Excuse me if we do not always conduct ourselves the way we are supposed to. We try to live up to expectations, just in unexpected ways.
Since 1990 and the dawn fun & Stuff, and the first official publication of the Birmingham Weekly in 1997, much has changed in what a newspaper is supposed to do as you can read in the Birmingham News some days but not others. We have spun off several other publications ourselves and they are spinning off as well.
So who can blame us if we make it up as we go along. Just call it an opportunity to be creative.
Well, first came the thought to convert our unused warehouse space into an art gallery, since in reality, these days, you can publish a paper from a laptop in your basement.
So the next thing you know we have a world class Cuban art exhibition that should not be missed. So I guess I have not been traveling to Cuba for 15 years for nothing. You never know what you are preparing for!
And then our little inkling of fusion came at the first art opening. We had a Cuban art exhibition and a Greek chef, George Sarris, catering the food. What to do? Well, how about combining elements of Greek and Cuban cuisine. Fusion!
You may have thought it came from listening to Chick Corea or the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But actually it all came from talking to George Sarris at the bar at the Fish Market. And, of course, like everything George does, everyone adored it. So we thought, maybe we could do that on a regular basis.
No problem. When it comes to daydreaming we were told since kindergarten we were precocious. So why not be like one of those starry-eyed Olympians and become a professional.
So we practiced in the space on Scarlet’s birthday and, of course, it was a riot of overstimulation bordering on mayhem. It was great for the most part, with three different bands playing live music except the one that didn’t show up at the last minute, along with food from Franklin Biggs, Sephira Shuttlesworth, and Cosmo’s. At intermittent intervals, the crowd would part and a fashion show would come through.
If you were invited you also got to do a winetasting, but I never made it that far myself through all he folks that were there asking about the Cuban art, as well as the Emily Dickinson “Reading Chair,” previewing our first local artist show by Palo Pallas.
We also had Gray Byrum of Echelon by Design come in and do a cooking demonstration for a lucky private party from Birmingham-Southern, with unexpected wines paired by Athens Imports. And everyone agreed it was more fun than proofreading.
So we set a regular dinner schedule, and Gray will be back on September 11 and we will cook up some more combinations never tried before, though firmly based in the tradition of Spanish cooking (which is really the only proper way to make new things up--just ask Picasso).
For our next dinner, Lee Epting will come all the way from Athens, Georgia, on September 14, bringing Southern gentility, hospitality and tradition to a traditional Southern dinner of quail from Manchester Farms in South Carolina. We will fuse it with something new—don’t worry. You may have eaten his food before at the Museum Ball at the Birmingham Museum of Art right here in Birmingham, Alabama.
But before you get your appetite all whetted, or wet as some can’t help it, the Palo Pallas show will be opening, ensconced in the other museum-quality pieces from Cuba, on August 30.
And since Palo has some pantheistic thoughts, we will have an Indian fashion show with designs by Nazia Khan and more fusion of different types of music—including classical violin played by our own Scarlet in honor of our community service program to bring music to people in nursing homes--while Taomi Ray performs her spoken-word spells inspired by Emily Dickinson, George Harrison, and maybe even the Mahavishnu Orchestra after all. Why not? You get the connection.
But you won’t see anything like it anywhere else. Sorry if we are not living up to your expectations. You will get used to it.