EXPLOSIVE COMEDY: I have a confession to make. I’ve never seen a full episode of Good Times. Whether or not that warrants a confession is up to each of you individually. The third-generation spin-off of All in the Family is probably the only one of producer Norman Lear’s programs that people remember only as a single catchphrase. Indeed, on the Comedy Club Stardome’s website, they introduce the show’s most famous character, Jimmie “JJ” Walker, as JJ “Dyno-MITE” Walker. The Club will be presenting four nights of performances by the entertainer, starting this Thursday. Shows on Thursday and Sunday start at 7:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, there will be two performances each night at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. All tickets are $15. For more information, call (205) 444-0008 or visit www.stardome.com.
SHAKESPEARE WOULD BE PROUD: Starting late last year, the Birmingham Public Library began hosting a poetry slam series, entitled “Bards & Brews.” The series has continued with an event the first Friday of each month, the next being this week. Here’s how it works: Every contestant who enters must contribute $5 to recite some of their poetry. That money is all pooled together, and once the judges determine a winner, they’ll receive all the cash in the pool. This week’s event will be sponsored by Good People Brewing Company, who will donate some of their beer for sampling. Live music will also be provided by surf rock band the High Fidelics. The program is emceed by poetry slam events director and longtime host of “On Stage at the Carver Theater” Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins. The performances abide by the rules established in the Knoxville, Tennessee “Southern Fried Poetry Slam” series, which are very extensive and have separate sections for judges and contestants. Participants must register by 6:30 p.m. on Friday; call time is 7 p.m., and the night should go until about 10 p.m. For more information, call (205) 226-3742 or visit www.bplonline.org.
A MOUNTAIN OF ART: Over the last month or so, the East Lake Arts District (a “grassroots not-for-profit organization established by East Lake residents to bring revitalization and a renewed awareness of the historic East Lake community using the arts”) has been accepting submissions for a juried art show called “Art on ‘R Mountain.” This week, all the participants will get the chance to win a cash prize of $250, not to mention a fair deal of recognition, for their respective works of art. The second- and third-prize winners will receive another $250 worth of gift certificates. The event will take place at the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call (205) 215-5436 or visit www.eastlakearts.org.
ZITHERING VIRTUOSO: The Virginia Samford Theatre has done an excellent job of using the space it has in Caldwell Park to produce some of the most eclectic events in town. This week, they collaborate with the Alabama Asian Culture Foundation for a performance by Madame Liu Fang. Fang can only be described as a virtuoso, having played the Chinese pipa (flute) and guzheng (zither) for such spectators as Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to China and attendees of a UNESCO event at Kennedy Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. She has never been to the Southeast before though, so let’s hope we make a good impression. The show will go from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and children. For more information, call (205) 251-1206 or visit www.virginiasamfordtheatre.org.
CHOCK FULL OF MUSIC: A few months ago, I mentioned Birmingham Mountain Radio, the internet-based station that’s picked up just about where Reg’s Coffee House left off, back when Scott Register was still on the radio. Obviously, it’s much harder to keep up with an online station, especially when you do most of your radio listening in your car, like I do. So it’s always good to support that effort in other ways, specifically by attending concerts sponsored by Birmingham Mountain Radio, such as this week’s at WorkPlay. Not only will the venue be offering a show by Guster and opener Jukebox the Ghost in the SoundStage area, they’ll present “An Evening With...The Books” at the same time in the WorkPlay Theatre. Both shows start at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show. For more information, call (205) 879-4773 or visit www.workplay.com.
FILM FUN: I like to use this space to bring attention to film screenings in and around town, mostly because there’s such a shortage of them. But too often I forget about other film-related events going on. The Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival has lent itself to other pursuits, like the organization’s monthly “Sidewalk Salons.” The first Tuesday of each month, they hold these Salons at Rojo for anyone, and everyone in the Sidewalk community to network and share ideas. Each event also provides a guest speaker. The doors open at 6 p.m. for networking and the program starts at 7 p.m. The event is free. For more information, call (205) 324-0888, visit www. rojobirmingham.com or www.sidewalkfest.com.
TAP YOUR FEET, SHOEGAZERS: I don’t know about you, but when I hear a band name like “The Pains of Being Pure at Heart” I’m immediately tempted to write it off. Perhaps I’m just a fan of brevity, but overlong, overdramatic monikers like that give me little incentive to explore the music. But, as I argued a few weeks ago with Starfucker, sometimes you can have a stupid name and still be a worthy, talented group. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who headline Bottletree this Wednesday, have the added benefit of following Twin Shadow, an act I’m a little more familiar with. While Pains goes for something of a traditional indie-band sound, and Shadow explores multiple genres, namely new wave and electronica, they’re working with similar aesthetics, and you could probably slap the shoegaze label on either band and receive no arguments. Chris Taylor, bassist and multiinstrumentalist for Grizzly Bear, produced Twin Shadow’s first album, “Forget” last year, and this is probably why I’m so partial to the opening band. Pains can bring the swooping, atmospheric rush of shoegaze to their tunes, but simply can’t match the melody and imagination of Twin Shadow. That’s what wins out for me. You might be different. It goes without saying that both acts are worth seeing. Bottletree’s doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. No one under 18 will be admitted. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 the day of the show. For more information, call (205) 533-6288 or visit www.thebottletree.com.
COPE WITH IT: And speaking of acts worth seeing, let me throw another name out there: Clarence Greenwood. I’ve been following the career of the Memphis-born musician, who goes by Citizen Cope, since his best record to date, “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings,” was released in 2004. Since then, the artist has toured almost non-stop, which I guess is what you have to do if you still want to make money in the business. I haven’t seen the guy live in probably four years, when City Stages was still going strong, and I’d venture to guess he’s honed his craft considerably in that time, especially if he hasn’t been off the road. I’ve always liked to describe his music as “Bob Dylan meets Bob Marley.” That statement’s pretty hyperbolic in terms of quality comparison, but as far as genres are concerned, it’s right on the money. Greenwood is foremost a singer-songwriter, though almost all of his tracks evoke a reggae/hip-hip flavor. Maybe a more apt comparison would be “Elliott Smith meets Sublime,” but what do I know. Citizen Cope performs on the WorkPlay SoundStage, starting at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $20. For more information, call (205) 879-4773 or visit www.workplay.com.