Orthodox desire lines

Suburbia is inherently automobile oriented.  It is a cultural landscape dominated by strip malls, subdivisions, and clogged transportation corridors that demands deference to cars. The people who moved to the suburbs brought with them cultural traditions that included a wide array of religious beliefs. As ranch houses and more immodest dwellings sprouted in residential neighborhoods after the Second World War, churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship were built for the people who lived in them.

Suburban intersection, Dunwood, Ga., near an Orthodox synagogue.

Suburban intersection, Dunwoody, Ga., near an Orthodox synagogue.

Orthodox Jews, like their Reform, Conservative, and non-Jewish neighbors, rely on cars to survive in suburbia. Trips to the grocery store, to work, to school, to summer baseball games, and to the mall all require getting in a car to make the trip. Unlike their neighbors, however, Orthodox Jews must hang up their car keys for the weekly Sabbath and for other high holy days because of religious laws prohibiting certain activities that include work, carrying objects, pushing and pulling things, and operating vehicles. Continue reading

New life for old interviews: Some Atlanta music & journalism history

Eric King and Joel (J.T. Speed) Murphy at the Blind Willie's bar, Oct. 24, 1990. Photo by author.

Eric King (front)  and Joel (J.T. Speed) Murphy at the Blind Willie’s bar, Oct. 24, 1990. My recorder is on the bar. Photo by author.

Earlier this year I began taking steps towards completing a project that had its origins back in 1990. For a few hours the evening of October 24, 1990, Eric King and I consumed a fair amount of alcohol  and talked blues music and history at the bar of his Atlanta club, Blind Willie’s. At the time, I wrote a blues column for a short-lived alt-weekly, Footnotes. I had been spending lots of time in Willie’s and I had wanted to interview King for background material for future stories. Continue reading