Dre\’s Ramblings

City Stages 2007 – Day Two

Right place, right time

Dr. John

I’d heard Dr. John’s songs. I’d seen Earth Wind & Fire play several times at City Stages. So I gave into curiosity and ventured over to what has long been known as the singer-songwriter stage, and I was not disappointed.

It was a great performance and I’m glad I got there early. When I say I got there early, I ended up catching the tail end of Marcia Ball’s performance as well. Both of them were incredible. I did venture elsewhere in the festival grounds but I also checked out Icon over at The Tutwiler Hotel.

The crowds were a bit lighter in the afternoon, but it seemed like everyone that was going to come out did after the sun went down. The Birmingham News is reporting that festival organizers think they can break even based on Friday’s numbers. Friday was quite steady, but not crowded, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens based on last night and today.

I think that day 3 will be the “tipping point” and a test to see what can happen in the future. A return of a gospel stage with top flight acts is great, as is the idea of (maybe coincidence?) booking several bands considered to be Christian alternative throughout the stages today. It will be interesting to see what the numbers reveal afterwards.

Today Betsy performs with the Birmingham Community Mass Choir as part of the festivities. She’s looking forward to it. I’m wondering how fast I’ll fall asleep when I finally head on home later on today.

Cheers, and Happy Father’s Day!


My run-ins with Birmingham’s finest

I don’t seem to have the best luck with my limited run-ins with Birmingham’s finest.

I got pulled over by a police officer as I turned into The Summit late Saturday afternoon. He seemed nervous as he walked up alongside my car. I’ve had some insane things occur with my car, which I affectionately call “Big Blue” since it was purchased during my working for a corporation phase. It’s the lone remnant of that time. It definitely doesn’t look perfect as as result of those insane things; the entire left side is torn up.

Anyhow, I was told that I’d not renewed my tag as of yet. I’m still a Yankee at heart, so I still call them license plates. I suddenly remembered that I’d never received notice of renewal. I was told that it didn’t matter and that I should have known. This would be true if I’d grown up here, but I’m still used to the notion of something much more logical with regards to renewal, like renewing based on your birthday month or something like that. I told him that I’d recently moved and he said “yeah, I know all about that,” which still puzzles me. When he returned with my ticket, he had still written down my old address on it.

Now this is the point where I must say that this officer was ten times nicer than the guys I dealt with my last and only other experience with Birmingham’s finest. I slight tangent for a moment…

I was visiting Birmingham in 2000 for City Stages and I’d just dropped my friend Chris off at home because he was sick. I for some crazy reason, wanted to go back and see James Brown perform at the Coca Cola Stage. I ended up finding a parking spot next to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (a placement I still find funny considering it’s directly across the street from the Civil Rights Institute and what follows). Continue reading

Enjoying the ride
May 18, 2007, 10:30 am
Filed under: Birmingham, AL, Commentary, urban issues

Today is National Bike to Work Day as I reported on The Terminal extremely early this morning. Why was I up posting that early you ask? This is in part because my new career forces me to be up before the crack of dawn attempting to figure out what’s going to go on that day. NOTE: As all of us know, it still never really ends up being good anyway 😦 I also had an inkling to do something that I’d looked forward to doing as a result of the job change: ride my bike.

Unfortunately, the body just didn’t feel like moving much this morning, even for a simple seven-mile bike ride. Things have definitely changed.

Now, it’s been nearly 5 years since I started riding my current set of wheels. I got them from John (incidentally the same person from whom I received Ed (a.k.a. Whitekitty) – who appears to be doing much better). It was a replacement for what I’d jokingly called my Ford Explorer early on in my school career – a black Murray with front suspension. Back when I had the “Explorer”, most SCAD students didn’t drive to class; you saw a network of cliques and bikers weaving the streets of the historic district.

As the college grew and I got older, I joined the parade of drivers, severely reducing my dependence on what had been my primary form of transportation. One visit to the doctor about a year before I moved here shocked me back into the need for self-propelled motion. A return to living in the downtown area didn’t really hurt either.

During that time, I rode the bike to work every day (except when the forecast called for rain). I averaged about 3 miles a day on the bike, doing the ride to and from work twice a day (went home for lunch whenever possible) and then riding to the gym to work out most evenings. I’d bike to Grayson Stadium if the opportunity presented itself. And it was nothing to do a 25-mile ride on the weekend or ride out to my Jaycees meetings on Tuesdays (though they’d insist that I get a ride back home) or to ride in the rain (I didn’t think I was going to melt like I seem to now 🙂 )

I thought that by working and living in the same neighborhood, I’d be able to take advantage of that exercise again. So far, the hustle and bustle associated with start up has kept that from being an option. I really miss the release it gave me from life’s problems and the lack of stress that seemed to exist after a ride, or exercise in general. Continue reading

We’re test driving The Terminal (kind of)

Things have been pretty quiet over the last several weeks here at the blog. There are a few reasons for it, some of which have been mentioned in recent posts. The main reason is because of the suggested announcement that I made a few weeks ago that I was preparing to start a new website focused on Birmingham, Alabama.

The result is an extremely (and I do mean extremely) beta version of The Terminal. I’ve written a lot of stuff about things going on in town in the past few days and am beginning to repost and edit some of the posts from this site to give an idea of the types of items that The Terminal will be covering. This is far from a finished, launchable product, but I figured since many of you may feel the urge to visit the new site often after all of the bugs have been worked out, that you’d be the perfect beta group.

At some point in the next few days we’ll post all of the references as to what is exactly being used on the site, including the logo. In the meantime, I’d ask for some realistic critique of the site. I’d ask that you e-mail me your thoughts on it and the types of things and stories that you’d like to see covered to the following e-mail address:


I’ll get it, and unlike previous attempts to reach me, I’ll actually have time to answer. This is more of a labor of love than anything else; something that will talk about the good and the bad of Birmingham, but in a way that deals with solutions (or at least invites solutions) instead of pointing fingers all of the time. Comment on the posts that are already up there and bookmark the site if you feel like it. Or tell me why it’s not even in the top 100 sites you’d like to visit. There will eventually be ads on the site as well, so speak up about who you’d like to see up here. I’ll also be letting you know of some of the sites features in the coming weeks as they become operational (though some of them already are; I’d like to test drive them a bit more on my own first before turning y’all loose on them).

I think that I can finally promise an update (and a resulting flurry of posts) in the coming days about all of the recent events in the life of yours truly. Try not to get washed away too much and I’ll see you on the other side.

Enjoy the day,