The Doo-Nanny Festival 2012

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Top Left: the art and stuff I splurged on at the Doo-Nanny, Top Right: My mom, John Toney Henry, and me with my big art purchase from JTH, Bottom Left: one of the many little venues throughout the Doo with great music, Bottom Right: a note from Mom & Dad. I love them so much.

March 31 2012:

The Doo-Nanny Festival falls on my 24th birthday this year! It is truly meant to be. My parents drag me out of bed (been struggling with bad allergies- pollen count is unusually high in southern AL!) and made me go. I am so grateful they did. I feel so inspired. If you feel as though you are in a creative rut, you need to go to an art festival. It is the fix! I always attend the Kentuck Festival in Northport, Alabama (ever since my first year at UA). My mom, sister, and I always go together. It is a huge art festival. It use to be specifically for southern artists. Now hundreds of artists from all over the US come to Kentuck. It has become recognized as a very important event. Any artist who gets asked to be there will tell you it’s a big deal. Through the Kentuck Festival, I fell in love with Butch Anthony’s work. Butch Anthony along with a couple of other guys puts on the Doo-Nanny Festival. This is my first year attending. Absolutely love it and will definitely be in attendance next year. It is in Selma, Alabama on Butch Anthony’s property where his amazing home is open for people to admire it as well as the Museum of Wonder (he has quite the imagination and sense of humor). If you’re ever passing through the beautiful state of Alabama… you must stop in Selma and visit the Museum of Wonder! The best part is the name of the road- Poorman’s Road! You gotta love it!!

I have to tell you about Mr. John Toney Henry. We were very disappointed when he was not at the Kentuck last year. One of my absolute favorite folk artist of all time. Butch Anthony told us he was sick and couldn’t make it. JTH is 84 years old. BA and JTH were neighbors and to make a long story short (even though you have to check out their history- very cool) they became close friends. So close that when Mr. John was put in a nursing home and reportedly treated terribly, BA rescued him. He brought JTH to live with him. So anyway, after we made our way through the fantastic Museum of Wonders, we saw Mr. John standing on the porch of this adorable old cabin which is his home now. It’s right next to the Museum of Wonder and right down the sweet little beaten path of Butch’s home. I absolutely was beside myself. A couple (who seemed to be yankees and did not speak his language) were speaking with him. And bless his heart, they confused him and freaked him out by asking him to sign a poster. They even said, “We will pay you to sign it.” We had to intervene. Dad and I stood by as mom calmed him and explained to him what they were asking of him. Mom and I being my great Aunt Mable’s caretakers who is 94 and in fabulous shape for her age, are great with old people. You can just call us the old people whisperers. We know how to speak their language! Especially my mom! To make a long story short, he would not sign that poster for them and mom nicely explained to them he is hard of hearing and suspicious of signing things and taking pictures. And he told them himself after mom explains to him what they wanted that he did not feel comfortable signing the poster. By the way, the poster is of his famous turnip as the face of the doonanny 2012 poster which upset him even more because he does not understand why his drawing is on the poster. without his consent. Throughout our encounter with him, we let onlookers know he is not comfortable being photographed.  He even raised his voice at a few passersby who would just take pictures from afar. He has been taken advantage of in the past several times so he has grown very suspicious and untrusting of people. Therefore, he pretty much quit selling his work. Anyway, he slowly made his way into his little one room cabin and brought out his folder full of his artwork. And on his front porch as people are staring and slowly gathering around us, he let my parents and I thumb through his work. He said people just won’t pay what they are worth. Again, he has been taken advantage of in the past. He is very famous for the women he draws. But I came across a drawing of his that caught my eye. He explained to me the drawing is of the biblical Samson. I just loved it. My dad asks his price and he gave us his price. It was worth every single penny. This man who is very famous doesn’t have a dime to his name due to being exploited in the past by greedy people. Mr. John says, “I don’t love money. I have never been a man of money.” It was truly a pleasure meeting Mr. John and we spoke for about an hour. He is just adorable and very wise. He gave great advice. He even let my dad take a picture of me and my mom with him. Little does he know how special he made my birthday. And I know every dime I spent on this awesome piece of art went somewhere it was needed. And it’s going to look fabulous on my wall!

Oh, did I mention the truly talented Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin was there? All of my favorite people in one place!!! I still can’t believe it!!

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