September 17 - 23, 2014 • jfp.ms
JACKSONIAN DAVID SKATO
ecessity led David Skato to filmmaking. In 2007, the Mississippi State University graduate bought a video camera to film his children, Omarion, now 11, and Sarah, now 10. A year later, Skato created a TV ad for his company. With a 2006 bachelor’s degree in computer science and an IT business, he expected the ad to bring him more work. Instead, local producer Andy Bryant of Video Magic One offered him a freelance videography gig. Before long, Skato’s focus turned to video and TV production. His first film, “Gutta Story,” brought Skato to Jackson in 2010. “I didn’t want to leave Mississippi,” but his hometown of Starkville was too small, he says, so he moved here and fell in love with the city. By now, Skato has completed two feature films and two short-subject films, in addition to varied commercial work that, for now, pays the bills. “Croenoak,” which Skato expects to release in November, is a thriller/ghost story about a down-on-his luck detective hired to find a missing child. Like most independent filmmakers, Skato invested his own money into the $20,000 budget. He also raised $7,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. As with his previous films, Skato is “Croenoak’s” producer, director, writer, editor and publicist, but his main interest is producing and directing. “Croenoak” (he based the name on the “lost colony” of Roanoke) is a departure into
pure fiction. Skato’s earlier films, while not documentaries, dealt with real-life issues. He’s most proud of “I am Woman,” a drama about domestic violence completed in 2012. “My objective was to show all sides of the situation,” Skato says. “Everybody has their own story.” “Killing Joy,” released this year, is about a young woman who suffers a stroke, and highlights how illness can rip apart relationships. “(Stroke) is a leading cause of death for African Americans,” Skato says. “I wanted to show a different side of that.” 2010’s “Gutta Story” is, perhaps, the most autobiographical of Skato’s films. The story centers on a man trying to make it after prison when a friend is mysteriously murdered. Admittedly, Skato’s own life could have gone wrong. He grew up poor, and street life held some thrills. Between becoming a father and his best friend, Corinthius, dying in prison in 2005, at age 22, Skato turned himself around. “I didn’t try to hide what goes on in the streets,” he says of “Gutta Story.” Skato now mentors youngsters to help them stay away from violence. “Sometimes, they just need someone to talk to them.” Skato hopes not be pigeon-holed into being a “black filmmaker” even as he traces his interest to Gordon Parks’ 1969 film, “The Learning Tree,” and admires game changers like Tyler Perry. “Creativity inspires me,” Skato says. “I want to do things that nobody’s ever done.” —Ronni Mott
Cover photo of John Krasinki by Jonny Cournoyer / courtesy “The Hollars”
9 History in Peril
Scores of historical documents in the Hinds County Courthouse are being damaged. Can they be saved?
39 Inside Grilling
Just because the air is about to get cooler doesn’t mean you have to completely give up grilling.
49 White Violet’s Athens Roots
“White Violet is an up-and-coming, indie-pop outfit from Athens that puts its four-piece structure to good use.” —Genevieve Legacy, “Furthering the Athens Four-Piece”
September 17 - 23, 2014 • jfp.ms
4 ............................. EDITOR’S NOTE 6 ................................................ YOU 8 ............................................ TALKS 14 ................................ EDITORIAL 15 .................................... OPINION 16 ............................ COVER STORY 20 ...........................ARTS PREVIEW 39 ............................. LIFE & STYLE 41 ................................. WELLNESS 42 ................... GIRL ABOUT TOWN 44 .............................. DIVERSIONS 46 ....................................... 8 DAYS 48 .......................................... ARTS 49 ....................................... MUSIC 50 ....................... MUSIC LISTINGS 51 ..................................... SPORTS 52 .................................... PUZZLES 53 ....................................... ASTRO
COURTEY CONNELLY CROWE;0 FLICKR/CRYSTALFLICKR; COURTESY BARBARA DUNN
SEPTEMBER 17 - 23, 2014 | VOL. 13 NO. 2
by Amber Helsel, Assistant Editor
Inside the Lens
nce every couple of months, my laptop tells me that its memory is almost full. Everything starts moving slower, and I get more and more reminders as time goes by (and I’m notorious for waiting forever to fix the problem). While many of my memory problems are a result of the almost 50 gigabytes of music I have on my computer, the majority comes from somewhere else— thousands upon thousands of photos. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a camera pressed to my face, from the days when I would only use disposable cameras to my current high-powered DSLR. I’m not sure what specifically drew me to photography, though it probably stems from my need to express myself artistically without drawing or painting. It’s an incredible medium, and you can do so much with it. My favorite photo in the world is “Dalí Atomicus” by Phillipe Halsman. It’s this insane blackand-white photo with suspended wooden furniture, cats and water flying through the air, and Salvador Dalí jumping in the background. Halsman said it took him 28 tries to get everything perfect. Imagine having to throw cats and water and jump 28 times in a row. That, to me, is more exciting than spending five hours working on one painting. You get to record light in the blink of an eye, whereas with painting and drawing, you have to sit in one spot for hours creating and recreating, drawing and redrawing one line. I’m not saying that you won’t spend hours trying to get the perfect shot, but at the end of everything, you have more to choose from. Photography may seem like an easy skill to learn, and if you understand the basic concept of “hit the shutter button and you take a picture,” then yeah, it probably is. But really learning photography takes a
long time, and you may never perfect your skill. I’ve taken numerous photography classes and have read many articles, and I’m still not as good as I could be. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to be satisfied with the shots I take. Like everything, sometimes photography is about taking a step back, breathing and then trying again. Another wonderful aspect of photography is that you don’t have to be particularly inspired. Sure, inspiration makes
Like everything, sometimes photography is about taking a step back, breathing and then trying again. many a great photo, but really the key to being a good photographer is seeing. Elliott Erwitt once said: “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. … I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” If you see something cool, take a photo. A friend once told me that she doesn’t understand photographers who never seem
to have their camera with them; who never see the perfect shots in front of them. I’ve told people before that I think being a millennial is neat because many of us remember what it was like when everything was analog, but we also saw the birth of modern technology. Those who were born around the time I was are young enough to integrate themselves in technology, but we also remember that there are things to do outside of texting on a cell phone. Many of us even watched the death of film photography. I remember that for photography in high school, we had to buy a film camera, and I bought a nice Canon Rebel 35mm. But when I took photography at Hinds Community College, film cameras had all but disappeared, so I ordered an antique camera from Amazon. Though I’ve done more digital work in my lifetime, I can still remember the basics of a darkroom. Any time I smell vinegar, I remember passing photographic paper through chemical baths and washes, the dimness of the safety lights as I developed photos, watching as an image came from almost nothing. Not that I don’t love digital. It’s much easier, and it’s instant. I don’t have to fumble around in pitch-black darkness trying to wind a roll of film onto the reel or see spots when I finally turn on the overhead lights afterward. But if I had the money and space, I’d buy darkroom equipment and rediscover my love of film. Technology lends itself well to photography, especially apps like Instagram. I can now take a photo and instantly show it to people, whether it be silly, serious or a photo of my food. I don’t necessarily consider that true photography, though, because to me, photography is about more than pushing a button. Now, photographers post some incredible photos, and many do it with just an iPhone, and that’s cool. But I think any-
one who really and truly loves photography should really learn the skills behind it. The only way to really understand something is to see where it comes from. A button on a home screen can only do so much. If you really want to do something worthwhile, you have to learn how to use a real camera, with a manual function for aperture, shutter speed, white balance and ISO. That’s also why I think not everyone is a photographer, nor can every person in this world hope to be one. It takes work and vision, and a grander view of the world. There’s more to life than taking photos of yourself or your food. I don’t consider my Instagram photos art. They’re just me goofing around, showing people my everyday life. People criticize photographers for constantly having a camera pressed to their faces, and I’ve been criticized by people for constantly stopping to take a photo. I had a friend get mad at me in Scotland for doing that (in my defense, it’s Scotland). But the wonderful thing about photography is that you’re still there. You’re still in the moment. People think you’re not enjoying it, but the truth is, you are. You’re simultaneously taking in the scene in front of you and capturing concrete proof that you were there at that precise moment. That’s why people often pay too much money for a wedding photographer. As you grow older with your husband, wife or partner, you will sometimes forget the good moments. It’s nice to have something to remind you that you love this creature standing beside you, yammering on about dirty dishes. Sometimes you have to remember to actually stop and take a look around you, yes, but what you get from a photo is a record of a memory. Our human memories fail us, but photos are forever (if you don’t delete them). I, for one, would much rather be behind the lens than in front of it.
September 17 - 23, 2014 • jfp.ms
Former Editorial Intern Mary Spooner is a Jackson native who studies English at the University of Southern Mississippi. She enjoys creative writing, cinema and vegetarian cooking. She interviewed John Krasinski for this issue.
Music Editor Micah Smith is a graduate of Mississippi College and has neither an eye patch nor a soul patch. When not writing or editing, he performs with the band Empty Atlas. He arranged event listings and wrote arts stories.
Events Listings Editor Latasha Willis is a native Jacksonian, a freelance graphic designer and the mother of one cat. See her design portfolio at latashawillis. com. She edited event listings.
Music Listings Editor Tommy Burton is keeping the dream alive one record at a time. He can usually be seen with a pair of headphones on. He wrote an arts preview blurb. Send gig info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feature Writer and Tishomingo County native Carmen Cristo studied journalism at Mississippi State University and wrote for the Starkville Free Press. She likes Food Network, ’90s music and her husband. She wrote an arts preview blurb.
R.L. Nave, native Missourian and news editor, roots for St. Louis (and the Mizzou Tigers)—and for Jackson. Send him news tips at rlnave@ jacksonfreepress.com or call him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12. He wrote Talks.
Genevieve Legacy is an artist, writer and community-development consultant. She works at Hope Enterprise Corporation and lives in Brandon with her husband and youngest son. She wrote a music story.
Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin is a fitness buff and foodie who loves chocolate and her mama. She’s also Michelle Obama’s super-secret BFF, which explains the Secret Service detail.
September 17 - 23, 2014 • jfp.ms
September 17 - 23, 2014 • jfp.ms
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Âą7E NEED TO CARRY OVER THOSE SAME EMOTIONS TO THE CASES THAT ARE HAPPENING RIGHT HERE IN OUR COMMUNITIESÂ˛
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Wednesday, September 10 President Obama outlines in an address to the nation an expanded military and political effort to combat Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, including airstrikes in Syria and expanded airstrikes in Iraq.
Friday, September 12 Government and rebel forces exchange dozens of prisoners captured during fighting in Ukraine as part of a cease-fire agreement sealed in early September. â€Ś Texas asks a federal appeals court to allow the state to immediately enforce a law requiring all abortion clinics to adhere to costly standards required for walk-in surgical clinics, which would close more than half of the stateâ€™s abortion facilities. Saturday, September 13 President Barack Obama condemns as a â€œbarbaric murderâ€? the slaying of British aid worker David Haines by Islamic State extremists.
September 17 - 23, 2014 â€˘ jfp.ms
Sunday, September 14 Two raging wildfires in California force hundreds of people to evacuate their homes, including one near a lakeside resort town that burns nearly two dozen structures, many of them homes.
Monday, September 15 An act of Congress allows President Obama to present two Vietnam War soldiersâ€”one still living, one killed in actionâ€”with the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony nearly 50 years after the men threw themselves into harmâ€™s way to protect their fellow soldiers. Tuesday, September 16 Ukraineâ€™s parliament ratifies an agreement to deepen economic and political ties with the European Union and passes legislation to grant autonomy to the rebellious east as part of a peace deal.
by R.L Nave
he Jackson City Council held its nose and passed Mayor Tony Yarberâ€™s $390 million budget proposal Monday night, but it came with strings attached. Yarber and the council came to loggerheads over several issues, including last-minute additions and the mayorâ€™s reticence in
council throughout the development of the pay-raise plan and helped calculate the expense. In addition, the council said it agreed to let the mayor â€œstaff up,â€? according to his administrationâ€™s needs. From 2013 to the budget passed this week, salaries in the mayorâ€™s and chiefadministrative officerâ€™s offices alone have TRIP BURNS
Thursday, September 11 A 9/11 memorial service in New York begins with a bell toll, a moment of silence and the reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in New York, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. â€Ś The European Union decides to place new economic sanctions on Russiaâ€”including ones targeting the countryâ€™s vital oil industryâ€” for what it sees as Moscowâ€™s meddling in eastern Ukraine.
Officials Spar Over Haves, Have-Nots
The Jackson City Council approved a $390 budget on the condition Mayor Tony Yarber find a way to give the lowest paid city workerâ€™s a raise.
implementing a $120,000 pay increase for city workers earning minimum wage even as the mayor is increasing pay for three city departments by about $500,000. Yarber said moving forward with the smaller increase would throw the budget off balance. Council members took exception to Yarberâ€™s explanation, they said, because the mayorâ€™s budget staffers had advised the
increased by $480,781. â€œIf we can pay the mayor and CAOâ€™s office a half-million dollar increase (for salaries), then we donâ€™t need to be paying slave wages to people who are out there filling ditches,â€? Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester Jr., who chairs the Budget Committee, told the Jackson Free Press. The city attorneyâ€™s office also jumped
from $1.9 million in 2013 to just over $2 million under the current budget. As an alternative to the minimum-wage raises, Yarber suggested a feasibility study be done, arguing that the council had not considered the effect of implementing the raises on vacant positions. The move seemed to blindside the six members who attended. Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon lambasted Yarberâ€™s refusal to implement the councilâ€™s action, which she called historic. â€œIf the council can be ignored on something like this, then what are we doing here?â€? she asked. During the meeting, Priester offered a compromise in order to meet the legal requirement to finish the budget by Sept. 15, instructing Yarberâ€™s administration to find a way to implement the minimum-wage hike or the council would come back later and take back salary increases now going to department heads and other top-tier staff members. The budget passed 5-to-1. Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes voted no; Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell did not attend the meeting. The council can revise the budget through the end of the month, which Priester hopes to accomplish before yearâ€™s end. There was one big bright spot in the city budget for taxpayers: City officials managed to roll the millage rate back to 2013 levels, which equals a property tax cut of about $5 million. Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email R.L. Nave at email@example.com.
MADE IN MISSISSIPPI by Amber Helsel f youâ€™ve been in Jackson the last couple months, you probably heard talk of John Krasinski (yes, Jim Halpert from â€œThe Officeâ€?) being in town. He was directing â€œThe Hollars,â€? which concluded shooting in Jackson a couple of weeks ago. But besides â€œThe Hollars,â€? Mississippi has seen some other incredible movies make their way through our great state. Here are some interesting facts about some of the more recent ones.
â€œGet On Upâ€? (2014)â€”After spending time in Jackson, Dan Akyroyd, who plays James Brownâ€™s manager Ben Bart in the film, decided to contribute a little more to Hinds County. Sheriff Tyrone Lewis swore him in as a deputy sheriff this past January.
â€œAs I Lay Dyingâ€? (2013)â€” Filmmakers thought â€œAs I Lay Dying,â€? a novel by William Faulkner, would be difficult to turn into a film due to the many narrative voices. But James Franco was unperturbed. He captured this aspect of Faulknerâ€™s work by camera edits, dialogue and voice-overs.
â€œThe Helpâ€? (2011)â€”Director Tate Taylor (also of â€œGet On Upâ€?) and the author of the filmâ€™s novel namesake, Kathryn Stockett, grew up together in Jackson and have been friends since kindergarten. They both graduated from Jackson Prep.
Âą)F WE CAN PAY THE MAYOR AND #!/Â´S OFÂ˝CE A HALF MILLION DOLLAR SALARY INCREASE THEN WE DONÂ´T NEED TO BE PAYING SLAVE WAGES TO PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT THERE Â˝LLING DITCHESÂ˛