinks. As I stood there I saw Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. Jack was playing this M or L model Hammond organ, and Ginger was nervously knocking things off the tables. Keith remembers, “Ginger still had a couple of teeth in his head and he looked a little unstable, but I think that was his normal appearance.” Keith and I just mingled as much as we could, but didn’t really fit in that crowd. There was a room off the living room downstairs that had a pool table, so we wandered down there. Keith started playing pool with this skinny guy and I sat down on the fireplace hearth, my elbows on my knees. I was looking down and saw two legs walk up, wearing high top black Converse All-stars and tuxedo pants. I looked up and it was George Harrison. I just about went into shock! As he walked by, I got up and watched him go outside and climb up on a large rock waterfall that connected to the swimming pool. He sat up there and just gazed at the stars.
After a couple of hours Russ brought us back to the house. Keith remembers, “Right before we left the party, some guy came downstairs where me and this guy were playing pool and said, ‘Hey Jeff, let’s go. We’re all going somewhere to jam.’ It was only then that I realized I’d been shooting pool with Jeff Beck.”

I had just turned 21 and had been in Los Angeles about 8 months with a
named Heart (not the one with the Canadian chicks in it) consisting of
members of the Rockin' Gibraltars from Montgomery and me. I got a call
night from this promotion man at Warner Brothers, who had taking a
liking to
us and he said for me to get ready he was coming by to pick me up. He
say where we were going, just to be ready. No one else was around at
time, so I got dressed and went out on a spontaneous adventure.
We were down the freeway when he decided to let me know where we were
headed. As it turns out, we were going to the Forum in Inglewood to see
final appearance of Cream
. Being a "wet behind the ears" kid from
Alabama in
those days, I was completely hypnotized the whole evening, standing
off stage by the monitor console watching the concert. After the show,
went backstage where I was introduced to Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger
and a host of others.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself cruising up Benedict Canyon in the
Hollywood Hills
headed for some other destination unknown to me.
The house we wound up at was then owned by some rock n roll groupie who
happened to be the VP of some steel company. He rented it out to rock
luminaries of the time when they were touring in the area. The current
resident was a left handed guitar phenom named Jimi. As we passed
the gate, my friend Russ pointed out a number of names written on the
large stone wall that lined the driveway. Apparently the owner of the
had many of his guests sign that wall. Among the signatures I could read
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi, Janis.... and on and on. When we
got to
the front door, we were met by Ginger Baker riding a Harley through the
living room, and it got better from there. There were instruments being
up in the vacuous living room while lots of folks were gathered around
pool on the patio. I found myself some liquid refreshment and victuals
wandered around the house on my personal grand tour. I hung out in the
billiard room shooting 8 ball with a skinny English guy who I could
barely understand. It wasn't until much later, I learned his name was
Beck. We drifted back upstairs when we heard music playing and got
just in time to see Buddy Miles and Eric plugging in and warming up.
wandered over and picked up a black strat and it all started to come
together in my mind just who this cat was. I had told him while we were
shooting pool that I did a little singing, so he encouraged me to
grab a
microphone. Over the course of the next hour, I was priviledged to sit
and sing with 3 of the all time great rock n roll guitar players
, Eric
Jeff Beck
and of course this left handed black kid named Jimi
wandered out of his bedroom to show them a few licks they missed. I got
so good, no one could talk to me for a week.
I got some great
from everybody. I sang Higher and Higher with Buddy Miles, and got to
Stormy Monday, Crossroads and Rollin' and Tumblin all by my self with my
"back up band". Over the course of the evening, Eric and I sat and
mostly about music and being away from home. I remember him asking
Muscle Shoals and his intention of doing some recording there. As
wound down about daybreak, I couldn't find my friend that I came with
so I
called a cab and went back to the place where my band was staying and
the sleep of the innocent all day and most of that night. I never saw
any of
those guys again but that night always comes fresh in my memory every
one of their names comes up. I realize it's not altogether an Eric
story, but it's the one I have to tell. Getting to play with those guys
to be THE highlight of my young musical career
Mo Later,
Johnny Townsend
Just wanted to make one correction to my previous story about Clapton
et al
I did see Jimi Hendrix again after that night. Apparently, the
of my performance that night at the party plus my friend, the promotion
at Warner Bros., got us hooked up with some tour dates with Jimi a few
months after. We did a half dozen dates with Jimi, Mitch and Noel in
California. That experience had to rate right up there with the night
"The Party".
Mo Later,
Johnny Townsend