DEF POETRY/HIP-HOP/ RAP/R&B JAM: “Our life is an illusion, and we create the confusion so take a dose of seclusion to dilute the delusion, and hope that it’s not in vain that we look into the spheres of the fear-fruit bearing tree before we eat again,” ends the only spoken-word track, my favorite, on Grayson Capps’ album, “Rott & Roll.” I love spoken word—I remember ordering up seasons of Def Poetry Jam on my Netflix when I lived with four roommates post-college and playing the discs one after another, dragging my roommates in to watch the most moving performances. They were kind enough to feign interest, but usually left after a couple of performances. But I love it. I finally saw Shariff Simmons several weeks ago, and hearing him do “F*ck What You Heard” live gave me chills. And that’s why I’m excited to tell you about Soul4thaSoul at Events by Janette (226 Ninth Ave. North). This spoken word/rap/R&B/neo-soul/jazz open-mic will feature a performance by Mic God and Demgurlz. This event is $5. Performances run from 7 until 11 p.m. For more information or to sign up call (205) 356-8369.
I FEEL LUCKY: When I was a young’un, one of my first tapes (that’s a cassette tape, for all you even youngeruns) was a compilation that included a song by a young woman named Mary Chapin Carpenter. The song was “I Feel Lucky,” a song about just waking up, feeling good, and vibing on that feeling, trying to keep it going. There’s this line, “I bought a pack of Camels, a burrito and a Barq’s,” that sticks with me, and I think it’s because even those relatively simple things, purchased at a convenience store, made her happy. I didn’t know what Camels were back then—I was so young that one of my other tapes was an All 4 One single of “I Swear”—but I did like root beer. Despite the fact that the song features drinking, smoking, flirting with Lyle Lovett & Dwight Yoakam, and winning an $11 million dollar lottery, it still reminds me of childhood innocence and happiness. It’s like, even as an adult with soul-crushing responsibilities, she was able to have this pure moment of joy and happiness. Now I beg for those days—they are few and far between, but every once in a while you get one. And they’re just great. One would hope that you’ll get that feeling Friday night at the Alys Stephens Center, where she’ll be performing. The concert starts at 8 p.m., but there’s barbeque in the courtyard starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $38-$55. For more information call (205) 975-2787 or visit alysstephens.uab.edu.
SWEET TEE: You want tees? I’m not talking about a strip-tease, but if you’re offering then, please, by all means. I’m talking about shirts, see, as many as you please. These tees are the bees knees, all of them from the nineteen-seventees and nineteen-eight-tees. These tees aren’t from the generation of Wii, but from what Tom Wolfe called a generation of Me. If you want a shirt, then going to Magic City Motor Scooters is the key. There’s a show there for you to see called Vintage T-shirts, simply. There’s so many you’ll be filled with glee. And they’re for women and men—that’s androgyny. Arrive at 10 a.m., entry is free, but T-shirts can be bought for a nominal fee. Also, want to know what really gets me? There’s beer there, and IT’S FREE! For more information call (205) 588-6364 or visit www.magiccitymotorscooters.com on your PC.
JAZZ ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON: As I noted when I plugged this series of free concerts last week, I’m very happy that it’s summer. I wouldn’t care if it never ended. Drenched in sweat or not, I’ve concluded that I just love being outside in an Alabama summer. And I especially like being outside when there’s good music. So that’s why I’m plugging this event two weeks in a row (and also because there’s not much else going on these days on Sundays in the South— so the idea of free outdoor concerts bears repeating, I think). If you’re like me, then I’ve got good news. You can head on down to East Lake Park and see great music from Shaun Pezant Trio, and N’Fusion featuring James Crumb, Jr., Sunday at 3 p.m. The event, part of the Jazz in the Park series, will also feature a free musical lesson from the community music school known as ScrollWorks. The concert lasts ‘til 6 p.m., and is free. For more information call (205) 616-1735 or visit www.magiccitysmoothjazz.com.
CURE YOUR CASE OF THE MONDAYS: If you showed up to work Monday only to be racked with anxiety, a general feeling of loss and mild depression, and a feeling that, for five days a week, you live on death row, well then you’ve got a wicked-bad case of the Mondays that no visit to Chotchkie’s will cure, no matter if Jennifer Anniston works there or how much flare the servers wear. But despair not! There is, in fact, treatment available. You just have to make it through the work day first. But after that, relax for a bit and then at 9 p.m. make your way down to the Barking Kudu and enjoy the comic antics of Mike McCall, host of Comic-Kaze, an open-mic comedy show. If you’re a comic, then killing gets you an HBO special, but epic suicide is just plain hilarious. So if you’ve got the nuts, sign up to do a couple of minutes in front of your friends, or strangers, or enemies, or whatever. But if not, just enjoy watching others either crash and burn or win you over. You’re bound to have a good time. The show is free! For more information call (205) 328- 1748 or visit www.barkingkudu.com.
WORK IN ENVIRONMENTAL FIELDS? WANT TO? It seems like there’s a lot of jobs out there that are part of a new “green” movement. Some are relatively recent creations; others were jobs that existed previously but are now, for various reasons, classified as having something to do with protecting or preserving our natural environment and resources. If you work in this burgeoning field, it may be hard to get to know others who do similar work—the networks probably don’t exist for green jobs in the same way they do for teachers, attorneys or accountants. If you want to do environmental work, you may not know where to start. No worries—there’s a great way to meet people in the environmental/green jobs field that’s low-pressure and includes alcohol. It’s called Green Drinks Birmingham, and it happens once a month (on the fourth Tuesday) at various venues. This month, the delightful Rogue Tavern is the venue of choice. Folks from academia, non-governmental organizations, government organizations, the corporate world and all around get together to have a drink or two and meet one another. The events are pretty unstructured, they’re free, and there are no dues. Just waltz in around 6 p.m., approach someone who looks like they’re green, and ask “Are you green?” At that point, the introductions will begin! For more information call (205) 202- 4151 or visit www.roguetavern.com.
TALK ABOUT RICKWOOD, LEARN ABOUT BASEBALL: Birmingham’s own Rickwood Field is the oldest ball park in America, and it’s also one of the former homes of the Birmingham (Coal) Barons and the Birmingham Black Barons. Greats like Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Dizzy Dean, Satchel Paige and Willie Mays all swung bats at Rickwood. In all, more than 57 members of the baseball hall of fame have played at our very own stadium. When the park opened in 1910, businesses closed and the entire city came out to watch the opening pitch. Chances are your place of employment will remain in operation through this Birmingham Public Library Brown Bag Lunch event, but it’s at noon so you should be off for a bit anyway. David Brewer, executive director of Friends of Rickwood Field, will share some fascinating tales from Rickwood at this event, which is called Celebrating 100 Years at Rickwood Field. It’s free, so pack a lunch and head down to the library. For more information call (205) 226-3600 or visit www.bplonline.org.
‘THE GUITAR WIZARD OF OZ’: When I was a freshman in college, there lived on my hall a very talented guitar player whose name I have forgotten. He lived with a pledge brother of mine who was known for his ability to smoke impressive quantities of marijuana, and for a complex ritualistic system of smoking intended to prevent campus authorities from discovering he was smoking pot in the dorm. The system involved multiple fans, a cracked window, a towel under the door, a paper towel tube stuffed with dryer sheets and several other odd steps. Anyway, the guitar player roommate would often play guitar during or after these well-scripted smoking sessions, and would talk constantly about a guitar player named Tommy Emmanuel. I had no idea who Tommy Emmanuel was, so I watched the videos he showed me with some interest, and, eventually, genuine amazement. The 54-year-old fingerpicker is an absolute master, and uses every part of his acoustic guitar, from the top of the headstock to the bottom of the bottom and everywhere in between to perform songs in ways you wish you’d heard before. His performances (he performs more than 300 times a year) are master classes in themselves, as far as talent and technique go, but his shows are also very entertaining—Emmanuel is a funny guy with a great stage demeanor. So check him out in the WorkPlay Soundstage at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40. For more information call (205) 879-4773 or visit www.workplay.com.