AUTOZONE: The BJCC is dedicating a hefty amount of space and an extensive amount of time to automobiles this week with their 2011 “Alabama International Auto Show.” For four days, spectators are invited to take their first look at the new 2011 vehicle models— whether they’re foreign, domestic, cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, or hybrids. There will be upwards of 400 automobiles to look at and over 200,000 square feet of ground to cover, with every level of the Civic Center included (which means you might not see them all in one go-round, if you’re one to linger). Another 90,000 feet will go to the GM “Experience the Drive!” an area of test driving Buick, GMC and Chevrolet vehicles. When you’re not looking at the cars, you can take the opportunity to talk with representatives from the Birmingham Automobile Dealers Association, or the manufacturer’s representatives and product specialists on hand. It all starts at noon on Thursday, and ends at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday go from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., while Sunday starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for chilren ages 6-11, and free for children under five. For more information, call (205) 458-8400 or visit www.bjcc.org.
PRODUCE PEAK: This weekend brings us the fifth annual “Alabama Food Summit.” The two-day event is a culmination of representatives in the Alabama food scene—farmers, chefs, restaurant owners, etc.—in the roles of activists. Friday’s events are organized into “breakout sessions,” each consisting of four or five lectures on any range of topics. Session One titles seem to be focused on universal issues, including “What is Food Security?” and “Community Gardens: What They Are, How They Build the Community”, while Sessions Two, Three and Four start to stress local involvement and local issues with things like “School Lunches: What Are We Doing and What Can We Do?”, “The Future of Public Markets in Birmingham”, and a special presentation from ACES, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. On Saturday, audiences from Friday can take all the information they’ve gathered and try to put it to use with some of the Summit’s many activities. These will be taking place throughout the city, in a number of locations like Jones Valley Urban Farm, West End Community Garden, and East Lake United Methodist Church. Participants can attend a cooking demonstration, a canning class, and take farm and garden tours before the big finale dinner on Saturday evening. The 2010 Alabama Food Summit begins at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, and continues until 4 p.m. Saturday’s many events start around 8:30 a.m. Day-long passes to Friday’s lectures are $25, while Saturday’s prices vary. For more information, email email@example.com or visit www.foodsummit.org.
MORE THAN SCISSORS AND PASTE: If you’re not the food activist type, but you’re still looking for large events this weekend with festival atmospheres and community attitudes, look no further than the 38th Annual Fine Crafts Show. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is hosting the event with Alabama Designer/Craftsmen to showcase over 40 of Birmingham artists’ work, specifically those with an inclination towards craftsmanship. Many of these artists can be seen in local galleries throughout the year, but for two days, you should relish the chance to be able to see them all at once. These names include, but are far from limited to, Gloria Adams, Mimi Boston, Allison Bohorfoush, Nada Boner, Barbarann Beckett- Gaines, and Kay Basaigo, working in mediums that range from jewelry, ceramics, textiles, glass, pottery, clay, and fiber, to iron artisan blacksmithing, printmaking, felting, weaving, gourds, baskets, batik—and pretty much any other craft you can think of. The show starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning and goes until 5 p.m.; Sunday goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but a $3 donation is suggested. For more information, call (205) 414-3931, visit www.alabamadesignercraftsmen.com or www.bbgardens.org.
AUTHOR SEEKING: We tell you about book signings at Alabama Booksmith almost every week. The quaint and reputable bookstore in Homewood makes it a point to attract the best authors they can, but they are far from choosy. In any given month, you’d be just as likely to see a thriller author reading a novel about a courtroom scandal as you would a sports writer reading about college football. There’s a real variety to their guest roster that allows them to hold two, three, sometimes four signings in one week. This week won’t see that many, though, as Booksmith has dedicated their attention to their Sunday guest, New York Times best seller David Sedaris. The writer/humorist has been around since 1994, known best for his essay collections Barrel Fever, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Sedaris’ writing has been praised for its ability to mine vast amounts of humor out of his personal life—especially his family and his upbringing. But his new work, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, is a step in a different direction. The book is not an essay collection, but a collection of fable-esque stories all with animals in titular roles. At Sedaris’ recent appearance on The Daily Show, he explained that he got the idea after hearing some South African folk tales from a friend of his and coming to the conclusion that he could “do better.” Well, I’m sure they’re certainly funnier. The event starts at 3 p.m. with a short reading from Sedaris, to be followed by a series of mini-readings and “words of wisdom” for groups in line. There will be tickets for multiple sessions at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5 p.m., and you may enter the line 30 minutes before the time printed on your ticket. You can obtain a ticket by purchasing a copy of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk for $21.99. For more information, call (205) 870-4242 or visit www.alabamabooksmith.com.
BLACKOUT: Bottletree’s got the show to see again this week, as they invite the Dropout Boogie Tour to their humble venue on Monday. The tour consists of Black Mountain, the opener, a Canadian front line band for a collective called Black Mountain Army, and The Black Angels, the headliner, a band that’s toured with the likes of The Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age, Wolfmother, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Both acts are considered to be psychedelic rock, but while The Black Angels have a more alternative approach to their songs, Black Mountain favors hard rock and heavy metal elements. The Bottletree doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15. No one under 18 will be admitted. For more information, call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com. To hear some of the music, visit www.theblackangels.com and www.myspace.com/blackmountain.
LAUGH YOUR BRAINS OUT: This Tuesday, the Comedy Club Stardome in Hoover will participate with 25 other U.S. cities in the “Laughing Skull Comedy Festival.” Now in its second year, the festival gives audiences the opportunity to see some of the best comedians in the country. But it all starts with the first round, where hundreds of up-and-coming comics compete for a quarter-final spot. From Cleveland to Indianapolis, to Los Angeles and New York, to Pittsburgh and Kansas City, comedians will be pulling out their best material in hopes that you send them to Atlanta, where the semi-finals and finals will take place over the course of five days. The Stardome will see ten of the southeast’s best competitors, with one of them moving on. The night starts at 7:30 p.m. in Birmingham, the others around the country beginning the same hour. Admission is $10. For more information, call (205) 444-0008, visit www.stardome.com or www.skullfestival.com.
APOCALECTURE: I can’t even remember how long it’s been since the first time someone told me the world was going to end in 2012. Ever since then, the topic has become somehow more laughable and real at the same time. It is impossible for me to take any doomsday scenario seriously, as they’ve been prevalent since the beginning of time. A prediction by the Mayan calendar is no different, to me at least, than the countless foretellings of other religions and ideologies. But there’s still something about 2012 that makes it special just because we’ve been talking about it for so long. When an idea enters the public consciousness and refuses to leave, that idea starts taking on a life of its own. It’s created a strange dynamic in me, where I can consider it bullshit and still want to learn more about it. Anyone else who shares this dynamic might want to check out the lecture “2012: The End of Days?” in the Heritage Hall at UAB this Wednesday. It will be given by Maya scholar Dr. Edwin Barnhart, who can surely shed some light on just how “real” it all may be. Sponsored by the UAB Lecture Series Committee. For more information, call (205) 934-8020 or visit www.uab.edu.
HIGH STAKE SWEEPSTAKE: The $10,000 Reel Raffle will be held this week at the Highland Conference Center in Five Points. The contest has been organized by the Sidewalk Film Festival, who has spent the last few weeks advertising the sale of 150 tickets for $150 a piece. The purchase of these 150 tickets will make up the entire $10,000 prize. So, you’ve got a better chance to win than any other contest you might enter, but you’re also running a much greater risk. On Thursday, the results will be announced in an event called the “draw down,” where each and every number will be pulled off a wheel, the last pulled being the winner. An official afterparty will take place at the H Bar in the Hotel Highland. Your ticket to the drawing grants you admission for two to the event, plus some complimentary food and drinks. The drawing goes from 6 to 9 p.m. Purchase your tickets by calling (205) 324-0888 or visiting www.almovingimage.org/special-events.html.