The Center for Southern Literary Arts
(CSLA) launches officially on Friday with its fund-raiser Dinner at the Hibiscus Salon at Old Dominick downtown.
The dinner, which they hope will become a yearly centerpiece event, is a way of introducing the group and letting folks in on the scope of their vision.
This will be an interdisciplinary affair — a mix of food, poetry, deejaying, and visual art, say CSLA's Molly Rose Quinn and Zandria Robinson.
Oxford-based poet Derrick Harriell, visual artist and deejay Siphne Aaye, and chef Phillip Dewayne are the featured artists of the evening. After the meal, the trio will have a conversation and talk about how the influences of each of the artists' work.
The folks behind CSLA have a vision of featuring black Southern literature and queer Southern literature and sharing stories of justice, sharing local stories. They want to bring the community in on the conversation and a dinner, a comfortable setting. They are not some impersonal nonprofit. They are the hosts.
The dinner is the first in year full of events, including a collaboration with MLK50 bringing Nikole Hannah-Jones to town.
But about the food ... the menu for Friday's dinner will feature braised short ribs and a mint chocolate creme brulee. A bartender from second line will create the drinks. Both food and cocktails will feature hibiscus. There will be hibiscus tea and a hibiscus vinaigrette.
From the CSLA materials:
The hibiscus is known throughout the world for its show-stopping beauty. Wildly varied, several hundred species of the hibiscus exist in the world. It flourishes in warm climates from Africa, Asia, to the Americas. Beyond its loveliness, the hibiscus is used as a tea, in folk remedies, paper making, and has reported magical properties. Each day the hibiscus drops its old blossoms and becomes new. Gorgeous. Diverse. Magical. Ephemeral. What better symbol of the creative process?
The dinner starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $65. Go to southernliteraryarts.org