THURSDAY, September 23
BACKING THE TRAMP: By the year 1929, our general populace had moved on from the first silent films. After “The Jazz Singer” was released in 1927, they all but disappeared within the next decade in the wake of the new “talkies”. City Lights was an exception. Released in 1931, Charlie Chaplin not only wrote, directed and starred in the film, he composed the musical score to accompany it. That score, minus a few sound effects and muffled dialogue noises, was the only thing keeping City Lights from being totally silent. It now stands in the crossroads of Hollywood history, a work beyond its time that surpassed everything from it’s era, and could not be denied by its audiences. The film is an absolute classic today, thought by many to be the best (mostly) silent picture. On Thursday, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to Chaplin’s masterpiece. They will perform an updated orchestration of the orginal score on the wide Alabama Theatre stage, while you watch a screening of the film behind them. The show begins at 8 p.m., and tickets will run you somewhere between $17-$42. For more information, call (205) 252-2262 or visit www.alabamatheatre.com.
FRIDAY, September 24
KOREAN CULTURE IN CALDWELL: Start your weekend by heading to Highland Avenue this Friday. Make your way down the slopes of Caldwell Park and into the Virginia Samford Theatre, where you’ll get the chance to see “Dynamic Korea: Song and Dance,” a performance of traditional and contemporary elements highlighting Korean culture. The show will be led by professional dancer Chae Hyang Soon, who will include many numbers rarely seen anywhere outside of Korea. Of all the events you could choose to attend this week, this experience is going to get you the closest to “once in a life time.” The Chae Hyang Soon Dance Company has performed at a number of renowned venues like the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the Asia Pacific Beach Foundation, as well as some momentous events including the 10th anniversary festival of the Seoul Olympics, the opening and closing performances of the Winter Universiade, and South Korea’s presidential inauguration. The show starts at 8 p.m., after a 6:30 p.m. buffet dinner honoring the Korea Society, whose partnership with the Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation is making this whole thing possible. Adults $25; Seniors & students $10. Tickets include complimentary reception. For more information, call (205) 251-1206 or visit www.virginiasamfordtheatre.org.
SATURDAY, September 25
ARTBURSTING AT THE SEAMS: This Saturday, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Homewood will be presenting a chamber music performance that will double as a CD release reception. The album is called “Rosas de Pulpa, Rosas de Cal—the Music of Valdo Sciammarella.” Sciammarella is a legendary Argentine composer who has worked in symphonies as well as theater and film. Performing his compositions will be Diane McNaron, a soprano; Adam Bowles on piano; Karen Bentley Pollick on violin; Melanie Richardson Rogers on viola; and Craig Hultgren on cello. Kelly Jensen, a specialist in Argentine culture, will also be on hand. The concert will take place as part of Artburst, a performance outreach of the Unitarian Universalist Church that has recently become its own non-profit organization. Yearly admissions to Artburst shows are $8 for adults and $4 for seniors and students, though pricing will vary depending on the performance. This show starts at 8 p.m. Reserved seating is $22, and that comes with hors d’oeuvres and your own copy of the album. Walk-in seating is $10, with an opportunity to purchase the album following the performance. For more information, call (205) 838-1391 or visit www.dianemcnaron.com.
SUNDAY, Spetember 26
ATTENTION DEFICIT DRAMA: If you’re someone who appreciates theatre, then you know the possible drawbacks that come when you step into an auditorium or amphitheater or concert hall to take in a play. You know that a restless audience can easily impede your enjoyment of the material. You know that technical difficulties could very well take you out of the performance. Unless you’ve seen it before, you know that you’re gambling on quality. You know that for every show you come out of starry-eyed and inspired, there’s another that will leave you nauseated. Of course, these drawbacks aren’t exclusive to the theatre experience. Any of these risks are the same ones you might apply to, say, a movie theater. The difference is, in theatre, you’re going to be sacrificing at least an hour of your life. What self-respecting, hyper-short attention spanned Americans can deal with that? Well, UAB understands your plight. Starting on September 22, the Theatre Department began their “2010 Festival of Ten-Minute Plays.” The annual performances will come to a close with a final presentation on Sunday at the Odess Theatre in the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center. Produced by UAB assistant professor Lee Shackleford. All plays are ten minutes or less. The plays may contain adult language and themes. 2 p.m. $3. For more information, call (205) 975-2787 or visit theatre.hum.uab.edu.
MONDAY, September 27
FROM FARM TO FACTORY: I remember an old teacher of mine once telling me about a conversation she’d had. It was with a stranger, someone to whom she’d just been introduced. Naturally, the small talk led to him asking her where she was from. When she said “Birmingham, Alabama” he seriously replied, “People actually live there?” Still a large number of people in this country, if asked to describe the South, would probably rattle off a list highlighting things like barren wastelands and backwoods hillbillies. It’s a sentiment that our state, and the South as a whole, has been hard-pressed to change, despite the transformations we’ve undergone. Ironically, our city is best known for change. With our industrial and technological history, Birmingham is probably the most forward-thinking city in the state. Stack us up with other places like Atlanta or Nashville, and you see just how evolved we’ve become. Transitive Geographies: Contemporary Visions of an Evolving South, is a traveling exhibit that seeks to “illustrate certain ecological and cultural changes that persist throughout the Southeastern United States as the population center continues to shift in its direction.” The Georgia College & State University goes on to say that “As the South continues to transition from its agrarian past into an increasingly industrial future, the region...has become a fractured remnant of its past.” The exhibit features 21 works of art by contemporary artists Annie Kammerer Butrus, Cynthia Farnell, Donna Mintz and Michael Varisco. The works ranges from paintings and ink drawings to photographs and mixed media installations. Curated by Georgia College curator Shannon Morris. The exhibit will run through November 19. For more information, call Cumbee Tyndal at (205) 252-9241 or visit www.asfa.k12.al.us.
TUESDAY, September 28
SAME OLD SAGA: After keeping things local for a few weeks of college football-related book signings, Alabama Booksmith is taking things international this week, with widely acclaimed author Sena Jeter Naslund. Naslund is the author of the popular Moby Dickinspired novel, Ahab’s Wife, a broad work of historical fiction that uses Herman Melville’s world and characters to explore the women of that time period and place. Her most recent work was a book called Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette, a re-imagining of the historical events surrounding the young queen.
But the book she’ll be promoting this week is called Adam and Eve, and looks to be a step even further into the world of retellings. In fact, I can hardly call it a retelling, as it takes place in 2017 and deals with a woman crashlanding in Mesopotamia where she meets an American GI named Adam and proceeds to live out a facsimile of the biblical garden. Naslund will be at Alabama Booksmith on Tuesday to promote the book. You can get a copy signed starting at 4 p.m. For more information, call (205) 870-4242 or visit the main website at www.alabamabooksmith.com.
WEDNESDAY, September 29
MANN ENOUGH: I first heard Aimee Mann while watching the 1999 film Magnolia. Somewhere in the midst of Paul Thomas Anderson’s three-hour opus, the film stops and takes a break for Mann’s song “Wise Up”. The camera goes from scene to scene, taking turns closing in on every character, and each of them are quietly singing the refrain, “It’s not going to stop, until you wise up.” It’s a wonderful, out-of-nowhere scene in a wonderful film, and if it alone doesn’t sell you on Mann, you should probably give her another chance in Tuscaloosa this Wednesday. The Grammy-award-winning/ Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter will be performing at the Bama Theatre for an evening of acoustic music with her trio. The show starts at 8 p.m., and it will run you about $26. For more information on tickets or prices, call (205) 758- 5195 or visit www.tuscarts.com.
THURSDAY, September 30
WINE FOR WITS: Come “read between the wines” at Western’s Wine and Food Festival next Thursday. Sponsored by The Western Supermarket, this tasting of over 700 (that’s right, seven-hundred) wines in the children’s section of the Birmingham Zoo will benefit the Emmet O’Neal Library. There will be refreshments everywhere, including food prepared by chefs from Jefferson State Culinary School. Wine experts will be on hand to answer any and all of your questions. Recipe and wine pairing suggestions will be available. The event lasts from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and if you buy tickets at the door, it’s $55, but you can get your tickets in advance at any Western Supermarket or the Emmet O’Neal Library for $45. Group discounts will be available for groups of 10-24 for $40 each, and 25 or more for $34 each. For more information, call (205) 879-0409 or visit www.birminghamzoo.com.