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People, Places and Things


**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Get all the latest news
**WATCH LOTS OF MOVIES …after dinner and with the family and friends.
**COMEDIANS DADDAZZ AND MELISSA at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**SATURDAYS IN THE GARDENS at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
**WINE DOWN HAPPY HOUR, 4-9 p.m. at Saferoom Lounge Bar.
**COMEDIAN DADDAZZ AND MELISSA at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**FUN, GAMES, YARD AND HOUSE WORK including Uno, Monopoly, Solitaire. Raking Leaves. Times are changing soon.
**Head to the Birmingham Zoo GLOW WILD…enjoy the weather and the fun.
**READ A GOOD BOOK…There are a few on the bookshelves, just lying around are some to read …or you can get an e-book. Read: STRANGER FACES is written by NAMWALI SERPELL, Zambian born author and scholar.
**COMEDIAN RICKEY SMILEY at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**READ A REAL GOOD BOOK…You might like the book… ADDIS ABABA NOIR is written by MAAZA MENGISTE an Ethiopian American author! Check it out!
**INTERFAITH NOONDAY PRAYER SERVICES every Wednesday, Noon at Linn Park in Downtown Birmingham.
**FALL WEATHER, LEAVE WATCHING …THE WEEK AND WEEKEND. Looking for the weekend and thinking of what to do that depends on good weather outdoors. Getting out of the house even if going nowhere…. Take a walk if the weather is good.
**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Catch up on the news!
**MOVIE NIGHT: Rent and Watch movies at Sidewalkfest.com. Don’t miss FREAKY …and other movies at Sidewalk Cinema.
**COMEDIAN ROD MAN at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**DAVE RICKEY RECEIVES PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF AMERICA AWARD – Mr. Dave Rickey, well-known Alabama public relations professional and former member of the WSFA 12 News staff will be among the honorees at an upcoming conference of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Dave Rickey received the national Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service. Rickey began his career as a reporter for WSFA 12 News. He stayed in Montgomery to serve as director of corporate communications for Blount International, Inc. Later, he served in high-level public relations positions in Birmingham at Alabama Power and AmSouth Bank, overseeing communications in the midst of a major corporate merger.
After serving in similar roles for the Alabama Farmers Federation and ALFA insurance, Rickey became Senior Vice President of Communications for the Birmingham Business Alliance, the organization that resulted from the merger of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Development Board. Throughout his career, he also found time to serve in various positions for the PRSA, including secretary to the national board and chair of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards.
**PATRIA GATSON CROWNED MISS TALLADEGA COLLEGE – The Coronation of Miss Talladega College 2020-2021 Patria Gatson was held recently and made a little history. Mr. Anthony Jones, who has served as the Miss Talladega College advisor for over 20 years, said that it was unlike any of the college’s previous coronations because it was held outdoors, and the queen arrived in a horse-drawn carriage wearing a face shield. President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins said that Patria Gatson was an exceptional scholar and an outstanding campus leader. Patria was crowned by Dr. Hawkins, Miss Talladega College 2019-2020 De’Jha Billingsley and Mr. Talladega College 2019-2020 Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba Ndiaye. Members of the Royal Court included Miss Senior Jordan Dubose, Gentleman in Waiting Robert Walker, Miss Junior Ayala Seaborn, Mr. Junior Kobe Dickerson, Miss Sophomore Chaniaya McKenzie, Mr. Sophomore Trayon Miller, Miss Freshman Christian McKinney, and Mr. Freshman Ulises Rivera Jr.  Miss Talladega College 1994-1995 Terri A. Harvill delivered the invocation, and Talladega College Show Stopping Crimsonettes dancers Yvonne Hamilton and Ranisha Morris performed.
**PRISM LAUNCHED – The Birmingham Zoo and the Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative, along with numerous participating arts, cultural and science organizations, has launched Prism, an online directory of resources to help students of all ages experience arts, culture and science safely. Prism is a searchable directory of socially-distanced resources that help stimulate curiosity and creativity at home and at school. These high-quality lessons, activities, and tools are developed by local arts, cultural and science organizations to increase access to the benefits of STEAM education in Greater Birmingham. Resources are designed for all ages including Pre-K, K-12, and adult learners and include virtual performances, after school classes, virtual field trips, lessons for teachers, and programs for schools. Topics include music, theater, dance, creative-writing, visual art, social and emotional learning, history, environmental literacy, and more. Many resources build curiosity and creativity while supporting academic learning like reading and math.
**ERIC ESSIX & HOLIDAY SOUL, 7:30 p.m. on December 13 at the Drive In Show in the parking lot 5A at 16th Street & University Blvd projected on a 40 x 80 foot screen. A MUST SEE SHOW! Call (205) 975-2787 for more.
**AN EPIC OF EARTH AND WATER Claire Leighton and the New England Industries Series through May 2, 2021
**ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL through March, 2021, primarily from the Museum’s permanent collection that look at themes of power and agency. This exhibition takes its name from a painting by Amy Sherald, whose portraits depict Black sitters with pride, dignity, and joy, representation historically only afforded to white people. Some artists in the exhibition look towards power in other creative endeavors, like music. Others contemplate the hidden potential of everyday objects by transforming them into works of art. Several artists engage the representation of space and architecture – including museum spaces – to discover the dynamics of power. Considered together, these works illustrate the importance of being seen, choosing how to be depicted, and telling one’s own history.
**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!
**HEALERS IN THE SKY, PENTACLE IN MY HEART is a solo exhibition by LANETTE BLANKENSHIP. The Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday 12-5 p.m. at the Stephen Smith Fine Art Gallery in Fairfield. This exhibition will coincide with the Grand Opening of GYPSY TREASURE, an antique emporium located within Stephen Smith Fine Art.
Happy Holiday Season!  Days are shorter, temperatures are cooler, and some of you are taking road trips …or more. NOW…What about eating some great food, smelling some spice in the pies and cakes, drinking hot chocolate and getting out to watching fall foliage, going to the farms, SO, Holiday lovers, rejoice! Enjoy the good smells, desserts, egg nog, too much food and great times with loved ones. Enjoy the good weather while you take a walk!
**SUNDAY DAY WALK, Meet 1:45 p.m. Southeastern Outings Easy Walk at Vulcan Trail inside the City Limits of Birmingham – DETAILS: Enjoy an easy walk in the woodlands overlooking Birmingham on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The trail is level, as it is on an old mining railroad right of way just below the crest of Red Mountain. This walk is an ideal activity for those Thanksgiving guests who have been in your house for several days and with whom you are looking for something to do to get them out of the house. Meet at 1:45 p.m. in the Vulcan Park and Museum Parking Lot where you would normally park to visit the statue and Vulcan Park. Plan to depart at 2 p.m. Walk from the big parking lot a short distance down some new stairs to the trail head and then on the trail to Green Springs Highway and back. The formerly unpaved section of the Vulcan Trail has recently been widened and resurfaced. There is no charge to participate in this hike and there is no charge for admission to either Vulcan Park or the trail. Well-behaved, carefully supervised children age 7 and older able to walk four miles are welcome. After the walk is completed, there will be an optional dinner at Jim ‘N Nick’s 11th Avenue Grill at Five Points South. Share an adventure. Bring a friend or friends.Info: Dan Frederick, seoutings@bellsouth.net  or 205/631-4680.
**GLOW WILD: An Animal Lantern Celebration! This extraordinary event will be held on select nights 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. during the months of November, December, and January. Guests will be captivated by visually stunning lantern creations of wildlife from around the world. The Zoo will come alive with hundreds of marvelous animal shapes of all sizes – from pandas, elephants, cheetahs, polar bears, and whales – soaring up to 30 feet high! Spend the winter with your Birmingham Zoo. GLOW WILD into the new year!
FOR BOOK LOVERS… (Some taken from Riot Books)
…HERE are a few books by African women of color. Some have a greater appreciation for the excellent writing by African authors of color and women. (Some taken from Book Riot)
**BOOK: STRANGER FACES is written by NAMWALI SERPELL. Zambian born author and scholar Serpell is dazzling readers with her new narrative nonfiction essay collection Stranger Faces, which has recently been published as part of the ‘Undelivered Lectures’ series from the publishing house Transit books. In these essays, Serpell interrogates human preoccupations with the face by considering different notable faces that have appeared in popular culture over the past few centuries. The collection surveys an interesting set of familiar and unfamiliar faces including ones which are racialized, digitised, and non-human, and ranges from discussions on Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho to the advent of emojis. Serpell considers how humans read and respond to these faces and, in turn, what our interactions with faces reveals about us.
**BOOK: A GIRL IS A BODY OF WATER OR THE FIRST WOMAN is written by Ugandan author JENNIFER NANSUBUGA MAKUMBI.  Makumbi presents a moving tale about a girl’s pursuit to establish her identity against a backdrop of the human tragedy and social unrest that prevails in late 20th century Uganda following Idi Amin’s rise to power. The young girl, Kirabo, has been fostered by strong women in her family and community, but as a teenager she finds herself wanting to learn about her absent mother. She undertakes a search for belonging and with the aid of Nsuuta, a witch in her community, Kirabo tries to make sense of her emergent womanhood and her desire to know her roots. The allusions to Ugandan culture, oral narrative traditions, and national history that Makumbi threads through the novel frame this coming-of-age story as a moving narrative about the shaping of a modern Ugandan woman’s subjectivity.
**BOOK: AND WROTE MY STORY ANYWAY: Black South African Women’s Novels as Feminism is written by South African scholar and novelist BARBARA BOSWELL. Boswell has a distinct approach to literature that demonstrates how intertwined the personal, political, and intellectual imperatives of writing can be. This approach is reflected in Boswell’s new book And Wrote My Story Anyway, which is an exciting exploration of the feminist theory that is created in fiction written by South African women of colour, including internationally renowned novelists and poets such as Miriam Tlali, Zoë Wicomb, Yvette Christiansë, and Kagiso Lesego Molope. By considering how these writers highlight the lived experiences of South African women of colour, especially in the context of apartheid and in the country’s transition towards post-apartheid democracy, Boswell shows how their creative work becomes a site of knowledge production. Specifically, this body of literature produces a Black South African feminist discourse that confronts racist and patriarchal ideologies and celebrates the powerful voices of Black South African women writers.
**BOOK: ADDIS ABABA NOIR is written by MAAZA MENGISTE an Ethiopian American author. The book presents 14 new short stories by writers from Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora, including tales from the likes of Meron Hadero, Rebecca Fisseha, Linda Yohannes, and Mengiste herself. These narratives cover an array of themes around political and cultural identity in the region and experiences of life after the Ethiopian revolution. Notwithstanding the fixed presence of real parts of the capital city at the heart of these stories, the noir crime genre allows these tales to take on an eerie timeless and placeless quality that captures the character of this African hub in intriguing ways.
**BOOK: TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM is written by YAA GYASI, a Ghanain American scholar that made her mark on the global literary scene in 2016 with her debut novel ‘Homegoing’, a poignant portrayal of colonial history presented through the lives of two sisters. In her new novel, Transcendent Kingdom, Gyasi reimagines the tropes of family and African identity from her earlier work. The narrative is centred on Gifty, a Stanford neuroscience PhD student whose research interests are linked to the experiences of trauma she has seen in her family as a result of loss and depression. As Gifty tries to navigate her personal circumstances she finds herself drawn to the Christian faith of her childhood which offers her solace and an alternative means for engaging with her reality. The novel compellingly speaks to the struggles of African diasporic identity, mental health, and the relationship between knowledge and spirituality that develops on the path to peace.
**BOOK: SENSUOUS KNOWLEDGE is written by MINNA SALAMI, Nigerian Finnish and Swedish writer, who is a feminist activist that has spoken to the dire need for Afro-centric theories of feminism. In her award-winning blog, “Ms Afropolitan”, Salami sheds light on histories of African feminist movements, reflects on the continued injustice against African women, and outlines what an African based feminism might look like by discussing strategies for empowerment. In her new book, Sensuous Knowledge, Salami presents a collection of essays that consolidates her work to date on how to harness aspects of African identity and culture in order to correct injustices produced by racism and gender discrimination. Through engaging with the ideas and practices of various Black feminist icons, from Audre Lorde to Beyoncé, Salami presents a contemporary and accessible manual for how to unlearn practices of patriarchy inherent in our societies and to start imagining a new feminist future.
**BOOK: STILL LIFE is written by South African born author Zoë Wicomb who is something of a literary institution in South Africa. Wicomb has written some of the country’s most profound and poetic literature, including books like You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town (1987) and Playing in the Light (2006). In both her fiction and nonfiction, Wicomb presents narratives that illustrate experiences of oppression in apartheid South Africa, telling rich and complex stories that reflect on racism, national belonging, as well as gender and political subjectivity. Her forthcoming novel Still Life is the story of an author who embarks on an unexpected, fantastical journey through colonial history as she attempts to write on the life of South African-Scottish poet Thomas Pringle, accompanied by unassuming characters like Pringle’s adopted Black son Hinza and Sir Nicholas Green who is inspired by Nick Green from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.
** FRIDAY AND SATURDAY…COMEDIAN DADDAZZ AND MELISSA MC…Sensational comedy couple DaddAzz and Melissa MC are coming. Hottest social media duo with over 2 million Facebook followers, selling out shows all over America, will be coming to you! Hailing from Dothan, Alabama, DaddAzz and his wife Melissa MC are now sharing laughs all over the country, and they are bringing their unique style of comedy to you for your entertainment!
**SUNDAY…BLESSED WITH THE FUNNY COMPETITION… “Blessed with the funny” Comedy Competition is a Platform for the next generation of Christian/clean comedians to Showcase/compete for the Title and being able to perform at StarDome Comedy Club. The winner will receive a Cash prize and will also have an opportunity to preform/compete in the Finals with a “Grand Prize” cash prize going to winner and a part of the up Coming  Comedy Tour this Spring. Registration: call (205) 266-2532 or (424) 234-6548.
**MONDAY… COMEDIAN RICKY SMILEY at the StarDome Comedy Club.
…COMING 2021… For all of you motorsports lovers, here are a few ‘new’ things to look for soon…
The Talladega Garage Experience, which debuted last fall is scheduled to return 2021. The Talladega Garage Experience gives fans the chance to be immersed into the sport of NASCAR like never before, up-close to the NASCAR’s top drivers and teams via a fan walkway under the same roof as the Cup Series garage car bays. In addition, there’s the unique 35,000 square foot “Big Bill’s,” covered Open-Air Social Club, complete with ample seating, a bar and a 41-foot diagonal video screen, the opportunity to be a part of Gatorade Victory Lane, and lots more.
Keep up with all the happenings at the biggest, baddest race track on the planet by following Talladega Superspeedway on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For information on the 2021 event weekends, fans can visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA (1-877-462-3342)
**TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY’S 2021 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES DETERMINES SEASON LONG CHAMPION AGAIN – NASCAR recently announced the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule, and for the second straight year, the series’ stop at Talladega Superspeedway will be a part of an incredible doubleheader, on Saturday, October 2, 2021. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will again share the stage with the NASCAR Xfinity Series during the fall at the iconic venue, as it did this past October. Both will have Playoff ramifications, with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event being the second in the Round of 8 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. The Xfinity Series race will serve as the second event in the Round of 12 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. Both races will compete the day prior to the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500, set for Sunday, Oct. 3.
**TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY SPRINGTIME NASCAR WEEKEND – Talladega Superspeedway’s Springtime NASCAR Weekend will feature the GEICO 500 & NASCAR Xfinity Series Event. GEICO 500 Cup Series is set for Sunday, April 25 and Xfinity Race on Saturday, April 24 with both winners advancing to the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
The 52nd edition of the GEICO 500 will be the premier series’ 10th points race of the year. Ryan Blaney is the defending champion of the GEICO 500. Denny Hamlin is the latest Cup Series winner at the 2.66-mile venue, edging Erik Jones by just .086 second. Justin Haley swept both of the Talladega NASCAR Xfinity Series races this year, cementing his place in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. The Xfinity Series has been a staple at the iconic track since 1992 when Ernie Irvan took the checkered flag. Fans can get information on how to reserve their spots by calling 877-462-3342 (Go2-DEGA) or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.
2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Talladega Superspeedway for two exciting races – one in April and the other in October during the track’s NASCAR weekends. The NASCAR Xfinity Series, which has been a staple at the track since 1992, will be back for its traditional springtime event, on Saturday, April 24, 2021, the day before the GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race. The Xfinity Series will return again next fall for the second race in the Round of 12 Playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. It will come the day prior to the Cup Series YellaWood 500, set for Sunday, Oct. 3.
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