Another Jackson Pickin’

Cape County History Center Pickin' 02-17-2016I know I did a story about the monthly “pickin'” at Jackson’s Cape County History Center recently, but I was there again Saturday night and couldn’t help shooting more pictures. It’s officially promoted as a “Traditional Music Night,” but everybody just calls it a “pickin'” where anybody with a musical instrument can sit down and play away. Miscues, false starts and forgotten lyrics add to the fun.

The first performance I attended had maybe a dozen or so people singing, toe tapping and clapping with the musicians. Attendance Saturday night was just under the number where the Fire Marshall might get interested. (Director Carla Jordan is working on that problem.)

Gary R. Lucy exhibit still up

Cape County History Center Pickin' 02-17-2016The panels for the Gary R. Lucy exhibit took up the center portion of the room, but there was plenty of seating around the edges. If you haven’t been in to see the exhibit, it’ll be up until April 10.

Doc – a Leap Year baby

Cape County History Center Pickin' 02-17-2016Carla’s husband Steve Jordan – better know as “Doc” – looks on while Carla sings a song with a confusing chorus that most of us were afraid to join in on because we weren’t sure what would come out if our tongues got tangled. He was born on February 29, the same date as the bass player, so they are going to be carded for a long, long time.

History Center photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around the gallery. Toe-tapping is allowed, but mouse clicks work better.

Gary R. Lucy Exhibit

Gary R Lucy exhibit - Cape County History CenterThe Cape Girardeau County History Center in Jackson was hanging a new exhibit Friday afternoon – A Celebration of the Artwork of Gary R. Lucy.

Upon arrival, I watched a guy (who turned out to be Gary Lucy) mesmerize a gaggle of fifth graders from Natalie Jones’ class at Immaculate Conception School. He was talking about art, how he got started (he thought he was going to be a CPA) and what it was like to be an artist.

The kids ate it up.

Kids asked good questions

Gary R Lucy exhibit - Cape County History Center

When  he was asked, “Are you always inspired?” he gave them an honest answer:

“No, no. People always ask ‘are you inspired?’ I’m in the mood to do this about ten percent of the time. [Laughter] The other 90 percent is ‘I need to DO this.’ Do you see what I’m saying? If I waited until I was in the mood or inspired, I wouldn’t get anything done. Artists are dreamers. Artists love to sit back and say, ‘Yo, man, I’m going to do this.’ Or ‘Man, I’m going to do that.’ And they sit there and dream about all the stuff they’re going to do, but they don’t ever do it because they don’t have the self discipline to stay the course.”

That led into a good discussion with the students about what self discipline is.

The Oscar Bird

Gary R Lucy exhibit - Cape County History CenterAt the end of his presentation, he whipped out a sketch board and drew his “Oscar Bird,” also known as The Good Luck Bird. He said it you are in need of luck, walk up and rub the bird’s nose. Ms. Jones said she would hang Oscar in her classroom.

Every kid who walked by the Oscar Bird gave its beak a quick rub.

Best conversation in a long time

Gary R Lucy exhibit - Cape County History CenterAfter the fifth graders left, and while Gary’s wife Sandy and the museum folks were driving nails, hanging prints and adjusting lights, he an I sat at a table and had one of the most wide-ranging and enjoyable conversations I’ve had in a long time.

We shared our common love of the Mississippi’s history and lore. We talked about how photographers and artists see and use light; how he injects so much realism into his work, and how he maintains his houseboat.

I recognized some of the landmarks in his paintings: Eads Bridge under construction, Tower Rock, Island 10 off New Madrid…

His use of light is incredible. He was able to paint an accurate image of Tower Rock at night by parking his mobile studio, a houseboat, in the river on just the right night. I’ve tried several times to shoot the full moon at The Rock, but I guess I’m going to have to requisition a boat to do it right.

Meet Gary yourself

2016-02-19 Gary Lucy exhibit flyerIf you enjoy good artwork, history and good conversation, I suggest you attend the opening of Gary’s show Saturday, February 20, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The History Center is located in the Andrew Jackson Building across from the courthouse.

Rather than doing a lot of typing, I’ll point you to Gary’s biography on his website. Oh, by the way, he told the kids the Rest of the Story behind the Corvette that he mentions in his bio. I’ll have you ask him about it.

Gallery of the hanging

Hmmm, that sounds a little awkward when I see it in print, but I’ll leave it. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.