Wade on Birmingham

Wade on May 2006


A last look at the ’06 …

Then and now

‘Idol’ Capital of the South: Taylor Hicks continued Birmingham’s dominance in the world’s most popular TV show, “American Idol.” The 29-year-old city native bested Katharine McPhee to win the fifth title.

Not only did Hicks’ victory in the singing competition cement Birmingham’s reputation as an Idol factory, but helped draw newfound attention to its other attractions. The New York Times gushed about the fine cuisine in a recent story, while the Washington Post focused on the music scene in a travel feature.

taylor hicks

The show’s producers finally designated the city as an audition stop, drawing more than 8,000 hopefuls to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in August. Two weeks before, Hicks and the finalists played to a sold-out BJCC Arena. And last week, he released his debut major-label disc.

His 23-city solo tour kicks off Feb. 21 in Jacksonville, Fla., moving mostly through the South and Midwest. The March 10 stop at the Alabama Theatre is already sold out.

Summit shutdown: The state shut down Summit Medical Center on Southside in response to allegations that a staffer gave RU-486 to a patient without a doctor present. That patient delivered a 6-pound stillborn infant a week later in an emergency room.

The clinic surrendered its license in June, closed in July and filed for bankruptcy in October.

Battlebanks: Regions and Amsouth merged to form … Regions. The Birmingham-based banks, started in 1971 and 1970 respectively, combined their $140 billion in assets to form a Top 10 bank in the United States. And unlike other Birmingham acquisitions and mergers of late, the company will remain in town.

The merge became reality in November, not only affecting the Birmingham skyline (hello, Regions Plaza) but also up to 3,700 employees facing the ax within the next few months.

‘Creep’ showing: “Hide and Creep,” the little zombie movie that could, made its TV debut on Sci Fi, joining newly minted cult classics “Mansquito” and “Sasquatch Mountain.” Birmingham filmmakers Chuck Hartsell and Chance Shirley debuted it in 2004 at Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.

Cheapskates (c’mon, it’s 15 bucks on Amazon) can check it out on … Valentine’s Day (2 a.m.) on Sci Fi.

Speaking of cult flicks, for those of you who missed “The Celestine Prophecy” when it didn’t come to town, you can miss it again on DVD, which came out Tuesday. (And it’s 16 bucks on Amazon, for those curious. We thought not.)

Cocktail cause:
The Birmingham Museum of Art was the place to be, as Art on the Rocks returned for a second year. Not only did the museum bring close to 20,000 attendees total to its monthly Friday mixers, but also changed the playing field for social causes.

Haiku flashback

plate show (May 6)

Slow eater defies
busboy with measured mouthfuls.
Fork ready to stab.

• • •

Archives: May

Special report: The ’06 … a last look

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