And why am I telling you what to do all of the sudden after getting pushed around for so long? Because we are having lots of cool events in our space. We already invited the Museum of Art over to see the Cuban art exhibition, and those who stayed home for spring break were lucky to get bruschetta and even a little black bean concoction, with a nod to Castro, from Cosmo’s on the Southside. And the junior patrons will soon be back on their tour of Avondale.
Our opening reception for the gallery was one of the best parties I was ever in the vicinity of. I had a hard time getting to the food table with all the questions I fielded about Cuban counterintelligence and such, but everyone said the food by George Sarris was fantastic. People were parked at the food table till we threw everyone out, and I barely saved any for Scarlet who first turned her nose up at shellfish, but then had to admit the Aegean-Caribbean Shrimp was delicious. George did the cooking. I just named it and provided the cultural reference, sort of like Anonymous in Now Eat This.
And Shirley Osband from the UAB Department of Art and Art History came over one Saturday and gave an insightful talk to the artistic faithful who braved the beautiful spring weather to spend an hour inside a gallery. The subject of the gallery talk was Dick Jemison’s Ancestors sculpture, the same work you have seen on the streets of Avondale tying up traffic though yielding to ambulances. And Dr. Osband tied Jemison’s focus on the process of how tribes make their totems to José Bedia’s transcultural references to the spiritual nature of his artistic subjects. You can hardly beat that for a mind-bender, unless you try to solve one of the mental puzzles of Vladimir de Leon, or make concrete the ethereal ancient cities and sculptures of Olimpia Ortiz. You might have better luck with the tropical palette and animistic half-human creatures undergoing single-cell division of Carlos del Toro. More in Instudio.
I am talking, of course, about the artwork that surrounds all our gatherings. This time it’s from Cuba, the exhibition called EN CADA BARRIO REVOLUCIÓN. Who knows where we will transport you to next. It might even be somewhere exotic you have never been in Alabama.
If you are lucky, in fact, on Friday the 13th you will be in our gallery/ event space eating oxtail stew, baked chicken with rice and gravy, collards with hamhocks, sautéed squash and onion, blackberry and peach cobblers washed down with Arnold Palmers. And of course I could not resist throwing in some wine, a lighter rosé since Reverend Shuttlesworth was not a big wine drinker and stuck to the sweet stuff. And Charlie Yeates threw in some wine too on behalf of International when I didn’t even ask him to. That is because most people pay great honor to the person whose birthday we are celebrating, as well they should. You can get all the information at www.bhamweekly.com since we are doing all we can to invite you to our website.
That’s right, I almost forgot that the April 13 dinner is in honor of the late Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. The occasion is the first anniversary of his birthday since this great man’s passing. It would have been his 90th. Not everyone agreed with Rev. Shuttlesworth, certainly not in the 1960s, but whatever you believe you have to respect someone who has the courage to put his life on the line for his convictions, suffer beatings, and everything else Birmingham served up at the time.
Serving oxtail stew sounds much better. What a great occasion to chow down on some hamhocks, and raise money for scholarships to promising youth leaders from the Shuttlesworth Foundation. With any luck, getting beat over the head will not be the test of their mettle. Friday the 13th should help with that.
We have so much going on, we even brought someone special to attend to all these affairs. The mythical Scarlet fought for it briefly before her attention lighted elsewhere, so now Helen Catherine Smith is coordinating all our events. That is far, far better than me, to paraphrase Dickens, as I am sure even the country girl will agree, but I let’s hope she does not try to give Helen Catherine the same kind of directions at a quarter to three. Now that I would like to see!