THURSDAY, October 7
GAME ON: The world of game shows is an expansive one, dating all the way back to the late 30s when the first one was broadcast on the radio. Since then, the genre has taken on countless modifications and adjustments. Tweaking the formula ever so slightly each time over the years has led to long-term, permanent change in the format, much of that change coming within the last decade or so, with reality television. Today the game show you watch could be something as simple as Who Wants to be a Millionaire or Deal or No Deal, or as complex as something like Survivor, where subtle intricacies in the rules can shake up the whole game. The whole idea of game shows is strange in the fact that it suggests and is dependent on a family that would rather sit around its living room and watch a game then play one with one another. Rarely do we get the chance to make such a spectacle of our own lives and the games we play, unless we seek out something like “Game Show Night” at Crestwood Tavern. “Game Show Night” is a monthly event that presents social and creative games, many based on classic TV series. Games include “Match Game 35212,” “Crazy Commercial Competition,” “The NewlyMet Game,” “Human Scrabble,” “Fun at Webster’s Expense” and more. It starts at 7 p.m. and is free. For more information, visit www.comeoutandplaygameshows.com.
FRIDAY, October 8
SEA CHANGE: There tend to be two distinct scenarios that lead to you finding new music. One comes from recommendations, friends or relatives who want to introduce you to a band. When someone suggests a particular artist to you, you’re more inclined to check them out, depending on how much you value that person’s taste. The other scenario involves anything you might hear about on any given day. You’re flooded with information constantly but can only absorb a fraction of it. Therefore, your desires to explore any specific artists you hear about are dependent on a gut reaction. My reaction to the lo-fi rock group Rogue Wave had to do with the name. After hearing of them for the first time, I noticed it tossed around more and more, and I eventually decided they were worth a shot, despite never having heard a lick. Their first album, Out of the Shadow, was a singular achievement in indie music—nothing that anyone hadn’t heard before, but still an undeniably pleasing and resonant collection of songs delivered in a quiet, lush production. The albums that followed were never quite able to capture the feeling of that first effort, favoring instead a crisper sound and more theatrical approach to song structure. But the work has hardly suffered; Rogue Wave still brings a consistent approach and writes some damn catchy numbers. They’ll be performing for Birmingham from the Workplay Theatre this Friday so I can’t help but suggest heading there and checking them out. The concert is presented by Reg’s Coffee House and starts at 9 p.m. Tickets will run you $15. For more information, call (205) 879-4773 or visit www.workplay.com.
SATURDAY, October 9
SCREAM DREAM: Don’t get me wrong—Sloss Furnaces is great. Over the years they’ve found more ways to use that place than I would have ever imagined—fundraisers, art shows and classes, concerts (the legendary White Stripes show being a particularly badass example), weddings, parties, and whatever else they can think of—more than confirming the importance of preserving the historic landmark. But the idea of a haunted house set in a furnace is much more frightening in theory. Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve only been one time, and once I got over the initial shocks and scares I found it hard to remain captivated. I attribute this mostly to the fact that the furnaces are partially outdoors. I’m just not going to achieve the same level of fright if, for one, I don’t get that claustrophobic feeling that so many other haunted houses offer, and two, if I know exactly where I’m going to walk next. Because I know the Furnaces from other events, there’s few surprises in where the tour can lead me. This ain’t the case with Atrox Factory. The abandoned warehouse feel, all the way out in middle-of-nowhere Leeds, is enough to freak you out before you even go inside. The elaborate indoor attraction is simply a more immersive experience, one that allows for far more surprises and more to change year after year. Plus, they’ve got celebs. In the past they’ve had horror icons like Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) and Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) visit and sign autographs, etc. This year they’ve got some new guests. On Friday and Saturday, Dee Wallace, who’s appeared in over 30 horror films including The Frighteners, Cujo, The Howling, and Halloween, will make appearances. The Factory runs from 6:30 p.m. to midnight on weekends, and you can buy tickets anywhere in that timeframe. It’s $5 to get in, and $15 to do a factory tour. Arrive early, as it should sell out and there will be a long line. For more information, visit www.atroxfactory.com.
FAN FITNESS: The Levite Jewish Community Center and Collat Jewish Family Services’ Food Pantry are inviting you and your entire family to their Group Fitness Launch this Sunday. Watch your favorite team on Saturday, and then celebrate their victory (or their good sportsmanship) by sporting their colors while you enjoy the numerous activities the LJCC has lined up for the day. The schedule contains a number of globally distributed group-fitness classes, like BodyPump, Zumba, BodyFlow, BodyAttack, RPM and more. Bring one canned food item to donate. You can sign up in the Group Fitness Studio. For more information, call (205) 879-0411 or e-mail the Group Fitness Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TASTE TRAINING: Birmingham Bake & Cook Co., if you haven’t heard of it already, is a must-go destination for anyone who loves to cook in Birmingham. In this venue, hardly three days go by without another extensive cooking class on something or another. If they’re not teaching you how to make wonderfully obscure desserts or just burgers and fries, then they’ve probably got a guest chef from around town doing it for them. This week, the executive chef at Veranda on Highland by way of the Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, Thomas Robey, will lead a class on the different cultural cooking techniques in New Orleans and the Caribbean, and how best to marry those tastes with those of the south. The class starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 8:30. It’s $25, and that includes all the supplies you might need. For more information, call (205) 980-3661 or visit www.bakeandcookco.com.
MIND MATTERS: Last week we featured a cover story on Will Pearson, one of the co-founders and president of Mental_Floss magazine. In the interview, he talked about a Mental_Floss trivia event he will be holding at Cantina in Lakeview. That event is entitled “The Trivia Show” and will take place this Tuesday. Pearson, along with Reg from Reg’s Coffee House, will preside over the competition. If you’re a fan of the magazine, or the website, or one of the assorted games Mental Floss has developed, you’ll be sure to recognize at least one of the event categories. They include Spot the Big Fat Lie (a simple multiple choice game), Pop Culture Spelling Bee (where you choose the proper spelling for recognizable names), and Split Decision (where you pick from two improbable pairings), a board game soon to be released. Participants will receive dozens of prizes throughout the night as they step up to play. Mental Floss promises that “no audience member will walk away emptyhanded.” Pearson and Reg will also mingle with the audience before and after, if you’ve got something you’re dying to ask them. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Central Alabama. Seating is limited. It all starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 if you buy them beforehand, and $15 at the door. For more information, visit www.mentalfloss.com/bhamtrivia.
DYLAN, DUH: As if recording 34 studio albums, 58 singles, and 13 live albums, pioneering change in longstanding genres like folk, blues, country and gospel, reinventing himself seven times over, becoming a reluctant crusader of civil rights and anti-war movements and a figurehead representing counterculture, and performing for six decades weren’t enough, Bob Dylan has decided to return to Birmingham and the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex to play a show. Wherever you land on the quality of his live show today, there’s still not much reason to avoid it. Even if it’s not Bob Dylan in the 60s or 70s it’s still Bob Freaking Dylan. I’m willing to bet that 30 years from now you’ll want to say you saw him, regardless of where he was in his career. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets range from $40 to $70, which could be a hell of a lot worse. For more information, call (205) 458-8400 or visit www.bjcc.org.
THURSDAY, October 14
EARTHY ART: Stop by the Litebox Gallery during business hours this week and check out their newest exhibit, entitled Terra Aqua Flora Fauna. It features the talents of Andy Behrle, an Arizona State University graduate, and Kara Cassidy Hall, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like the name would suggest, Behrle and Hall use natural elements in their work. The installations on display use sound, time, light, earth and water as materials, as well as found objects and the like. And after you’re done looking at those, make your way over to another exhibit by Allison Cleveland, entitled June. The art is made up of scraps of paper that depict a progression in natural stains that collected throughout the month of June. The exhibits will be up until November 13. Litebox Gallery is open Wednesday through Friday, from noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, call (205) 716-1665.