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People, Places and Things 

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          Gwen DeRu
Gwen DeRu

By Gwen DeRu

LET’S CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH!
 
It’s February!  Time for Valentine’s Day and ‘thoughts’ of love!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY…TO YOU… LEBOISE DERU!!  …MANY MANY MORE!!
 
“WISHING YOU THE BEST OF EVERYTHING!”

Steven Hoyt
NEW CAPTAIN D’S RESTAURANT IN FIVE POINTS WEST – The Five Points West community got an economic boost with the Captain D’s opening recently. District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt made a great impact in the Five Points West neighborhood when the new Captain D’s restaurant opened.  It follows the success of the Applebee’s Restaurant and is just the start of more economic expansion for District 8 says Councilor Hoyt.  The 2,789 square-foot restaurant opened its doors across from the Birmingham CrossPlex building. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Captain D’s owns, operates and franchises 520 restaurants in 25 states, plus military bases around the world. Captain D’s offers its customers great seafood at reasonable prices in a relaxed environment. The brand’s restaurants serve a widely varied seafood menu that includes freshly prepared entrees, and the company’s signature hand-battered fish which is prepared to order to ensure freshness. The restaurants also offer premium-quality, grilled fish, as well as shrimp, chicken, shrimp & beef kabobs, hushpuppies, desserts and freshly brewed, southern-style sweet tea, a Captain D’s favorite.  The ribbon cutting ceremony was held the latter part of November.
MIRRORS & MUSIC – THE BEING MARY JANE EXPERIENCE – The Mirrors and Music Invitation Only event is today in Birmingham.   This is an advance screening and acoustic set by Grammy Nominated Singer and songwriter STACY BARTHE.

Krysta Harden(Photo Credit:  albanyherald.com)
32nd GEORGIA FARMERS CONFERENCE – The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund’s 32nd Georgia Farmers Conference is today and tomorrow at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany.  The conference hosts over 200 farmers, ranchers, landowners and supporters from across the South to provide current information on cooperatives, USDA programs, marketing, legal, risk management, conservation, and other agricultural issues vital to farmers.   There will also be updates on the Pigford II and the Women/Hispanic Lawsuits.  Today there are workshops beginning at 3:30 p.m. and a reception at 6 p.m.  Friday the conference begins at 8:30 a.m. with workshops and a USDA Panel discussion on various programs. Invited guests include U. S. Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Mr. Don Koehler, Executive Director of the Georgia Peanut Commission. Ms. Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary USDA, is the confirmed keynote speaker.

February has many things going… It’s the Month of Love!
THIS IS FOR THE LOVER IN YOU!

BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE Events… in February….
BCRI BLACK HISTORY MONTH FILM FESTIVAL  – The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute held its first film ‘Soundtrack to a Revolution’ recently.  There will be a film weekly throughout the month of February in the Richard Arrington, Jr. Resources Gallery from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.  The remaining films are:  February 11 – FREEDOM SUMMER, February 18 – BLACK MAGIC, and February 25 – STAND.  The films are free with admission to the BCRI.
BRCI RECEIVES CHINESE ARTIST SCULPTURE – Dr. Wen Zou, a renowned Chinese public artist, secretary general and deputy executive of National Sculpture Organization and professor of Tsinghua University Art Institute unveiled his statue ‘SUPPORT OF THE DREAM’ a gift to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  It is a statue he created of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   It features Dr. King calling for civil rights with a raised arm with “I Have a Dream” projected on the Washington Monument behind him.

Sybarite5SYBARITE5 PERFORMS AT THE WRIGHT FINE ARTS CENTER – The Wright Center at Samford University will showcase the acclaimed string quintet Sybarite5, Friday, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. in the Jane H. Hollock Brock Recital Hall.  SYBARITE5, the first string quintet to ever win the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, has made its name by blurring classical and rock motifs, earning praise from critics and audiences alike. Playing a repertoire that ranges from Mozart to Radiohead, SYBARITE5 utilizes exquisite musicality and a dynamic performance style to turn heads throughout the music world and break the boundaries of what a string ensemble can be. This performance is the capstone of a four day residency working with local music composers and students.  The Friday concert is preceded by Samford’s New Music Idol Contest, which is free to the public, today at Samford’s Harry’s Coffeehouse. As part of the New Music Idol residency with SYBARITE5, eight Samford Students will have the opportunity to work with the string quintet and have their compositions performed live at the Feb. 5th Music Idol Concert. Similar to the famous TV show “American Idol,” the show will cbe omposed of a panel of four judges, including Alison Bolton, Director of Artistic Operations and Education for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra; Comedienne Joy “The Queen of Clean”; and Burgin Mathews from Birmingham Mountain Radio’s The Lost Child. The attending audience will text to vote for the piece they liked the most. The piece with the most votes will be performed at SYBARITE5’s main concert at Brock Hall, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.  Additionally, the quintet will be in Birmingham offering four days of outreach to the community including the YMCA of Greater Birmingham.

PPT Plies(Photo Credit: HipHopParlor.com)
MERIENDA LOUNGE CELEBRATES VIP FRIDAYS THIRD ANNIVERSARY –PLIES AND YUNG DIL will perform at the Merienda Lounge VIP Fridays Third Anniversary with DJ DIRTY VEGAS mixing Live, Friday.

FOR THE NASCAR LOVERS OF WILD GAME…..AND MOTORSPORTS FANS….
10th ANNUAL AWF WILD GAME COOK-OFF – Before the greatest drivers in the world converge at Talladega Superspeedway in 2015, NASCAR’s Most Competitive track will play host to some of the best Backyard Chefs in Alabama during the 10th annual Alabama Wildlife Federation Wild Game Cook-Off on Saturday.  More than 25 cook-off teams are expected to fire up their grills, smokers and fryers in hopes of showcasing their delicious recipes for a chance to be crowned Alabama’s Best! Everyone who attends can sample each mouth-watering dish! Winning delicacies in the past have included “Grilled Dove Breast,” “Smoked Venison with Cajun Wild Rice,” and “Flounder stuffed with Shrimp and Crab topped with a Butter Cream Sauce”. The AWF Wild Game Cook-off is a celebration of game animals, game birds and game fish that can be harvested and utilized for food.  The event will be held inside the mammoth 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, and will also feature live music, door prizes, raffles and a huge incredible auction (both silent & LIVE on the center aisle of the garage).  Auction items include racing memorabilia, outdoor themed art prints and both University of Alabama and Auburn University treasure items.

FOR SPOKEN WORD, BOOK AND ART LOVERS….
REAL TALK: AN EVENING OF SPOKEN WORD AND ART – The Jefferson County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority presents Real Talk on Saturday, 7 – 11 p.m. at the Legends.  This is an evening of spoken word, art and more.
AUTHORS EXPO AND BOOK FAIR AT THE LIBRARY – The Authors Expo and Book Fair is where more than 100 authors will present and sell their works Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  At 1 p.m., author Marie A. Sutton will discuss her new book on the A.G. Gaston Motel, a historic landmark that served as a major meeting location for leaders of the civil rights movement. The Birmingham City Council recently voted to approve $10 million to help redevelop the motel, which opened in the 1950s and closed in the 1980s.

PPTTonya WareBOOK – LIFE IS YOUR SONG – Author Tonya H. Ware’s powerful book, LIFE IS YOUR SONG – DISCOVER YOUR VOICE is a story everyone struggling with reclaiming their life must read.  Tonya shares how to reset your inner compass, understand who you really are and how to find your place in this world.  People everywhere are standing at the threshold of decision, asking this question – What is the answer for MY life?  Having experienced a life-changing event where she actually died, and was miraculously revived, Tonya transitioned from a corporate million dollar producer who recorded her debut album Tonya Ware – The Voice, to life as a virtual shut in – spending more than six years trying to reclaim her health and her life.
FEBRUARY AT THE BOTANICAL GARDENS – American Girl: Girls Just Like Me – Baking from the Heart – As students explore the story of the 2015 American Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas, an enthusiastic young baker, girls will learn a little about French culture and bake a delicious treat in honor of Heart Day. February 8. 2 – 4 p.m.  For more information and to register online, visit www.bbgardens.org/classes.

FOR MUSIC LOVERS…AND DANCE…
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS GOING ON

PPTYoung BuffaloWEDNESDAY…YOUNG BUFFALO at the Bottletree Café.  Hailing from the hometown of William Faulkner, Oxford Mississippi, the rock five piece Young Buffalo pride themselves on creating music as unique as the city they come from. Combining lyrical prowess and melodic earworms, Young Buffalo are here to give new life to their genre.   Although the group’s songwriters Ben Yarbrough and Jim Barrett didn’t begin playing under the Young Buffalo moniker until 2009, they started writing music together as teenagers and never ceased evolving. The band—which now also features drummer Tim Burkhead, bassist Andrew Guinn and keyboardist Will Eubanks—couldn’t be more excited to share House, an 11-track album produced by Dave Schiffman (Haim, Weezer) that establishes the five-piece act as a band that’s as unique as the town where they were conceived.

THIS WEEKEND… TODAY…
**ASHLEY AND THE KEEPERS at Ona’s Music Room.
**JEZEBEL DOGS at The Nick.
FRIDAY…
**HALLELUJAH JUNCTION at Ona’s Music Room.
**FIVE SHOT JACK, THE TWIN HEART TRAP, ELYSE THEROSE, HANNAH THOMAS BAND w/ K RYYLEE & SYLVIA ROSE at The Nick on southside.
SATURDAY…
**ONA WATSON AND CHAMPAGNE at Ona’s Music Room.
**TIDE AND TIGER LOUNGE, 8 p.m. on Graymont Avenue across the street from Legion Field.  Open Tuesday through Sunday.
**J.D. WILLKES AND THE DIRT DAUBERS, BLACKFOOT GYPSIES 
at The Nick.
WEDNESDAY…
**YOUNG BUFFALO at the Bottletree Café.  Hailing from the hometown of William Faulkner, Oxford Mississippi, the rock five-piece Young Buffalo pride themselves on creating music as unique as the city they come from. Combining lyrical prowess and melodic earworms, Young Buffalo are here to give new life to their genre.   Their debut full length album House is due out in March.

THERE IS THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER….IN THE ‘HAM… AT THE STARDOME AND IN DA HOOD AT TIDE AND TIGER LOUNGE…LAUGHTER FOR THE NEW YEAR…
**AT THE STARDOME…, TODAY… MIKE MERRYFIELD… Mike Merryfield is a comedic ninja, a highly-trained humorous assassin who never lets on how deadly he is until he pounces. And when he does, everyone better be on their toes. Actually, I take that back. The guys are totally fine; they’re not in any danger at all. It’s the women who’d better be on their guard. His new album, Cupcakes and Potpourri, starts off innocently enough, with some solid material about Vicodin and how he got his hands on his own little stash and the audience is none the wiser about what they’ve gotten themselves into

PPT Hughley(Photo Credit: Biography.com)
DON’T MISS…D.L. HUGHLEY, this weekend… D.L. Hughley spent four successful years as the co-creator, star and executive producer of his own sitcom “THE HUGHLEYS.” Hughley’s success continued from there. With his quick wit and affable personality, he has now become a favorite guest on such shows as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Politically Incorrect” and “Live with Regis and Kelly.” D.L. is also one of the original “Kings Of Comedy”

COMING SOON…, FINIS HENDERSON – February 13-15, SHERYL UNDERWOOD – February 20-21, MIRANDA SINGS – February 7-8   (Tell Bruce that Gwen sent you.)  Enjoy some good laughter and fun times while you eat some great food with your friends. For more, call (205) 444-0008.
**MORE LAUGHTER…COMEDY IN DA HOOD at the New Tide and Tiger on Graymont Avenue. Comedians are invited!  Call (205) 503-3880 for more.
Look for more.
**February 17-18 – A. G. GASTON CONFERENCE – Economic Empowerment through Enterprise Development AT THE BJCC.
**MARCH 5-9 – BRIDGE CROSSING JUBLIEE in Selma, Alabama.

NOW…. BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUTS!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU… LEBOISE DERU, JR., LEKAMEREN DERU, JACARYS BRAXTON, LEKOTA DERU, CASSANDRA GRIFFEN MCINTYRE, PHYLLIS CONNELL, BETTINA BYRD GILES, MICHAEL GOULD, EVERETT SPRUILL, DR. CAROLYN BOLIVAR HAMEEN AND TO ALL CELEBRATING!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL YOU BIRTHDAY BALLERS…MANY, MANY MORE HAPPY BIRTHDAYS!!  ENJOY!!  Celebrate ‘your’ month…I do…all 30 days ‘and’ some!

Well, that’s it.  Tell you more ‘next’ time.
(People, Places and Things by Gwen DeRu is a weekly column. Send comments to my emails: thelewisgroup@birminghamtimes.com or gwenderu@yahoo.com.)