Jackson’s Bespoke Jeweler 2
VERVE Spring 2019
THE DISTRICT AT EASTOVER | STE D110 601.665.4642 • firstname.lastname@example.org
JACKSON’S BESPOKE JE WELER
Good Creative Design requires both beauty AND effectiveness.
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232 Market Street, Bldg K Flowood, MS 39232 www.vervesouth.com 601.954.8401
DESIGN | WEB & MOBILE | MOTION
Food & Home
Arts & Culture
46 Stylish Home Trends
24 Cultivating Local
54 Imagination Unlimited
To Enliven Your Interior 2019 promises a continuation of many of the design themes that began in 2018 in addition to some new directions in decor. See the latest colors, styles, and materials that are reshaping stylish interiors this year.
On the Cover It’s spring and there is so much energy and life in the air. Celebrate the beauty of the season with fresh flowers and natural decor. photography by Rich Winter
VERVE Spring 2019
Culinary Talent Mississippi’s first food hall offers great food to patrons and a great opportunity for local chefs to launch their own food concepts. See the delicious food that awaits you and get more information about the variety of tasty offerings by Cultivation Food Hall’s talented chefs.
At The MAX A new exhibition at the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience in Meridian, MS explores the creative genius of Jim Henson. Get up close to cultural icons, like Kermit the Frog, and peek at the earliest works of the creative performer, filmmaker, and technical innovator from Leland, Mississippi, who started it all.
Travel & Leisure
Inspiration & Vision
Health & Lifestyle
14 Making Waves In The
6 Starfish Café
34 Social Distortion:
Manatee Capital The spring-fed waters of Kings Bay offer snorkelers a familyfriendly close encounter with the elusive and gentle manatee.
40 Charming And
Alluring Charleston Charleston, SC tops many of America’s vacation hot lists. We’ll highlight the best areas to shop and dine in the historic city.
Cooks Up A Community Since 2013, Starfish Café has been serving its community delicious food and its students an opportunity to learn valuable life skills and career training. See how this unique dining spot earned TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and the number one ranking on it’s restaurant list.
The Dark Side Of Social Media Social media has become a constant in our daily lives. We’re able to easily keep up with the activities of friends and family by scrolling through an app on our phone. New research indicates there may be serious mental health implications for the regular use of social media in our lives.
PUBLISHER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Rich Winter, Amy Winter CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Lisa Kroger, Susan Marquez, Amy Winter, and Rich Winter
Welcome to Verve magazine, Mississippi’s freshest lifestyle magazine. To understand what Verve is about is to understand the very definition of the word. When we set out to create our magazine, we needed a name that represented the spirit and
enthusiasm found in the people and culture that define our
Ellis Anderson, Crystal Diodati, Lisa Kroger, Rich Winter
region. Luckily for us, there’s one word that does just that—Verve. From cover to cover, Verve magazine celebrates stories of the hard-working hands, creative minds, and compassionate hearts that embody the best of our unique Southern culture. Our pages
Verve magazine is printed and distributed quarterly through national subscriptions, mailings, dedicated racks, and other drop-off locations throughout Jackson, Madison, Ridgeland, Flowood, Brandon, and Clinton including restaurants, hotels, retail stores and offices.
provide engaging content and beautiful photography spanning subjects from travel, culture, and the arts, to food, health, and entertaining with some surprises in between. Each seasonal issue speaks to the spirit and soul of our diverse region with meaningful, fun, optimistic, and valuable information that will enrich and empower your life. At Verve magazine, we’re serious about our work, but we’re not too serious about ourselves. We value curiosity, honesty, generosity and hard work while we also embrace the ingenuity and uniqueness found in the charming residents and beautiful
232 Market St, Bldg K Flowood, MS 39232 Office: 601.914.7219 email@example.com www.vervesouth.com
communities throughout our state. We believe in supporting
All rights reserved. No portion of Verve magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher of Verve.
with a timeless resource you may rely on for daily inspiration
creativity wherever we find it and supporting local businesses that enrich our culture and economy. Whether you have a head for business or a heart for home, an eye for design or the hands for healing, we hope to provide you and enjoyment.
Please visit us on the web at www.vervesouth.com. Our website features a digital version of our magazine and bonus
VERVE Spring 2019
content including recipes, photo galleries, and videos. You can also register to receive a subscription of Verve delivered to your door.
Your Special Moment Deserves An
EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE Call Seafood R’evolution at 601.853.3474 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about hosting your next celebration at Seafood R’evolution!
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VERVE Spring 2019
S TA R F I S H C A F É C O O K S U P
A C OM M U N I T Y story by LISA KROGER photography courtesy of ELLIS ANDERSON, LISA KROGER & STARFISH CAFE
ay Saint Louis, nestled on the Gulf
Every good restaurant is all about the food—
Coast between New Orleans and
and the Starfish is no exception. Their menu is
Gulfport, has built a reputation on
built around fresh, local ingredients, which is
quaint charm and fun. No matter
apparent before a customer even walks inside.
the time of year, a festival, parade, concert, or
The yard is planted with seasonal vegetables
art show is bringing color to downtown. The
and lined with raised beds of herbs, like thyme,
streets are bustling with happy people enjoying
tarragon, sage, and lavender. The café even
the laid-back coastal life.
boasts its own beehives, which produce the
In the middle of it all is Starfish Café, a
honey used in many of their recipes. Owner Di
charming blue building decorated with bright
Fillhart wants anything planted on the café’s
colors, eclectic art, and yes, starfish. But what
grounds to either be edible or beneficial to
makes Starfish Café special isn’t the ambiance—
the bees and the butterflies that hover around
it’s the restaurant’s unique focus on community.
the restaurant. The rest of the ingredients are
locally sourced, like fish from local fisherman, grass-
No one is ever turned away for a lack of ability to
fed beef from nearby farms, and fresh eggs that come
pay. And that’s not the only way the Starfish is making
from Ruth’s Roots, a community garden run by the
a difference. Fillhart is a professional life coach,
citizens of Bay Saint Louis.
and her restaurant is staffed by her students. The
Fillhart says that the Starfish “makes the menu
Starfish is more than a restaurant. It’s the home to
off what we got.” That means the menu changes
PNEUMA—Winds of Hope, a nonprofit organization
frequently, with offerings like carrot ginger soup or
aimed at teaching hands-on training in restaurants
locally raised grass-fed ribeye steak with mushroom
and real-life skills, including financial literacy and
demi-glace, served with roasted veggies from the
anger management courses. While the students are
garden. “You are what you eat,” Fillhart says, so
learning to julienne carrots or perfect a smooth
she makes sure that she feeds the people who come
ganache for the chocolate truffle cake, they are also
through her door well. Her philosophy is that food
learning how to be successful in life. The goal is
should nourish everyone, and the menu includes
for students to complete the ServSafe certification
options for all kinds of diets, from diabetic to gluten-
exam, a 20-minute knife skills test, and all the life
free, and even Paleo and Whole 30.
skills classes, among other things, before they can
This kind of inclusivity spreads to pricing too.
graduate, typically in sixteen weeks.
Ever yone is welcome at the Sta r fish, which is
The program is based on work incentives. The
why no prices are printed on the menu. It’s all
students work in the Starfish, earning $100 a week,
pay what you want.
which is put aside for the future. Once a student
Pictured above from left: Zachary Fillhart, Jeanne Peters, Di Fillhart, Jeffrey Graham, and Brett Hynes.
VERVE Spring 2019
When Di began her Bay St. Louis ministry in 2013, she tagged it “Operation Starfish.” She didn’t know the story at the time, but says The Starfish Story has become the core mission of the cafe. “When we came here, we knew we were grassroots. We knew we were really small, but our mission was just to help one by one. So from the beginning, it was going to be Starfish Cafe.”
The Starfish Story An old man was walking on the beach one morning after a storm. In the distance, he could see someone moving like a dancer. As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman picking up starfish and gently throwing them into the ocean. “Young lady, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” “The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die,” she said. “But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You cannot possibly make a difference.” The young woman listened politely, then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference for that one.” — Adapted from The Star Thower by Loren Eiseley
VERVE Spring 2019
From 2016-2018, Starfish Cafe has been awarded the TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence for its high quality customer experience and great reviews. It’s currently ranked the number one restaurant in Bay Saint Louis by the popular travel and restaurant website.
graduates, he or she gets $200. The remainder is paid once the student demonstrates that he or she has worked (or volunteered) for at least 25 hours a week for six months. The students show paychecks in their monthly post-graduation meetings, something that is important to Fillhart, who works to maintain relationships with the students who come through her program. “We want success,” says Fillhart, of her students. “I can’t change them. The students set goals every two weeks. It puts the responsibility on them.” So what does success look like? One Starfish graduate is now living in Hawaii, working for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Another is on his second tour in the Navy. Students typically find work in local restaurants or casinos. “They are keeping up with family commitments, living independently,” explains Fillhart. “They are doing what they want.” And that
Di is such a joyous person. You feel good just talking to her. She changes the students’ lives and the lives of everyone who comes there. They can feel the love and the dedication. One person can change the world for someone else. She is living her purpose. just may be the definition of success for Fillhart: her students can be free to live the lives they want to live. Part of the Starfish’s success comes from Fillhart’s ability to inspire her students—and the other people around her. Bobbie Necaise began working with the café when she heard about what they were doing. Necaise first brought some home-grown vegetables for the Starfish’s kitchen, but soon she volunteered her time as well. “Di is such a joyous person,” Necaise said. “You feel good just talking to her.” Necaise is convinced that the heart of the Starfish is Fillhart herself. “She changes the students’ lives and the lives of everyone who comes there. They can feel the love and the dedication. One person can change the world for someone else. She is living her purpose.” Fillhart is more humble, saying that the café needs the community, just as much as the community needs the café. “It takes a group of community people to support us,” says Fillhart. The restaurant, the program, all of it runs on donations and hours of work by volunteers. So, next time you’re in Bay Saint Louis, stop by. Have a slice of cheesecake with fresh strawberries or try the freshly baked pumpkin pecan sourdough. It just may change someone’s life.
VERVE Spring 2019
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VERVE Spring 2019
M A K ING WAV E S IN THE
MANATEE CAPITAL story by RICH WINTER
photography by RICH WINTER & RIVER VENTURES
t’s 5:30 am when the alarm goes off in our hotel
It’s just a five-minute drive to our destination and
room. It’s pitch dark and a brisk fifty-two degrees
we’re the first group to pull into a parking spot at
outside as we get dressed and go downstairs for
River Ventures. The building is painted in bright
a quick breakfast before heading out for our 6:15
blue and aqua paint complete with a manatee
appointment. We had made the nine hour drive from
face hole board for family photos and a large, gray
Jackson to Crystal River the day before as a fun side
fiberglass manatee in front of the shop.
trip from our Orlando theme park vacation.
We enter the building to the greetings of the staff
While researching our trip online, we stumbled
as they check us in and show us to the education room
upon some tourism information that mentioned
where we are briefed on safety aboard the boat and
manatees are most easily seen in the cool, winter
in the water. Then, Gloria, the center’s educational
months when they congregate in the warm,
advisor, queues up a video that explains how to
spring-fed waters of the Crystal, Homosassa, and
respectfully and lawfully swim with manatees that
Chassahowitzka rivers of northwest Florida. The
includes open-hand touching and passive observation.
promise of having a first-hand manatee encounter
It turns out, manatees can be very inquisitive and
was too much to pass up.
sometimes playful during swimming encounters.
Once an endangered species, conservation efforts
Baltzell tells us about the various native wildlife
and protective laws have helped increase the
of the bay while he and Crystal pass around the
numbers of West Indian manatee in Florida, but
hot chocolate to keep us warm.
the beloved sea cow, as they are often called, still
Our in-water guide, Cr ystal, also d ressed
remains on the threatened species list due to
in a wet-suit, takes questions about the area
habitat loss from waterfront development, fishing
waters and the manatees we are about to meet
nets, motor boat collisions, red tide, and also their
as she scans the horizon looking for signs of the
slow reproduction. For this reason, tour operators
gentle creatures. Having earned the moniker
in the area are very sensitive about protecting the
of ‘Captivating Crystal’ by her co-workers due
wellbeing of these docile mammals.
to her ‘manatee whispering’ skills, she tells us
After the brief education video, the staff begins
about the affection and curiosity some of the
fitting our group with wet-suits and snorkeling
manatees might display with our group. Crystal
masks before we bag up our other gear and
tells us we are headed to spot where manatees
board the tour bus for a five-minute drive to the
were congregating the day before as she begins
snapping pictures of the group and the bay as
After exiting the bus, we are introduced to our
our official River Ventures documentarian.
tour team of John Baltzell and Crystal Diodati.
After about 15 minutes, the sun rises far enough
Captain Baltzell, otherwise know as ‘Johnny B’ by
above the horizon to illuminate the beautiful, clear
the regulars, has been an expert eco-tour captain
spring water of the bay. We’re able to see the sandy
for 19 years. Before we pull away from the dock in
bottom 11 feet below the boat, rich with patches of
our pontoon boat, he goes over the safety features
sea grass, algae, and the occasional snook swimming
of the vessel, the equipment we’ll be using, and
by. Then, Crystal spots our first manatee ahead
what we should expect to see while snorkeling.
of the boat. As John slows the engine and steers
As we began our easy tour of Kings Bay, Captain
around the manatee, we are finally able to see
VERVE Spring 2019
VERVE Spring 2019
just how big they are. At 10-13 feet in length and weighing up to 1,300 pounds, adult manatees are surprisingly large up close. John informs us that we’re nearly to our snorkeling location and asks us to prepare our masks to make sure they seal around our faces and prepare any camera equipment we plan to use in the water. Once the boat comes to a stop and we drop anchor, Crystal gets in the water to assist the group as we slip into the water one-by-one from the latter at the back of the boat with a foam noodle under our waist to keep us on top of the water. John and Crystal assist everyone to ensure masks are secure and all are comfortable in the water before we begin our search. Then, Crystal demonstrates the proper way to swim, using a dog paddle motion with our hands and not using our feet. Floating silently on the surface of the crystal clear lagoon, mask submerged, we begin scanning
DID YOU KNOW? Manatees are related to
elephants, not dolphins or whales.
for signs of manatee activity. After a couple of
A manatee can eat a tenth of its
snook swim by, a small group of adults and calves
own weight in just 24 hours.
begin to come into focus in the distance. They are dining on a patch of sea grass in between trips to the surface for a breath of air every few minutes. A couple of young adults separate from their group and begin performing somersaults as they gently nudge a couple of swimmers from our tour. They are large animals with tiny, dark eyes, flippers, a circular tail, and a large bulbous snout covered with whiskers that conceals their molars. The manatee’s gray skin is covered in a thin layer of algae that is shed seasonally as they move between fresh spring water and the salty coastal waters they inhabit in the summer. They are very graceful swimmers, and while they usually move slowly through the water, manatees are actually capable of powerful bursts of speed using their large tails. The calves stay right beside their mothers as they move between the surface and the lagoon’s bottom.
Manatees are considered slow
swimmers, but they can swim 15 miles per hour in short bursts. Manatees can live up to
40 years in the wild. There are two other species
of manatee which inhabit the Amazon River and the west coast of Africa. A West Indian manatee can
weigh more than 1,200 pounds. Florida manatees congregate
at power plant discharge pipes, where the water is warm. Manatees are thought to have
evolved from four-legged land mammals more than 60 million years ago.
WHAT MAKES CRYSTAL RIVER SPECIAL The king of all the natural warm-water shelters in Florida is Crystal River’s Kings Bay. In terms of springs, it is a marvel—at least 70 springs with many more seeps and boils providing a near-constant flow of 225 million gallons of water a day at a temperature that constantly pulsates between 72 and 74 degrees. For manatees, that’s critical since, despite their apparent heft, they have surprisingly little fat to keep them warm. When surrounding coastal water temperatures dip below 68 degrees, manatees are vulnerable to cold stress. When water temperatures drop even further—as they do in the winter—the risk is hypothermia. The springs in the Crystal River area provide what scientists call a “thermal refuge,” warm pockets where manatees can survive. “This is the most critical place for the future of manatees in Florida,” says Patrick Rose, Aquatic Biologist and Executive Director of the Save the Manatee Club. “It’s absolutlely essential.”
The opportunity to swim with these gentle giants proved to be a one-of-a-kind experience we’ll never forget. The relaxing experience was the perfect lead into the more demanding vacation experience of the Orlando theme parks. I highly recommend taking the extra day to check out Crystal River during your next Florida trip. River Ventures also offers scalloping tours where you can hunt for your own scallops in addition to paddle board and air boat tours.
For more information on Crystal River and River Ventures, go to www.riverventures.com
VERVE Spring 2019
Healthy Aging and Cognitive Evaluation Study The MIND Center is currently screening older adults to participate in a healthy aging study. The ACHIEVE trial is a research study investigating two different programs that may promote healthy aging and cognitive health in older adults with hearing loss between the ages of 70-84. Study participants will be randomly selected to receive either a healthy aging or hearing program.
For more information: Call: Tamikia Washington at 601.984.6654 Email: MINDResearchClinic@umc.edu or Visit: ACHIEVEStudy.org ACHIEVE Principal Investigator: Thomas H. Mosley, PhD MIND Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center
2/15/19 1:41 PM
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VERVE Spring 2019
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VERVE Spring 2019
C U LT I VAT I N G LO C A L C U L I N A R Y TA L E N T
story by SUSAN MARQUEZ
photography by RICH WINTER & courtesy of CULTIVATION FOOD HALL
fter a career in the food industry that
margins are razor thin. But the food hall concept
spanned from working in restaurants
is changing that. It’s the old street food thing,
to owning restaurants to having a
where the middle man is eliminated. It’s all about
food truck, Chef Micah Martello went
the food and I really love the sense of community.”
a different route in 2015 when he opened a stall
Food halls have been an emerging trend for a
in the St. Roch Food Hall in New Orleans. “I took
few years now, and the appeal to vendors is that
a chance on it to see how it would work out, and
they don’t have to invest in a brick-and-mortar
I was really impressed.”
location in order to have a restaurant. Food
A native of New Orleans, Martello moved back
halls have been around for years, especially in
to New Orleans in 2014 after spending several
Europe, but the concept is becoming increasingly
years in North Carolina. He ran his food truck
popular in the United States as consumers
in New Orleans for about a year before being
demand healthier and better-tasting “quick
contacted by the developers of St. Roch. “I thought
casual” food options in entertaining environments.
it was a fantastic opportunity. I like the whole
Pamela Flora, director of research for Cushman
food hall concept. It enables
& Wakefield, says the number
tenants to split expenses and
of food halls operating in the
allows people to produce the
United States is expected to
kind of food they really want to ser ve. I feel like there’s been a fundamental shift in the food industry in the time I’ve been involved in it. There are economic factors and labor factors. I’ve been doing this my whole life, and the cost of running a restaurant has been continually going up to where
I like the whole food hall concept. It enables tenants to split expenses and allows people to produce the kind of food they really want to serve.
exceed 200 in 2019, about double the number that were open in late 2016. Food halls are an extension of the old ma l l food cour t concept with several vendors and a common dining area. But food halls take that concept to a new level, with more upscale offerings, often with locally-
sourced ingredients. The food is innovative and interesting and appeals to a wide array of tastes. A group of friends can go to the food hall together, and each person can enjoy something completely different to eat. Food halls are often re-purposed buildings, or new construction, like the Cultivation Food Hall now open at The District development in Jackson. “We think it’s one of the coolest places in Jackson to hang,” said Patrik Lazzari, director of operations for Cultivation. The space has an open, airy feel, as designed by Jackson-based Mary Saunders Ferris of the Ferris & Company Design Studio, a veteran in the world of luxury hospitality. “Mary deserves many props. She’s great,” said Breck Hines, who, along with Ted Duckworth, are principals of The District Land Company, LLC, who is responsible for the development of The District, including Cultivation Food Hall. Lazarri also has a presence in Cultivation with his wife, Christina. The couple owns la Brioche Patisserie in the Fondren Corner Building. In Cultivation,
VERVE Spring 2019
they’ve opened two food concepts—Bocca, a classic Neopolitan pizzeria, and Whisk, a crêperie that creates authentic French crêpes in a variety of savory and sweet combinations. “We may expand to other things, and we’ll certainly have some sweets from la Brioche.” Should you need coffee to go with your sweet treats, Taylor Triplett and his wife, Ana Lampton, have you covered with il Lupo Coffee. “We have frequented food halls around the Southeast, and we always thought it was a cool concept and a great addition to any city’s landscape,” Triplett said. “When we heard about Cultivation Food Hall, we saw an opportunity to get involved in our local economy. We are both from Jackson, and while the coffee business is new for us, we have the passion and the capital. Tyler Emerson, who has experience in the business, has the passion and the
When we heard about Cultivation Food Hall, we saw an opportunity to get involved in our local economy. We are both from Jackson, and while the coffee business is new for us, we have the passion and the capital. One of the great things about a food hall concept is that it allows people like us to take a leap without a lot of risk.
expertise. One of the great things about a food hall concept is that it allows people like us to take a leap without a lot of risk.” Il Lupo is Italian for wolf. There is a saying in Italian, ‘in bocca a la lupo’ which translates
VERVE Spring 2019
first food hall in Mississippi was opening, Phoung Le knew she wanted to open her own place, Poke’ Stop. “The cost is high to start anything nowadays, but the food hall has made it easier and more affordable for new business owners like myself.” Phoung Le explained that Poke’ is like a deconstructed sushi roll. “It’s a Hawaiian dish with a Japanese flair. Poke’ is fresh, healthy and innovative – the next generation of sushi!” Her dishes use only sushi grade fish, locally-sourced produce and hydroponic greens. Martello has done so well with his business at St. Roch Food Hall in New Orleans that he has opened Fete au Fete in the Pythian Market in the Central Business District of New Orleans and in the White Star Market in Baton Rouge. “It’s the same business, but all are unique in their own right, because each food hall is different.” Martello will open his fourth location of Fete au Fete in Cultivation Food Hall as well as a new concept, Local Honey. “Fete au Fete is basically upscale southern comfort food with a Louisiana twist. Kind of Cajun-Creole comfort food. Local Honey is lighter, cleaner, sustainably-farmed foods that are trending to ‘into the mouth of the wolf’ which they say instead
now. We have salads, bowls, smoothies, chia puddings,
of good luck. When an Italian orders a coffee in the
and we also cater to people with food preferences, like
morning, they are met with that phrase, which pretty
those who eat keto or Paleo diets. Local Honey is kind
much means have a good day. Putting a Mississippi
of the ying to Fete au Fete’s yang.”
spin on the name, Triplett says it is also an homage
In May 2018, Alivia Ashburn-Townsend traveled
to bluesman Howlin’ Wolf. They’ll serve a variety of
to New York, where she fell in love with the deli
coffee drinks and non-coffee drinks, including a variety
experience. A 15-year veteran of the Jackson food
of loose teas and beverages for children.
scene, Ashburn-Townsend wanted to honor the
Rachel Phoung Le is a newcomer to the food
cuisine’s Jewish roots by providing authentic deli
business. Although her mother ran a successful pho
classics like potato latkes, NY lox, pastrami on
business in her native Vietnam, Phoung says she didn’t
rye, and matzo ball soup alongside sandwiches
learn to cook until she came to the United States. She
featuring Italian toppings like prosciutto, roasted
began photographing food in restaurants, and tried
red peppers, pesto, parmesan and other options.
recreating the dishes at home. Her food photographs
Ashburn-Townsend says a New York deli is what
became very popular. She moved from California to
the local food community needs, especially in the
Jackson to be closer to her sister, and she started a
absence of businesses such as Old-Tyme Deli, which
few food pages on Facebook. When she heard that the
closed in 2000. She knows her concept, Ariella’s
NY Delicatessen, will fill the long-time void in Jackson’s otherwise rich culinary scene.
Chef Williams’s concept, Fauna Foodworks, offers bohemian-chic cuisine inspired by her culinary travel
Chef Enrika Williams adores food. Since she
experiences from Italy to Mississippi, and it offers a
was a small child growing up in West Point,
diverse menu filled with international street-style
she’s been intrigued by PBS cooking shows, her
cuisine. Cultivation Food Hall also includes Gold
grandfather’s gardening and her grandmother’s
Coast Bar. Managed by Johnathan Shull, the cocktail
uncanny and unfailing knack for entertaining in
menu channels the spirit of the prohibition era
the truest traditions of “southern lady” charm. To
into a menu of both classic and original cocktails
fuel the fascination and power her imagination,
named for notorious clubs that were once located
Enrika attended the Art Institute of Atlanta
along the “Gold Coast” of Mississippi’s Pearl River.
and graduated in 2004. Since then, she’s honed
A well-curated menu of wines, local beers and a
her craft and worked under masterful chefs
daily happy hour are also available.
including Emeril Lagasse, Mel Toledo, Vincent
“We also offer a stylishly designed and dedicated
Hernandez and Richard Blais. The opportunities
event space we call ‘The Living Room,’” said
to learn from some of the best chefs in America
Lazzari. “It is a great place for a variety of events
have allowed her to work in some of the best
including meetings, corporate events, birthdays
restaurants in the nation. She was even hand-
and even weddings. People will be able to rent just
selected by celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, to
the “The Living Room” space or the entire food
turn around the struggling kitchen at Hotel
hall.” Cultivation Food Hall will be announcing
Chester in Starkville, Mississippi, for an episode
vendor food specials and other events soon, so
of Hotel Hell on Fox.
check the website for updates.
VERVE Spring 2019
A R I E L L A’ S N Y D E L I C A T E S S E N AN AUTHENTIC NE W YORK-ST YLE DELI Ariella’s NY Delicatessen is the only New York-style deli in the state of Mississippi. Ariella’s is committed to using only the highest quality products while maintaining the authentic deli cuisine and experience you might expect in the Big Apple. The menu includes traditional deli items such as pastrami, corn beef, matzo ball soup and cheesecake, paired with other dishes that reflect Chef Alivia Townsend’s own culinary influences and ideas.
BOCCA PIZZERI A A CL ASSIC NEOPOLITAN PIZ ZERIA Simple, classic and delicious, Bocca Pizzeria brings the tradition of classic pizza “Napoletana” to the heart of the capital city. Bocca owners Cristina and Patrik Lazzari, together with local chef, Austin Lee, embrace the custom of using the simple, yet essential elements of southern Italian cuisine—flour, mozzarella, olive oil and tomatoes—to create traditional Neopolitan pizza.
FA U N A F O O D W O R K S A PREMIER FOOD L AB PRODUCING BOHEMIAN- CHIC CUISINE Fauna: work describing or listing the animal life of a region. Fauna foodworks is a premier food lab producing thoughtful bohemian-chic cuisine inspired by Chef Enrika Williams’s love of delicious and diverse international street-style cuisine.
F ET E AU F ET E ST R E AT ERY UPSCALE SOUTHERN FOOD WITH A LOUISIANA T WIST Fête au Fête StrEATery is the brainchild of chef and long-time food truck advocate Chef Micah Martello. The concept focuses on upscale Southern comfort food with a Louisiana twist. Think hot muffulettas, the original crawfish poutine or shrimp and grits with housemade fresh sausage, poached eggs or “trash grits” on the side.
GOL D COA ST A CL ASSIC, CR AF T C OCK TAIL BAR Drawing inspiration from the hidden decadence of prohibition nightlife on what was formerly known as the “Gold Coast of Mississippi,” Gold Coast Bar celebrates what made this hidden hot spot along the Pearl River legendary. Gold Coast Bar channels this spirit into a menu of both classic and original cocktails named for notorious Gold Coast Clubs. A well-curated menu of wines, local beers and a daily happy hour are also available.
VERVE Spring 2019
I L LU PO COF F EE SPECIALT Y C OFFEE, HANDCR AF TED BE VER AGES AND LOOSE LE AF TE AS il Lupo brings a fresh and relatable approach to specialty coffee to the Jackson area. With North Carolina’s Counter Culture Coffee as its roaster, il Lupo serves espresso and milkbased drinks, along with a seasonally rotating selection of drip and pour-over coffees, handcrafted beverages and loose leaf teas.
LOCA L HON EY HE ALTHY FOOD REDEFINED Local Honey is a new concept by Chef Micah Martello that he calls, “healthy food redefined.” Expect healthy and delicious food that appeals to all lifestyle and nutrition plans including a new take on salads, steel cut oats or quinoa bowls, smoothies and the millennial favorite, avocado toast.
P O K É S T O P H AWA I I A N B O W L S POKÉ: A DEC ONSTRUCTED SUSHI ROLL IN A BOWL
A first for the Jackson-metro area, Poké Stop represents the next generation of sushi. Fresh, healthy and innovative, Poké is a deconstructed sushi roll in a bowl—a Hawaiian dish with Japanese flair. Offering vegetarian, low carb, low-fat and gluten-friendly options, Poké Stop is worth stopping for.
WHISK AN AUTHENTIC FRENCH CRÊPERIE
The team behind Jackson’s favorite French bakery, La Brioche, introduces “Whisk” - a crêperie that creates authentic French crêpes in a variety of savory and sweet combinations. Whisk serves crêpes for breakfast, lunch and dinner made with traditional wheat flour as well as the nutty-flavored and gluten-free buckwheat flour – galettes - as originally used in the crêpes’ birthplace of Bretagne, France. Some of the most popular desserts from La Brioche will also be available at Whisk.
C U LT I VA T I O N F O O D H A L L MISSISSIPPI’S FIRST FOOD HALL
Welcome to Cultivation Food Hall, a first of its kind in Mississippi, showcasing a carefully curated collection of boutique restaurant concepts, specialty coffees and classic, craft cocktails. Open daily, the food hall features the best culinary talent with an emphasis on a variety of local, chef-inspired concepts. Cultivation Food Hall offers a variety of great food, all under one roof. Monday-Thursday: 7am-10pm, Friday-Saturday: 7am-11pm, Sunday: 8am-9pm
VERVE Spring 2019
THE DARK SIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA story by AMY WINTER
ealth experts have pronounced sitting as one
such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr,
of the worst things we can do for our health.
Snapchat and Reddit, have shown a direct link between
Just as concerning is the thing many of us
use of social media and reduced levels of happiness and
mindlessly do while we’re sitting: checking
contentment. The authors suggest this may have to do
social media apps when we have a few minutes (or a few
with the fact that social media conjures up a perception
hours). And as we probably know intuitively and research
of social isolation. The more time people spend on these
is now confirming, it’s not the best habit for our brain
apps, the more socially isolated they perceive themselves
health and our overall well-being.
to be. And perceived social isolation is one of the worst
The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned about
things for us mentally and physically.
the negative effects of social media in young kids and teens, including cyber-bullying, “Facebook depression”
UNHEALTHY LIFE COMPARISONS
and Facebook envy. But the same risks may be true for
Part of the reason social media makes people feel
adults. Here’s a quick overview of studies that reveal the
socially isolated (whether they actually are or not) is the
negative health consequences of social media and what
comparison factor. We fall into the trap of comparing
you can do to better manage it in your home.
ourselves to others as we scroll through our feeds and
According to a 2018 report published by Blue Cross
make rash judgments about how we measure up. One study
Blue Shield, depression and anxiety diagnoses among
looked at how we make comparisons to others’ posts, in
adolescents aged 12 to 17 have increased 63% since
superior or inferior directions—that is, feeling that we’re
2013. While social media cannot be blamed entirely for
either better or worse than someone else. It turns out
this increase, certain factors related to social media use,
both types of comparisons make people feel worse. This
such as social connection and isolation, increased use of
is surprising, since in real life, only inferior comparisons
electronics, and impaired sleep are all risk factors that
(feeling another person has it better than you) make us
can lead to depression and anxiety.
feel bad. But in the social media world, it seems that any
Several recent studies indicate that the more we use
kind of comparison is linked to depressive symptoms.
social media, the less happy we seem to be. Heavy social media use (more than three hours per day) for all age groups
JEALOUSY & DISCONTENT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
is related to diminished life satisfaction, internalizing
It’s no secret that it’s a short path from comparison
negative experiences, and increased rates of depression,
to jealousy. Studies have shown that social media use
anxiety, attention disorders, and stress. Studies of Facebook
can trigger feelings of jealousy. The authors of one study
users and those who use other social media platforms
examining jealousy and other negative feelings while
using Facebook wrote that, “The magnitude of envy
IT DOESN’T PROVIDE A BETTER SOCIAL LIFE
incidents taking place on FB alone is astounding, providing
A few years ago, a study found that more friends on social
evidence that FB offers a breeding ground for invidious
media doesn’t necessarily mean you have a better social
feelings.” Researchers add that it can become a vicious
life. There is a “cognitive constraint”: our brains really can’t
cycle: feeling jealous and inferior can make a person want
process hundreds of close friendships. Anything above
to make his own life look better, increasing the desire to
ten or so is just an acquaintance, if that. It takes actual
post jealousy-inducing posts, continuing in an endless
social interaction (think face-to-face, not virtual) to keep
cycle of feeling inferior and jealous but never reaching a
up friendships. Feeling like you’re being social by being
point of satisfaction. Basing self-worth or happiness on
on Facebook doesn’t really count in terms of neurobiology.
the actions of others increases feelings of helplessness and
Girls seem particularly vulnerable to the negative effects
hopelessness, both of which are precursors to depression.
of social media. In a recent study published in the Lancet, girls who spent 3-5 hours a day on social media showed
AMERICA’S FAVORITE PASTIME?
higher rates of depressive symptoms. For both girls and
Social media has become America’s favorite pastime.
boys, more time spent on social media was associated with
We keep coming back to it even though it doesn’t make
poor sleep, poor body image, and poorer mental health.
us feel very good. We feel a compulsion to know what’s
Researchers state social media reinforces unrealistic
happening at all times, and we convince ourselves we’re
beauty standards and provides an endless array of images
staying connected with our family and friends. We have
to which girls, in particular, compare themselves.
opinions that are important to share. Almost like a drug,
What’s most disconcerting is the youth of today have
we think getting a fix will help, but it actually makes us
done most of their social and emotional development on
feel worse. One study looked at how people predicted they
the Internet, social media, and through texting. This
would feel after using Facebook and how they actually felt.
is the new normal. They have not engaged in the same
Like other studies have demonstrated, the majority of study
amount of real human engagement and socialization that
participants felt worse after using Facebook compared
previous generations have. Add this deficit of genuine
to people engaging in other activities. People generally
human interaction to the lack of capacity for self-regulation
believed they would feel better after using it, not worse.
(these skills don’t develop until later), and you have the
This pattern of feelings is similar to those of addiction.
recipe for disaster.
VERVE Spring 2019
It’s important to define what healthy, human social connection actually is. All humans need social connection.
STEPS TO BETTER BALANCE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA HABITS
Infants thrive through physical touch and connection and actually fail to thrive without it. At the other end of
USE AN OLD-FASHIONED ALARM CLOCK
the life cycle, close relationships and daily face-to-face
Instead of using your phone to wake up in the
interactions are just as important as diet and exercise
morning, switch to a simple alarm clock to avoid
when it comes to living a long, healthy life. So, it’s no
being pulled into social media as soon as you wake up.
surprise that adolescents need regular human connection to develop both social relationships and lasting, intimate bonds with family, friends, and peers. These connections lead to better interpersonal awareness which enable
SCHEDULE FREE TIME
Set social media-free time slots during your day to give your mind a break.
adolescents to understand the needs of others and respond to nonverbal communication (facial expressions, posture,
eye contact, etc.), which makes up the bulk of human
conversations with your friends. Make a standing
communication. Liking a post, commenting “cute,” or
date with your closest friends every couple of weeks.
keeping up with a “Snapchat streak” don’t qualify as genuine social connection. Virtual friend time doesn’t offer the therapeutic effect real friends do.
Dedicate time to have face-to-face interactions and
Can’t visit face-to-face? Call your friends. Research
Yet, ma ny teens a nd adu lts substitute rea l li fe
shows people seem to feel best when their
interactions with social media posts, and we’re all
relationships happen face-to-face or over the phone
paying the price.
as opposed to just through social media
All of this is not to say that there’s no benefit to social media. Obviously, it keeps us connected across great distances and helps us find people we’d lost touch with
SHUT DOWN BEFORE BED
Set a household rule of shutting down devices an hour before bedtime. Better yet, avoid bringing
years ago. But getting on social media when you have
your device into the bedroom at all. Social media
time to kill, or, worse, when you need an emotional lift,
and the light from devices stimulate the brain and
is very likely a bad idea. Studies have found that taking
make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
a break from Facebook helps boost psychological wellbeing. If you’re feeling brave, try taking a little break,
PRACTICE SELF AWARENESS
and see how it goes. And if you’re going to keep “using,”
then at least try to use it in moderation.
Take note of how you feel before and after using social media and adjust what you spend your time doing.
ATTENTION SPAN It’s not just your subconscious brain that you need to worry about, but also the extent to which your brain is able to fully concentrate when you’re awake. W hile it’s incredible to consider the amount of information readily available at our fingertips thanks to social media, it also means that people have become far more easily distracted. Social media has provided a means of constantly giving into the temptation of instant, easy-access entertainment.
Percent of social media users who say they:
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING IN TEENS Teens with low socialemotional well-being experience more of the negative effects of social media than kids with high social-emotional well-being.
Sometimes feel left out or excluded when using social media
Have deleted social media posts because they got too few “likes”
Feel bad about themselves if no one comments on or likes their posts
Have ever been cyberbullied
LOW SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING HIGH SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
TEENS ARE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE According to a recent report from the Pew Research
5 WAYS FOR TEENS TO FOSTER THEIR WELL-BEING
Center, 95% of teens use a smartphone, and 45% say they are online almost constantly. About 70% of teens are on
TAKE TIME TO CONNECT
Snapchat and Instagram, while 85% are on Youtube.
Make an effort to build new relationships and actively maintain your connection with your friends
One would think all this near constant “socializing”
and family outside social media.
would make teens feel more connected than ever before, but research is showing the opposite is true. “Interaction on social media is not beneficial. It’s electronic,” explains Jacob Barkley, professor of health sciences at Kent State
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Exercise regularly so that you can ward off anxiety and depression. It is necessary for teenagers to make
University, who has been studying smartphone use and
time for consistent physical activity to relieve stress.
students since 2013. “The higher the cellphone use, the more time spent on social media, and the higher the
anxiety. Peer relationships actually get worse the more
to recognize things you are grateful for each day.
you use your phone.”
Research has shown that this practice can significantly
Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State
enhance one’s mental health and well-being.
University, reached similar conclusions in 2017. In her study, Twenge discovered that students who spend more time using smartphones and other electronic devices are
Be aware of your thoughts and feelings, and try
KEEP LEARNING NEW & CREATIVE SKILLS
less satisfied with their lives than students who frequently
Continued development of creative skills enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction.
engage in face-to-face interaction. “We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent less than an hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online,” Twenge wrote in 2017.
VERVE Spring 2019
GIVE YOUR TIME
Giving your time and energy will enhance your sense of purpose and help you develop empathy.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, A Mutual Insurance Company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ÂŽ Registered Marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an Association of Independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. VERVESOUTH.COM 39
VERVE Spring 2019
CHARMING AND ALLURING
CHAR LESTON story by AMY WINTER
photography courtesy of EXPLORE CHARLESTON, EXPLORECHARLESTON.COM
riginally named Charles Town by
Regularly rated among America’s best locations
early English colonists in honor of
by travel magazines and websites, Charleston
King Charles II, the South Carolina
was named the “No. 1 Small City in the U.S.” by
port city of Charleston was founded
Condè Nast Traveler, the “No. 1 City in the U.S.”
in 1670. “The Holy City,” as it has come to be
by Travel + Leisure, and the “South’s Best City”
known, was given the moniker for its hundreds
by Southern Living in 2018.
of places of worship that grew out of the city’s
Historic Charleston is defined by its cobblestone
early philosophy that growth and prosperity
streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum
would come from religious tolerance. Today,
houses, particularly in the elegant French Quarter
Charleston’s picturesque skyline is dotted with
and Battery districts. The Battery promenade
church steeples and spires representing over 400
and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston
places of worship for different denominations.
Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a federal stronghold
where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.
SHOPPING AT CITY MARKET Once you’ve completed your carriage tour, it’s time
It would be easy to spend a long week exploring all
to start your shopping excursion at City Market in
the preserved history of Charleston. Its antebellum
downtown Charleston. One of the nation’s oldest
and Georgian style architecture, storied history, and
public markets and the cultural heart of Charleston,
sumptuous food scene have earned the city a reputation
it is home to more than 300 vendors, and it’s Day
as the quintessential Southern city. There’s plenty to see
Market is open daily from 9:30am - 6:00pm except
and do in this gorgeous city, including visitor favorites like
December 25th. The evening Night Market is an
the South Carolina Aquarium, the beaches of Sullivan’s
exciting showcase of more than 100 talented artists
Island, or the long list of historic sites, but Charleston also
and cra ftspeople that occurs ever y Friday and
offers visitors incredible shopping and adventurous cuisine.
Saturday evening from April - December. It runs
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best
from 6:30pm - 10:30pm and is a free event that
shopping and dining spots to check out in Charleston
offers live entertainment and a festive atmosphere
during your visit.
in a three-block-long open-air market.
Get started with a pleasant carriage ride to get your
All Night Market vendors are 100% local with
bearings and make the most of your time. Palmetto
100% locally-made items for sale. It’s the perfect
Carriage Rides offers hour-long guided tours throughout
spot to grab that uniquely Charleston souvenir or
the city center.
piece of artwork.
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SHOPPING KING STREET Next stop, King Street, where there are more than three dozen antique malls alone. King Street is regularly
enthusiastic singer on the piano, hearty steaks, jumbo shrimp cocktails, ladies in their best dresses, men in suits patting each other on the back, and plenty of martinis.
listed among the best shopping streets in America and
Those who are really into seasonal produce should stop
hosts the city’s trendiest restaurants and sophisticated
by The Grocery, as chef Kevin Johnson is usually one of
cocktail scenes along with hotels, art galleries, flourishing
the first in town to put local farm fresh products on the
businesses, and a lively nightlife - not to mention some
menu like butternut squash in the fall or English peas in
seriously exceptional shopping. The area is lined with
the spring. The expansive Cannon Street space, full of
luxury brands, designer boutiques and stylish jewelry
lots of wood and jars of pickled produce, is a great stop for
storefronts that stretch over sixteen blocks divided into
friends to share as many plates as the table can handle.
three distinct shopping districts: Lower King Street
The whole roasted fish with potatoes, fennel and green
Antiques District, Middle King Street Fashion District,
olives is a Instagram-worthy crowd pleaser.
and Upper King Street Design and Dining District.
Combine fancy champagne, cheap beer, fried chicken,
Lower King Street, the oldest of the three neighborhoods,
and a casual raw bar — all housed in a retrofitted auto
is home to George C. Birlant & Co., one of the largest
body shop — and you get Leon’s Oyster Shop. The
and oldest antique establishments in the southeast. The
menu has plenty of salads for the lunch crowd and soft
eponymous founder, George Birlant, is one of the most
serve for the kids. The owners put a lot of thought into
highly respected antiques dealers in the nation.
every detail, so go marvel at the wondrous interiors
One of the most fantastic places in Charleston is the century-old Croghan’s Jewel Box, found in the
full of quirky folk art and thrift store finds in between char-grilled oysters.
Middle King District. The store boasts a large collection
Those looking to make an impression should reserve
of estate and antique jewelry, beautiful antique silver
a table at the Charleston Grill. Located in the lovely
and unusual gifts. It also carries a large selection of
Belmond Charleston Place on Lower King, the Grill
eccentric vintage jewelry pieces that have become
is home to one of the most elegant fine dining menus
difficult to find.
in Charleston. The opulent dining room and sublime service turns any visit into a special occasion. The rich
DINING IN CHARLESTON
and meaty crab cakes are always a hit, but don’t fail to
After a few hours of shopping, it’s time to enjoy a tasty
check out the more internationally influenced dishes like
cocktail and some of Charleston’s best food. Bustling
the scallops with chili-chorizo vinaigrette or Norwegian
Upper King Street in the Design and Dining District
ocean trout with caponata, blood orange, and freekeh.
houses some of the best home furnishing shopping and interior design decor in the country. It also showcases
some of Charleston’s best restaurants and hosts a variety
Don’t forget there are tons of other activities in
of events year-round. Upper King Street reflects a citywide
Charleston. Once you’ve finished shopping and dining,
trend of a growing and thriving food and beverage
you can explore more historic attractions near King
industry with its energetic nightlife and the city’s finest
Street, go dancing at The Commodore jazz club,
check out the USS Yorktown and Patriots Point, tour
If you’re looking for an old school night on the town, Hall’s Chophouse is sure to deliver. There’s usually an
Fort Sumter, or sip some tea at the Charleston Tea Plantation. The choice is yours.
VERVE Spring 2019
resh off the Fall 2018 High Point Market, style bloggers and trend spotters are a buzz with the all the exciting changes coming in furniture and interior design this year. Some of the new trends that have emerged arenâ€™t really new at all but are a resurgence of bold
design elements from the 50s, 60s and 80s. Glamorous geometric designs are extremely hot right now and artisanally-made furniture and accessories are continuing their popularity from 2018. Circular designs in tables and lighting are also on the rise and Living Coral was named the color of the year. Take a look at the other trends that will rule 2019 in our style roundup.
Totally 80s Miami-inspired pastel textiles, bright fashion art prints, a resurgence of Memphis-style furniture, reflective metals, light wood finishes, and rich velvets harken back to mid 80s Miami Beach.
Futuristic Fling A renaissance of designs once inspired by the space race in the 1960s, this style is infused with iridescent surface colors, futuristic starburst-shaped lighting fixtures, and fluid color fields.
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Handcrafted Bliss A timeless style in which the visual signs of hand joinery, hand stitching, oil-rubbed finishes, and organic materials like glass, leather, wood, and ceramics are presented in earthy color palettes.
Global Influence A confluence of cultural designs from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the American Southwest, this style celebrates the native patterns and colors found in the markets of far-away countries.
Geometric Glamor Warm metals, marble finishes, sharp lines, structural angles, repeating shapes, and refined sophistication define a style that looks as comfortable in an art studio as it does in a living room.
Modern Minimalism Simplified designs, soft lines, crisp and uncomplicated upholstered surfaces, and attention to craftsmanship make this style as timeless as the mid-century modern pieces that inspire it.
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Naturally Infused Natural wood, stone finishes, bare metal, nature photography, unpainted tactile surfaces, and unbleached fabrics bring the warmth and texture of the natural world inside.
Curvaceous Corners Circular shaped cushions, lots of fabric upholstery, and a return to the bygone era of Art Deco-inspired designs have been reborn in curvaceous furnishings, art, lighting, and home accessories.
Geometric Glamor Bold geometric patterns in upholstery, rugs, pillows, and paint schemes accented with electric pops of color and an embrace of mismatched styles in room compositions bring a fun mix to interiors.
FEATURING ARTISTS FROM ACROSS AMERICA WEEKEND ALSO INCLUDES: Santé South Wine Festival and Cheers & Gears Bike Ride RENAISSANCE AT COLONY PARK IN RIDGELAND
One of our talented Mississippi Artists... License Plate Guitars! 961 Madison Avenue Madison, Mississippi 769.300.8040
VERVE Spring 2019
Feel The Earth Move Monday, Mar. 18 -“Feel the Earth Move” A Carol King Tribute Cabaret Series @ Duling Hall • Jackson, MS • 7:30 pm
May 9, 2019 6:30 pm Reservoir Pointe • Ridgeland, MS
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Register today at
umc.edu/MINDrun Thalia Mara Hall • Jackson, MS • 7:30 pm Tickets at MSOpera.org ©2019 UMMC
2/15/19 2:51 PM
Above: Introduced in 1955, Kermit the Frog is a Muppet character and Jim Henson’s most well-known creation. Opposite from left: “Pitchman Pump” puppets, built for a Marathon Gasoline commercial in 1963. Count von Count, teaches counting skills to children, and first appeared on Sesame Street in 1972. Interactive exhibits allow visitors to try their hand at puppeteering like Jim Henson.
VERVE Spring 2019
U N L I M I T E D AT T H E M A X story by RICH WINTER
photography courtesy of the MISSISSIPPI’S ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE
he current exhibition at The MAX in Meridian is a must see for families and fans of Jim Henson and his popular characters. The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination
Unlimited, explores the life of Mississippi-native Jim Henson and the impact his creative genius has had on popular culture and the art of puppetry. The traveling exhibition runs through May 4, 2019, and feature’s Henson’s iconic Muppets and other puppets from familiar productions like Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark
Crystal and much more. Visitors of all ages can experience Henson’s creations and see how his early work in film and television evolved into the magical worlds that have become so familiar to audiences worldwide.
This is yet another amazing story of a native Mississippian who left his mark on the world, and this exhibit allows visitors to retrace Henson’s life from his early years in Leland, Mississippi, to his establishment in New York’s advertising and entertainment worlds, to the film sets of major motion pictures.
The exhibition also provides behind-the-scenes
Imagination Unlimited begins with a brief look at
materials that reveal how Henson and his crew of
Henson’s early life through images of Henson as a young
puppeteers, writers, and designers created an iconic
man and reproductions of some of his early drawings
family of puppets and characters that continue to
and sketches, and then follows his steady rise and
entertain both children and adults.
immense contributions to the art and industry of the
“Jim Henson was a creator and entertainer with
moving image. Highlights include a Kermit the Frog
a unique vision, and he had a tremendous influence
puppet from 1978; handwritten scripts from Henson’s
on our culture by giving us these magical characters
first television series, Sam and Friends (1955-1961); a
and worlds that many of us grew up with,” said Mark
clip from his Academy Award–nominated experimental
Tullos, Executive Director of The MAX. “This is yet
film Time Piece (1965); Jen and Kira puppets from The
another amazing story of a native Mississippian who
Dark Crystal (1982); familiar Sesame Street puppets
left his mark on the world, and this exhibit allows
including Grover, Ernie, Bert, and Count von Count;
visitors to retrace Henson’s life from his early years in
plus costumes from Labyrinth (1986).
Leland, Mississippi, to his establishment in New York’s advertising and entertainment worlds, to the film sets of major motion pictures.”
THE EARLY YEARS Jim Henson was born on September 24, 1936, in
The exhibition features a broad range of artifacts related
Greenville, Mississippi and lived in Leland, Mississippi
to Henson’s unparalleled career, including more than 20
until his fifth grade year when he and his family moved
original puppets, character sketches, storyboards, scripts,
to University Park, Maryland. At a young age, Henson
photographs, film and television clips, behind-the-scenes
was drawn to the arts. His maternal grandmother,
footage, iconic costumes, and interactive experiences
a painter, quilter and needleworker, encouraged his
that allow visitors to try their hand at puppeteering on
creative passions, including his puppetry. Well before
camera and designing a puppet character.
his teen years, Henson was performing puppetry for
VERVE Spring 2019
audiences, including his fellow Cub Scouts. His youth was also spent toying with different visual mediums, including television, which he adored. “His first love was in television and partially, I think, growing up in Mississippi,” said Cheryl Henson, his daughter. “The idea of a window to the world was really fascinating to him and the idea that through this little box, you can be exposed to so many different things.” A major influence of his childhood was TV puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, of the show Kukla, Fran and Ollie. HENSON’S TV CAREER Henson had his first experience with televised puppetry
His first love was in television and partially, I think, growing up in Mississippi. The idea of a window to the world was really fascinating to him and the idea that through this little box, you can be exposed to so many different things.
in 1954 when he began working for WTOP-TV, a local Washington, D.C. station, while attending Northwestern High School. Henson created three puppets; Pierre, Longhorn, and Shorthorn, for a Saturday-morning children’s program, The Junior Morning Show. The show was canceled after only three weeks, but WRCTV, a nearby NBC affiliate, recognized Henson’s talent and offered him a job that would last him the rest of the summer. Intent on a career as a commercial artist, Henson used the money he saved over the summer to enroll as
a studio arts major in the University of Maryland while
everywhere he went, he could not escape the allure of
keeping his job at the TV station.
puppetry. Europeans revered the art of puppetry and
During his freshman year in college, Henson was asked
considered it as much of an art form as painting. Henson
by WRC-TV to create a five-minute live-action/puppet
began to reevaluate his views on the art form and he
show, Sam and Friends, with his classmate and eventual
soon returned to America with a new zeal for the field
wife, Jane Nebel. The show was taped daily and aired
and his mind set on changing the way Americans viewed
before The Tonight Show on weeknights from May 9,
puppetry. He believed that television puppets needed to
1955, to December 15, 1961. The characters on Sam and
have “life and sensitivity.”
Friends were forerunners of the Muppets, and the show included a prototype of Henson’s most famous character, Kermit the Frog.
In 1959, Henson and Nebel were married and they started the Muppets Company. The following year, Henson attended the Puppeteers of
The continued success of Sam and Friends allowed
America Festival in Detroit, Michigan where he met his
Henson to begin experimenting with techniques that
childhood hero, Burr Tillstrom, of the Kukla, Fran and
changed the way in which puppetry was used on television,
Ollie show and Don Sahlin, who built Tillstrom’s puppets.
including using the frame defined by the camera to allow
Tillstrom and Sahlin had a profound impact on Henson as
the puppet performer to work from off-camera.
they mentored him in advancing his career and developing
Despite the financial success of Sam and Friends,
the signature Muppet look. Jim and Jane began making
Henson began to have doubts about going into a career
characters from flexible, fabric-covered foam rubber,
performing with puppets. He once said, it’s not “the sort
allowing them to express a wider array of emotions at
of thing a grown man works at for a living.”
a time when many puppets were made of carved wood.
Following college graduation, he left for Europe
Their puppet characters’ popularity continued to
and handed Sam and Friends over to Nebel. Henson
grow, and they were soon making appearances in TV
toured Europe for several months, visiting such places
commercials for Wilkins Coffee and IBM computer. The
as Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and England, but
first Muppet to gain national exposure, Rowlf the Dog,
Above from left: Jim and Jane Henson on the set during the filming of a Wilkins Coffee commercial in 1960. The nine-second commercials were so successful that more than 200 were eventually produced. Photo by Del Ankers. ©The Jim Henson Company. Courtesy The Jim Henson Company / MoMI.
VERVE Spring 2019
Above: Jim Henson takes flight in his 1965 Oscar-nominated short film Time Piece. Henson on the set of Time Piece, the short film he directed (and starred in) which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1965. ÂŠ The Jim Henson Company. Courtesy The Jim Henson Company / MoMI.
Clockwise from bottom: Jim Henson’s sketch for Oscar the Grouch, 1969. © 2018, Sesame Workshop. Courtesy The Jim Henson Company / MoMI. From left: Richard Hunt, Jim Henson, and Frank Oz performing Ernie and Bert, on the set of Sesame Street, 1970s. © 2018, Sesame Workshop Courtesy Sesame Workshop/MoMI. Jim Henson and his iconic creation Kermit the Frog, in front of a mural by Coulter Watt. Photo by John E. Barrett. Kermit the Frog © Disney/Muppets. © 2018, Sesame Workshop Courtesy Sesame Workshop/MoMI.
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MUPPETS & MOVIES But Henson’s even bigger claim to TV fame came in the 1970s, with the debut of The Muppet Show. Surprisingly, Henson had a challenging time getting the show financed in the United States, but eventually found the support needed with London-based TV producer Lord Lew Grade. In 1975, at Grade’s ATV Studios, Henson and his crew created Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Animal, Gonzo, Scooter and the rest of The Muppet Show ensemble. The hit series, with Kermit as the host, premiered in 1976. Soon after, superstar guest hosts came aboard, went from making appearances in Purina commercials to playing a sidekick on The Jimmy Dean Show in 1963. As the Muppets Company continued to grow and demand more resources, Henson attended the National puppetry convention in Carmel, California, to recruit potential “muppeteers.” There, Henson met Jerry Juhl and Frank Oz, both of whom would become indispensable assets to the company. Juhl was a masterful scriptwriter and Oz became Henson’s comedic “muppeteer” partner. Around the same time, Henson began experimenting with short films, including 1965’s Academy Awardnominated Time Piece. Then, in 1969, Henson teamed up with Children’s Television Workshop to produce the now-classic children’s show on PBS, Sesame Street. While at Sesame Street, the Muppets Company created various original characters, including Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Snuffulupagus and Elmo. Between his puppetry and animated shorts, Henson perfected his gift for engaging children and making learning fun on Sesame Street.
including Liza Minnelli, Elton John, Vincent Price and Steve Martin. Henson’s show reached a staggering 235 millions viewers in more than 100 countries, and earned three Emmy Awards. The Muppet Show also led to feature films for Henson, including The Muppet Movie in 1979, and an animated TV spin-off, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, that garnered four consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program. But Henson didn’t limit his TV puppetry to his original Muppets. In the 1980s, he developed the TV series Fraggle Rock, The Jim Henson Hour and The Storyteller. Other major motion pictures followed, too, including 1982’s The Dark Crystal, a groundbreaking film mixing puppetry and animatronics, and 1986’s Labyrinth, which was produced by George Lucas and starred David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. Above from left: Jim Henson, David Bowie, and Jennifer Connelly on the set of Labyrinth (1986). Photo by John Brown. © The Jim Henson Company. Courtesy The Jim Henson Company / MoMI.
Henson died tragically in 1990 of streptococcal
The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited
pneumonia, which Henson had mistaken for a simple
is a traveling exhibition organized by Museum of the
case of the flu. Having ignored the symptoms for a few
Moving Image (Astoria, New York) in cooperation with
days, Henson was suddenly stricken with the illness
The Jim Henson Company, The Muppets Studio, and
and taken to the hospital where doctors were unable to
Sesame Workshop, and toured worldwide by Flying
overcome the illness with antibiotics.
Fish. The exhibition features puppets and other objects
Henson’s creative contributions to television, film, and
donated to the Museum by the family of Jim Henson, plus
the art of puppetry are immeasurable. He has accumulated
works on loan from The Jim Henson Company archives as
countless honors for his work in the entertainment
well as from private lenders. The traveling exhibition is
industry including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
a version of MoMI’s ongoing The Jim Henson Exhibition,
and induction into the Television Hall of Fame in 1987.
which is on view at its home in New York City.
Jim Henson with puppets from Fraggle Rock. © The Jim Henson Company Courtesy The Jim Henson Company / MoMI.
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