The Southern Foodways Alliance and Sarah Isom Center are partnering to host “Cabbagetown: a Retrospective on Space and Place” at the Powerhouse on Thursday, March 19th. This event is free and open to the public.
In Atlanta, beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth-century, Cabbagetown was a working-class enclave centered around the textile industry. Its inhabitants were largely Appalachian migrants employed by the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill. In 1978 the Mill closed, but many descendants of the original workers still called the neighborhood home as property in the area would go up for sale to the rest of the city.
By the early 1990s, the neighborhood had become an important hub for struggling artists and musicians. Atlanta bands such as Smoke, Opal Foxx Quartet, the Rock*A*Teens, and singers like Cat Power’s Chan Marshall and Kelly Hogan were participants who actively helped shape the city’s alternative music scene.
The neighborhood’s long historical narrative exposes how social, economic and cultural forces produce demographic change. In a space like Cabbagetown, one disenfranchised group can replace another. Dislocation and invisibility are often the byproducts of the process of gentrification. With each neighborhood transformation, complex issues of class, gender, sexuality, race, and foodways intersect to produce the shifting face(s) of place.
The evening line-up includes a photography exhibit by Oraien Catledge (a native Mississippian who started to visually document the Cabbagetown neighborhood and its people in the late 1970s into the early 1990s), a themed food tasting, and a screening of the documentary Benjamin Smoke (2000), which is an intimate exploration of the band Smoke and its members. Smoke member Bill Taft will appear live to perform his music. Poet Caroline Young, a longtime member of the community, will read. Food scholar Edward H. Davis will discuss foodways and place, including the humble ingredient that gave Cabbagetown its name.
About Bill Taft:
Bill Taft is an Atlanta musician. He played guitar in the Jody Grind and cornet and banjo in the Opal Foxx quartet and Smoke.
About Will Fratesi:
Will Fratesi has been a long time collaborator in the Atlanta music scene dating back to the late 80’s. He has played drums / percussion, concertina and organ for many bands including Cabbage Town bands: The Rock-a-teens, Smoke, and Cat Power, and also with Hubcap City with Bill Taft, Tenement Halls with ex-Rock-a-teen Chris Lopez, and several others.
Will graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Film and Video and worked in the early 2000’s as an editor and sound designer for commercials, film, and tv. He has written and directed short films which have appeared in several film festivals in Ga, and has written short stories for the “Super Shorts” series at A cappella Books with Bill Taft and Chad Radford. His favorite Faulkner books are “As I lay Dying” and “Light in August”.
About Caroline Young:
Caroline Young writes poetry and teaches digital composition at Georgia Institute of Technology as a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow. She lives in Athens, Georgia, with her dogs Maple and Lillian Bean.
About Edward H. Davis:
Edward H. Davis is professor and chair of the Geography Department at Emory & Henry College. His degrees are from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A.) and the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign (Ph. D.). He has carried out field work throughout the
U. S. South, as well as Guatemala, Portugal, and Ghana, with a focus on changing rural landscapes and place identity. He is the author of numerous articles and books, and the winner of several teaching and service awards. His latest book, Collards: A Southern Tradition from Seed to Table (University of Alabama Press), with co-author John T. Morgan, will be published in April of 2015.