ROLLIN’ FOR THE RIVER: We’re not talking about Creedence Clearwater Revival’s story of man who left a good job in the city in which he was working for the man every night and day (possibly as a dishwasher in Memphis or pumping propane in New Orleans), to hitch a ride on a riverboat named Proud Mary and furthermore to see the good side of a city and enjoy a life rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river. And we’re not talking about the famous Tina Turner cover of that song, either. We’re talking about legendary bluegrass (or slamgrass, whatever) pickers Rollin’ in the Hay playing the Tuscaloosa kick-off party for the annual Save the Black Warrior campaign. Hay will be playing Thursday night at The Dixie (formerly the Jupiter Bar & Grill) for the campaign, which is a Sweetwater Brewing Company-sponsored fundraiser for the non-profit Black Warrior Riverkeeper. See, Riverkeeper needs money so it can keep protecting our drinking water and our wildlife, so every year they sell little paper fish at various bars and restaurants for one dollar. The proceeds go to Riverkeeper, and you get to write whatever you want on your little fish, and it gets taped up to the wall of the establishment. 11 Tuscaloosa bars, and 24 in Birmingham are participating, including chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, Mellow Mushroom, On Tap and Birmingham favorites like Blackwell’s, Crestwood Coffee, Gable Square Saloon, J. Clyde, Metro Bistro, Rogue Tavern, and Stillwater (for a complete list, visit SaveTheBlackWarrior.com). But Thursday, you should head down to The Dixie at about 9 p.m., pay the $10 cover, and enjoy Hay. For more information visit www.blackwarriorriver.org.
FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE: And it couldn’t have come a day too soon. I can’t wait to wake up every Saturday for the next several months at around 10 a.m., purchase a six-pack (okay, let’s be honest, a 12-pack) of my favorite beverage and head to my friend’s house with his giant TV, where I will try not to move too much for the next 12 hours while I watch a bevy of SEC football games. Rinse and repeat for the NFL on Sunday. But before I do that, I’m going down to Innisfree Irish Pub in Lakeview for the bar’s Second Annual College Football Kick-off Party. You should come, and come dressed in your favorite team’s colors (hint: it’s crimson). Be prepared to drink a beer or two, talk trash to people in other colors, play numerous games of cornhole, and possibly even meet some former players. The party benefits the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, so you don’t have to feel guilty about drinking (another way to not feel guilty about drinking: don’t be Baptist). You also get to enjoy live music from 4 on the Floor, so that’s a plus. Head down to Lakeview around 8 p.m. For more information call (205) 252-4255 or visit www.myspace.com/innisfreepub.
A CURE FOR EXCESS BOOTY IN PANTS: Dance. Dance, if there’s too much booty in the pants. Well, you won’t get to dance at this event, and the people that do certainly don’t have an excessive amount of booty in their pantaloons. That’s because the members of the Vulcan Performers are professional dancers who dance all the time, in many different ways, to lots of different kind of music. You should join them for their 14th professional show and their third anniversary performance, “Revamped” (which, I think, means to vamp again). That show, at the Embassy Suites in Hoover, will feature performances to pop hits you know and love. There will also be an arts show, featuring art from local painters and photographers, live music, free ballroom dance lessons and a silent auction. The Vulcan Performers get started at 7 p.m., and the performance will be followed by an after-party at Club Aqua, which, appropriately, is a dance club. For more information call (205) 792-4642 or visit www.bhamdance.com.
OUTDOOR MUSIC SOOTHES THE SOUL: We’ve talked constantly this summer in the Picks about how wonderful it is to be able to go outside, embrace the heat, enjoy the sun, and listen to some live music on a fine Sunday afternoon. We don’t want to go over why all of that is good anymore, so just take our word for it and grab a picnic basket, gather your family, and head to Turtle Back Park in the Town of Mt. Laurel (rain location: Double Oak Community Church, also in the Mt. Laurel neighborhood). There, at 4 p.m., you can enjoy the acoustic folk, bluegrass, and jazz stylings of Birmingham favorite Act of Congress. There’s no better way to spend a Sunday, at least until football season really gets underway and you have to start pretending you’ve been a lifelong fan of the New Orleans Saints. Tickets are $15; children 12 and under free. For more information call (205) 981-9772 or visit www.mtlaurel.com.
ONCE UPON A TIME: It’s one of the greatest stories ever told, and it was done best in 1992. A jealous queen, played by Kelly Kapowski, is on drugs or something and so thinks she can talk to a mirror, which she does in the form of a rap (all characters speak in rhyme). The mirror tells her she’s no longer the prettiest woman in the land, and that the young Princess Snow White (played by Jessie Murtle Spano) is the fairest of them all. Since the queen is such a beeyatch, she exiles Snow White, who finds refuge by living with a group of midgets, lead by a head midget played by Samuel “Screech” Powers. Since Jessie Spano is addicted to caffeine pills, she often stays up for days and then crashes, sleeping for days. She does this during the performance. While she’s out, a prince (played by Zack Morris) falls in love with her, and is about to kiss her when Jessie/Snow White wakes up and stops the kiss so as not to make her boyfriend, A.C. Slater (who is playing one of the little people) jealous. Instead, she kisses Slater, and everyone lives happily ever after. Or at least that’s how the story went on “Saved By the Bell.” “Snow White” will probably be a little bit different when the Alabama Ballet performs the harrowing tale. In fact, it will probably even be appropriate for children, but still just as entertaining. The show takes place at 2:30 p.m. at the Alabama Theatre. Tickets are $15-$20. For more information call (205) 252-2262 or visit www.alabamatheatre.com.
TALK IT OUT: It’s nice to meet new people from diverse backgrounds. You can learn about their lives, their stories, their pains and struggles, their triumphs and victories, what makes them happy and who they love. And you can share all of that with them. You can learn their opinions on Birmingham, the state of Alabama, the country, and the world, and talk about yours too. You can do all of that just like the new people are sitting at your kitchen table, sharing an informal meal or a cup of coffee, at Birmingham Kitchen Table at the McWane Science Center. It’s not complicated… all you have to do is show up and meet new people, talk, listen, and maybe you can solve the world’s problems. Or maybe not. It’s not important. What’s important is getting to know people, as the theme is “The Power of Relationships.” The event is free, and features a dinner. It starts at 6 p.m. For more information call (205) 212-6408 or visit www.birminghamkitchentable.com.
FREE MUSIC FROM THE BOTTLETREE: It’s not quite free money from the government, but it’s still worth shouting about—probably even in a crazy green suit that makes you look like the Riddler but with money signs instead of question marks. Yeah. That guy was awesome. I wish he was still around. Anyway, Radio Free Birmingham allows you to sample up-and-coming local bands and other acts who haven’t gotten much stage time at Bottletree Café without spending a dime. You can check out headliner Thrine Wednesday, but you’ll want to get to Bottletree by 8:30 p.m. to see opening acts like Motel Ice Machine, Too Far From Amsterdam, Bear Park, The Shakes, and Dragonflies. As mentioned earlier, it’s a free show, and you don’t have much else to do on a Wednesday night, so head on out to Bottletree, grab an ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and enjoy some free (did I mention FREE!?!?!) music. For more information call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com.
ART WITH A PURPOSE: Musicians like Woody Guthrie have long used their art to affect social change, or at least to encourage it. One of my favorite Woody Guthrie songs is a dark Christmas song called “1913 Massacre,” about a Christmas party that workers in a copper miners union in Calumet, Michigan were having at their union hall. It’s a family event, and Guthrie lets you get to know the miners and their families, and one little girl even sits down at the piano to play as everyone gets quiet and listens. But then the copper boss’s thugs stick their head into the party and yell that there’s a fire, causing an unnecessary panic. Children and their families run downstairs and get trapped at the bottom of the staircase, where the thugs and scabs had barred the door. “The scabs outside still laughed at their spree,” Guthrie sings, “And the children that died there were seventy-three.” The whole song, based on actual events (the 73 that died were not just children), is an indictment of greedy anti-union bosses, and has to be taken as a slight against bosses who fight unionization. Of course, artists of the visual art persuasion also make art dealing with the social and political issues of the day, and Birmingham Museum of Art curator Graham C. Boettcher will address such art in a discussion called “Art with Heart: American Painting and Social Consciousness at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The lecture is free, and it begins at 10:30 a.m. For more information call (205) 254-2565 or visit www.artsbma.org.