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The Wildest Show in the South: The Politics and Poetics of the Angola Prison Rodeo and Inmate Arts Festival

The Wildest Show in the South: The Politics and Poetics of the Angola Prison Rodeo and Inmate... essay ...................... The Wildest Show in the South The Politics and Poetics of by Melissa R. Schrift Angola Prison became infamous as a site of brutality and death. After a long and troubled history, though, the prison is today considered a model prison, not least because of its popular Angola Prison Rodeo and Inmate Arts Festival, held every Sunday in October and one weekend in the spring. Inmates participate in the festival's rodeo hoping to make money by winning events, spend time outdoors, see the public, and briefly interact with loved ones. Photograph courtesy of the author. hen I entered the grounds of Louisiana State Penitentiary, I saw a maze of rawhide belts and purses, paintings reminiscent of a back aisle thrift store, and elaborate wooden objects that evoked the country crafts of my southern childhood. I passed a robust woman sniffing a perfumed wooden rose with "Mother" etched in lavish script on its heart-shaped stand. Above her hung a copied print of John Wayne next to Tupac Shakur. Brightly airbrushed bible covers praised the Lord in oversized letters. Larger-than-life cartoon characters decorated heavily-shellacked furniture. Men with leather faces and white coats hovered near the crafts and sat http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

The Wildest Show in the South: The Politics and Poetics of the Angola Prison Rodeo and Inmate Arts Festival

Southern Cultures , Volume 14 (1) – Feb 13, 2008

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Center for the Study of the American South. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1534-1488
Publisher site
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Abstract

essay ...................... The Wildest Show in the South The Politics and Poetics of by Melissa R. Schrift Angola Prison became infamous as a site of brutality and death. After a long and troubled history, though, the prison is today considered a model prison, not least because of its popular Angola Prison Rodeo and Inmate Arts Festival, held every Sunday in October and one weekend in the spring. Inmates participate in the festival's rodeo hoping to make money by winning events, spend time outdoors, see the public, and briefly interact with loved ones. Photograph courtesy of the author. hen I entered the grounds of Louisiana State Penitentiary, I saw a maze of rawhide belts and purses, paintings reminiscent of a back aisle thrift store, and elaborate wooden objects that evoked the country crafts of my southern childhood. I passed a robust woman sniffing a perfumed wooden rose with "Mother" etched in lavish script on its heart-shaped stand. Above her hung a copied print of John Wayne next to Tupac Shakur. Brightly airbrushed bible covers praised the Lord in oversized letters. Larger-than-life cartoon characters decorated heavily-shellacked furniture. Men with leather faces and white coats hovered near the crafts and sat

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 13, 2008

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