Tag Archives: 2008

In Love With: A Festival of Lights

It’s beginning to look a lot like … well, the early weeks of December, where the hard core Christmas enthusiasts already have their halls decked and the rest of us are coming out of our Turkey Day comas long enough to realize we better get in gear. It’s not much longer now until my favorite holiday tradition can be celebrated. It is non-denominational and inexpensive, and can be either raucous or genteel-your choice. It’s the (say it with me now) “Super-Fabulous Christmas Light Extravaganza Spectacular,” and it’s wonderful.

Here’s how to mark the holiday. Pick an evening, your favorite Christmas CD (I recommend “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio) and whatever lucky nearest and dearest you like. Stop at a coffee shop long enough to gear everyone up with enough yuletide treats and caffeine to last them the evening. Then begin driving through neighborhoods looking at light displays until you’ve crowned:

The Most Beautiful Display
The Kilowatt Cup (The one that makes you say “Do the Griswolds live here?”)
Best Technique (a.k.a. the “How Did They Do That?” award)
Most Avant-Garde (or Clueless) Award.
Most Religious
Most Sacrilegious
Most Old-Fashioned
The “We’ve been planning this since March” Award
and the Most Spirited Neighborhood Award

A Birmingham Christmas tradition in photos

The Arlington House

One of the coolest things to do around Christmas here in Birmingham is to visit the Arlington House on Cotton Avenue on the Birmingham’s West Side. The house is a Greek Revival style Antebellum era mansion currently owned and operated by the City of Birmingham. The house and its beautiful grounds were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Each year the Arlington house hosts a Christmas tour day where you and your family can tour the house and enjoy free hors d’oeuvres and hot cider in the tea room while watching old school Christmas entertainment and music. This year the entertainment was a trio of harmonica players. These guys played some great traditional pop standards and Christmas songs as a myriad of guests looked on. NOTE: Check out the rest of the images in The Gallery to see for yourself.

After that you can self tour the grounds and there are a few local historians ready to give you details about the rich history of the house and of the Elyton area.

Arlington has a gift shop and also accepts donations all of which go towards the upkeep of the property as well as hosting free events like this one (that are open to the public).

If you can’t make it this year, be sure to put in on your calendar for next year. It’s well worth it to see some of Birmingham’s history preserved here.

Photos: Josh Self/Flickr

It’s time for the Function at the Junction

It’s time for the Junction to be jumping again. The 23rd annual Function at The Junction will take place this Saturday, July 26, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. in Erskine Hawkins Park in Ensley. This year the festival will feature national recording acts Shirley Brown (of Woman to Woman fame) & EU (y’all remember Da Butt, if not, click and take a listen.) It’s a celebration of music on the city’s West side and a homecoming for many (normal reported estimates put the crowd at 4,000 people).

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In Love With: Magic City Art Connection

For me springtime in Birmingham means beautiful weather, colorful flowers, and Magic City Art Connection. Even before I dabbled in art, I enjoyed wandering among the artists, soaking in all the creativity in the air (floating alongside the intoxicating scent of funnel cakes). In fact, it was at a Magic City Art Connection that I rediscovered block printmaking and got inspired to explore it again.

The 25th edition of the city’s biggest art festival is this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Linn Park downtown. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, it’s free, and it’s a vibrant event you really shouldn’t skip. More than 200 artists from around the city, state, and country will be scattered throughout the park, showing the magic they’ve made using paint, watercolor, pencils, ink, wood, fiber, metal, and who knows what else. You don’t have to buy anything, but I guarantee you’ll see something you’ll like—and perhaps something to spark your own artistic ideas.

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Art on the Rocks rolls into 2008

2007 Art on the Rocks logoOne of central Alabama’s hottest tickets returns for a 4th season as Art on the Rocks turns the Birmingham Museum of Art into one of the hottest venues in town. This year’s series begins on May 16 with a performance by The Dynamites (before you . We’ll be updating the destinations calendar with dates and information in the coming days, but follow the jump to take a look at the acts that will be (weather permitting) gracing the Sculpture Garden with their presence (and music). As always, the doors open at 5 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. Continue reading