P R O V I S ION S
April 9 - 15, 2014
CALIFORNIA INSPIRED SOUTHERN ROOTED
734 FAIRVIEW STREET | JACKSON, MS 39202 601.948.3429
JACKSONIAN PIERRE PRYER SR.
t only took Pierre Pryer Sr. six months to a year to work his way up from dishwasher to head chef at The Iron Horse Grill downtown the first time he worked there, from 1987 until 1998. He returned to the restaurant at the beginning of February this year—as executive chef this time. In 1987, Pryer was unemployed and thinking of joining the Army. He took the necessary tests for enrollment, and he passed. Not long before that, he saw Iron Horse for the first time and put in a job application. “It was a Friday morning; I’ll never forget. The recruiter called me and said, ‘I’m coming to pick you up and bring you down here, and you’ll be out of here in two days,’” Pryer recalls. Instead, he told the recruiter that he’d find his own ride to the office. “But I didn’t go. I didn’t want to leave. I got a call the following Saturday about 3 p.m. from the owner (of Iron Horse) John McWilliams; he needed a dishwasher, and I immediately took the job.” After working two weeks, Pryer cut his thumb open on the slicer and had to get 13 stitches. He took about a month off to let his thumb heal, but when he called for his job, the restaurant had hired someone in his place and offered Pryer two days of work per week. “I took the two days a week, but I was a man on a mission,” Pryer says. He made himself as helpful as possible around the res-
taurant and in the kitchen, and the owner took an interest in Pryer. Six months after Pryer started working, the head chef spontaneously quit. Williams called Pryer outside for a chat. “Look, I need a chef. I don’t have anyone to bring in right now, but I’ve noticed that you’ve been in the kitchen doing everything from dishes to prepping to cooking. You seem to enjoy what you’re doing. If you want, I’ll give this job to you,” Pryer recalls him saying. “He said, …. ‘I’m going to win with you, or I’m going to lose with you. I think you can do what I need to have done.’” Pryer, a Jackson native, graduated from Murrah High School and attended Hinds Community College for a stint where he studied hotel and motel restaurant management. He grew up in a family of seven children, and his mother passed away when he was 9. “My love of cooking came from my dad,” says Pryer, who has one son of his own, a senior at Wingfield High School named Pierre Pryer Jr. Pryer’s father, King Solomon Pryer Sr., always worked two jobs, and his night job was always cooking somewhere. “He had this great vision for us to go out and make our names known,” Pryer says about his dad. “So I guess we’re somewhat doing that now.” —Briana Robinson
Cover photo of seafood from The Islander by Trip Burns
8 Bettering Education
The nonprofit Better Schools=Better Jobs wants to put the question of full state education funding to the voters on the 2015 ballot.
26 An Unforgiving World
“Death in the world of ‘Dark Souls’ is an inevitability, not an end, and both the narrative and mechanics make use of this. Perishing causes the player to drop all his unspent Souls (experience and currency rolled into one) into a bloodstain, and returns the player to the last activated bonfire. Returning to one’s bloodstain restores what was lost; dying before this happens causes them to be lost forever.”—Nick Judin
32 The Grand Adventure
In “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Wes Anderson uses whimsy and his familiar batch of dry-esque humor to tell the story of a woman’s murder just days after leaving the Grand Budapest Hotel.
4 ............................. EDITOR’S NOTE 6 ............................................ TALKS 12 ................................ EDITORIAL 13 .................................... OPINION 14 ............................ COVER STORY 22 ............................. LIFE & STYLE 26 .......................................... GEEK 26 ................... GIRL ABOUT TOWN 27 ................................. WELLNESS 29 .............................. DIVERSIONS 31 ............................................ ART 32 .......................................... FILM 33 ....................................... 8 DAYS 34 ...................................... EVENTS 36 ....................................... MUSIC 37 ....................... MUSIC LISTINGS 38 ..................................... SPORTS 39 .................................... PUZZLES 39 ....................................... ASTRO
COURTESY INDIAN PAINTBRUSH ; NAMCO BANDAI GAMES :JACKIE MADER
APRIL 9 - 15, 2014 | VOL. 12 NO. 31
by Donna Ladd, Editor-in-Chief
Big, Bad Chef of the Week
e is a food god in Mississippi. On my last trip to Oxford a few weeks ago, we were there two nights and visited four different John Currence restaurants. The first night, we met my friend, professor Cynthia Joyce at The Lamar Lounge for drinks and a veggie burger in a very meat-focused joint. On the second night, we joined two other journalism professors, Curtis Wilkie and Joe Atkins, for a delicious dinner and war stories in the (and ironically named) Snack Bar (yes, they always have at least one excellent veggie option. And frites, of course). Then, just because you must, we had a nightcap upstairs at City Grocery on the Square. The next morning, we met our friends Camp Best, Cristen Hemmins and Sean Higgins back at Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast, which happens to be next door to Snack Bar in that strip-mall-turned-culinary district. The five of us chatted so much (all good, from race relations and LGBT issues to that-damn-flag) that I barely took time to savor a perfect breakfast, but I still dream about that tomato gravy. Put simply: John Currence is a chef foodies can love. He is a businessman, and he is a food artist, and he is a vital part of Oxford’s, and thus Mississippi’s, renaissance as a creative-class destination and place to put down roots and make a difference. Currence also buried his scimitar into the supporters of SB 2681, the latest wingnut attempt to keep Mississippi known as a hateful place disguised, as always, as a “religious” effort. Currence, who appropriately tweets @bigbadchef—and whose Twitter page is wallpapered with “Thou shalt not talk sh*t”—was no more pleased than I and so many Mississippians were when the Legislature passed the bill that many of believe will be tantamount to Jim Crow lows against our LGBT neighbors, employees and loved ones.
Pardon Currence’s French on this one (as you laugh out loud): “I reserve my right to refuse service to every limp-d*ck homophobe who voted In favor of new Nazissippi law today. F*cking shameful.” OK, not all his tweets on the issue were as saucy (dang it), but he didn’t let up, soon tweeting: “Yesterday MS legislature passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, gives
‘I’m Republican ... and humiliated by my party and my state legislature today.’ folks right to refuse service to anyone. #segregation.” He even took on fellow foodies (or so their Twitter handles indicated): “you obviously have no idea how f#cking Draconian this law is and what its implications are....” Then after someone excoriated him for his language, adding, “The nastiest hate comes from the left,” Currence fired back: “I’m Republican ... and humiliated by my party and my state legislature today. Why don’t you look in the mirror. You lashed out 1st.” So sayeth the big, bad chef. Yes, the Mississippi Legislature, and then Gov. Phil Bryant, surrounded by radical-right political leaders from Mississippi and beyond (all white men, mostly of a certain age), used his poison pen to brand our state once again with the tattoo of hate. Meantime, people like John Currence and so many of you work their fingers to the bone and open businesses and hire people and struggle to change the reputation of our state, improve its tax base and provide needed kindling to our economic
development fire—as they fight against us. Currence should be angry. We all should be cursing what is happening now in the 21st century in our state. Even as we watch our citizenry evolve and young people decide to stay rather than run and so many people work to heal the past’s divisions, these fools come along and just rip our wounds open so we all have to start over. Meantime, the people we love and admire who happen to prefer to love someone of their own gender, are used as political pawns who aren’t treated as if they are human beings, with equal rights to everyone else. We’ve seen this before, Mississippi. We’ve lived through it. We’re still dealing with its disastrous effects. Before the Civil Rights Movement and the feds and other freedom fighters of all races forced Mississippi to change its laws, we “protected” people who wanted to discriminate against others based on their skin tone. We had laws against interracial marriage, claiming that the Bible told us to. We hid behind the idea of “religious freedom” to do anything to people our leaders told us were inferior, and sinful, and ungodly. Meantime, many “good” people didn’t speak out. Maybe they were afraid of boycotts, maybe they were afraid of physical violence, maybe they were afraid of going against the herd. But they didn’t speak out. As a result, the haters were able to spread it, using state law and the Bible as an excuse. It took federal laws to tell Mississippi and other states then that we couldn’t use state law as cover to discriminate against people of color. It looks like it’ll take federal intervention again to tell these terrible state leaders that what they are doing is wrong. Meantime, though, it’s up to the rest of us to step up—and to speak out (and maybe cuss a little) when the laws are hurting other people, whether or not they apply to us. It’s also up to us to point out the hypocrisy of
using beautiful spiritual texts, written to get people to love each other, as cover for hate. Currence did the right thing with those tweets. Sure, he could lose some customers, just as the JFP might because I wrote this. But I suspect he knows as we have learned that doing good business means being willing to speak out against efforts to hurt our customers and our loved ones and our employees. When the JFP started, some people predicted that we couldn’t last a year as a progressive newspaper in Mississippi—reporting on abortion rights, supporting LGBT citizens, challenging racism—because businesses wouldn’t advertise with us, and their customers would demand it. Our paper turns 12 this year. Sure, we’ve lost an advertiser here and there (including one after a former editor, who was lesbian, wrote an award-winning column about the pain of watching Mississippians vote against allowing her to marry) due to our coverage, and some anonymous yo-yo or another calls for a boycott now and again. But these efforts are predictable and, I believe, doomed to fail precisely because what we do is infused with love of other people, including those who are born different or who make other choices. I’ve said it before: We Mississippians have a choice now. It is our moment. We can repeat the past, where we shrug and believe we’re powerless against hateful efforts, or we can stand up, speak out and maybe even cuss a little to get our point across. We can even start a Facebook campaign like Mitchell Moore of Campbell’s Bakery did (see page 7) to encourage small businesses to put out the welcome mat to LGBT customers. We must believe in our own power—to change hateful laws and to vote out every single person who tries to keep us mired in a Jim Crow-type world. Stand up, Mississippi. We are better than this. Let’s prove it. On, and pass that tomato gravy.
April 9 - 15, 2014
Features Editor Kathleen M. Mitchell likes fonts, jorts and photo books, among other things. She hopes to be a professional learner some day. She coordinated the cover package.
R.L. Nave, native Missourian and news editor, roots for St. Louis (and the Mizzou Tigers)—and for Jackson. Send him news tips at email@example.com or call him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12. He wrote news stories.
Trip Burns is a graduate of the University of Mississippi where he studied English and sociology. He enjoys the films of Stanley Kubrick. He took photos for the issue including the cover.
Anna Wolfe is a senior communication major at Mississippi State University who strives to use writing as a tool to advance social justice. She writes for the Starkville Free Press, as well as the JFP. She wrote about the 20-week abortion bill.
Jesse Houston is a chef and graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy. He is currently consulting, launching exciting popup restaurants, and planning to open his own restaurant in Jackson soon. He contributed to the cover package.
Memphis native Kristie Lipford has a doctorate in sociology. She nightcaps to Coltrane’s “Africa Brass Sessions” and Alice’s “Ptah” when she’s feeling wild. Cupcakes make her smile. She wrote a music story.
Editorial Intern and New Orleans native Brittany Sanford is a senior at Belhaven University. She loves God, family, fashion and writing. She helped factcheck for the issue.
David Joseph, former restaurateur and long-time Jacksonian serves as the director of operations for Jackson Free Press. He enjoys watching JFP flourish and his two new grandchildren. He’s just plain awesome.
n r e h t Souomedy Come celebrate with us this weekend & get 20% off! Friday, April 11 - through -
Sunday, April 13
Cheers! #&%% i bravobuzz.com i "" ; - ;\_aU`VQR 1_ V[ 5VTUYN[Q CVYYNTR
New Stage Theatre
by Beth Henley
Directed by Francine Thomas Reynolds
April 15-27, 2014
For tickets: 601-948-3531 or
THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
BRAVO! is turning 20 years old this week!
Âą4HESE ARE CITIZENS 4HEY MIGHT BE POOR AND BLACK BUT THEYÂ´RE CITIZENS )F THESE WERE WHITE CHILDREN GETTING HURT IN THE JAIL SOMETHING WOULD HAPPEN
*235HS$QG\ *LSVRQWKLQNV KHNQRZVEHVW IRUZRPHQDQG /*%7SHRSOH S