The city of Birmingham’s arts and culture scene finally feels like it’s on pace to getting back to normal after nearly two years of virtual-only programs and limited-in person events. Some might even call it a revival as new venues open and long-time revenues reopen their doors for visitors.
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This month sports a new selection of artist talks, DJ sets, and live performances. From listening parties, to film screenings and history lectures, here are a few events to add to your calendar.
“Precocious I “: An exploration of Black fatherhood
Visual artist and musician Carey Fountain will host a silent listening party and art exhibit at Emerald Venue in downtown Birmingham for “Precocious I,” a 5-song EP written and recorded with his son, Caisen. “Precocious I” is the inaugural installment of the “Precocious series,” a project exploring the themes of Black fatherhood, the creativity of a child’s mind, and the bonds that exist in an artistic relationship between a parent and child.
“Precocious I” will also feature accompanying works of art for each song, activities for children and adults, discussions about parenthood, and a live Q&A session with Carey and Caisen Fountain. “Precocious I” is also a collaboration between Carey Fountain and Montgomery-born artist Sydney Foster. Foster, a photographer and creative director whose work revolves around themes such as vibrancy and southern Black culture, shot the promotional portraits of the Carey and Cason Fountain for the “Precocious” project. Foster is currently an artist in residence at the Wiregrass Museum of Art. Her exhibition “Sydney A. Foster: Reflections and Realities” is on view at the Wiregrass Museum of Art until March 26.
The “Precocious I” silent listening party is on Saturday, February 12 at 5 p.m. at the Emerald Venue. Tickets are $20 and are available at vibesandvirtues.com and bit.ly/precocious1.
The Black Economic Alliance Presents: The 1619 Project
Community organizer Clarence Muhammad and Birmingham’s Black Economic Alliance will host a two-part discussion of The 1619 Project, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer-prize winning project for The New York Times Magazine that examines America’s history of slavery. The project has since expanded into a book.
Muhammad, who will facilitate the discussion with clinical psychiatrist Dr. Artie C. Nelson, intends for the talk to be a “no holds barred” conversation on a number of topics including race, critical race theory, and education.
“We’re opening it up to everybody. Black folks, white folks. And we’re having an honest conversation on race, about historical misconceptions, and history as it pertains to slavery and the founding of this country,” said Muhammad in an interview with AL.com. “We’ll talk about historical misconceptions about how history is taught in the public school system. How that has a negative impact, specifically on African Americans and how history has been sanitized.”
Yvas Witherspoon, a counselor and volunteer programmer for the Arlington House, organized the two-day discussion. Part one of the discussion, on Saturday, February 13, will focus primarily on the history of slavery and education. Part two of the discussion, set to be held the following Saturday, will delve into the psychological impact of racism and slavery. Muhammad and Dr. Nelson will speak for 45 minutes and then open up the floor for questions.
The discussion will be held at The Arlington House, the Antebellum mansion and former plantation house on Birmingham’s historic Cotton Avenue. The Black Economic Alliance made an intentional choice to host the discussion at the Arlington House. Over the past five years, the team at the Arlington House– a core staff and volunteers led by executive director Toby Richards– has worked on a number of projects to develop a robust set of community, education and art programs with the goal to rewrite the narrative of the Arlington House to include the history of the Black people who were enslaved on the property.
“The Black Economic Alliance Presents: The 1619 Project” will be held at the Arlington Historic Homes and Gardens on Feb. 13 and Feb. 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. Admission to the discussion is free.
High Tea Presents: Love Tea at The Little London
High Tea, The Flourish Alabama’s poetry and live music performance series showcasing Southern and Black culture, returns to The Little London pub in Homewood on Sunday, February 13 for a special Valentine’s Day edition called “Love Tea,” On the rundown for the evening: a performance from Alabama R&B artist Humble Le and poetry from Josh Alex Baker.
A non-profit organization devoted to nurturing and mentoring artists, The Flourish– created by writers and educators Jahman Hill and Eric Marable, hosts a number of events around the city. Their mantra for High Tea: “It’s tea time with a twist. Southern Black artists rockin the mic in unexpected places.”
“High Tea Presents: Love Tea at The Little London” is on Sunday, February 13 at the Little London Pub in Homewood. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $75 for couples VIP (VIP includes admission and a table for two, two drink tickets, and a selection of sweets and flowers). Tickets are available for purchase via Eventbrite.
Black Lens Film Week, Sidewalk Cinema
This month, Sidewalk Cinema will debut its inaugural Black Lens Film Week– seven days of feature and documentary films produced by and starring people of color.
“The Black Lens Film Week will highlight new innovative films and celebrate some familiar classics as well,” Sidewalk Cinema said in a press release. “It’s our intention that the films shown as a part of this program reflect the diversity of the black experience in America, both past and present.”
Curated by T. Marie King, who leads both Sidewalk Cinema’s shorts and Black Lens programs, the Black Lens Film week schedule will showcase documentaries (including “A Soldier’s Story,” “Mama Gloria,” and “Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up”) as well as feature films (“Love Jones,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman) and short films from Birmingham-based creators, including artist and designer Yogi Dada.
King and a host committee of artists, cultural critics, and educators (Celestia Morgan, Forte, Jason Avery, Patrick Johnson, Jasmine Shaw, Sonya Mitchell, and James Williams) designed the programming for the week, which includes screenings, filmmaker Q&A sessions, and DJ sets from The Kickback and DJ Rahdu.
“I really wanted to create space to highlight all of the beauty and artistry that Black people contribute to society.” King told AL.com in an email. “Whether [it’s] fights for social justice, exploring identity, love, laughter, music or just being us, that’s what I wanted to highlight. Black Lens Film Week is not for Black people only but it’s Black Centered!”
Black Lens Film Week kicks off on Monday, February 14.
Black Lens Film Week at Sidewalk Cinema runs from Feb. 14 to Feb. 20. Tickets prices vary. Tickets are available on sidewalkfest.com. The Sidewalk Cinema is located on the lower level of the Pizitz.
The Future of Black: A Poetry Panel
Alabama’s Poet Laureate Ashley M. Jones will be one of the featured poets on “The Future of Black: A Poetry Panel” an online poetry reading and discussion about Afrofuturism, fantasy, and comic book culture. The 2021 anthology “The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry,” highlighted the work of poets whose body of work explored themes of Afrofuturism, including Lucille Clifton and Gil Scott-Heron:
“The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry is a groundbreaking collection highlighting work from poets who have written verse within this growing tradition. In addition, the anthology will also feature the work of artists showcasing their interpretations of superheroes, Black comic characters, Afrofuturistic images from the African diaspora.”
“The Future of Black: A Poetry Panel” is on Friday, February 18 at 5:00. Admission to the online event is free and registration is open via Eventbrite.
Magic City Collective Presents: Lovers & Friends Takeover
Magic City Collective’s monthly DJ set and showcase at Ghost Train Brewing’s location in Lakeview returns on Friday, February 18 with a “Lovers and Friends” edition. Hosted by Sound Fader Media founder Chris Anderson and The Kickback, February’s showcase will feature performances from Alabama R&B artists Kidd Rifft, Linnil and DionRacii.
Advance tickets for Magic City Collective Presents: Lovers & Friends takeover are available for purchase via Eventbrite. Tickets are $10.00 plus additional service fees. Tickets will also be available for purchase for $15 on Feb. 18 at Ghost Train Brewing.
Birmingham Culture Clash
Birmingham Culture Clash —a live music and art showcase– will debut its inaugural event at Ghost Train Brewing’s new location in Avondale (3501 1st Ave S). The “collision of art, music, and culture” will combine a selection of DJ sets, live performances, games, food trucks, and art exhibits. The first edition of Birmingham Culture Clash kicks off on Feb. 25. Set to run from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. the showcase will feature three DJs: a House & Techno set from DJ Andrea Really, Breakbeat and Latin from DJ Suaze, and R&B and hip-hop from DJ Love Deluxe. Alternative instrumentalist David Sheetz, R&B/Soul singer Kennie BLK and rapper Tia Raye will perform between the hour-long DJ sets. Birmingham Culture Clash is the brainchild of artists Carey Fountain, Jahman Hill and Giani Martin.
“I think it truly is a discovery and also a rediscovery of what kind of makes up Birmingham’s talent scene,” Martin told AL.com in an interview. “From discovering local artists you may not know about, to people that you know about but haven’t seen in a while. So there’s an opportunity for rediscovery of your favorite local artists.”
Birmingham Culture Clash kicks off on Friday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at the new location of Ghost Train Brewing. Tickets for Birmingham Culture Clash are available for purchase on Eventbrite (the link for tickets is also available on https://bit.ly/bhamcultureclash). Early bird prices are $10 for general admission and $60 for VIP (plus service fees). Early bird ticket sales end Feb.11. After that, tickets are $20 for general admission and $70 for VIP.
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