CALLING ALL MUGGLES: The McWane Center will be holding what they like to call a “Potter Preview Party” this Thursday, and though the event name is unique to McWane, the event itself is worldwide. Fans from everywhere will be coming together to celebrate the opening of yet another new Harry Potter movie. This year’s installment is the first of a two-part finale, based on the last book in Rowling’s series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It remains to be seen how the decision to split the film in two will play with audiences; I even find myself asking whether it’s another studio business cash-grab, or a legitimate narrative decision. On the one hand, practically the entire first half of Hallows focuses on Harry, Ron and Hermione in the woods by themselves, so the film will have to get a lot of mileage out of the young actors in its ensemble. On the other hand, clearing all of this out of the way in the first half makes room to use the entire second half for the final Hogwarts battle scene. And anyone who’s read the book will tell you how seriously cool it would be to extend those last passages into a two-hour spectacle. The “Preview Party” encourages you to dress up in your favorite wizard garb, while you walk around McWane and enjoy the many activities on display, including spell-casting and potion-concocting. Then, head into the IMAX Theatre at midnight for the screening. Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows will be playing at the IMAX in the weeks to come. Reservations are required for Thursday. Tickets cost $20 for regular admission, and $15 for McWane Science Center members. For more information, call (205) 714-8414 or visit www.mcwane.org.
IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN: If you read our calendar every week, then you’ve noticed the inclusion of an event called “Third Fridays in Forest Park.” There’s always another coming up, and this month is no different. For those who aren’t familiar, Forest Park Village is a collection of shops and other venues around the University/ Clairmont area. On the third Friday of each month, these locations (Silvertron Café, Little Savannah, Zoe’s Boutique, The Pink House, V. Richard’s) all stay open until 8 p.m. and feature all kinds of different specials and promotions for the occasion. This week the spotlight is on Naked Art Gallery, and their annual “Kitschmas” exhibition. The show is composed of works from countless artists, all working strictly with recycled materials and selling each of their pieces for under $50. The opening reception will run in conjunction with Third Fridays, but will continue on Saturday evening from 1-6 p.m. If you’re not one for cheap knick-knack art, maybe you’ll want to check out Emily William’s art on display at Little Savannaah, or perhaps you want to stay away from art entirely and just sip on some choice wine selections at V. Richard’s. If food is more what you’re seeking, Silvertron Café has a great special on chicken pot pie with salad and a glass of wine. Zoe’s is offering 25% off all winter coats and jackets, and The Pink House is holding a free-for-all-ages drum circle. The festivities extend from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, call (205) 595-3553 or visit www.nakedartusa.com.
MY HERO: Since November 4, Birmingham Festival Theatre has been offering performances of their adaptation of Lobby Hero. Written by Kenneth Lonergan (the screenwriter for You Can Count on Me and contributor for The Gangs of New York), the production is set in the lobby of a New York apartment building, where the two night security guards, along with a rookie cop and her veteran partner, try to solve a murder investigation. The entire play takes place in the same setting, and as with any great murder mystery, that sense of isolation and claustrophobia leads the characters to grow suspicious of one another. The subject matter and intense performances should make it an especially enjoyable experience on stage. This week, BFT will be giving their final performances, the very last of them coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. Regular admission tickets will be sold for $20, while students can get in for $15. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (205) 933-2383 or visit www.bftonline.org.
READY, SET, PRAISE: Celebrate Sunday this week with a visit to the Reid Chapel on the Samford University School of the Arts campus. Kyle Matthews, acclaimed Christian songwriter and performer, will be playing a special concert with local student choirs from the Baptist Church of the Covenant, Meadowbrook Baptist, Mountain Book Baptist, and Shades Crest Baptist. Matthews is quite the popular name in the Christian music world. He’s won many awards, including the Dove Award for Traditional Gospel Song of the Year, the Stellar award for Song of the Year, and the American Society of Composers award for 2002’s Christian Song of the Year. The show is free, made possible by the Woman’s Missionary Union. But there will be a special offering to supply donations to the M-Power Education Center as part of M-Power Minstries, a certified Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps site. Their current goal is to raise $25,000 for the men and women in the Education Center. This event is not sponsored by Samford University. The concert starts at 6 p.m., and goes until 7:30 p.m. For more information, call (205) 726-2851 or visit www.samford.edu. For more information about Kyle Matthews, visit www.kylematthews.com.
FUNNY TIME: Barking Kudu, in addition to their weekly trivia event, puts on a comedy show every Monday called “Comic-Kaze.” In addition to having being the best possible “comic” pun title, the show is a must for any real comedy fan in Birmingham. And I say this because it’s just about the only weekly comedy show you’re gonna find. Barking Kudu has been very consistent with them for a while now, and that can only mean they’re getting better week in and week out. Plus, it’s free. What are you going to find that’s better to do on a Monday than hang out in a cool bar, have a few drinks, and laugh at some jokes organized for your benefit? The show features host Mike McCall, and frequent contributors Joe Raines and Cameron Gillete. It all starts at 9 p.m. For more information, call (205) 328-1748 or visit www.barkingkudu.com.
RUSH AHEAD: I’m going to go ahead and say now, I’m not a Rush fan, nor will I ever be a Rush fan. I have heard everything I need to hear from them to prove this fact. I can see why other people like them—hell, it’d be hard not to find them entertaining in some respect, but at the end of the day, Rush just isn’t my style. That being said, disliking the subject matter doesn’t have to impede your enjoyment of a documentary, and I don’t expect Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage will do so. The film is a direct look at the career arc of the band, their beginnings in the 1970s as a progressive rock act, and as IMDb says, “the band’s musical evolution...to their current heavy rock style.” (I’m just going to skip right past the vagueness of that genre.) It includes interviews from some more current musicians working in the industry today, including Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, Taylor Hawkins, Kirk Hammett, Jack Black, Les Claypool, and Sebastian Bach. The film has been praised for its in-depth scope of the Rush phenomenon. Bottletree will be screening the film this Tuesday from 8 p.m. onward. The event is free. For more information, call (205) 705-3775 or visit www.thebottletree.com.
LOOKING SCARED: This Wednesday, get your last chance to visit Little Savannah and the exhibit they’ve had on display for the past few months, “Scared to Look”. The show is a collection of works by Leslie Paige Nuby, who uses acrylic paint to portray some dark, heavy imagery. That’s not to say you’ll be disturbed if you go this show, but his works have a certain ominous tone to them. He likes to illustrate cats, specifically, and while there’s nothing immediately frightening about felines, it doesn’t take much to bring out an intense side of them. His paintings are highly detailed, and make for quite a rewarding viewing. The exhibition will be closing on November 24, so get there before it’s too late. Little Savannah will be open from 5:30-9:30 p.m. For more information, call (205) 591- 1119 or visit www.littlesavannah.com.
WORK IT OFF: Obviously most of you won’t be looking for something to do come next Thursday. You’ll either be shoveling the rest of your stuffing off your plate or laying horizontal on the couch mumbling something about tryptophan. But if this isn’t your Thanksgiving plan, you might be interested in spending it the opposite way, by participating in the Sam Lapidus Montclair Run. The 34th annual event will be held at the Levite Jewish Community Center, though this is only the second year the race will be named after Lapidus, a lifelong member of the LJCC. The proceeds will benefit the Childhood Cancer Research Fund at Children’s Hospital and the LJCC fitness program. The runs start at 8:30 a.m. with a 10K run. Then at 9:45 a.m. there will be a 1 mile Fun Run. Register in advance. Early registration (before Nov. 19) will be $30, and regular registration will be $36. For more information, call (205) 879-0411 or visit www.bhamjcc.org.