Thank you Clarksdale for your hospitality
To the Editor:
Our Lancit Digital Media documentary video crew was fortunate to be in Clarksdale July 30 through Aug. 1, to research material for a new series on “The Blues.”
Our writer and host, Richard Folsom, said Clarksdale was the perfect place to begin our journey because of the unique musical history, authentic and unspoiled locations, and welcoming people.
With the sole exception of the Delta Blues Museum (who didn’t have adequate advance notice and received us with more disdain than welcome, insisting we leave our video equipment in another room because they were afraid we would shoot something), our mission was a great success.
Wherever our camera showed up, in most cases unannounced, people were willing to help, to talk to us on camera, to share their spaces and places with us, to tell their own Clarksdale stories and to warm us with smiles, laughter, pride and delicious meals!
What originated as a simple research survey turned into a full-on production effort!
Virtually everywhere we turned there were people and stories and music and food we could never have imagined!
The openness and generosity of Clarksdale folks shined a light on your special town in a way that showed heart, community, history and an artistic free spirit that justifies Clarksdale’s appeal to people all over the world.
While in town, we met people from Spain, Australia, Wales, Germany, Holland, Scotland, France and England. For them, this was not a processed tourist destination, but a fresh, unvarnished taste of America – being at once proud and humble, with a vulnerable strength and emotional availability that is disarming and endearing.
There are so many people to thank – Bill and Francine Luckett, who helped inspire the project to go forward; and to Ground Zero Blues Club, where Harry, Mama Rita and Stacy filled us up with catfish, tamales and fried grits, and which featured a fabulous show by the Bill Perry band; Theo and Lorna at the Rock n’ Roll and Blues Museum; Roger at Cathead Delta Blues and Folk Art; Tina and Archie at Grandma’s House of Pancakes; and Ronnie’s Barber Shop next door where we interviewed Kerry Lee; Yazoo Pass, where we enjoyed breakfast and interview shooting; Art and Carol at Bluesberry Café, with outrageous performances by Deak Harp and Watermelon Slim, plus a fine dinner with fresh pickings from Carol’s garden; Charles, Ellis and Red at Red’s Juke Joint (thanks, Charles for the best rib dinner, ever!); Nellie “Tiger” Travis and her entourage, whom we stumbled upon at Club Ebony; Robert at Hopson Plantation, who took a break from working the bar to chat about blues history; and Richard of ClarksdaleNews.com, a true visionary in tourism for the area.
There isn’t enough ink in the printing press to list all the wonderful friends we made along our way.
Thank you so much, Clarksdale! Thank you for welcoming our small video troupe like you would family! We couldn’t help being utterly captivated!
We will be editing over the next several weeks – and cannot wait to share our story about your special people, remarkable history, delicious food and generous hearts!
Cecily, Larry, Richard and Jan
Lancit Digital Media