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People, Places and Things 

          Gwen DeRu
Gwen DeRu

By Gwen DeRu


Enjoy the Holiday Season with family and friends!

This is the weekend for a few great things.
And, here are a few things to do….

There are so many new things this season…
YO’ MAMA’S RESTAURANT –A great place to get your meats and vegetables… Yo’ Mama’s Restaurant, downtown Birmingham, opened at 2328 Second Avenue North, 35203.  Yo’ Mama’s started as Jazzy Fish & Chicken down at the famous Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Destin and Panama City, Florida in 2007. Each year it was the most popular vendor with a fast-moving and seemingly endless line serving an average of 600 plates a day.  Jazzy Fish & Chicken eventually became a restaurant reality starting in downtown Birmingham, Alabama as Yo’ Mama’s Restaurant, serving fresh meals made from scratch.  Get a Taste of Home, everyday at Yo’ Mama’s when in downtown Birmingham.  (I haven’t been yet but will tell you my favorite meal, so look for more about Yo’ Mama’s soon.)  They have gluten free options such as (GF bun, GF tortilla, etc.). Their chefs are educated and have specific gluten-free stations to avoid cross-contamination. They are unable to guarantee that any menu item can be completely free of allergens. They want you to know that manufacturing processes and ingredients change frequently, so it is up to the customer to confirm ingredients with the manufacturer. While serving great food every day, they want you to know that they have a Thanksgiving Day ‘Meal of the Day’ this coming Monday/Tuesday.  Call (205) 957-6545 for more.
CHICKEN SALAD CHICK – Chicken Salad Chick, the nation’s newest fast-casual restaurant concept, is scheduled to open its second Birmingham area restaurant in Homewood on December 10. The new restaurant will be located in SoHo Square at 1830 29th Avenue South, Homewood, Ala. 35209. The company’s first area location opened in the Village at Lee Branch in September, and an additional location downtown is set to open early next year.  Born In Alabama — The Chicken Salad Chick concept was established in Auburn, AL in 2008 in the kitchen of founder, Stacy Brown and her future husband/fellow founder, Kevin Brown. Together, they opened a small takeout restaurant, which quickly grew to enormous demand and additional locations.
LAUGHTER IN DA HOOD EVERY THURSDAY – Comedians from all walks of life will be at TIDE AND TIGER for ‘Laugher in Da Hood’ every Thursday, 7 p.m. with a chance to win concert tickets, gift certificates, gift cards, t-shirts, drinks, food and more.  Call (205) 503-3880 for more.
COMEDIANS INTERESTED IN BEING DISCOVERED… AND SEEN….Email me at thelewisgroup@birminghamtimes.com and also gwenderu@yahoo.com.
TODAY…LINE DANCE INTO THANKSGIVING – Join Birmingham Council President Johnathan Austin and burn those pre-Thanksgiving calories at the “LINE DANCE FOR FITNESS” extravaganza at the Fountain Heights Recreation Center located at 1101 15th Avenue North, from 5:30 -7 p.m.  Learn the latest line dances while burning calories and jamming to fitness just in time for the holidays. This event is “FREE” and open to the public. Instructors suggest that all participants wear comfortable clothes and rubber bottom shoes. Bottled water and healthy refreshments will be provided.  Call (205) 254-2679 for more.
NEW (and old) ALABAMA STATE PARKS EVENTS – The Alabama State Parks has plenty new things planned for this month as we celebrate Native American Month and during the holiday season.
Here are a few….
MOVIES IN THE PARK – Take your blanket and your camp chair to enjoy a movie in the crisp, cool, fall mountain air under a starlit night sky, Friday, at Cheaha State Park in Campfire Ring (next to the observation tower at 7 p.m.  (Look for more events in the Alabama State Parks especially regarding the Native Americans such as pottery, jewelry, tools and weapons, finger weaving, pine needle basketry and more.
JOE WHEELER’S SATURDAY NIGHT SEAFOOD BUFFET – The Alabama State Parks is hosting a Saturday Night Seafood Buffet–served every Saturday night year-round (except Parade of Lights) at the Joe Wheeler State Park featuring All-you-can-eat crab legs, shrimp, fish and more.  Hours are seasonal but open at 5p.m.  Call (256) 247-5461 for more.  (Tell them Gwen sent you.)
OAK MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – The Oak Mountain Festival of Lights opens Thanksgiving night through December 28.  The nights are November 27-30, December 4-6, December 11-14 and December 18-28.  Experience a true Winter Wonderland with a Trail of Lights over a mile long featuring millions of twinkling lights in dazzling holiday displays featuring a Live Nativity and Real Snow that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own car.  At the end of the Trail of Lights, families can enjoy Bud’s Best Cookies Holiday Village with free samples of cookies and milk, with complimentary popcorn, hot cocoa, arts and crafts, vendors, train rides, live entertainment and more.  Take the entire family and get into the holiday spirit while indulging your inner Clark Griswold.  Special priced advance tickets on sale at participating Walgreens for $15 per car through December 18.   For more go to: www.Oakmountainfestivaloflights.com.
39th ANNUAL PARADE OF LIGHTS – Enjoy the festivities of the season with a Boat Parade, 6 p.m. and a holiday buffet in Daniella’s in the Joe Wheeler State Park beginning at 4 p.m.  Call (256) 247-5461 for reservations and more info.  (Check out the Alabama State Parks website: www.alapark.com for more activities)
BIRMNGHAM ZOO – The Birmingham Zoo invites the entire community to give back to those in need this holiday season. On Saturday and Sunday, Zoo visitors can enjoy half-price admission by bringing any canned or non-perishable food item. to donate to the United Way Food Bank.  The United Way Community Food Bank of Central Alabama serves people in need by securing and storing surplus food and household items to distribute these items through local partnering service agencies.  For more information about the Birmingham Zoo and the United Way Food Drive, please visit www.birminghamzoo.com.

Alison King, SopranoCATCH A RISING STAR WITH OPERA BIRMINGHAM – The curtain goes up on the season and the spotlight focuses on the winner of the 36th Annual Opera Birmingham Competition! Alabama’s own “Opera Idol”, soprano Alison King, takes the stage in a magnificent recital and begins the season on a high note! You can say you heard her when! Opera Birmingham opens the 2014-2015 60th Anniversary Diamond Season with a dazzling recital featuring Soprano Alison King, at Brock Recital Hall, Samford University, on Sunday, at 2:30 p.m.  Kevin Chance will accompany her on the piano.  Roles include Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Music Academy of the West, Giulietta in I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Musetta in La Bohème and Clorinda in La Cenerentola and Brigitta in Iolanta with Yale Opera as well as Second Niece in Peter Grimes at Chautauqua Opera.  Alison King is a star on the rise, so catch her in concert while you have the chance!   Season ticket packages for the upcoming 2014-15 season (featuring Hamlet, Home for the Holidays & La Bohème) are available.  For more information visit OperaBirmingham.org or call 205-322-6737.
CHRISTMAS CAROL SERVICE – Join others at the 79th annual BSC Carol Service to help ring in the Christmas season.  One of Birmingham-Southern College’s oldest traditions, the Service of Lessons and Carols, will be held Friday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 7, at 4:30 p.m., by the Concert Choir, Southern Chorale, and BSC Alumni Choir. Profs. Jeff Kensmoe and Lester Seigel are leading the choirs, Rev. Jack Hinnen is serving as liturgist, and Prof. Leon Couch is organist. Child care is available by advance reservation for the Sunday service by calling 874-1546 by Dec. 5 at noon. The 90-minute services will be held at Canterbury United Methodist Church, located at 350 Overbrook Road in Mountain Brook. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (205) 226-4957.
Willie ColeTravis Somerville
ART AT BETA PICTORIS GALLERY – This month the beta pictoris gallery is hosting art by Susana Solano, Jarrod Beck, Steven Bindemagel, Jacques Charlier, Willie Cole, Clayton Colvin, Mark Flood, Sharon louden, Eugene James Martin, Leslie Smith III, Travis Somerville and Melissa Vandenberg now through the 2015 year in the gallery located at 2411-Second Avenue North, downtown.
WATCH AND FEEL THE FIGHT WITH THE EA SPORTS™ UFC® COLLEGE TOUR – The EA SPORTS™ UFC College Tour will be stopping in Tuscaloosa, Ala. at Buffalo Wild Wings for UFC Pay-Per-View event, Saturday, December 6th, 10 p.m. ET /7 p.m. PT: UFC 181 Hendricks vs. Lawler.  The EA SPORTS™ UFC College Tour will be hitting 30 college campuses across the United States to give college fans the chance to play EA SPORTS™ UFC on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system while watching UFC Pay-Per-View events at local sports bar/restaurant.  Want to get your hands on EA SPORTS UFC and watch some UFC Pay-Per-View events this fall?  Love to compete against other students for awesome prizes and merchandise?  Look no further, EA SPORTS UFC is bringing you all the action to your campus with the UFC College Tour sponsored by MusclePharm.  Win Bragging Rights with EA SPORTS™ UFC! Come out early to get in the game and feel the fight with EA SPORTS™ UFC.  For more visit the official EA SPORTS UFC website.  WATCH AND FEEL THE FIGHT for yourself.

Lavell Crawford (Photo Credit: rottentomatoes.com)
FOR LOVE OF LAUGHTER…THIS WEEKEND… Or coming soon….Don’t miss any of the LAUGHTER AT THE STARDOME COMEDY CLUB…  Check out,  LAVELL CRAWFORD, this weekend.  Fresh off his one-hour special LAVELL CRAWFORD: CAN A BROTHER GET SOME LOVE for Comedy Central, his second for the network, we are looking to fill a few open dates in his schedule. In addition to his recent televised stand up specials, LAVELL is a regular guest on CHELSEA LATELY and TOSH.O, go to guest host for THE STEVE HARVEY SHOW, and currently recurring for his third season on the award winning series BREAKING BAD. Lavell first gained huge national exposure on NBC’s hit reality series LAST COMIC STANDING.FOR MORE LAUGHTER…NEXT WEEK, check out, JONATHAN SLOCUMB …AND MUCH MORE… January 2-4 – GARY OWEN, and February 7 – MIRANDA SINGS.  Tell Bruce that Gwen sent you!!  Call (205) 444-0008 for more.
ENJOY THE WEEKEND…and ‘every’ day as much as you can!!     I WILL!!

Get outdoors, laugh and enjoy the time with family and friends! Check out our ‘What’s Happening Travel and Tourism Guide’… whenever you can.

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)