By Gwen DeRu
………IT IS CHRISTMASTIME!
**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Get all the latest news
**WATCH LOTS OF MOVIES …after dinner and with the family and friends.
**ENJOY THE DAY …the food, reading books, watching movies, taking a nap or just talking with loved ones and friends on the phone. Please… get a little 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 HENRY WELCH at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**FUN, GAMES, YARD AND HOUSE WORK including Uno, Monopoly, Solitaire, Shopping, Eating. Times are changing soon.
**FAMILY TIME, GOOD FOOD AND MOVIES.
**COMEDIAN HENRY WELCH at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**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 BOOK: IN THE NICK OF TIME by DEEDEE CUMMINGS.
**READ A REAL GOOD BOOK…You might like cookbooks, to-do books, game books, picture books. Check it out!
**INTERFAITH NOONDAY PRAYER SERVICES every Wednesday, Noon at Linn Park in Downtown Birmingham.
**COLD FALL WEATHER, HOLIDAY PLANNING …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.
**COMEDIANS – BEST OF BIRMINGHAM at the Stardome Comedy Club.
**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Catch up on the news!
**COMEDIAN BRUCE BRUCE at the StarDme Comedy
**MOVIE NIGHT: Rent and Watch movies at Sidewalkfest.com. Don’t miss Bad Movie Marathon …and other movies at Sidewalk Cinema.
**COMEDIAN BRUCE BRUCE at the StarDme Comedy
FOR THE COMMUNITY…
**BIRMINGHAM MAKES TOP 50 BEST PLACES TO TRAVEL IN 2021 –
TRAVEL + LEISURE has named BIRMINGHAM NUMBER 5 on its “50 Best Places to Travel in 2021. REASONS: “…The modern scene in The Magic City is a great example of what can happen when Alabama kids head off to the big city to hone their skills, then return home to do their thing — in a really high-quality way. Take Chef Adam Evans: the Muscle Shoals native worked in New Orleans and New York and opened The Optimist with Ford Fry in Atlanta before heading back to B-Ham to launch Automatic Seafood & Oysters. Moves like this — along with quirky java shops (Red Cat Coffee House), upscale cocktail bars (Paper Doll), a women-owned vegan food truck, and the Pizitz global food hall — have brought a vibrancy to the city, where contemporary charm and old Southern hospitality mingle on a big scale. The destination is catching up to demand for luxury lifestyle hotels with the Valley Hotel, opening in the historic, cool-again suburb Homewood in January with a new outpost of Edgar’s Bakery and more restaurants to come. Railroad Park, a 19-acre green space, has transformed downtown over the last decade, with walking trails, food truck festivals, and an outdoor symphony. And look for Protective Stadium, a 47,000-seat facility and entertainment district, to open in 2021. — Kelsey Ogletree.”
A few more making that list are: Alaska’s Coast – No. 1, Astoria, Oregon – No. 2, The Berkshires – No. 3, Big Sky, Montana – No. 4, Cincinnati, Ohio – No. 11, Florida’s Middle Keys – No. 14, The Gulf Coast – No. 18, Las Vegas – No. 21, Miami – No. 25, Nashville – No. 27, New Orleans – No. 28, New York City – No. 29, Oahu, Hawaii – No. 33, Orlando – No. 35, Palm Springs – No. 36, Sea Islands – No. 42, Tucson, Arizona – No. 45, Washington , D.C. – No. 48. (For more: https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/best-places-to-travel-in-2021).
FOR LOVERS OF ART AND CULTURAL ENTERTAINMENT…
AT STEPHEN SMITH FINE ART…
**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.
AT THE BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART…
**JACOB LAWRENCE: THE AMERICAN STRUGGLE through February 7, 2021.
**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 looks 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.
**WAYS OF SEEING – BUILDINGS AND MONUMENTS through March 2021
**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!
FOR HOLIDAY SEASON LOVERS…
IT’S THE HOLIDAY SEASON! TRY A NEW RECIPE, EAT SOME GOOD FOOD, READ A NEW BOOK! GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY THE WEATHER!!
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 outside when the weather permits…SO, Holiday Lovers, rejoice! Enjoy the good smells, desserts, egg nog, too much food…enjoy great times with loved ones. AND, enjoy the good weather while you take a walk!
FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS…
AT THE BIRMINGHAM ZOO…
**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 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!
AT HIKES IN THE PARKS…
**SATURDAY DAYWALK, Meet 1:45 p.m. Southeastern Outings Easy Walk – Where: Vulcan Trail inside the City Limits of Birmingham – DETAILS: Enjoy an easy walk in the woodlands overlooking Birmingham on the day after Christmas. 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 Christmas 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 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or 205/631-4680.
**HISTORIC ALABAMA TRAIN DEPOT TRAIL – The trail features eight of Alabama’s most historic train depots. Many of them are operated as museums, so if you are fascinated by trains and the history of trains:
*Historic Huntsville Depot located at 320 Church St. NW, Huntsville, AL 35801 – The first stop is the Historic Huntsville Depot. The Historic Huntsville Depot, which is currently operated as a museum, is located in downtown Huntsville. It was completed in 1860, making it Alabama’s oldest surviving railroad depot. Interestingly, it’s also one of the oldest railroad depots in the United States.
*Old Decatur Depot located at 701 Railroad St NW, Decatur, AL 35601 – Next stop is the Old Decatur Depot. The Old Decatur Depot, which currently operates as a museum, was built in 1905. Its original name was “Union Depot,” and it was used by several celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and more. This historic depot operated as a passenger station until 1979, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
*Tuscumbia Railroad Depot located at 204 W 5th St, Tuscumbia, AL 35674 – After a short drive, you’ll arrive at the Tuscumbia Railroad Depot. The Tuscumbia Railroad Depot was built in 1888 and has been fully restored in recent years. During its earlier years, this historic depot was used by Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. It’s currently operated as a museum. Lots of rail and train memorabilia, in addition to information about Tuscumbia’s history, are displayed. The carriage of the Keller family is also featured at the museum. Interesting facts: The Tuscumbia Railway was the first railroad west of the Appalachian Mountains. Tuscumbia is also known as “America’s First Frontier Railroad Town.”
*Foley Railroad Depot located at 125 E Laurel Ave, Foley, AL 36535 – Take a scenic drive south to Foley where you’ll visit the Foley Railroad Depot. The Foley Railroad Depot, which was built in 1909, is currently operated as the Foley Railroad Museum & Model Train Exhibit. This depot museum showcases photos, tools, and lots of memorabilia that highlights Foley’s city and railroad history.
*Montgomery Union Station located at 210 Water St, Montgomery, AL 36104 – After a much shorter drive north, you’ll arrive at Montgomery Union Station. Montgomery Union Station was built in 1898 by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and its rail service ended in 1979. This historic railroad station currently hosts the Montgomery Area Visitor Center, and it’s also one of Alabama’s most historic landmarks.
*Fort Payne Depot located at 105 5th St NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967 – After another drive north, you’ll arrive at the Fort Payne Depot. The Fort Payne Depot was built in 1891. For approximately 85 years, it served as a depot for the Alabama Great Southern Railroad. It’s currently operated as the Fort Payne Depot Museum, which showcases both permanent and rotating exhibits.
*Bridgeport Railroad Depot located at 116 Soulard Square, Bridgeport, AL 35740 – Your next stop will be the Bridgeport Railroad Depot. The Bridgeport Railroad Depot, which was built in 1917, operated as a depot through the late 1960s. It currently hosts the Bridgeport Area Historical Association Museum. This museum includes a wide variety of railroad memorabilia, in addition to local artifacts.
*Stevenson Railroad Depot located at 207 W. Main St, Stevenson, AL 35772 – Following a short drive, your final stop will be the Stevenson Railroad Depot. In 1872, both the Memphis and Charleston Railroad and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad built the Stevenson Railroad Depot as a joint project. Today, this historic depot is operated as a museum that features many railroad and Civil War artifacts.
Alabama is also home to several train-themed restaurants. For a list of nine train-themed restaurants you’ll most certainly want to give a try, visit www.onlyinyourstate.com.
FOR BOOK LOVERS…
**VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH – EMPOWERED by ROCHELLE GASTON MALONE is Saturday , January 2, 1- 2 p.m. Get empowered with author and minister Rochelle Gaston Malone with giveaways to empower your life. Register at Eventbrite.
…HERE are a few good books… (Some taken from Book Riot) Great English/Spanish Books for Kids – Learning two languages is no easy task, especially for kids. If you want to raise a bilingual child, you need some help, and there’s no better help than books!
PICTURE BOOKS – For ages 2 – 8…
**BOOK: DALIA’S WONDROUS HAIR/ELCABELLO MARAVILLOSO DE DALIA by LAURA LAMARA – This book is about a girl whose hair grows to Rapunzel-like lengths overnight, looking almost like a palm tree. In a whimsical turn, her hair sprouts butterflies the next day, delighting everyone around her. With a beautiful focus on nature, this book has vibrant illustrations and short paragraphs that help tell its story.
**BOOK: MY NAME IS CELIA: THE LIFE OF CELIA CRUZ/ ME LLAMO CELIA: LA VIDA DE CELIA CRUS by MONICA BROWN AND RAFAEL LOPEZ – This is the story of Celia, a singer who moves to the U.S. from Cuba and creates a new type of music! The beautiful, slightly surreal images by renowned Mexican illustrator Rafael López drive the story home. My Name is Celia is a fun story, told in short paragraphs, to read to your children at nighttime.
**BOOK: I LOVE SATURDAYS Y COMINGOS/ME ENCANTAN LOS SATURDAYS Y LOS COMINGOS by ALMA FLOR ADA AND ELIVIA SAVADIER. With her paternal grandparents, she speaks English, but with her maternal abuelitos she speaks Spanish (they are Mexican American). Both visits show the differences between their cultures and heritages, both in the language and in the way they celebrate her birthday. This is a fun book, with beautiful watercolor illustrations, that shows the differences between families and the thing they all share: their unyielding love for their loved ones.
EMERGING READERS BOOKS – For 5 – 9 years old. Emerging Readers are the books for children who are learning to read by themselves.
**BOOK: RABBIT AND TURTLE GO TO SCHOOL/CONEJO Y TORTUGA VAN A LA ESCUELA by LUCY FLOYD and CHRISTOPHER DENISE. This is a simple retelling of “The Turtle and the Hare” of Aesop’s Fables. But in this case, they race towards school, one on a bus and the other running. It’s a very simple illustrated story meant for young kids who are starting to read on their own.
**BOOK: DANIEL’S MYSTERY EGG/EL MISTERIOSO HUEVO DE DANIEL by ALMA FLOR ADA and G. BRAIN KARAS. This is a book with a simple story line. After Daniel’s class finds an egg, they have fun letting their imagination run wild with possibilities. What could be inside of it? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s probably not the second one! Whatever it is, kids can learn a good amount of vocabulary with this book, especially as it mentions several animals in both languages. Fun, short, and simple, it can help kids learn a ton of new words!
FOR COMEDY LOVERS…
AT THE STARDOME COMEDY CLUB…
**SATURDAY AND SUNDAY COMEDIAN HENRY WELCH… Comedian Henry Welch, considers himself the most feared man in comedy! His career began at the prestigious A.H. Parker High School and on to Alabama State University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. Henry has traveled all over the world telling jokes on TV/Radio stations at colleges, churches and clubs. Welch has just filmed the movie, Strip Off. He appeared in an OutKast music video and can be heard in hilarious skits featured on Idlewild and Speaker Boxxx. He has been a part of BET’s Comic View, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and Showtime’s The Big Black Comedy Show. Now hailing from Atlanta, Ga., Welch punctuates his jokes with unique phrases, “Y’all ain’t ready for me!” and “I’m booked!”
**WEDNESDAY…BEST OF BIRMINGHAM… Comedians Bennie Mac, Brandon Smiley and Mr. Longhead are teaming up to bring a triple punch to the StarDome stage. Buckle up!
**NEXT THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY COMEDIAN BRUCE BRUCE… Bruce Bruce is a name synonymous with keeping audiences rolling with laughter thanks to his captivating improv skills and larger than life comedic style. Bruce’s steady style of comedy has been showcased across the country and he has been entertaining audiences young and old and of all backgrounds for years. His wit spontaneity and dazzling personality set him apart from other stand-up comedians. Although Bruce is known for his adult comedy he prides himself on not using vulgarity to win a laugh and is no stranger to winning over new audiences with every appearance he makes. From his role as host for two seasons of BET’s “Comic View” to his many appearances on tv and film Bruce is clearly a comedian that has found his mark in the business. On the feature film front Bruce made a cameo in the HBO Films feature Idlewild and appeared in the Larry the Cable Guy-starring Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. He also appeared in the comedy Who’s Your Caddy as “Golf Ball Eddie.”
**COMING SOON – COMEDIANS MIKE EPPS, RODNEY CARRINGTON, GARY OWEN, DESI ALEXANDER, WELLRED and more… DON’T MISS THEM!
HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!! WISHING YOU THE BEST FOR THE COMING 2021 NEW YEAR!