OPENING DIVERSIONS: Now that everyone’s holiday season is just about over, businesses are opening again, weekly schedules are being reestablished and events are getting easier to come by. Galleries, in particular, will be hosting a line-up of opening receptions for new exhibits in the coming weeks, as many of their prior displays came to a close at the end of December. For this week, though, art shows are popping up in venues that aren’t galleries. Bottletree is opening “Just Is,” with works by Leslie Paige Nuby on Friday, while Rojo begins their exhibition, “Diversions,” by Roger Jones, on Friday. That exhibition is a series of drawings by the Birmingham artist. Jones, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Sewanee in Tennessee and a master’s from The University of Alabama, is partial to the graphite pencil for its classicality. He feels that drawing, or sketching, with the simplest materials makes for “the purest and most immediate forms of expression.” His drawings in recent years have come down to two series, according to him: “One is concerned with memory, space and architecture. The second raises questions about what I see as a thin line between organized religion and the occult.” Some drawings from the latter include portraits of David Koresh and L. Ron Hubbard. Jones’ opening reception will start at 6 p.m., and go until 10 p.m. The exhibition will be up until February 1, and you can see it anytime Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call (205) 328-4733 or visit www.rojobirmingham.com.
CRAMMED FULL OF CLASSICS: The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has a big week ahead of it at the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center. Next Thursday, they’ll have Danniel Bernard Roumain perform his “Voodoo Violin Concerto,” and this Friday, Stefan Sanderling will conduct Daniel Szasz on violin in “The Lark Ascending.” The classic piece by Vaughan Williams will be followed by selections from Claude Debussy, Johannes Brahms and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The show will run on Friday night, and again on Saturday night. Both concerts begins at 8 p.m., and tickets will run you anywhere between $15 and $72, depending on where your seats are. At 11 a.m. on Friday there will be a “Coffee Concert” with music from Brahms and Mozart, for those interested. For more information about times and tickets prices, call (205) 975-ARTS or visit www.alabamasymphony.org.
LONG DISTANCE DISNEY: I won’t profess to being the biggest classical music fan (though not because I’m unopen to the genre—it’s just not the most pervasive one out there anymore), but I will profess to watching symphonies just to look at the conductor. I know most people have seen conductors at some point in their lives, but how many of you have really paid attention to them up close? If you’re lucky enough to find one as passionate as Gustavo Dudamel, you don’t even need the music to be entertained. Just watch this link—www.laphil.com/laphillive—and you’ll see what I’m talking about. That’s the trailer for “LA Phil Live with Gustavo Dudamel” from Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is broadcasting this performance to movie theaters all across the country, one of which will be the Regal Cinemas in Trussville. So if you want to learn more about classical music, or you just want to watch seizure-like conductor moves, go check it out. The one showing will be at 5 p.m. Tickets are $18-$22 for adults, $20 for seniors and $16-$18 for students. For more information, call (303) 493-0349 or visit www.laphil.com/laphillive.
MODERN XENOPHILIA: Reed Books Antiques, or as Jim Reed likes to call it, “The Museum of Fond Memories,” is one of the best places to find oddities in Birmingham. It’s not the best place to go looking for something specific, but if you’ve got a few hours to kill you’re bound to find more than a few things you’ll want to take home with you. One thing you can plan ahead for are the exhibits and displays at the store. There have been few odder than the one opening this month, who’s full title reads: “Attack of the Alien Mockingbird! Foreign and Domestic: To Kill a Mockingbird.” Anyone can do a tribute to Harper Lee, but leave it to Reed Books to do it like this—with the most diverse selection of materials possible. The display is a collection of To Kill a Mockingbird memorabilia, most of it from other parts of the world. Each item is an original. Most of them are books and posters promoting the text, but I’m sure there’ll be a few other things thrown in. Again, probably not something you’d actively seek out, but where else would you find it? The display will run through the end of the month, and you can see it daily from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. For more information, call (205) 326-4460 or visit www.jimreedbooks.com.
BEE PREPARED: Birmingham Bake & Cook is never short on cooking classes—they’ll usually have one a week, if not two—but they’re usually centered around a particular dish, an area chef, or a style of cooking. This Tuesday’s class may be the first to focus on a condiment. Wait, honey’s a condiment, right? I think it depends on how you use it. Anyway, the class is called, ever-appropriately, “Cooking with Honey,” and will be taught by a chef named Linda Franzo. She is the owner and operator of Passionate Platter in Slidell, Louisiana, a restaurant occupied with using as many fresh herbs and ingredients as possible. Her demonstration will cover honey, because while it can be used to top any number of foods, it is also known for its medicinal qualities—a topic more akin to Franzo’s expertise. She will be using varieties of Savannah Bee Company Honey to prepare a series of dishes that includes an asian-inspired pineapple honey chicken, a honey brioche and a citrus and honey granita. The class will go from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. Admission is $35. For more information, call (205) 980-3661 or visit www.bakeandcookco.com.
HIP TO BE SQAURE: It seems like I’m putting a Bottletree live music show in these picks every week. I’m not apologizing for this, as they, among a few others, have the most consistent live music in town. This week’s short on shows, though, so I thought I’d take the time to mention the Bottletree A/V Club. Started last week, the program will be a regular thing at the venue in the coming month. Bring your favorite album on vinyl, your favorite films, your favorite whatever, and shoot the shit with other like-minded chaps. There’ll be an ongoing trivia component to the whole thing, complete with prizes and giveaways. Look out for the drink specials, as well. It’s a chance to go out and drink, and maybe enrich your mind at the same time. The A/V Club will run every Wednesday this month, from 7 p.m. onward. The events are free. For more information, call (205) 705-3775 or visit www.thebottletree.com.
NO SOAP IN HIS MOUTH: My main recommendation this week is to see Brian Regan at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Regan has been around for a good deal of time, but seems to be getting more recognition as of late. He’s known for having a completely clean act, and it’s made him popular with the Christian and Jehovah’s Witness scene. But don’t let that turn you off. He’s the best clean comic working today. I’ve been a fan for a few years, and there’s one bit that’s always stuck out in my head. It has to do with Regan discussing his little league experiences. He mentions that he played left field, “because I stunk” and how he was only really in for the free snow cone at the end of the game. He imitates his coach asking him how many outs there are, to which he responds “free snow cone!”, which leads to him trailing off, as he does, in hilarious fashion: “free snow cone at the end of the game. If you play they’re gonna give you a free snowcone, even if you play half game you get a...you don’t get a half snow cone...you get a whole snow cone for half the game... people that play whole game get a whole snow cone and the people that play half game get a whole snow cone. So it’s always whole. So, I’d rather play half game. I’d rather play half game.” And if reading that wasn’t funny to you, that just means you need to hear it in his voice, which is a perfect combination of childish innocence and adult buffoonery. His performance starts at 7:30 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m. Tickets are $34.50. For more information, call (800) 982-2787 or visit www.bjcc.org.