THURSDAY, September 30
Like a little German in you? Anyone searching for a true, authentic Oktoberfest experience need look no further than Second Avenue North this weekend. Starting on Thursday, the Freunde Deutscher Sprache und Kultur (FDSK) German Lounge begins their annual festival, Birmingham Oktoberfest, celebrating German cuisine, music, culture and traditions. Journey downtown, where you’ll find an array of activities that should keep you entertained and educated for hours. Everywhere you turn there will be something new to try—perhaps a bavarian cream puff at one of the snack stands, or a Bavarian brew in the festive Biergarten. There will be authentic gifts and collectibles, a dance floor section for polka and waltzing, and live music from acts like Lorelei & Schatzi and Wolfgang Moritz. While you’re making your way through, you can stop and watch traditional Oktoberfest competitions, like the Beer Chug, the Beer Stein Pour and Carry, the Keg Barrel Race, the Beer Stein Hold or the Bratwurst Eating Contest. You can even buy a raffle ticket and enter your name to win an assortment of prizes, with proceeds benefiting FDSK’s various charities. On Saturday, you can participate in one of the more popular events—the beer tasting, from 4-7 p.m. If that ain’t enough, you’re one tough-to-please mofo, but trust us, you won’t be bored. Three-day event. Through October 2. Thur & Fri, 6:30-11 p.m.; Sat, 1 p.m. $5; $25 to participate in beer tasting. For more information, call (205) 202-6023 or visit www.bhamoktoberfest.org.
FRIDAY, October 1
Robot Monkey Attack! This Friday, come out and see a truly original art show of new works by Rebecca Davis and John Lytle Wilson. The event happens at Boutwell Recording Studios in Homewood. The two artists are quite an interesting pair, with radically different senses of style and performance. Davis is a notoriously secret artist, and none of her work can be found online. Wilson, on the other hand, has all his pieces out in the open. His work frequently features giant robots and evil monkeys, the figures typically superimposed in areas where humans would normally stand. Wilson says he sees these elements as “modern and ancient examples as segments of a larger continuum of images. [He] choose[s] animal and robot imagery as stand-ins for traditional human subject matter. These also allow [him] to explore issues like consciousness, free will and mortality.” There will be a reception with finger foods, and beer for sale. The opening reception starts at 5 p.m., and goes until 8 p.m. For more information, call (205) 870-1180 ext. 1004. Learn more at www.boutwellstudio.com. To see more of Wilson’s work, visit www.johnlytlewilson.com.
SATURDAY, October 2
Get outside, people: Maybe most of you, dear readers, are hardy souls who have continued to go outside all summer during the insane heat and life-sapping humidity that afflicts those who live in the near-tropical American South, perhaps especially here in the benighted province of Alabama. Me, I stayed inside as much as possible and took LOTS of cool showers. And that bloody heat, after teasing us with a cooling trend right after Labor Day, came back in late September and tortured us a little more. But that’s over now. Take a breath. Turn off the AC and open a window. In fact, you should—and I’m sure you won’t take this personally—take a hike. You should go up to Ruffner Mountain Nature Center in East Lake and enjoy the Center’s fall wildflower hike. The hike will be hosted by no less an authority than John Manion, curator of the Kaul Wildflower Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Kaul will share his knowledge of and passion for native plants. He will discuss the dynamics of fall color and tell stories about the plants. Reservations are required. The hike will take place from 2-4 p.m. Members $5; Non-members $7. For information, call (205) 833-8264 or visit www.ruffnermountain.org
SUNDAY, October 3
Story-telling through song: There’s not many venues around town that I can think of that are better for a concert than Vulcan. Birmingham is quite something to behold when you’re up there, perched atop Red Mountain. Taking in a show up there is like the difference between a movie theater and a drive-in movie. Maybe the acoustics in a drive-in aren’t quite as good, and maybe the screen is a little lower quality than you’re used to, but that doesn’t matter compared to the experience of being outside in the wind, watching a film. For this reason I suggest you check out Vulcan AfterTunes 2010 this week. This will be the second in the three-part concert series at Vulcan Park & Museum taking place during September and October. The performer this week is Tift Merritt, a North Carolina songwriter and guitarist. Backed by her longtime band, Merritt plays what have been described as “sonic short stories.” Her sound has often been compared to Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell. In fact, Emmylou Harris had this to say about her: “I first heard Tift Merritt some years ago during a writers’ night at a small club in Nashville. She stood out like a diamond in a coal patch, and everyone there knew she carried a promise of great things to come.” Boulevard Brewing Company is sponsoring the event with Fresh Brews. 3 p.m. General admission $10; Vulcan members $5; Ages 5-12 $4; Children 4 & under free. For more information, call (205) 933-1409 or visit www.visitvulcan.com.
MONDAY, October 4
Tweet, tweet: If your visit to Ruffner Mountain for the fall wildflower hike didn’t give you enough exposure to the great outdoors for one week, if you are craving even more upclose-and-personal encounters with the natural world, if you’re one of those freaks who was happy that Sylvester never got to eat that damned irritating Tweety-Bird, then we have the event for you. Check out the “Introduction to Birding” to be offered from 6-8 p.m. at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In this class, you’ll learn how to select and use field guides and binoculars, as well as how to identify birds through the use of field marks, behavior, song and habitat. You’ll review the various bird families and learn the characteristics of each species. The class continues weekly through October 18. The cost is $150 for the series. The Gardens are located at 2612 Lane Park Road. For more information, call (205) 414- 3950 or go to www.bbgardens.org.
TUESDAY, October 5
If you’re old, you remember: If you’re old like a certain Birmingham Weekly reporter, you remember when Clyde Bolton was one of the top-kick sportswriters at the Birmingham News. You may even recall certain vivid images and particularly felicitous turns of phrase from Bolton’s accounts of epic college football battles featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide or the Auburn Tigers—back when that stuff meant more to some of us than it ever could now. Well, Bolton is in a nostalgic mood, as well. In his new book, Hadacol Days: A Southern Boyhood, he tells of his days at Statham High School in Georgia and what small Southern towns in the 1940s and 1950s were really like. To hear Bolton take a walk down memory road and get him to sign your copy of this book, or one of his other books, visit Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, from 6:30-8 p.m. For all the details, call (205) 226-3742 or visit www.bplonline.org.
WEDNESDAY, October 6
I hate clean humor: OK, I admit it. I don’t like comics who work clean. You see, I’m a sick puppy. Give me Richard Pryor. Give me George Carlin saying the seven words they won’t let you say on TV. Give me Lenny Bruce on an invective-laced tirade that’s not even funny, just pure, angry filth—you know, maybe after he’s been busted for obscenity AGAIN and had ANOTHER epic blow-out with the little wifey, stripper Honey Harlow. But hey, that’s just one guy’s opinion. You may LIKE clean humor. If you do, we have the show for you. You can catch Mickey Dean at the Comedy Club Stardome, located at 1818 Data Drive in Hoover (Dean also appears at Stardome on Oct. 5). Dean is no stranger to clean comedy, we’re told. In some minds, we’re told, working “clean” may mean that a yuk-puller ain’t funny. In the case of Dean, however, “clean” means inventive, down-to-earth humor that is welcomed by audiences of every age and walk of life. Well, we’ll see. Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9.75. For info, call (205) 444-0008.
THURSDAY, October 7
Prize Winning Palates: You’ve heard of wine tastings, I’m sure. But have you ever participated in a wine tasting competition? Next Thursday, on the Kress Building rooftop, take the opportunity to really use your hobby and the information you know about wines at this fundraiser to benefit the Laps for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, an organization “dedicated to raising awareness of cystic fibrosis (CF) and providing financial support in all areas of need for CF research, treatment, care, and improved quality of life.” Teams of one to three will compete. To participate in the tasting competition, each team must bring three bottles of the same wine. Two of these bottles will be used for the concealed tasting; the third will be set aside as part of the grand prize. (It won’t matter if two or more teams bring the same kind of wine. Votes may differ depending upon temperature or other factors.) Players will vote on their favorite wines, and the three teams with the top voted wines will split the multi-bottle prize. The event will also include various music, games and a silent auction. Registration, 6 p.m.; competition, 7 p.m. $15 advanced; $20 at the door. To purchase tickets or learn more, call (205) 871-9140 or visit www.lapsforcf.org.