THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: The Terrific New Theatre, which is by no means new (they celebrate their 25th year in business this season), is finishing out a run of Elephant’s Graveyard, a play about a town, a railroad, a circus and an elephant. In 1916 a traveling circus visits the small town of Erwin, Tenn.
After the circus’s biggest elephant, Mary, kills her handler in a freak accident during a parade, the sleepy town of Erwin wakes up and decides to do something that has never been done before and will never be done again: execute an elephant. What’s the real kicker? It’s a true story. At once whimsical and heartbreaking, Elephant’s Graveyard is an interesting show to put on as we approach the summer and most people are joyously anticipating some fun in the sun. There were few dry eyes in the house at the end of the show, which comes in at just over an hour. Mary herself never actually appears on stage, but instead comes to life through the monologues of a large cast of character. So vividly do the actors play their parts and paint the picture of a small idyllic town and a freewheeling circus that, at the end of the play, Mary’s death hits everyone like a ton of bricks. Elephant’s Graveyard starts at 8 p.m. and runs through Saturday, June 4. Thursday is pay what you can afford, but please give generously (tickets are normally $20 after all). You can reserve tickets before the show by calling (205) 328-0868. Visit www.terrificnewtheatre.com for more information.
BEER BASH: Free the Hops is hosting Birmingham’s Fifth Annual Magic City Brewfest, a two-day festival featuring over 200 different beers, some of which have never before been available in Alabama. Along with some interesting newcomers, there will also be some local and regional staples like Good People Brewing and Sweetwater Brewery. Beer will cost one quarter for 25 samples, enforced by the honor code. There will be plenty of regional and local brewers on hand to talk about their beer, as well as live music and food served by several local restaurants. Come enjoy a few cold ones at Sloss Furnaces and support Free the Hops, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing high-quality beer to Alabama.
Free the Hops frequently lobbies state government to loosen some of the restrictions on beer imports to allow gourmet beer into Alabama. Visit their festival, donate to the cause and enjoy a few cold brews in the summer sun. The festival will take place Friday, June 3, from 7-11 p.m. and Saturday, June 4, from 4-8 p.m. Tickets are $31 for attendees; $10 for designated drivers. For more information visit magiccitybrewfest.org.
BUILDING A LIBRARY: Friends of The Birmingham Public Library is holding a huge sale this Friday and Saturday. There will be books, CDs, movies, audio books and other items on sale, donated from private collections. Come down and pick up a few books to add to your own library. It’s all for a good cause too, since proceeds from the event will go towards expanding our public libraries in Birmingham. The sale will take place Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4, from 9:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. There will also be a special preview night on Thursday, June 2, from 6:30-8 p.m. where a silent auction of interesting or unusual books will be held and attendees will be invited to join Friends of The Birmingham Public Library. The sale itself will be free to attend, but only members may attend the silent auction. Those who are not already members may join at the door. For more information, call (205) 226-3761 or visit friends.bplonline.org.
HELP PRESERVE JAZZ: This Sunday drive over to Hoover and enjoy the Fifth Annual Preserve Jazz Festival, held at the beautiful Preserve the weekend after Memorial Day. Headlining the event is Boney James, best-selling jazz artist and Billboard’s number one “Hot Smooth Jazz Artist.” Along with James, Earl Klugh, Eric Essix, Eric Darius and Roman Street will be playing the festival. Take the family, relax and enjoy some beautiful music and beautiful scenery. Gates open at 3 p.m. and the first show starts at 4 p.m. Shuttles will begin running attendees from the Hoover Met to The Preserve at 2:45 p.m., and will run throughout the festival to take people back and forth. Tickets are $35. Call (205) 390-3800 for more information. Visit www.preservejazz.com to reserve tickets.
LIFE ON THE ROAD: Marty’s in Southside is one of the best kept secrets of Birmingham, the perfect late-night hang-out joint and a surprisingly good place to catch interesting musical acts. Especially on a Monday, when pickin’s are slim. This time around, they’ve got a left curve in the form of Hymn For Her, an Americana-pop two-some who live, tour and record in a vintage 1961 Bambi Airstream. They feature hillbilly harmonies sung over twangy, energetic music that rocks just a little too much to be country or folk. The show is free and begins at midnight, so it’s a great place to hit after your first stop of the evening. Marty’s will have their usual Monday night piano bar running from 7-10 p.m. prior to the show. Their kitchen opens at 11 p.m., so you can get yourself a cheeseburger while you wait for the late show to begin. Keep an eye out for the Airstream!
EUREKA! ECLAIRS!: To an outsider, French cooking can seem complicated, confusing and utterly foreign. Baking, in particular, can seem to be an impossible challenge. How, one might ask, can a ham-fisted American everyman possibly hope to craft something as delicate and delicious as an éclair? Well Loren Wood is here to help with that particular conundrum in her class, “Eclairs, Anyone?” at Birmingham Bake & Cook Co. Wood will teach attendees how to make and cook with pāte ą choux, the dough used to make éclairs, cream puffs, beignets and other tasty treats. Wood will also demonstrate how to make some traditional pastry creams and chocolate sauces.
Add these tricks to your arsenal and, when you bring out the desserts, you’ll wow your guests forevermore with your culinary prowess. The class runs from 6:30-9 p.m. and costs $35. It is recommended that you register in advance. Call (205) 980-3661 or visit www.bakeandcookco.com to reserve your spot.
FROM FARM TO PLATE: Little Savannah Bar and Restaurant is hosting a different farmer for a three-course meal every Wednesday this summer in order to connect the community to its food. This week’s guest farmer is Chris Bennett, who runs Hollow Spring Farm near Pell City, Al. Bennett uses two acres of his property to grow herbs, flowers and specialty vegetables. He uses the remaining 82 acres to forage for wild edibles like mushrooms, wild persimmons and wild ginger. Little Savannah will host Bennett and allow him to discuss the work he does and the food he provides. Join Chef Clifton Bolton, his guest, and the folks at Little Savannah to learn just a little more about where exactly your food comes from. The menu changes each week. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m., and it is recommended that you make reservations about a week in advance. Dinner will cost $35, not including alcohol, tax and gratuity. To make reservations, call (205) 591-1119 or visit www.littlesavannah.com.
STAGE ANGELS: Theatre Downtown is starting a run of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, the Pulitzer Award-winning play that was later adapted into an HBO miniseries starring Al Pacino. Angels in America follows a group of gay men, Prior Walter and his compatriots, as they live in New York in 1985, during the Reagan administration. Walter finds out he is afflicted with AIDS and, as his life falls apart around him, he is visited by an angel who proclaims that he is a prophet. The play’s first part, Millennium Approaches, will run through June 25. The play’s second part, Perestroika, will premiere in early August. The play starts at 7:30 p.m. Opening night, Thursday, June 9, is “Hobo Night.” Pay what you can afford, minimum $7. Call (205) 306-1470 or visit www.theatredowntown.org to reserve tickets.