BREAK OUT THE BUBBLY: If you frequent our Food & Drink calendar, then you’re probably familiar with the number of weekly wine tastings that take place, including one event entitled “Wine Tasting Thursday” at The Wine Cellar. Probably the most consistent out of any tasting we cover, “Wine Tasting Thursday” is an ever-changing exploration of various local wine distributors and how their products differ and evolve over time. This week, The Cellar will be kicking it into high gear to celebrate the coming of the holiday season and the conclusion of their year in tastings. This Thursday, they will hold the Sixth Annual “Super Bubbly Tasting,” a night to taste some of the best champagnes, sparkling wines, and sparkling sakes in the state. Participants will include many of The Cellar’s usual distributors—Tara Johnston of Grassroots Wine, Chad Fulcher of Rush Wines, Lara Tucker of International Wines, Glenn Toney of The Wine Source, and Scott Turner of United-Johnson Brothers (a recently combined operation between MBC-United Wholesale in Bessemer and Johnson Brothers in Pelham). Also on hand will be frequent collaborator Echelon Catering by Design, offering samples from their newly minted Christmas menu. If you enjoy wine tastings, there’s not a better celebration of the form you’re going to find. The night lasts from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the cost of admission is $10. For more information, call (205) 979-2151 or visit www.thewinecellar.info.
GOODBYE BARE HANDS: Sadly, this week marks the beginning of the end for one of Birmingham’s most cherished galleries. Bare Hands Gallery has been around and operating since 1996. It’s gone through two owners, and produced over 340 “exhibitions, installations, performances, classes, lectures and community events” all for the benefit of community and the city’s art scene. In 2004, Bare Hands Gallery became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, solidifying its devotion to the cultural and communal aspects of visual art. With this in mind, I highly urge you to attend their final show, “SHINE 2010: Going Out With a BANG!” The associated donors and volunteers have made it possible for one more month-long exhibit, which will celebrate the coming holiday season while remembering seasons past. The exhibition is being curated by Allison Bohorfoush, Wendi Flowers Goodwin, and Marion Jones, all of whom have a steady grasp of southern art and the scene in Alabama. It will feature almost 30 different artists, including Doug Baulos’ pieces in the stairwell, Rachel Stagg’s work in the W.C., and Traci Noles-Ross’ art in the loft section. Other well-known artists include Randy Gachet, Daniel “Duquette” Johnson, Leslie Paige Nuby and Shea Goodwin. You’re not going to find a more expansive art show this month. And for those especially broken up over Bare Hands’ demise, you’ve still got “Day of the Dead Alabama” to look forward to, a new non-profit which will take over the annual “Day of the Dead Festival” next November. “SHINE 2010” starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. on Friday, but you can see it anywhere between then and the end of the month. For more information, call (205) 324-2124 or visit www.barehandsgallery.org.
FASHIONABLE FUNDRAISING: Old Car Heaven is nothing if not an eclectic venue. On mention of the name, you’re not going to think it’s anything more than a gallery of old cars. But it manages to do more with that space than most would imagine, whether it be live music, film screenings, fundraisers, or in this week’s case, a fashion show (which doubles as a fundraiser, but let’s not split hairs). The first annual event is called “Touching Lives With the Runway” and is being presented by the International House of Fedoras, a fashion company that “was founded on the principles of bringing back qualities to our customers.” So while the show will feature exclusive designs from some local fashion teams, it will also be raising money for Homeless Veterans, Kidney Cancer Research, and the Lupus Organization. The founder believes networking and helping charities should be a vital part of the company’s business model. In addition to all of that, the show will also see the album release party for Shaundra T. Smith, a Birmingham artist who’s performed in some of the “Playing @ the Plaza” series at the Hoover Library, among other venues. Joining her will be musicians Sasha MaRi and J’asmin Sanchez. The event will go all the way from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and general admission tickets are $20. A special V.I.P. dinner will take place before the show for an extra $10. The dress code is casual to semi-formal attire. If you would like to donate furniture or other household items to disabled veterans you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call (205) 225-1154 or visit www.internationalhouseoffedoras.com.
NOT THAT IRON BOWL: Throughout October and November, Sloss Furnaces stepped up on their metal arts workshops. In the last few months, you could take classes in creative welding, cuttlebone casting, iron and bronze casting, jewelry and mixed metals, and a number of other projects that I’d never imagined myself doing. And while they all sound highly interesting, I’m no metal artist, and the product I would achieve probably wouldn’t be worth the considerable price of the class. The one exception is their “Bowl- O-Rama” classes, and they’ve wisely chosen to expand them for their “Holiday Iron Pour” this Sunday. Virtually anyone can attend and participate. You’ll get the chance to design either a cast iron tile or a cast iron bowl. After you’ve come up with your design, you’ll get to watch the live metal arts iron pour, and experience your creation getting the full casting treatment. If you decide to go with the cast iron tile package, you’ll also go home with a cast iron ornament, and receive a guided tour of Sloss Furnaces. The package is $25. But if you decide you want more of a challenge, try the cast iron bowl package. You’ll get two hours of studio time to really consider your design before watching it form. This package is $50. If you just want to walk up and get the tile, without the ornament and tour, you can pay $15 and arrive a little later. The event goes from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., but cast iron bowl participants should get there at noon. No walk-ups will be accepted after 2:30 p.m. as none of the bowls will be finished until 4 p.m. For more information or to reserve a spot, call (205) 324-1911 or visit www.slossfurnaces.com.
HAPPY LAWYER: Drayton Nabers, a lawyer for the Birmingham firm Maynard, Cooper & Gale and a former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, will be visiting the Little Professor Bookstore this week to promote his latest book, The Hidden Key to Happiness. And while Nabers comports himself with many legal and political principles, his book is far more geared toward his religious ideals. He is a member of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, and teaches as an adjunct instructor at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. Nabers believes that “obedience planted in the soil of faith—far from leading to legalism or pride—instead is the fruit of grace and the source of a multitude of blessings.” Nabers will be at the bookstore from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, call (205) 870-7461 or visit www.littleprofessorhomewood.com.
TANNENBAUM TIME: If you’re one of the few Birmingham residents who actually see downtown Birmingham every day, you’re aware of certain traditions. But few are more concrete than the annual Christmas tree lighting in Linn Park. This year, there might be more than you can accomplish in three hours. In addition to the lighting itself, the event will feature live music and live dance performances. They come courtesy of the Birmingham Heritage Jazz Band, the Neo Jazz Collective, the Birmingham Swing Dancers, the Ballet Folklorico Corazon Azteca, and the Woodlawn Ballet. If that’s not enough, there’ll be arts and crafts around the area, giveaways to participate in, and free photos with Santa for the first 300 children to visit the Carver Theatre. And, oh yeah, it runs in conjunction with the Fourth Avenue Christmas Parade. The tree lighting starts 5 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m. For more information, call (205) 254-2391.
WREATH RACKET: The Garden Club of America, for those who can’t parse together a meaning from the name alone, is a nationwide organization dedicated to “stimulat[ing] the knowledge and love of gardening.” Birmingham’s own Red Mountain Garden Club is a subsidiary of that organization, and holds itself to the same mission statement. The Club frequently works with the Birmingham Museum of Art, as well as Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The latter is where they’ll be holding the “Red Mountain Greenery Sale.” The morning-long sale will include specials on wreaths, garlands, centerpieces, boxwood topiaries and more. You can also sign up for a “Mobile Mailbox” and receive a personally designed mailbox delivered to your door. Proceeds will benefit the Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens. To download a pre-order form, visit www.redmountaingardenclub.com. To place a pre-sale order, email melhagen@bellsouth. net. For even more information, call (205) 414-3958 or visit www.bbgardens.org.
BLUE CROSS BLUES: Two things happened when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act earlier this year. One, it helped to insure about half of our citizens who weren’t. Two, it made health care a hell of a lot more expensive. Dr. Wally Retan, state coordinator of Healthcare For Everyone, the Alabama Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, will explore this upward spiral at the Lister Hill Library at UAB in a lecture entitled “Why Does American Health Care Cost So Much?” next Thursday. The talk is sponsored by his coalition who will meet with its members at 6:30 p.m., prior to the lecture. The talk goes from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.. For more information, visit www.healthcareforeveryone-alabama.org.