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GWEN DERU

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY…THIS AND EVERY MONTH!!
TODAY…
**COMEDIAN RONNIE BULLARD at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Get all the latest news.
**WATCH LOTS OF MOVIES …after dinner and with the family and friends. Check out the Sundance Film Festival.
FRIDAY…
**LOVE PHASES: DINNER WITH DOMINIQUE NULL at Perfect Note.
**COMEDIAN RONNIE BULLARD at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**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!
SATURDAY…
**SATURDAYS IN THE GARDENS at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
**WINE DOWN HAPPY HOUR, 4-9 p.m. at Saferoom Lounge Bar.
**COMEDIAN RONNIE BULLARD at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**FUN, GAMES, YARD AND HOUSE WORK including Uno, Monopoly, Solitaire, Shopping, Eating. Times are changing soon.
**TYSOULAND LIMITLESS TOUR BAND TRIBUTE TO OLD SCHOOL R & B at Perfect Note.
SUNDAY…
**FAMILY TIME, GOOD FOOD AND MOVIES.
**SUPER BOWL KICK BACK PARTY, 3 p.m. at Goudy Entertainment in Fairfield, hosted by Ripcord with sound by DJ FROSTY.
MONDAY…
**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.
**EVERY MONDAY is MONSLAYYY – THE CARIBBEAN WAY, 8 p.m. at the Vault with TRINI and BRENT TRINI-FRESH PIERRE.FREE.
**RICKEY SMILEY presents THE TONY TATUM EXPERIENCE at the StarDome Comedy Club.
TUESDAY…
**READ A REAL GOOD BOOK…You might like cookbooks, to-do books, game books, picture books. You might like: THE POET X by ELIZABETH ACEVEDO. Check it out!
WEDNESDAY…
**INTERFAITH NOONDAY PRAYER SERVICES every Wednesday, Noon at Linn Park in Downtown Birmingham.
**IT IS WET AND IT IS COLD …focus on NEW RESOLUTIONS, HEALTHY EATING HABITS and so much more. A NEW YEAR, A NEW DAY!!
NEXT THURSDAY…
**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Catch up on the news!
**COMEDIAN BENNIE MAC at the StarDome Comedy Club.
NEXT FRIDAY…
**MOVIE NIGHT: Rent and Watch movies at Sidewalkfest.com. Don’t miss ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…and other movies at Sidewalk Cinema.
**COMEDIAN BRAD WILLIAMS at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**DEE DEE FRAZIER with a GLADYS KNIGHT TRIBUTE at Perfect Note.
**LIT FRIDAYS WITH RIPCORD, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. at 4501 Gary Avenue in Fairfield.
CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY… EVERY DAY!!
**CIVIL RIGHTS EXPERIENCE, February 22 – 27, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute by the Alabama Civil Rights Tourism Association. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s reshaped the history of the United States and the World leaving a legacy that is both vibrant and inspiring, but also fragile. In Alabama the cities of Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma were home to some of the greatest touring points of the multi-year efforts. For more about this trip and others:
www.civilrightstourism .org/itinerary/2021.
**ROSA PARKS MUSEUM VIRTUAL TOURS….TUESDAYS AT 12 P.M. AND THURSDAYS AT 3 P.M. Virtually learn about Rosa Parks’ arrest, see a 1950s Montgomery city bus and understand how a group of willing men and women fueled the resolve movement. While traveling through time, hear about the young Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and see the mass effect the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Movement had on the world. Sign up at Troy.edu/rosaparks.
**ONLINE BOOK EVENT: LEAVING PIPE SHOP-MEMORIES OF KIN on SATURDAY, 6-7:15 p.m. an online event on Facebook.
FOR COMMUNITY LOVERS…
**FAIRFIELD BUSINESS ALLIANCE, TODAY, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. online at: us02web.azoom.us. with Councilman Robert Averhart, Ty Williams of Restoration Academy, Pastor Homer Hayes, Dr. Regina Thompson Superintendent of Fairfield City Schools and Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Fine Art Gallery.
**BLACK TECH TAKEOVER is where Black Culture, Tech and Excellence Intersects, TODAY and FRIDAY at 9 a.m. Online. For more, go to www.blacktechtakeover.com.
**BIRMINGHAM JEWISH FEDERATION CAMPAIGN – The Birmingham Jewish Federation campaigns ‘Federation Today for a Brighter Tomorrow’ starts FRIDAY with A FAMILY CAMPAIGN KICKOFF AND VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION, 6:30 p.m. at Grand River Drive In with a special movie screening of ‘An American Tale’ for children, parents, grandparents and those who are young at heart. MARCH 10 is the COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN PROGRAM: A Conversation with the SON OF HAMAS – MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF on Zoom at 7 p.m. APRIL 17 is the NEXT GEN AND YBIB CAMPAIGN EVENT, 7-9 p.m. with the location to be announced later. For more info call (205) 879-0416 or federation@bjf.org.
**STAY WOKE Community Health event. FEBRUARY 10, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at 2304 12th Avenue North with Free Flu Shots, Free COVID Testing and Free HIV Testing presented by Dr. K. First Come! First Served. All are welcome.
**MAGIC CITY MARKET PLACE at Good People Brewing and Urban Supply, 1- 5 p.m. on MARCH 6, MARCH 20, APRIL 3 AND APRIL 17. For  more: magiccitymarketplace@gmail.com.
**BIRMINGHAM ZOO BOARD MEMBERS – The Birmingham Zoo, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), has four new Officers to the Board of Directors. Chaired by Nancy Collat Goedecke, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Mayer, the Zoo’s 2021 Board of Directors is composed of 19 members with diverse experiences who share the Zoo’s belief and mission of “Inspiring Passion to Conserve the Natural World,” and includes some of Birmingham’s most influential corporate executives, philanthropic leaders, and influencers. The Board of Directors began the 2021-2022 term with the Birmingham Zoo effective January 1, 2021. The four new Board Officers are: Chair – Nancy Collat Goedecke, (Mayer) Vice-Chair – Thomas E. Sisson (Warren Averett), Treasurer – Austin Davis (Synovus), and Secretary – Lee McKinney (McKinney Capital).
In addition to newly appointed members, the Birmingham Zoo’s Board of Directors for 2021-2022 includes: Robert Aland, Immediate Past Chair (SouthState Bank), Alexia B. Borden (Alabama Power Company), Leigh Collier (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.), Jack Darnall (Brasfield & Gorrie LLC), Kelvin Datcher (City of Birmingham, Office of Mayor Randall L. Woodfin), Will French (Dunn Investment Company), Joseph “Joe” B. Hampton (Spire, Inc.), Gaynell H. Hendricks (Jefferson County), Joshua Jones (E source), Randall “Randy” W. Jordan (Bryant Bank), Philippe W. Lathrop (Lathrop Helmers and Associates/Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.), Mary Pat Lawrence (Protective Life Corporation), Wally Nall, III (Nall Development Corporation), Jerry F. Perkins Jr. (Vulcan Materials Company), and Britt Redden (Community Volunteer).
FOR POLITICAL LOVERS, PEOPLE INTERESTED IN POLITICS AND PEOPLE THAT VOTE…
With the national campaign for President and Vice President over, the doors have opened for state and local elections. (Look for what I get, right here.)
**FORMER BIRMINGHAM MAYOR WILLIAM BELL recently announced his campaign to run for MAYOR.
**COMMISSIONER LASHUNDA SCALES announced her campaign to run for MAYOR recently.
**SWEARING-IN CEREMONY of WALTER “ BIG WALT” WILSON at Noon for Board of Education Online at Facebook Live.
FOR FOODIES…
**FOOD FREEBIES FOR SENIORS – Sisters From AARP are sharing FREE things related to food each month…FEBRUARY – February 6: National Frozen Yogurt Day – Perhaps the timing of this holiday is meant to help with those New Year’s resolutions. In any case, frozen yogurt fans can usually scoop up the sweet treat for free at chains like TCBY, sweetFrog and Yogurtland. February 9: National Pizza Day – Wherever you buy pizza, you’re likely to find a deal on this day. Pizza chains typically run discounts and promotions, so be sure to check with your favorite pizza place. February 12: Chinese New Year – Bring in the Year of the Ox with promotions from Panda Express, Manchu Wok and other Chinese and Asian food chains. In years past, customers have scored free food, merchandise and even trips. (Look for more.) February 14: Valentine’s Day. – BOGO deals abound on this day, so bring your boo, bestie and anyone you love along with you. Previous years’ deals include BOGO drinks from Starbucks and BOGO heart-shaped pretzels from Auntie Anne’s. (Look for more each month.)
FOR MUSIC LOVERS…
**SATURDAY – BOB MARLEY’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION 5 p.m. – 12 Midnight at Bizarre the Coffee Bar, 217 22nd Street No. with Coconut Hut and Birmingham Afro Caribbean Vibes. There are Caribbean Food Specials 2 – 8 p.m. Hosted by DJ TALI, TRINI FRESH, LADY RO, Steven T. Hammond and Bham Island Jamz.
**FEBRUARY 13 – EX FACTOR featuring SHERRI BROWN, February 13, 7 p.m. at Perfect Note.
**FEBRUARY 20 – TRIBUTE TO THE KING OF REGGAE “BOB MARLEY”, 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. featuring CULTURE DREAD at 1801 11th Avenue North.
FOR BOOK LOVERS…
…HERE are a few good books… When inaugural poet Amanda Gorman strode up to the mic on January 20, 2021, for President Biden’s inauguration, she set the stage on fire with her words (and her vibrant yellow coat). Everyone was talking about the poem “The Hill We Climb,” and her overall presence. Something shifted: during those five beautiful minutes with the world’s eyes on her, Gorman opened up minds to the power of truth through spoken word in an age when honesty itself feels subjective. Here are a few spoken word poets like Amanda Gorman who speak of hope, pain, and politics. Check them out (Some taken from Book Riot)
MAYA ANGELOU
Let’s start with one of Gorman’s inspirations: the legendary, earth-shaking Maya Angelou. The poet and author of ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ also spoke as a U.S. inaugural poet at President Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Through Angelou’s writing, she has unabashedly and eloquently brought to light the horrific realities of racism and sexism. Poems such as “Still I Rise” also showcase Angelou’s confidence, resilience, and hope. Undoubtedly Angelou has influenced many of the greats, including Gorman, who wore a ring to the inauguration to honor Maya Angelou.
**BOOK: I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS by MAYA ANGELOU. Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
**BOOK: GRAPHITE BY PATRICIA FRAZIER. Patricia Frazier hails from Chicago but she influences beyond the borders of Illinois. Frazier was named America’s second National Youth Poet Laureate—Gorman being the first—in 2018 and published her first book of poetry, Graphite, in the same year. Through her poems, Frazier shows her love for family and her city, while also delivering unforgettable lines that push against the way the world views Black women.
**BOOK: THE POET X by ELIZABETH ACEVEDO. The Afro-Dominican author and poet’s first young adult book, The Poet X, was an award winner and New York Times Best Seller title written entirely in verse. Sparkling with energy and sprinkled with Spanish, her poems often navigate the tumultuous waters of race, family, and identity.
**BOOK: DATE & TIME BY PHIL KAYE. Phil Kaye is the co-director of Project VOICE and author of poetry collection Date & Time. His poetry is thoughtful, and often stunningly delivered thanks to his background as a National Poetry Slam finalist. Kaye’s poems are personal, often pulling from his childhood memories, complicated family dynamics, and experience as a Japanese American. When it comes to politics, he is unafraid of voicing his thoughts, hopes, and fears on stage.
**POET SARAH ABBAS – Sarah Abbas is the youngest poet to ever grace the screen for Button Poetry, a Minnesota-based YouTube slam poetry collective and publishing house. The Pakistani American poet is 16 years old and the 2020–2021 Youth Poet Laureate of St. Louis. Currently a student at Marquette High School, she is wise beyond her years, often challenging those who harbor Islamophobic beliefs. In “War on Iranian Blood,” Abbas unflinchingly confronts the 45th U.S. president.
**BOOK: HELIUM by RUDY FRANCISCO. Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation. Rudy’s poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty. Francisco hails from San Diego, California. When it comes to poetry, he coaches, performs, and co-hosts a poetry venue. Francisco is both a National Underground Poetry Slam Champion and an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion.
FOR MOVIE LOVERS…
**STOWE STORY LABS 2021 APPLICATION SEASON OPENS – Sidewalk Film Fest is partnering with the Labs for the Third Annual Sidewalk/Stowe Narrative Lab. The Stowe Story Labs was founded to help top emerging screenwriters, filmmakers and creative producers from around the world get work made and seen. The 2021 Programs include: MAY 14-18: Stowe Writers Retreat, JUNE 5-8: Stowe Narrative Lab, AUGUST 25-28: Sidewalk Narrative Lab (Remote) and SEPTEMBER 3-7: Stowe Writers’ Retreat. Apply at Sidewalkfest.com.
**FEBRUARY’S BOOK AND FILM CLUB…
BOOK: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood by KARINA LONGWORTH.
FILM: The Aviator (2004) directed by MARTIN SCORSESE. Discussion Date: February 24th, 7 p.m. via Zoom. Book + Film Club will remain virtual through June 2021. Email kiwi@sidewalkfest.com  for more.
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 Sunday.
**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 COMEDY LOVERS…
AT THE STARDOME COMEDY CLUB…
**TODAY THROUGH SATURDAY …COMEDIAN RONNIE BULLARD… Ronnie’s comedy is rapid fire with a southern twang. He mixes one-liners with funny observations and stories about his family. The Las Vegas Review called him Jeff Foxworthy on Speed! For the past 10 years Ronnie has been rated one of Carnival Cruise Lines top comedians. With over 30 years as a comedian he has headlined most of the major comedy clubs, opened for bands like the Charlie Daniels Band, BJ Thomas, Michael Bolton, and even Three Dog Night (he says they were down to one Dog). He’s appeared on Comedy Central, Showtime, and most recently the Pure Flix Comedy All Stars with Louie Anderson. If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy you don’t want to miss Ronnie’s show,
**MONDAY…LIVE FROM THE STARDOME RICKEY SMILEY KARAOKE… Rickey Smiley presents a night with Tony Tatum. Tony Tatum sings and perform all genres of music from Pop, R&B, Inspirational, and many more live as a solo artist or accompanied by a band. Karaoke Night with Rickey Smiley is BACK bringing the fun directly to you! Join us 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.
**NEXT THURSDAY…COMEDIAN BENNIE MAC …. Bennie Mac has been performing for years and is known for his very funny jokes. If you haven’t seen him, then this is the time that you have been waiting for. So, Birmingham…Show your boy you care and make your way to laughter at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**NEXT FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY…COMEDIAN BRAD WILLIAMS… Brad Williams has become one of the funniest, most in-demand comedians working today. A California native, Brad started doing stand-up at age 19 and has been touring ever since. He has appeared on numerous TV shows including Legit, Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground, Sam and Cat, Live at Gotham, the Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Mind Of Mencia, and Pitboss. His one hour comedy special “Fun Size” was the highest rated comedy special on Showtime in the year 2015. A year later, he followed it up with a 2nd special called “Daddy Issues,” its airing prompted the New York Times to write “no one is doing it more hilariously than Brad Williams.”
**COMING SOON – COMEDIANS KELLY KELLZ AND JORDAN JACKSON, JON “POLAR BEAR” GONZALEZ, JJ WILLIAMSON, CHICO BEAN and more… DON’T MISS THEM!
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