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People, Places and Things


**COMEDIAN TIM BAE at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**THIRSTY THURSDAY at Hookah 114 17th Street No.
**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Get all the latest news.
**WATCH LOTS OF MOVIES …after dinner and with the family and friends at Sidewalk Fest. Check out the Sidewalk Film Fest for lots more.

**MOVIE NIGHT: Rent and Watch movies at Sidewalkfest.com.
**COMEDIAN TONY ROBERTS at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**LIT FRIDAYS WITH RIPCORD, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. at 4501 Gary Avenue in Fairfield.
**ENJOY THE DAY …the food, reading books, watching movies, taking a nap or just talking with loved ones and friends on the phone.  Get outside! Get some sun if you can!

**SATURDAYS IN THE GARDENS at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
**WINE DOWN HAPPY HOUR, 4-9 p.m. at Saferoom Lounge Bar.
**COMEDIAN TONY ROBERTS at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**KHARRIS’S DRAG BRUNCH at StarDome Comedy Club
**FUN, GAMES, YARD AND HOUSE WORK including Uno, Monopoly, Solitaire, Shopping, Eating. Times are changing soon.



**READ A GOOD BOOK…There are a few on the bookshelves, just lying around are some to read, BOOK: JAMES BALDWIN COLLECTED ESSAYS. …or you can get an e-book.

**READ A REAL GOOD BOOK…You might like cookbooks, to-do books, game books, picture books, history books. You might like: BOOK: THE MAN WHO LIVED UNDERGROUND by Author RICHARD WRIGHT. Check it out!

**INTERFAITH NOONDAY PRAYER SERVICES every Wednesday, Noon at Linn Park in Downtown Birmingham.
**COMEDY SHOWCASE at the StarDome Comedy Club.

**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Catch up on the news!

**MOVIE NIGHT: Rent and Watch movies at Sidewalkfest.com. Check out The Lumineers: Live From The Artists Den
**COMEDIAN NATE BARGATZE at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**LIT FRIDAYS WITH RIPCORD, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. at 4501 Gary Avenue in Fairfield.

**BLACK ENTERPRISE WEALTH BUILDING + REAL ESTATE – Don’t Miss ‘A Virtual Experience’ to acquire assets and create wealth for yourself and your family on April 22. Join Black Enterprise and register for free at https://wealth.blackenterprise.com/en/registration?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%203/30/2021_03/30/2021&recip_id=%5BRECIPID-]
**SELF-CARE SATURDAYS – LADY WOO presents Self-Care Saturdays – PUTTING THE U BACK IN BRUNCH, Saturday, at the Vault, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. with Brunch Buffet, Bottomless Mimosas ‘til noon, Self-Care Set Ups for the First 25 to RSVP at www.eventbrite.com/e/self-care/saturdays-brunch-tickets-143911887329.
**MAGIC CITY MARKET PLACE at Good People Brewing and Urban Supply, 1- 5 p.m., Saturday, APRIL 3 AND APRIL 17. For more: magiccitymarketplace@gmail.com.

**Red Baraat, a band known for its joyful celebration of music and dance, will perform a free, live-streamed concert Thursday, April 1, presented by the RED BARAAT. The 7 p.m. CT virtual concert is free; registration is required. Reserve your spot now. For more information, visit AlysStephens.org.
**RUBEN STUDDARD’S NEW SINGLE JOHN LEWIS LIVES – Grammy Award-nominated singer and Season Two winner of “American Idol” Ruben Studdard is teaming with D.C. songwriter and producer Alan Scott for the single “John Lewis Lives,” a song dedicated to the late civil rights icon and United States Congressman.

**SATURDAY DAYHIKE, Meet 8:45 a.m. with Southeastern Outings Dayhike at Payne Lake. Talladega National Forest, Oakmulgee Division near Moundville, Alabama – DETAILS: Payne Lake offers the outdoor enthusiast solitude and a 110-acre scenic lake brushed by numerous nature trails. Payne Lake could be described as a microcosm of the Oakmulgee National Forest with its mixed hardwood pine forest, cattail swamp and rolling hills in close proximity to each other. Walk on a pleasant, well-built, well-marked but poorly- maintained trail along the eastside of the lake, returning by a slightly different route. Distance is about five miles round trip. Long pants are recommended as some parts of the trail are overgrown. Hike rated moderate. Provided COVID vaccine is available to the general public prior to April 3, all participants will be required to be fully immunized for COVID so that participants can enjoy the social interaction characteristic of pre-COVID hikes. Bring picnic lunch and water with you. Well-behaved, carefully supervised children age 9 and over welcome. Bring three dollar exact change admission fee per person charged to use Payne Lake Recreation Area. Meet 8:45 a.m. at the parking lot behind the McDonald’s Galleria on U.S. Highway 31 in Hoover.  Depart at 9 a.m. Information and Trip Leader: Francis Rushton, 205-290-2557.

**WALL TO WALL – MERRITT JOHNSON through Spring 2021. BMA hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays Noon – 5 p.m. with virtual offerings will continue, including live programs, meditation exercises, art-making activities and much more!
**AN EPIC OF EARTH AND WATER Claire Leighton and the New England Industries Series through May 2, 2021.

**VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES – Aid with watering and plant care in the Gardens’ greenhouses and outdoor lath houses and discover the lush exotic varieties of tropicals and rare beauties. Go to volunteer@bbgardens.org for details.
**HONEY FROM THE GARDENS – The Library at the Gardens have a curbside service, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays, to purchase locally sourced honey from the Gardens’ hives or flavored in cinnamon, lemon or jalapeno from Ivy Brook Apiary. Call (205) 588-4593 or (205) 533-6062 to schedule a pickup.

**79th ANNUAL McDONALD’S MAGIC CITY CLASSIC – The McDonald’s Magic City Classic 79th Annual event presented by Coca-Cola has a new kick-off time of 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 17th. If you are unable to make it to the game, you can still support Alabama A&M and Alabama State by watching the live broadcast on ESPNU. The largest HBCU Classic in the country will take place at Legion Field on Saturday, April 17, when Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University battle it out for bragging rights.  There will be a limited amount of mobile only, reserved tickets sold to the game and tickets can be purchased online at www.magiccityclassic.com. Reserved game tickets are $35 and no general admission tickets will be sold. Masks must be worn at all times while at Legion Field and social distancing will be enforced. For additional event information and to purchase your tickets online, visit www.magiccityclassic.com.
**THE WORLD GAMES are coming July 7-17, 2022. Look for more!

…HERE is some book news. Check it out! (Some taken from Book Riot)

BOOK NEWS: Richard Wright’s Never-Before-Seen Novel to be Published in April – On April 20, the Library of America will be releasing a never before published novel from ‘Native Son’ author RICHARD WRIGHT. Wright’s THE MAN WHO LIVED UNDERGROUND is a novel about race and police violence written nearly 80 years ago. The novel is being published for the first time ever after Julia Wright—Wright’s daughter and literary executor—reached out to the Library of America about the significance of the novel’s perspective on police brutality. Written in the same period as Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945), The Man Who Lived Underground tells the story of Fred Daniels, a Black man framed by the police for a double murder he did not commit. Beaten and tortured until he confesses, Daniels then escapes, disappearing into the city’s sewer system on an underworld journey in the dark heart of American culture. Wright considered this book his finest work, but its graphic portrayal of police brutality may have made it untouchable for American publishers in the 1940s. Some of this material would eventually see publication only in much truncated form as a short story included in the anthology Cross-Section: A Collection of New American Writing in 1944 and then in the posthumous 1961 collection, Eight Men.

**BOOK: AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY: 250 YEARS OF STRUGGLE & SONG is edited by KEVIN YOUNG. ‘‘For more than 250 years,” writes poet and scholar Kevin Young in his introduction to this landmark new anthology, “African Americans have written and recited and published poetry about beauty and injustice, music and muses, Africa and America, freedoms and food ways, Harlem and history, funk and opera, boredom and longing, jazz and joy.” Across a turbulent history, from such vital centers as Harlem, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and the Bay Area, Black poets created a rich and multifaceted tradition that has been both a reckoning with American realities and an imaginative response to them. Capturing the power and beauty of this diverse tradition in a single indispensable volume, African American Poetry reveals as never before its centrality and its challenge to American poetry and culture. One of the great American art forms, African American poetry encompasses many kinds of verse: formal, experimental, vernacular, lyric, and protest. The anthology opens with moving testaments to the power of poetry as a means of self-assertion, as enslaved people like Phillis Wheatley and George Moses Horton and activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper voice their passionate resistance to slavery. Young’s fresh, revelatory presentation of the Harlem Renaissance reexamines the achievements of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen alongside works by lesser-known poets such as Gwendolyn B. Bennett and Mae V. Cowdery. The later flowering of the still influential Black Arts Movement is represented here with breadth and originality, including many long out-of-print or hard-to-find poems. Here are all the significant movements and currents: the nineteenth-century Francophone poets known as Les Cenelles, the Chicago Renaissance that flourished around Gwendolyn Brooks, the early 1960s Umbra group, and the more recent work of writers affiliated with Cave Canem and the Dark Noise Collective. Here too are poems of singular, hard-to-classify figures: the enslaved potter David Drake, the allusive modernist Melvin B. Tolson, the Cleveland-based experimentalist Russell Atkins. This Library of America volume also features biographies of each poet and notes that illuminate cultural references and allusions to historical events. Kevin Young, editor, is Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library and poetry editor of The New Yorker. A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the author of many books, including Brown, Bunk, Blue Laws, and Jelly Roll.

**BOOK: THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ZORA NEALE HURSTON (two volumes is edited by CHERYL A. WALL. This Library of America edition brings together for the first time all of Zora Neale Hurston’s best writing in one authoritative two-volume set. When she died in poverty and obscurity in 1960, all of her books were out of print. Today Hurston’s groundbreaking works, suffused with the culture and traditions of African Americans and the poetry of Black speech, have won her recognition as one of the most significant modern American writers. “There is no book more important to me than this one,” novelist Alice Walker has written about Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Hurston’s lyrical masterpiece about a woman’s determined struggle for love and independence. In this, her most acclaimed work, she employs a striking range of tones and voices to give the story of Janie and Tea Cake the poetic intensity of a myth.  Also included are Hurston’s other three novels: Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934), based on the lives of her parents and evoking in rich detail the world of her childhood; Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), her high-spirited and utterly personal retelling of the Exodus story; and Seraph on the Suwanee (1948), Hurston’s last major work, set in turn-of-the-century Florida and portraying the passionate clash between a poor southern “cracker” and her willful husband. A selection of short stories (among them “Spunk,” “The Bone of Contention,” and “Story in Harlem Slang”) further displays Hurston’s unique fusion of folk traditions and literary modernism—comic, ironic, and soaringly poetic. “Folklore is the arts of the people,” Hurston wrote, “before they find out that there is any such thing as art.” In Mules and Men (1935), the first book of African American folklore written by an African American, she returned to her native Florida and to New Orleans to record stories and sermons, blues and work songs, children’s games, courtship rituals, and formulas of voodoo doctors. This classic work is presented here with the original illustrations by the great Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias. Tell My Horse (1938), illustrated by twenty-six photographs (many of them taken by Hurston), vividly recounts the survival of African religion in Jamaican obeah and Haitian voodoo in the 1930s. Hurston’s controversial 1942 autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, is presented here for the first time as she intended, restoring passages omitted by the original because of political controversy, sexual candor, or fear of libel. Included in an appendix are four additional chapters, one never published, which represent earlier stages of Hurston’s conception of the book. Twenty-two essays, from “The Eatonville Anthology” (1926) to “Court Order Can’t Make Races Mix” (1955), demonstrate the range of Hurston’s concerns as they cover subjects from religion, music, and Harlem slang to Jim Crow and American democracy.

**BOOK: JAMES BALDWIN: COLLECTED ESSAYS is edited by TONI MORRISON. James Baldwin was a uniquely prophetic voice in American letters. His brilliant and provocative essays made him the literary voice of the Civil Rights Era, and they continue to speak with powerful urgency to us today, whether in the swirling debate over the Black Lives Matter movement or in the words of Raoul Peck’s documentary “I Am Not Your Negro.” Edited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the Library of America’s Collected Essays is the most comprehensive gathering of Baldwin’s nonfiction ever published. With burning passion and jabbing, epigrammatic wit, Baldwin fearlessly articulated issues of race and democracy and American identity in such famous essays as “The Harlem Ghetto,” “Everybody’s Protest Novel,” “Many Thousands Gone,” and “Stranger in the Village.” Here are the complete texts of his early landmark collections, Notes of a Native Son (1955) and Nobody Knows My Name (1961), which established him as an essential intellectual voice of his time, fusing in unique fashion the personal, the literary, and the political. “One writes,” he stated, “out of one thing only—one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give.” With singular eloquence and unblinking sharpness of observation he lived up to his credo: “I want to be an honest man and a good writer.” The classic The Fire Next Time (1963), perhaps the most influential of his writings, is his most penetrating analysis of America’s racial divide and an impassioned call to “end the racial nightmare…and change the history of the world.” The later volumes No Name in the Street (1972) and The Devil Finds Work (1976) chart his continuing response to the social and political turbulence of his era and include his remarkable works of film criticism. A further 36 essays—nine of them previously uncollected—include some of Baldwin’s earliest published writings, as well as revealing later insights into the language of Shakespeare, the poetry of Langston Hughes, and the music of Earl Hines. Toni Morrison, volume editor, was the author of numerous award–winning novels, including Love, Jazz, Song of Solomon, Sula, The Bluest Eye, and Beloved, which won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize. From 1989 to 2006 she was Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012.


**FRIDAY AND SATURDAY…COMEDIAN TONY ROBERTS…Originally from Detroit, comedian, actor, writer and (sometimes) director, Tony T. Roberts has been blessed with the coveted honor of being the, “Comedians-comedian.” The guy other performers love to watch work. His hilarious and refreshing energetic comedy style has granted him respect and created a huge demand for him on the comedy circuit, here in the states and abroad. Legendary comedian and sitcom director, David Steinberg, acclaimed Tony as, “A breakout talent” after witnessing Tony’s stand-up act and casting him as the lead in a series of funny burger king commercials he directed.
**MONDAY…LIVE FROM THE STARDOME WITH RICKEY SMILEY KARAOKE…Karaoke Night with Rickey Smiley is BACK and bringing the fun directly to you! Join  for a NATIONWIDE live streaming event with host Rickey Smiley. Can’t make it to the StarDome to get in on the fun? Grab your virtual tickets and watch the show on the go! Enjoy incredible karaoke performances, surprise special guests, and a good time only Rickey Smiley can provide.
**WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY… COMEDY SHOWCASE…Check out the best of the best Birmingham and the surrounding area have to offer. You could witness a future star right here on the StarDome stage.

**NEXT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY… COMEDIAN NATE BARGATZE…Hailing from Old Hickory, Tennessee, rising stand-up comedian Nate Bargatze is selling out shows across America. Nate followed in the showbiz footsteps of his dad, a former clown turned world class magician, who’s influence is seen on Nate’s 2015 debut special ‘Full Time Magic’ and his debut album “Yelled at By a Clown.” Nate’s half-hour Netflix Special “The Standups” premiered on July 4th, 2017 to rave reviews. In addition to touring the country as a headliner, Nate toured in arenas with Chris Rock on his 2017 Total Blackout Tour. He currently has a deal with 20th Century Fox to develop his own TV show.


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: gwenderu@yahoo.com and thelewisgroup@birminghamtimes.com.