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People, Places and Things

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GWEN DERU

HAPPY MOTHER’s DAY…to all of the MOTHERS!!!
SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH MONTH!!
TODAY…
**COMEDIAN LAV LUV 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 – Check out the Sidewalk Film Fest for lots more.
FRIDAY…
**COMEDIAN JAMES GREGORY at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE with DOMINQUE presents HIS SIDE vs HER SIDE at Perfect Note.
**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!
**MOVIE NIGHT: Rent and Watch movies at Sidewalkfest.com.
SATURDAY…
**LOGAN THE ENTERTAINER at Perfect Note.
**SATURDAYS IN THE GARDENS at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
**WINE DOWN HAPPY HOUR, 4-9 p.m. at Saferoom Lounge Bar.
**COMEDIAN JAMES GREGORY at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**FUN, GAMES, YARD AND HOUSE WORK including Uno, Monopoly, Solitaire, Shopping, Eating. Times are changing soon.
SUNDAY… HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
**COMEDIAN JAMES GREGORY at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**LOGAN THE ENTERTAINER at Perfect Note.
**FAMILY TIME, GOOD FOOD AND MOVIES.
MONDAY…
**READ A GOOD BOOK…There are a few on the bookshelves, just lying around are some to read, BOOK: THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO MEDITATE: AND OTHER LESSONS is written by YUMI SAKUGAWA.  …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.
**LIVE FROM THE STARDOME WITH RICKEY SMILEY.
TUESDAY…
**LIT AND JAZZ with DAVID TALLEY AND FRIENDS, every Tuesday, 7 p.m. at Lit on 8th, 518 Rev. Abraham Woods, Blvd.
**READ A REAL GOOD BOOK…You might like cookbooks, to-do books, game books, picture books, history books. You might like: BOOK: HOW TO DEAL: WITH FEAR, FAILURE AND OTHER DAILY DREADS is written by GRACE MICELI. Check it out!
WEDNESDAY…
**INTERFAITH NOONDAY PRAYER SERVICES every Wednesday, Noon at Linn Park in Downtown Birmingham.
**REGGAE WEDNESDAY NIGHTS, 8 p.m. at Blue Onyx,
NEXT THURSDAY…
**READ THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES. Catch up on the news!
**COMEDIAN CHRIS IVEY AND FRIENDS at the StarDome Comedy Club.
NEXT FRIDAY…
**MOVIE NIGHT: Rent and Watch movies at Sidewalkfest.com.
**COMEDIAN ARNEZ J at the StarDome Comedy Club.
**FIRST FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE with DOMINIQUE at Perfect Note.
**LIT FRIDAYS WITH RIPCORD, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. at 4501 Gary Avenue in Fairfield.
FOR MUSIC LOVERS…
**OPERA SHOTS – Join Opera Birmingham for a street party on Second Avenue North in front of The Collins Bar (2125 Second Avenue North) on Sunday, May 16 from 2 – 4:30 p.m. as they continue their outdoor Opera Shots concert series. Admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase from The Collins Bar. Lawn chairs and picnic blankets are welcome. For the health of patrons, staff and performers, and in keeping with Birmingham’s mask ordinance, masks are required at the event, and social distancing will be in effect. Opera Shots is Opera Birmingham’s annual series of casual pop-up concerts throughout the community, held in unexpected places and designed to break down the stereotypes of opera. Opera Shots concerts feature members of the Opera, Birmingham Chorus and surprise guest artists presenting an open-mic-style concert of the greatest hits of opera and musical theatre. The concert will feature guest artists, Savannah Bracewell, Chris Farley, Alie B. Gorrie, Dylan Hughes, Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, Emily Jaworski Koriath, Samuel Robertson, Macy Rowland, Joylyn Rushing, Allison Sanders, Jonathan Michael Smith, and Angela Yoon, accompanied by Christy Vest on piano. The performance will include selections from The Barber of Seville, La Bohème, Tosca, Carmen, Hamilton, A Little Night Music, La Rondine, Into the Woods, Porgy and Bess, and South Pacific, among others. Opera Shots will resume in the fall, as Opera Birmingham pops up at unexpected locations all across the Birmingham Metro area. Stay tuned for dates and locations.
FOR THE COMMUNITY…
**BIRMINGHAM HOT AIR BALLOON FEST, Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.
**BHAM ART CRAWL, Saturday,11 a.m. at The Pizitz.
**PRESERVE FARMERS MARKET, 4-7 p.m. at 601 Preserve Way, Hoover.
**DO DAH DAY, May 15, 11:01 a.m. at Cahaba Brewing Company
**23rd ANNUAL ST. ELIAS LEBANESE FOOD AND CULTURAL FESTIVAL is June 11-12 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily as a Drive THROUGH/TAKE OUT ONLY festival at St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church, 836 8th Street, South between University Blvd. and Avenue South in Birmingham. Silent Auction, fun activities and more online. For more info: www.stelias.org.
**TURKEY CREEK NATURE PRESERVE’s First Native Plant Sale is Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Turkey Creek Nature Park, 3906 Turkey Creek Road, Pinson.
**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.
**SB117 EXPUNGEMENT BILL PASSED – Bill SB117 was recently passed and will impact the lives of many people who have a criminal arrest on their record that prevented them from getting jobs or advancing in their careers. This state-wide bill, also, allows for municipal and local violations to be expunged OR erased from the record. This bill was a collaborative effort with Senator Linda Foster Coleman-Madison, Rep. Chris England and Senator Rodger Smitherman which will help people move forward and have an improved life.
**JOBS NOT JAIL – Sheriff Mark Pettway has a new jobs mobile program – LET’S PREVENT CRIMES BY PRESENTING OPPORTUNITY. It brings the services to you including FREE in-person services such as employment services, resume writing. Interview skills, dress for success, bus vouchers, identification support, voter registration and addiction and recovery services hotline. For more, go to www.jeffcosheriffal.com.
FOR MOVIE LOVERS…
**23rd ANNUAL SIDEWALK FILM FESTIVAL – The 23rd Annual Sidewalk Film Festival presented by Regions Bank is returning to its Theatre District roots with a festival footprint that includes the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema, the Alabama Theatre, the Lyric Theatre, First Church Birmingham, the Alabama School of Fine Arts Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre, Recital Hall and Lecture Hall as well as the Steiner Auditorium at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
The Alabama-based documentary SOCKS ON FIRE is the first Official Selection of the 2021 Sidewalk Film Festival. The film won the coveted Best Documentary Feature Award at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. Directed by Gadsden, Alabama-based filmmaker, Bo McGuire (one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film”). The full festival line-up will be announced in mid-July. The Sidewalk Film Festival is screening short films as well as getting youth involved in many ways, plus more. Go to sidewalk@sidewalkfest.com  for more. Here is some information…SIDEWALK FILM FESTIVAL FINAL SUBMISSION DEADLINE – Submit your film or screenplay to this year’s festival. If you are from Alabama, live in Alabama, or your film is set in Alabama make sure to indicate your film as an Alabama film when you submit. Shorts, features, documentaries, music videos narratives are to be submitted by May 16.
**TEEN VIDEO CHALLENGE – The Challenge is a great opportunity for students in grades 9-12 to express their creativity. Students are to express how they feel about the pandemic one year on whether through interviews, observational-style documentary, or wherever their creativity takes them. Top 5 submissions will play at the 2021 Sidewalk Film Festival and receive a $100 stipend. The challenge is opened to all current and incoming high schoolers. The submission deadline is May 15. Films can be a max of five minutes. Email submissions to kiki@sidewalkfest.com  with the student’s name, grade and high school in the subject line.
TWG2022 NEWS…
**HOOVER MET COMPLEX WILL HOST THE SOFTBALL COMPETITION – The Birmingham Organizing Committee (BOC) for The World Games 2022 announced recently that the Hoover Metropolitan Complex will be home to the softball competition for The World Games 2022, which will also serve as the top women’s international softball competition for the year. The World Games is organized by the International World Games Association and the BOC. The World Games 2022 (TWG2022), an international multi-sport event organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee, will hold its 11th edition in Birmingham from July 7-17, 2022.  An anticipated 3,600 athletes will participate in more than 30 different sports throughout The Games. Opened in 1988, The Hoover Met can accommodate up to 16,000 fans. The stadium currently serves as the host of Southeastern Conference’s annual baseball tournament and is the permanent home of Hoover High School football.
**VULCAN MATERIALS IS SUSTAINABILITY SPONSOR – The program has been designed to ensure The Games have a lasting positive environmental impact on the host city of Birmingham, Ala. The World Games 2022 is proud to announce that Vulcan Materials Company is joining The World Games 2022 as the official Sustainability Sponsor. Vulcan joins more than 40 other companies in support of The World Games 2022.
**TWG 2022 AUDITIONS SET FOR YOUTH CHOIR – TWG 2022 Youth Choir will be comprised of selected 7th-12th graders from the Birmingham area that will perform at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of The Games. A select group of the students will also have the chance to record the official theme song at The Games, composed by Dr. Henry Panion, III, World Games 2022 Artistic Director and Randy Owen of the group Alabama. Applications for the choir are opened, but will close tomorrow. Participants should submit a two-minute video singing a song of their choice. Go to TWG website – TWG2022.com for more information.
FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS…
**TODAY…THURSDAY WEEKDAY HIKE, 9:45 a.m. with the Southeastern Outings Leisurely Weekday Hike at Piper Interpretive Trail and the Cahaba Loop Trail in the Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge, Piper (near West Blocton), Alabama. – DETAILS: This is an easy three or so-mile hike on three trails in the especially lovely Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge. The walking pace for this hike will be moderately easy. Stop often to catch rest and note views, trees, birdsongs and the trail and woods. The Piper Interpretive Trail is a 2.8-mile, lightly trafficked trail in the Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge located near Piper, Alabama. The trail features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. This well-maintained trail goes through the forest and ends with a deck overlooking the Cahaba River. The trail passes interesting ravines and cliffs. If you continue onward after the first overlook, you will reach a second overlook, which is slightly more difficult to reach, due to elevation changes. The first half of the trail is an old mine railroad right of way along a rocky ridgeline high above the Cahaba River. A stand of pine, mostly loblolly planted to replace the longleaf pines that were clear cut years ago, makes for a beautiful canopy and visually appealing section of the trail—the fallen needles provide soft footing and make the peaceful forest even more quiet. At mile 1.2, find a side trail off to the right that leads downhill to the first overlook. After enjoying the view, cross a second bridge over a seasonal stream. The trail climbs up the ridge on a rocky old mining road to the final overlook. See the Cahaba River far below. Walk back to the Piper Trail parking lot on a different trail which is a pretty logging or mining road through the woods. Drive across the river to walk on the Cahaba River Loop Trail which turns off of the road in the main part of Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge across the river from the Piper Trail. Children age 9 and older welcome. Meet 9:45 a.m. at the McDonald’s Galleria parking lot. Information and Trip Leader: Dan Frederick, email seoutings@bellsouth.net,  phone 205/631-4680.
**SATURDAY DAY HIKE, Meet 8:45 a.m. with Southeastern Outings for a hike at Pinhoti Trail near and beside Coleman Lake in Shoal Creek Ranger District, Talladega National Forest. Cleburne County, Alabama. DETAILS: A moderate six-mile hike in one of the interesting parts of the Talladega National Forest, mostly on the Pinhoti Trail. The Hike combines a loop south of the trailhead around beautiful Coleman Lake with a visit to the “woodpecker farm” and then visit spectacular longleaf pine forest areas north of the trailhead on Forest Service Road 500. The Pinhoti Trail guide describes the woodpecker farm as follows: “The Woodpecker Farm is basically what 92,000,000 acres of the Southeast looked like before Europeans arrived. The area was formerly completely dominated by very mature longleaf pines up to 400 years old and old growth oak, hickory and tupelo as the canopy over a grass understory”. The area is one of several maintained by the U.S. Forest Service to help preserve the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The route will go along the Coleman Lake trail, providing a different view as returning to the trailhead. Walk across Forest Service Road 500 and hike through the longleaf forest in that area. Well-behaved, properly supervised children age 7 and older welcome. Hike is relatively flat, but rated moderate because of its length. Bring picnic lunch and water with you on the hike. Optional dinner after the hike. Meet at 8:45 a.m. in the Leeds Highway 78 gravel parking lot. Plan to depart at 9 a.m. For more Info. Contact Leader: Francis Rushton 205/290-5557 or ferushton@gmail.com.
FOR LOVERS OF ART AND CULTURAL ENTERTAINMENT…
AT THE BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART…
**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!
AT THE BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS…
**SATURDAYS IN THE GARDENS.
**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.
FOR BOOK LOVERS…
COMICS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH – May has been observed as mental health awareness month in the United States since 1949. While the world is inching towards being more aware about mental struggles and well-being, there is still a long way to go. Books can be a great resource for people troubled by their lack of understanding about their own issues as well as anyone wanting to understand others. Comics can sometimes be perfectly suited to meet the needs of a troubled, distracted mind. They can sneakily slip into our short attention spans providing information, insight and comfort.
Here’s are a few fascinating standalone comics about mental health to read during mental health awareness month.
**BOOK: THIN SLICES OF ANXIETY: OBSERVATIONS AND ADVICE TO EASE A WORRIED MIND is written by CATHERINE LEPAGE. This is a short, easy read. It has very little text on page and even that is handwritten or doodled. The book is filled with cute, clever illustrations that hit home. The author ends the book with the line, “Thinly sliced and illustrated, emotions are much easier to digest.” This expresses the cathartic experience she had making this book come to life. It also accurately portrays the need anxious people feel to morph the panic into something pleasant.
**BOOK: THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO MEDITATE: AND OTHER LESSONS is written by YUMI SAKUGAWA. Yumi Sakugawa makes you look at meditation in a new light. She makes the practice sound welcoming and shares her experience of the abundant ways it improves mental health. The book is filled with intriguing metaphors and soothing illustrations. This is such a reassuring read that even the act of scrolling through it felt meditative.
**BOOK: HOW TO DEAL: WITH FEAR, FAILURE AND OTHER DAILY DREADS is written by GRACE MICELI. It is witty and clever in the way it opens up about mental struggles. The colorful doodle-like images contain so much life and insightful advice. The comic is divided into chapters that have an introduction written by the author to set the tone for the theme. There’s an entire chapter about avoidant personality. Dealing with ourselves requires . . . a lot. On the good days, it takes patience and humor; on the bad, it can devolve into online shopping sprees, over-analyzing the punctuation from every text message you receive or baking 4 dozen cookies—for ourselves. In this relatable and hilarious collection of comic strips, modern day motivational posters, and illustrated lists and diary entries, illustrator Grace Miceli explores how our comfort zones may be a trap, how to stay when you want to run away, and where to find light when everything feels dark—beyond the glow of your phone. This sharply observed book is a “fight or flight” manual for life (the fake one you live on the internet and the one you actually live), a weird but honest road map from a friend who wants to make it just that much easier for you to navigate your own journey.
**BOOK: IT’S OK TO FEEL THINGS DEEPLY is written by CARISSA POTTER. The font and illustrations make the book look like it has been written and drawn by a child. This entices the sensitive innocence in readers. The tone and advice is childlike too. It has illustrated suggestions about nice things you can do to help push yourself during a rut. The book does not get too real about deep rooted mental health issues. However, it can remind of things to look forward to on less-than-ideal days. Times can get tough, and this book is here to support women through those moments. Its uplifting and positive message helps women cope with depression, grief, anxiety and stress. It is a reminder that it’s normal to feel those emotions, and it provides support for navigating through them. Like a hug from a friend, it will become a go-to positivity boost for women dealing with life’s difficult times. Through practical guidance, meaningful messages of empathy, honesty, art and humor, It’s Okay to Feel Things Deeply gives women the encouragement they need exactly when they need it.
BOOK: LIGHTER THAN MY SHADOW is written by KATIE GREEN. This graphic memoir is illustrated in beautiful, breath-taking illustrations that lack colour. The tones of grey complement the vibe of the book. The author narrates her journey of battling an eating disorder. She gets real about her compulsive thought processes, anorexia, and binge eating. The book also touches on her unfortunate experience with sexual abuse and the haunting memories it left behind. Katie Green gets real about getting help and the slow, excruciating process of getting better. She illustrates the insights she gained from therapy and the tweaks in thought and behavior patterns that aided her recovery. The book ends with helpful resources about eating disorders and sexual violence.
FOR COMEDY LOVERS…
AT THE STARDOME COMEDY CLUB…
**TODAY… COMEDIAN LAV LUV…From his early start hosting high school talent shows, to his honorable stint in the United States Armed Forces, “LAV LUV” has always known that his destiny was on stage, making people laugh. LAV made his way to “open mic night” at Atlanta’s Uptown Comedy Corner, and has been on a whirlwind roll with comedy ever since. He is now one of the four permanent hosts at Uptown Comedy Corner which has showcased for hosts Corey “ZOOMAN” Miller, Earthquake, Chris Tucker, and Don “DC” Curry. “He is one of the best dressed comedians on tour right now…” comments radio personality Sexy Wanda Smith of the WVEE 103 FM (Atlanta) morning show. With his suave looks and debonair, no holds barred approach to the stage, LAV has become one of today’s hottest young comedy commodities. His performances on three (3) seasons of Black Entertainment Television’s “COMIC VIEW” still has viewers laughing.
**FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY… COMEDIAN JAMES GREGORY… James Gregory creates an evening of non-stop laughter with his down-home sensibilities and inclusive Southern accent. He is a master storyteller and world-class comedian.
**MONDAY…LIVE FROM THE STARDOME WITH RICKEY SMILEY KARAOKE.
**THURSDAY… COMEDIAN CHRIS IVEY AND FRIENDS… Chris Ivey is a Birmingham, Alabama based comedian. Chris uses a mix of storytelling and improvisation to leave audiences in stitches at comedy clubs all over the country. He played Roastmaster General in the roasts of Alexander Shunnarah and Governor Robert Bentley. In addition to his work as a stand-up comedian, Chris created Alabama’s first comedy festival, Birmingham Comedy Festival, and is an established podcast host on The Goulash and Pod Thomas Anderson. Chris is excited to bring his one-of-a-kind show to The StarDome next Thursday, May 13th. It will incorporate his unique comedic style while showcasing the funniest up and coming comedians from across the country featuring Peter Davenport, Trey Mack and Mary Patterson Broom.
**NEXT FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY…COMEDIAN ARNEZ J.
COMING SOON…
**JUNE 11 – 12 – 23RD ST. ELIAS LEBANESE FOOD AND CULTURAL FESTIVAL, at St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church with Drive thru Takeout ONLY.
**JULY 7-17, 2022 – THE WORLD GAMES are coming. Look for more!
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 thelewisgr