Filed under: AL, Birmingham, Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham, AL, cajun dance, Catalyst, city stages, Civic Engagement, Commentary, L'Angelus, music, music venues, My Birmingham, urban issues
With commercials on television and conversations going on in bars and at parties around town, you’d think that the buzz surrounding the City Stages campaign was starting to die down. I think you’d be wrong, and that the reality is that the campaign may be just starting to heat up. Click here to get an idea of the conversations going on and here to get a taste of the comments from the town hall meeting held in November. Talk alone will not help Birmingham, Alabama’s long running music festival, so read on to see what else is planned next weekend as people try to do what they can.
City Stages Idol Karaoke Contest
Polish off your best impersonation of your favorite singer, or at least be prepared to blow away the competition. Catalyst sponsors this contest where participants have a chance to win one of TWO spots on the Home Grown Stage at City Stages this year. And yes, these will be singing spots on the stage! The event will take place at WorkPlay next weekend, with auditions taking place throughout the day on January 27, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
There are two separate ways to make it to the Homegrown Stage. First of all, the best 15 singers from Saturday auditions advance to Sunday finals. The finals will take place on Sunday, January 28 from 2 – 5 p.m. The winner selected on Sunday as the best sings at City Stages!
Just how will the other winner be decided? With your wallets: $1 = 1 vote. The five singers with most votes (or friends to come out and support them) on Saturday advance to Sunday finals. Again, the most votes wins on Sunday and sings at City Stages!
There is a $20 entry fee for those interested in participating. Those that want to come and check it out will pay $5 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. For more information, visit www.sustaincitystages.org, call 251-1272 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cajun Dance Concert (featuring L’Angelus)
After you’ve suffered the agony of defeat (or the thrill of victory) on Saturday, you may want to head over to Saturday, January 27, 2007, 8:00 – 11:00 pm at the Elks Lodge Cloud Room, located at 6815 2nd Avenue South, on the 27th starting at 8 p.m. to listen to L’Angelus. It’s sponsored by theAssociation of Cajun Music Enthusiasts (ACME). Tickets for this fundraiser is $20. And it’s worth it just to see the Cloud Room property.
All proceeds from these events will benefit the annual music festival. Check out the Sustain City Stages site to learn some more about the events going on around town in the coming months and how you can do one yourself. Or just chime in with your thoughts, positive, negative, indifferent or otherwise.
Enjoy the day.
Filed under: AL, B'ham Wiki, Birmingham, Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, AL, Cities, Civic Engagement, Civil Rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, history, Jr., Kelly Ingram Park, Martin Luther King, memories, My Birmingham, News Media (as source & subject), people, Photographs, Race and Prejudice, Random shots, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, urban issues, urban parks
Today many in the nation will take a moment to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during unity breakfasts, prayer meetings and television montages that will no doubt have people in Birmingham believing that the only thing people think of when they hear the name of their city is fire hoses and dogs. Commissioner Langford, a likely candidate for mayor in this fall’s election will speak at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church here in the city this afternoon. There will be wreath-laying ceremonies at the base of the above statue of the fallen civil rights leader later this morning with other political and social leaders taking part. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will be open to the public for free, leading to an influx of cars from across the country coming to see the exhibits and the history of this facility.
An early morning walk through the downtown area showed many treating it as they would any other Monday morning. There are considerably less cars downtown today as many have the day off. This afternoon several hundred people will culminate a weekend of service to the community throughout the greater metropolitan area. There are those that will push the issue of whether or not a city celebrates the holiday. The Birmingham News provides this list in today’s paper. The issue of taking the day off just to have the day off or spending the day working is one that will be raised for some time to come. How do you honor a man who led one of the most important fights in the history of civil rights in this country?
I say one of them because there is still progress to be made in race relations in this country on all levels. Homelessness and poverty still rear its ugly head at levels much greater than we need or want. Gay and lesbian rights are still a long way from being dealt with openly and candidly. So what do we do?
As mentioned last year, I’m still not sure why we choose to focus on these issues and challenges at only one time of year on such a national level. I’m hoping that some people choose to voice their thoughts today as that would be as great a tribute to Dr. King as it would be to roll up your sleeves and do something about it without feeling the need to resort to violent tactics.
The irony of the focus of many of the local activities here in Birmingham, Alabama is the significance of the person that Kelly Ingram Park is named for:
It’s named for the first American sailor killed in “the war to end all wars.” For both Ingram and those that sacrificed for my ability to write these words today, we must really ask ourselves what must we be willing to do to finally achieve victory over these issues.
Let’s hear ’em.
Filed under: "red mountain park", Architecture, Birmingham Alabama, Catalyst, Cities, Civic Engagement, Millennium Park, My Birmingham, other cities, Ruffner Mountain, urban issues, urban parks
We here at the Ramblings site received a mass e-mail last night that we realize you’ve probably already heard about courtesy of Catalyst. Just in case you haven’t heard, here it is:
Railroad Reservation Park Groundbreaking
You are cordially invited by the City of Birmingham and the Jefferson County Commission to attend the groundbreaking for the Railroad Reservation Park and District at the Railroad Reservation Park site, at the intersection of [18th Street South and 1st Avenue, South], Friday, October 6, 2006 at 10 a.m.
This event adds to the buzz already existing with the other parkland expansion projects in the city: Ruffner Mountain and Red Mountain Park (follow this link to an earlier post about the park). Those that are able to attend tomorrow’s event should be excited about the prospect of moving dirt and seeing our version of Central and Millennium (previous post link) Parks begin to take shape.
A word of thanks
I’d also like to thank those of you that have given to the effort that was posted about yesterday. I know that Diane was appreciative and have a feeling that David will be appreciative as well of your gifts. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please click here to view yesterday’s post.
Thanks again and enjoy the day.
Filed under: Architecture, Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham, AL, Civic Engagement, Commentary, history, Magic City Flickr Group, My Birmingham, News Media (as source & subject), Photographs, Random shots, Sustainable Development, The Birmingham News, The Rambles, urban issues
Yesterday, the Design Review Committee unanimously denied the request by the Birmingham News to demolish its 1917 headquarters and replace it with a parking lot. Click on the following link to read the story as reported in the Birmingham News:
Panel denies News’ demolition request, The Birmingham News, 9.14.2006
The decision now provides the building at least six more months. This came after the group’s first appearance before the committee last month, which we wrote about here. The building is located in a commercial revitalization district and not a historic district, leading to the shortened time period for cooling off. The six months in theory would allow for interested parties to come together and create alternative options, though according to the News’ ownership, many options have already been explored (and not acted upon). Randy Marks, an architect that spoke at the Design Review Committee meeting yesterday, suggested that city officials and others come forward with potential solutions. Well, here’s my stab at it, though I am but a lone voice, I hope that maybe I can get the conversation started.
There are many that believe saving the building is paramount; that it provides a glimpse into the past of an industry that has long provided their communities a primary source of information. Several newspapers throughout the country have moved out of their old buildings in favor of new structures that they feel are more in touch with modern reporting. These buildings are incredible in their own right, with Birmingham’s new one becoming a benchmark for those contemplating the move. We’ve talked before about new buildings when I first posted an image of the new Birmingham headquarters under construction. Many of them were also able to save the historic office building and only lose the old press building, renovating them for hotels, commercial developments and assisting in the general efforts of revitalization.
The idea of saving the News Building would be great, if the community is willing to pull together and do something that truly benefits all. One thought that came to mind involves placement of the long talked about Birmingham-Jefferson Historical Museum project. What better place to house the facility than the place that covered and reported on most of it. One of my regular readers e-mailed me last night and talked about it being used for the proposed Literacy Center County Commissioner Langford has talked about. The reader’s point is well taken; a newspaper would be interested in promoting literacy.
There are some options that understandably would not be viable if the request was to include tearing down the late 50s-era addition. The need for control of the “campus” that convinced the ownership of the News to stay downtown is important to consider in any discussion, so the idea of a residential redevelopment would be unlikely. The idea of commercial revitalization remains viable as well, providing eateries and other small business options for the growing loft community, downtown employees and visitors.
The paper has led several efforts to save historic structures in recent history. I think they expect people to hold them accountable for reusing a building that would have cost about the same to renovate as it did to build its replacement. The new building as I’ve mentioned before, is an incredible piece of architecture that brings the 21st century to downtown Birmingham. It does reflect the history of the old building in its design, as seen in this post. However, the additional costs that would have been incurred due to temporary relocations of offices would have been worth it for the long term benefit of the community to renovate the old building.
Our business community and young leadership are best suited to explore alternatives for a building that no doubt will one day be reminisced in the same way that Terminal Station and the original Tutwiler were. They were only being replaced with something that was modern and necessary. And it is not that they have not tried, maybe they simply need to change they’re approach. In Savannah, I’d ask you to ask them if they don’t miss the Hotel DeSoto every time they look at the DeSoto Hilton.
Let me know what you think,
Filed under: Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham, AL, Commentary, My Birmingham, The Rambles, Where to find Dre
Today marks two years since I officially became a full time resident of the City of Birmingham as I still operated on eastern time and almost tried to show up for work an hour early (granted my first thing was a 7:30 a.m. Design Review Committee meeting).
In two years I’ve gotten a little slower, a little wider, hopefully a little wiser and more seasoned. There are three strands of gray hair that have decided to camp out on the right side of my face, reminding me that the best is yet to come. I’ve seen progress, steps taken forward and backwards, friends come and go, reality set in and dreams both die and rise from the ashes to take flight over the city, pulling our heartstrings with them. The words that bloggers write provide a window into the author’s soul, though I’m not quite sure what these words mean to those that read them.
I’m now volunteering for the event that made it very difficult to move into the loft, adding to a legacy I left behind in Savannah of not quite knowing how to say the word “no.” I don’t because I want to do it all. I want to do whatever is necessary for this city to achieve its hopes and dreams and for me and Bets to achieve ours.
I watch work out the window every morning on buildings and dreams. I watch as class and race still permeates everything that we do, whether we like it or not. I see people walk into my office sill hopeful in the American Dream coming true for them, whether because of or in spite of what I do. For every person I see with bars on their doors, I see others that remind me that I can just call up a few people and have them over for drinks on a whim. I wonder exactly what does it mean when you still get up in the morning and love what you do, even though you wonder if there is another challenge out there that may finally get the engine going faster and work you more than you’ve ever been worked before.
I have an orange ragdoll tabby that has enjoyed what I promised him when I took him in years ago; the chance to enjoy views from a loft during the day and to be comfortable. He could have run away a few times but I think he’s happy he’s hung around. I have a girlfriend who has sacrificed her career so I could start mine, despite requests from me not to do so for my sake. I’m glad to have her in Birmingham.
I have neighborhoods of opportunity, villages as someone once called them, in and out of the city that scream for the stars on the state license plate to fall on them and lift them up into the national spotlight.
I know people that love to dream as much as I do and who do all they can to make them come true. It lets me know that hope is still eternal and useful.
And there are people that read the words that appear in this corner of the blogosphere whenever I post them, some who comment and continue to push to see what else they can learn, others sitting quietly by with their thoughts, hopes and criticisms in their hearts.
These words that bloggers write provide a window into the author’s soul, though I’m not quite sure what these words mean to those that read them. Nor do I know what magic the central city of the state holds for me next. I sometimes wonder if the beach and impromptu cookouts would be better.
I guess we’ll see.
Enjoy the weekend.