HAIRSPRAY AT THE VIRGINIA SAMFORD: We’ve all been there. You’re a fat girl in the 1960s with dreams of becoming a famous dancer on a local variety show. But the variety show (and the rest of society for that matter) is racially segregated, and you end up involved in the local marches against the racist teenage dance show. Well, maybe you and I haven’t been there, but Tracy Turnblad, the generously proportioned main character of the hit Broadway musical Hairspray, sure has. Hairspray was originally a campy little 1988 movie written and directed by cult icon John Waters. It was then adapted into a Broadway musical by Marc Shaiman, where the adaptation won numerous Tony Awards. The musical was then adapted into a 2007 film directed by Adam Shankman. Confusing, I know. The Red Mountain Theatre Company is presenting the musical at the Virginia Samford Theatre through August 7. If you’ve ever had fantasies about being that kind of pleasantly plump 1960s girl, this is the show for you. Patrons of the Saturday matinee can purchase a “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” add-on, which include libations, a meet and greet with the cast, a 1960s-style hair poofing, face powdering and nail polishing by the Aveda Institute. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost from $30 to $35. Call (205) 324-2424 or visit www.redmountaintheatre.org for more information.
A FISTFUL OF BANDS: Birmingham’s local music scene is large and talented. There are many awesome bands doing great things in our city. The Birmingham music scene just has one problem: not enough people participate. What’s the point of having so much great music if you don’t go and listen to any of it? Well for the uninitiated, I have a learning opportunity for you. Rock Paper Rock is presenting 5 Bands 5 Bucks, a show featuring five rising local bands. It’s unlikely that any of the bands will be as established as some of the local standbys, but that doesn’t mean they won’t know how to rock. The bands are Ming Donkey One Man Band, Hurl Yeah, Mountain Art, The Sages and Calling Station. 5 Bands 5 Bucks will take place at the Bottletree Cafe. The cover is only (you guessed it) $5. Call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com for more information.
A HITCHCOCK TWOFER! What’s better than seeing a Hitchcock movie on Alabama Theatre’s gigantic screen? Seeing two Hitchcock movies! That’s right folks. As part of their Summer Film Series, Alabama Theatre will play both Rope and To Catch a Thief, two classic Hitchcock crime thrillers. Rope is the story of two students who decide to see if they can commit the perfect crime: murdering a fellow student and getting away with it. Their teacher, played by James Stewart, inspires them by teaching them about Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch and the “art of murder.” Directly after they kill their fellow student, the pair holds a dinner party for the victims friends and family to flaunt their accomplishment. Their teacher is invited and, because of the boys’ strange behavior, becomes suspicious. Rope is mainly about an existential conflict, taking a philosophical concept and following it to its logical terminus. Movies that focus on that sort of idea only come out once every two or three years, so it’s a treat to see one in theatres. But that’s not even the coolest thing about Rope. Rope was shot so that the whole movie would appear to be one, long continuous shot in real time. Take that, modern special effects! Hitchcock’s got you beat. Rope and To Catch a Thief will be playing at 7 p.m. As always, tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for children under 12 and senior citizens. Call (205) 252-2262 or visit www.alabamatheatre.com for more information.
POST-BLACKOUT AT BLACK MARKET: It’s Sunday morning. You rub the crust off your eyes and sit up to discover you’re lying on an unfamiliar sofa in a strange house. Your hair is lank and slightly damp with some unknown fluid, your skin is covered in a greasy film, and it feels like somebody spent half the night driving hot, rusty nails into your temples. The events of the night before are a hazy blur involving, you think, tequila and a game where everyone took a drink whenever there was an explosion in Transformers. After the first giant robot fight, your memory is a complete blank. Only now do you realize that mixing tequila and Transformers was probably a bad idea. You groan, roll off the couch and walk outside, shielding your eyes from the light like a pale, clammy cave creature seeing the sun for the first time. After finding your car, you manage to dig a pair of sunglasses out of the glove compartment and make yourself look vaguely presentable in the rear-view mirror, but you still feel like a slice of slow-roasted Hell. There must be some cure, some quick fix for this that will get you back on your feet so that you can convalesce in peace until Monday morning. Ladies and gentlemen, there is an answer. Black Market Bar hosts brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help you wash away all the mistakes and regrets from Saturday night’s debauchery. What better way to get over that pounding headache and squeamish stomach than a nice pile of pancakes or an omelet? For once, going to a bar early in the afternoon is actually a good idea! Meals range from $7.95 to $13.95. Mimosas are $1.50 if you feel like going for the whole hair of the dog effect. Hey, with the state you’re in, anything’s worth a shot. Call (205) 967-8787 or visit www.evilbartenders.com for more information.
MANDELA DAY AT THE CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE: Anyone who even knows the first thing about Birmingham knows that the city was the stage for some of the most significant moments of the civil rights movement in the United States. Brutal, racist public officials and a culture of segregation that had been entrenched for nearly a century made Birmingham the proving ground. If the battle for civil rights could be fought and won in Birmingham, it could be won anywhere in the country. Halfway across the world, another battle was fought for civil rights in South Africa. Nelson Mandela spent the majority of his life trying to end apartheid in his homeland, but it took him until the 1990s, 30 years after the battle was won in America, for his dream to come true. To celebrate Mandela and the history of both our countries, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will host International Nelson Mandela Day. There will be music, dancers, vendors, a children’s village, free admission to Civil Rights Institute galleries and a booth where attendees can sign up to commit to community service in their area. There will also be a presentation by the youth of Birmingham and Johannesburg. Head down to Kelly Ingram Park and join the celebration. South Africa’s civil rights movement and our own are deeply connected. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was created to preserve the history of the civil rights movements in Alabama and support efforts towards civil rights everywhere. It is there to remind people that civil rights are worth fighting for. Nelson Mandela Day will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Call (205) 328-9696, ext. 215 or visit www.bcri.org for more information.
ROCK & ROLL AND COPYRIGHT LAWS: What’s the first thing you think when you hear the words “rock and roll”? That’s right. Copyright laws. But really, “Who Shot Rock & Roll” is about the unsung heroes of rock, photographers. Well, if photographers are unsung, the lawyers are barely mentioned in the album liners, even though they work so hard to protect the music we love. John Strohm is a local attorney who practices entertainment and music business law, but he also used to be a professional musician, playing as the lead guitarist of The Lemonheads and as a solo artist. Strohm will discuss publicity and copyright issues with rock and rock photography at this week’s Artbreak at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Head over during your lunch break, listen to Strohm and get a free dessert at Oscar’s Café. Artbreak will take place from noon to 12:30 p.m. Call (205) 254-2565 or visit www.artsbma.org for more information.
THE BOTTLETREE GETS HAUNTED: 13ghosts is definitely a band that reflects its times and place. Their name even comes from 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, the popular children’s book by Kathryn Tucker Windham. Their sound is Southern without being country, soulful and mournful without being preachy or whiny, which makes sense considering that they were formed in the wake of a friend’s death. They’re definitely worth giving a listen. 13ghosts will be playing with The Weeks and Junior Astronomers at the Bottletree Café. Tickets are $7. Call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com for more information.
GET SOME DIRTY LUNGS AT THE NICK: Confession time. I actually hadn’t heard of The Dirty Lungs until a few months ago, but once I was introduced to them, I was hooked. They’re definitely influenced by 1960s psychedelic bands, but there’s more to them than that. There’s a bit of punk, a bit of grunginess, a bit of a lot of things really. They sound the way you think they would from their name: gritty, dirty, heavy and harsh. In a good way. The Dirty Lungs will be playing with Bad Cop, Abby Go Go and Midnight Risers at The Nick. The show starts at 10 p.m. so be ready for a late night. The cover is only $5. Call (205) 252-3831 or visit www.thenickrock.com for more information.