AN AMPLE PREAMBLE: On one weekend every year for almost the past decade, dozens of artists have installed their visual art in the galleries and shops of Birmingham’s loft district for a free walkable, beautiful art festival of sorts. In past years, more than 10,000 folks have perused that gathering of art, music and vendors, which is called Artwalk. That’s happening again on Sept. 10 and 11, but before that can happen, the free event needs to raise some money. So that’s why there’s an Artwalk Preamble, a fundraiser at Rogue Tavern which will feature silent art auctions, live music, food and drink specials, and a whole bunch more. Speaking of more, Jon Poor will be providing musical entertainment at Rogue on Thursday, and we recommend him for the following reasons: firstly, he’s a fantastically fun musical act, secondly, he’s a very talented guitarist and will rock your frickin’ face off, and thirdly, he works for Birmingham Weekly in the sales department and we like to support our own, especially when they deserve it. So go check out the Artwalk Preamble at 5:30 p.m., and stick around to see Jon Poor. There’s a $10 donation for the Preamble; there’s no cover for Mr. Poor. For more information call (205) 202-4151 or visit www.roguetavern.com.
TAXI PLEASE: Though Moon Taxi hails from Nashville, they’re not your standard Nashville fare. In fact, they’re not country at all. Maybe they’ve got a little Southern rock in them, a little bit of the Black Crowes perhaps, but they’re more like Rush with their intense and funky guitar riffs and their vocals are reminiscent of Maroon 5 (don’t tell them I said that). Maybe they sound a bit like jam-band heavyweights moe. Or maybe I can’t decide what they sound like, so you can decide for yourself tonight at WorkPlay. Moon Taxi are traveling in support of their 2007 album, “Melodica,” and their 2008 live recording, “Live Ride.” They will be joined by Native Sway. Don’t miss this amazing line-up at one of Birmingham’s most amazing venues. Tickets are $12, and takeoff is at 9 p.m. sharp. For more information call 879-4773 or visit www.workplay.com.SAT 21
CATHERINE THE GREAT: As you may have heard, the folks that run the Pepper Place coffee shop formerly known as O Kafes! have decided that having a name that sounded a lot like onomatopoeia for a sneeze wasn’t a great idea, and have changed the name of their fine java-pushing establishment to Red Cat Coffee House. Luckily they didn’t change the restaurant’s penchant for hosting fine up-and-coming live musical acts. You can check out some of that music Saturday if you head to Pepper Place to see singer/songwriter Catherine Feeny. Though she currently resides in Portland, Oregon, Feeny is from all over. Vocally, she sounds a lot like Norah Jones. Physically, she kind of looks like Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer. Musically, there’s a lot of piano, acoustic guitar, soft drums and harmony…it’s very relaxing music with a poppy feel. Basically, she fits easily in the adult contemporary genre, and it’s just great. The concert starts at 9 p.m. There’s a $10 cover charge. For more information call (205) 616-8450 or visit theredcatcoffeehouse.com.
A NIGHT ON THE TOWN: Imagine you’re a Navy sailor, and your ship is docked in New York. You and your two sailor mates—good friends both—have 24 hours of shore leave, and you’ve fallen in love with a picture of a beautiful woman named “Miss Turnstiles,” who might very well be in New York. How do you spend your day? Trying to find that woman! It’s a classic story of a quest for love with finite time and finite resources in one of the most wonderful and chaotic cities in the world, and it’s called On the Town. Originally a 1944 Leonard Bernstein stage musical, the 1949 film version of On the Town is a classic nowadays. It helps that it stars Gene Kelly in the lead role of “Gabey,” and Frank Sinatra as his pal, “Chip.” Jules Munshin serves as the third sailor, “Ozzie,” and Ann Miller and Betty Garrett play “Claire” and “Hildy,” two of the interests of the sailors’ 24-hour romantic quest. The beautiful Vera-Ellen plays “Ivy,” who is the actual “Miss Turnstiles.” The sailors and their ladies sing and dance throughout the night and day as they romp through the city and through bedrooms. It’s a beautiful story, and you can catch it in the beautiful Alabama Theatre as part of the Summer 2010 Summer Film Series. The Sunday matinee begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults; seniors and children under 12 $6. For more information call (205) 252-2262 or visit www.alabamatheatre.com.
YO, YOU’RE GONNA YOGA: Yoga is exercise, meditation, stretching, breathing, and relaxation all rolled into one. According to Wikipedia, the style of yoga you’re probably familiar with is hatha yoga, which “focuses on shatkarma, the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind (ha), and prana, or vital energy (tha).” We’re dirty people, and we need some purification. After a long Monday at the office, there’s no better way to purify your mind than by heading down to DanielDay Gallery (aka Dream Mecca Studio, at 3025 Sixth Ave. South) and enjoying an hour of Hatha Yoga with Jean Campbell. Bring a mat and wear loosefitting clothing, and Ms. Campbell will guide you through a stress-relieving 60 minutes, no matter if you’re just learning yoga or you consider yourself a veteran. Sessions begin at 6 p.m. and cost $15, or you can buy a package of six sessions for $60 (that’s $30 off the newsstand price!). For more information call (205) 731-9420 or visit www.dreammeccastudio.com.
SEX SELLS, EVEN IF IT’S FREE: Say you are a beautiful woman (maybe a bit Rubenesque for today’s standards, which are ridiculous) and you are to commission a mostly-nude painting or sculpture of yourself. How would you like to be posed? Would you rather be shown standing up straight, arms by your sides, just standing there, or would you rather be depicted in a way that shows you moving, twisting, flowing through space and time, highlighting your curves and the beautiful way your body ever so subtly and gracefully bends? You would choose the latter, and your artist would likely agree with your decision, especially if he was of the traditionalist persuasion. Artists throughout the ages have depicted their subjects in torsion, or twisting, curving, seemingly suspended in the middle of a dance. It is an erotic pose, and made even more so because the subjects are lightly-clothed (as they often were). The William-Adolphe Bourguereau painting “Aurora” and the Antonin Mercie sculpture “Gloria Victis” both present the female figure in a state of torsion—the Bourguereau as a female incarnation of Dawn (i.e. daybreak) and the Mercie as a winged female representation of Fame, carrying a dying French soldier to glory. The two works of art are the subject of a free noon lecture at the Birmingham Museum of Art titled “Erotic Postures: The Twist in Nineteenth Century Figures” by the museum’s Curator of Education, Samantha Kelly. Go check out these scantily-clad women and see how they bend and twist. For more information call (205) 254-2565 or visit artsbma.org.
GET UP OFFA’ THAT THING: And dance ‘til you feel better! You will dance until you feel better if you head to Bottletree Wednesday night and catch Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears. We knew that this Austin, Texas-based soul band would be good because Mississippi hill country blues duo Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm have toured with them recently, and Ced and Light are damn fantastic. It’s a guilt—or talent—by association kind of thing. And we were right—Lewis and his Honeybears are just damn fantastic. But they sound nothing like Ced and Light, and that’s just fine. Because they sound just like James Brown. In fact, if you were to hear Joe Lewis and his band without being told what was going on, you might think that you’re hearing unreleased James Brown recordings. Lewis’s voice has got the graveled, rusty quality of Brown’s, and he sings in short, rapid-fire bits of vocal intensity. But the band, from the keyboards to the drums, to the bass, the horns and the saxophone—they sound like James Brown’s backup band was snatched right out of the ’70s. And it’s just damn fantastic. Have I said that yet? In case you missed it, it’s just damn fantastic. Look, I don’t know what else to do but direct you to Joe Lewis’s website, www.blackjoelewis.com, and urge you to listen to their stuff. It’ll be the best thing you’ve done all week, besides heading to the show. Hacienda and The Dirty Lungs will open the show. Tickets are $12. Things get started at 9 p.m. For more information call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com.
DON’T BE A DOUCHE: Whenever I get the opportunity to take my Birmingham friends to my hometown of Livingston, Alabama, I tell them there’s only one rule they need to follow: don’t screw with the locals. People from “big” cities like Birmingham and Huntsville and pretty much any other place with a population of more than 5,000 sometimes get this idea in their head that smalltown folks are ignorant and stupid, and won’t pick up on it if you’re making fun of them. Some of them are, but most of them aren’t. It generally wouldn’t be a problem, as the folks in Livingston are kind, but if some out-of-towner is being a douche, they’ll get pissed. And, see, the locals tend to know lots of other people in the bar. They’ve probably known them for decades. And loyalty isn’t a joke in Livingston, and so if it comes down to it, for reasons of pride and loyalty I’ll have to take the side of my hometown acquaintances over my out-of-town friends (I want to be able to come back to the bar). All of that means that if you behave like a douche, it’s not my fault if you get your ass kicked. In Birmingham, people are a little more self-loathing about their town, but the folks at Bottletree know we’ve still got some things we’re protective of, like our music scene. That’s why they’re putting on a concert series called Locals Only. This installment of the series features performances by Come Up for Air, Grandaddy Ghostlegs, and No. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5. For more information call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com.