THE EARLE OF BEER: Justin Townes Earle has a pedigree. His father is three-time Grammy Award-winning and 14-time Grammy Awardnominated Steve Earle, and he was named for Townes Van Zandt, the country folk music legend. That’s a lot to live up to, but Earle is up to the job. In 2009 he received an Americana Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year. Still not convinced you should attend? Well, this particular show is part of the Good Songs Good People series. Included in the price of the ticket is a commemorative adult sippy cup and two craft beers from Good People Brewing Company. So, you’ve got commemorative cups, folk music and beer all rolled into one neat little show. Convenient! Justin Townes Earle will be playing at the Alys Stephens Center. The pre-party starts at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.50. Call (205) 975-2787 or visit alysstephens.ua.edu to buy tickets or find out more about the show.
BIRMINGHAM GOES BAAM! Birmingham’s local arts and music scene, while underappreciated at times, still manages to produce more quality work than you can shake a stick at, even if you’re really good at shaking sticks. The Birmingham Arts and Music Festival (BAAM) was created last year to fill the void left in our fair city by the passing of City Stages. I feel like they missed a golden opportunity with the name (Birmingham Arts and Music Festival? BAMF, anyone?), but that’s beside the point. In the same vein as South by Southwest, BAAM turns various venues around Birmingham into exhibition sites for local artists, musicians and entertainers. Having the movers and shakers of Birmingham’s art and music scenes all available at once is cool in and of itself, but they’re not all that make Birmingham the great city that it is. As anyone who’s taken a middle-school history class can tell you, Birmingham has history and culture that stretch back for decades. We also have facilities and organizations across the city dedicated to spreading culture, education and good, old-fashioned understanding. In the interest of spreading those values, this year BAAM will include “Experience Venues” like the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Museum of Art, McWane Center and Alys Stephens Center. Are you one of those people who complains every other Saturday night that, “There’s nothing to do in this dumb old city!” Do you have a friend who’s like that? Well you need to haul your (or your friend’s) keister to one BAAM’s venues downtown this weekend. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a map and schedule for BAAM on an insert in the very paper you’re holding, so there’s no excuse for not finding a show during the festival. For more information about BAAM go to baamfest.com.
LESLIE JORDAN AT TNT: Leslie Jordan is one of those guys who is instantly recognizable without having starred in many leading rolls over the years. He’s had dozens of rolls in television, but few of them have come close to “leading man.” Considering that Jordan comes in at 4’ 11” tall and is openly gay, that lack of widespread acceptance starts to make sense. Jordan does several traveling shows in which he tells stories of his life as a short, effeminate young man in the South. The two-days-only show that he’s bringing to Birmingham, “Stories I Can’t Tell Mama!” is exactly what it sounds like. Come down to Terrific New Theatre and listen to Jordan’s hilarious tales about his early life in the South and his observations about Hollywood. The ticket price also includes dinner, at which you’ll be able to meet Mr. Jordan. What are you waiting for? Reserve your tickets now while you still can. Dinner starts at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $100, but how often does an opportunity like this come along? Call (205) 482-5836 to reserve tickets for the show or visit www.terrificnewtheatre.com for information.
CHILDREN’S DANCE FESTIVAL: After all the freewheeling fun I’m sure most of you had over the rest of the week, Sunday should be the time to relax with the family and just take it all in. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch until your rear end slowly fuses to the cushion. Force the kids to put down the Wii-mote, stuff them in the car and drive over to The Children’s Dance Foundation Festival. There you will find fun and games suitable for the whole family, like an interactive drum circle, face painting, world-dance performances, door prizes and a silent auction. Don’t let your muscles atrophy at home. Head to The CDF Festival and enjoy the outdoors while having your face painted to look like a lion. The festival will take place from 2 to 5 p.m at CDF’s Community Arts Center in downtown Homewood. It’s free to attend, so you don’t have to strain your wallet to have some good clean family fun. Call (205) 870-0073 or visit www.childrensdancefoundation.org for more information.
ITTY BITTY AT BOUTWELL: What’s better than sculpture? Miniature sculptures! Boutwell Recording Studios is exhibiting RECLAMATION, a gallery of “small scale three dimensional art”, which seems like a roundabout way of saying miniature sculptures to me. The gallery will feature artists such as Megan Kimber, Byron Sonnier, Bo Hughins and Kara Cassidy Hall. The gallery is free to visit, and Boutwell is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The gallery is free as well, so for the low price of zero dollars, you too can go see some cool miniature art. The gallery will be open until August 22, so head over now while you still can.
KICK-ASS KEBABS: You never imagined that the tiki-themed dinner party you were planning to throw in your backyard would leave you in tears before the first guest even arrived. Somewhere between one of the torches lighting the dogwood tree on fire and the lighter fluid falling into the coals of your grill and sending up a fire column as big as your house, you started to lose it. You managed to hose down the tree before the fire spread too far, but anything you put on the frill that you might have once called food was lost. When the inferno finally subsided, what was left looked more like charcoal than steaks and burgers. A tentative taste confirmed that the remains of your barbecue tasted like the inside of a fireman’s sweaty boot. Still, it wasn’t panic time just yet. You made a salad earlier, and maybe you could pass it off as a “health-conscious” tiki-themed dinner party. Alas, when you opened up the refrigerator you found a beetle the size of your fist standing on top of the salad, staring up at you, daring you to try to do anything with that salad ever again. It was the beetle’s salad now. It was at that point that you realized some cosmic force probably had it out for you. The first guest would be arriving in 45 minutes. All was lost. Just as you were settling down in the fetal position to cry in front of the beetle, a package of diced beef, like a glimmer of hope, peeked out from behind a jar of mayonnaise. If only you knew how to make kebabs! Well, Birmingham Bake and Cook Co.’s class, Global Kebabs, would help to salvage the night. For only $35, Susan Green will teach you how to whip up simple, tasty kebabs that everyone can enjoy. With this knowledge in hand, you could dice up a few onions, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes, skewer them with the beef and dust them all with a few carefully selected spices. You could clean out the sad remains of your last grilling attempt and start cooking the kebabs, your last best hope. Just imagine when the first batch comes off the grill right as the first guest arrives. The night would be a rousing success, and the beetle could remain in the fridge, alone and undisturbed, all thanks to Birmingham Bake and Cook Co. For more info, visit www.bakeandcookco.com.
HAPPY LEMMY AT THE BOTTLETREE: It’s hard to describe Happy Lemmy’s sound as anything but “big.” Singer Joel Smith’s voice is deep and resonant, the guitar riffs are large and in charge, the bass throbs like a heartbeat just behind the guitar and the drums bring everything together into one solid wall of rock and roll. And they’re only a three-piece band! If you’re a fan of old school, guitar driven rock, Happy Lemmy is the band for you. They’ll be playing with An Abstract Theory at The Bottletree Café. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8. Call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com for more information.
PARTY FOR THE LYRIC: Birmingham Restaurant Week is kicking off with a preview party at Alabama Theatre. There will be food sampling from participating restaurants and cocktails provided by Rush Wines, Birmingham Beverage and Good People Brewing Company. Proceeds from the event benefit the Lyric Theatre, Birmingham’s historic vaudeville theatre which is slated to be restored. Come get a taste of some of Birmingham’s best restaurants while helping our city to rebuild. Win win! The preview party will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For a single person, tickets are $20 advance or $25 at the door. For a couple, tickets are $30 advance or $35 at the door. Call 5 for more information.