Wade on Birmingham

Archive for 'Culture'

Celebrate Social Media Day at the J. Clyde!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The J. Clyde

Celebrate Social Media Day with an old-fashioned tweetup!

Join us at the J. Clyde on Southside for a Saturday evening happy hour. We’ll have complementary hors d’oeuvres and the legendary J. Clyde beer selection.

RSVP in advance to be entered in a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to the J. Clyde!

Be sure to stick around for dinner there …


P.S. The hashtag is #bhamtweetup.

Samford making second consecutive trip to NCAA Women’s Tournament

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Samford Bulldogs win Southern Conference

Samford celebrates its second Southern Conference championship.

Samford will return to the NCAA Women’s Tournament to play No. 2 seed Duke (24-5, 15-1) on Sunday in Nashville.

The No. 15 Bulldogs earned their trip after winning its second consecutive Southern Conference championship on March 5 by beating Appalachian State 54-43. The Blue Devils are making their 18th consecutive tourney appearance, almost always as a Top 5 seed.

Samford (20-12, 12-8) exited the 2011 tourney after a first-round loss to Florida State 76-46. Duke lost to N.C. State 75-73 in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on March 2.

The game airs at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.


Video: The Bulldogs learn they’ll face
Duke in the NCAA Women’s Tournament. 

Alabama to play Creighton in NCAA Men’s Tournament

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Alabama, Trevor Releford, JaMychal Green

Alabama’s Trevor Releford, left, and JaMychal Green
will face Creighton first in the Big Dance.

Alabama returns to the Big Dance this week. The ninth-seeded Crimson Tide (21-11, 9-7) will play No. 8 Creighton in the NCAA Men’s Tournament on Friday in Greensboro, N.C.

Alabama lost to Florida 66-63 in the second round of SEC Tournament Friday in New Orleans. In the 2011 NIT finals, Alabama lost to Wichita State 66-57.

The Bluejays won the Missouri Valley Tournament, beating Illinois State 83-79 in overtime, and finished with a 28-5 record. They face the Tide in the Midwest region.

The game airs at 12:40 p.m. Friday (time TBA) on CBS 42 TBS. [See all tipoff times.]


Also: Samford to face Duke in women’s tournament

Alabama stories shine in Hollywood spotlight

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The Help, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis

From left, Emma Stone, and Oscar nominees
Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis star in “The Help.”

Hollywood has been reaching deep into Alabama’s past, present and future this week …

• Last week, “Red Tails” opened nationwide. The George Lucas-produced action movie follows the story of Alabama’s Tuskegee Airmen in their aerial battles against German pilots and their ground war against discrimination. The stars include Terrence Howard and Method Man. “Red Tails” reached No. 2 last weekend in box office take.

• Black history also plays a role in Tuesday’s Oscar nominations, which included two state connections. Montgomery native and Auburn grad Octavia Spencer earned a spot in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as Minny Jackson in “The Help.” Earlier this month, she won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

The movie, based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name, follows the relationship of a young white woman and two black maids in Jackson, Miss., in the 1960s. “The Help” earned four nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Viola Davis and another Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain.

In the Best Documentary Short category, “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” scored a nomination. The 25-minute movie tells the story of James Armstrong, who marched carrying the American flag at Selma on Bloody Sunday in 1965. He was the first to file suit to desegregate Birmingham’s schools. Armstrong died at 86 in 2011 of heart failure.

Director Robin Fryday of San Francisco teamed up with director Gail Dolgin, who received a previous Oscar nomination for “Daughter from Danang” and died from breast cancer in 2010. “The Barber of Birmingham” had its Birmingham premiere in March at the Alabama Theatre.

The Academy Awards airs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 on ABC 33/40.

“A Smile as Big as the Moon” tells the true story of Mike Kersjes, a high school football coach and special education teacher who leads his special needs students to Space Camp in 1988. Kersjes and Joe Layden co-wrote the original book of the same name. The movie, filmed at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville and also in Wilmington, N.C., stars John Corbett, Moira Kelly and Cynthia Watros. It has its Huntsville premiere  at 7 tonight and airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC 33/40.

Video: Minny (Octavia Spencer) gets a taste of revenge
in a scene from “The Help.”

Video: George Lucas discusses the struggle to find funding
for “Red Tails.”

Video: interview with director Robin Fryday and
James Armstrong’s grandson Darren on
“The Barber of Birmingham.”

Video: a look at “A Smile as Big as the Moon”


Scott Douglas discusses HB56 on ‘The Colbert Report’

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Video: Scott Douglas spars with Stephen Colbert
on the Jan. 16 “Colbert Report.”

“The Colbert Report” took up Alabama’s immigration law, HB56, once again. Monday, host Stephen Colbert “debated” Scott Douglas, executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries.

The law has stirred debate over federal enforcement of immigration, labor rights, employment and more. Douglas spoke out against the law, saying the federal government should enforce a rewritten national law, rather than having local law enforcement uphold up to 50 separate state laws.

The comedy show had done a segment on HB56 in October, focusing on the law’s impact on state agriculture.

Video: “The Colbert Report” on Alabama’s immigration law
in October. 

Thursday Club Cinema: six movies for winter nights at the Alabama

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Almost Famous, Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit

They’re with the band: Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit star
in the 2000 coming-of-age film, “Almost Famous.”
It’s part of the 2012 Thursday Club Cinema lineup.

Black and White’s Thursday Club Cinema series last graced the screen at the Alabama Theatre 12 years ago. At the turn of the millenium, before Blu-Ray, or Netflix, or Hulu, or iPads and Redbox.

The weekly series returns tonight with a six pack of films all made around the previous 1998-2000 run.

(Note: Links below are affiliate links.)

Tickets are $9 online or at the door. The movies start at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N., downtown [map].

For more information, visit the Black and White page or email thursdayclubcinema@readbw.com.

Video: “Tiny Dancer” sing-along, in a scene from
“Almost Famous”

Video: At the movies with Frank the rabbit,
in a scene from “Donnie Darko”

Video: Jane Lynch and Jennifer Coolidge discuss family dynamics,
in a scene from “Best in Show”


Alabama wins 2011 BCS National Championship: newspaper front pages

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

A look at today’s newspapers, with front pages showing Alabama’s win over LSU for the BCS National Championship on Monday.


Anniston Star

The Anniston Star

Birmingham News

The Birmingham News

Decatur Daily

The Decatur Daily

Dothan Eagle

The Dothan Eagle

Florence Times Daily

The (Florence) Times-Daily

Fort Payne Times-Journal

The (Fort Payne) Times-Journal

Gadsden Times

The Gadsden Times

Montgomery Advertiser

The Montgomery Advertiser

Mobile Press-Register

The (Mobile) Press-Register

Opelika-Auburn News

The Opelika-Auburn News

Tuscaloosa News

The Tuscaloosa News


Alexandria Town Talk

The (Alexandria) Town Talk

Baton Rouge Advocate

The (Baton Rouge) Advocate

Lafayette Daily Advertiser

The (Lafayette) Daily Advertiser

Lake Charles American Press

(Lake Charles) American Press

Monroe News-Star

The (Monroe) News-Star

New Orleans Times-Picayune

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune

Shreveport Times

The (Shreveport) Times

Zoom to full screen, zoom in on page details
and embed on your site.


Tide defeats LSU in rematch to earn BCS title

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

State makes it three-peat for championships

Alabama 2011 BCS National Championship

Alabama coach Nick Saban celebrates the BCS
championship with the team Monday at the Superdome.

Alabama took care of business in 2012 what it couldn’t do in 2011: Beat LSU. The Tide, entering at No. 2, blanked the Tigers 21-0 in the BCS National Championship game Monday night in New Orleans.

Quarterback A.J. McCarron and linebacker Courtney Upshaw won the offensive and defensive MVP awards, while coach Nick Saban became the first coach to win three BCS titles, including 2009 at Alabama and 2003 at LSU. McCarron is the first sophomore QB to win a BCS title game.

Kicker Jeremy Shelley put up 15 points, tying the bowl record for five field goals. Trent Richardson tacked on something called a touchdown in the final 5 minutes. LSU hadn’t faced a shutout loss since 2002, losing to … Alabama; Saban was the Tigers’ coach at the time.

The state of Alabama brought home its unprecedented third title, following Auburn’s in 2010 and Alabama’s in 2009. And the SEC earned its sixth consecutive BCS championship, though technically also adding its first BCS championship game loss.

LSU and Alabama had already met once this season in November under similar circumstances, ranked at No. 1 and No. 2, and LSU coming away with the win in overtime 9-6.

Alabama finishes 12-1, while LSU finishes 13-1.

Video: highlights from the Alabama-LSU game

BCS National Championship preview: LSU vs. Alabama

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Trent Richardson, Alabama

Alabama running back Trent Richardson will face off against
LSU again tonight for the BCS National Championship.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama will face each other again, this time for the BCS National Championship. In their previous encounter Nov. 5, the Tigers won in overtime 9-6.

Since then, LSU (13-0) has remained undefeated, capturing the SEC Championship against Georgia Dec. 3 and … waiting. The Tide (11-1) returned to its winning ways, wrapping up with a win against Auburn in the Iron Bowl Nov. 26.

The title game is familiar territory for both teams, Alabama having captured it last in 2010 against Texas, and LSU over Ohio State in 2008.

A win by Alabama would make it the third consecutive year for the state to bring home a championship, following Auburn’s victory over Oregon in 2011.

The game takes place in the Superdome in New Orleans. Kickoff is 7:30 tonight, airing on ESPN and WJOX (94.5 FM) [livestream].

In other news:

Video: keys to the BCS National Championship for Alabama, LSU

Gene Bartow, father of UAB athletics, dies at 81

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Video: a look at the life of Gene Bartow

He coached basketball at six universities, with a .647 record.

Gene BartowHe took UAB to the NCAA Men’s Tournament an astonishing seven times in a row in his first 8 years as new head coach.

And he served as the school’s first athletic director, after 34 years in coaching, including a 52-9 record at UCLA.

Gene Bartow died Tuesday at age 81 after a 2-year fight with stomach cancer. He’s best known as the “father of UAB athletics.”

On Saturday, Memphis plays UAB in the Conference USA season opener, otherwise known as the third annual Bartow Classic. Two dollars of every ticket sold goes to the Coach Gene Bartow Fund for Cancer Research at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. at Bartow Arena, airing on CBS Sports Network. Tickets are $22-$27.

Video: tribute to Gene Bartow

State sends team to play for BCS title for third consecutive year

Monday, December 5th, 2011


Video: Alabama coach Nick Saban discusses his team’s
trip to the BCS National Championship Game.

In the 2009 season, it was Alabama. In the 2010 season, Auburn.

And this year, Alabama again plays for the national championship. The Tide faces LSU in a rematch, or perhaps, grudge match. Alabama lost to LSU 9-6 in overtime on Nov. 5.

No. 1 LSU was a lock for the game at a perfect 13-0. Alabama (11-1) waited until Sunday’s official announcement, just edging out No. 3 Oklahoma State in the BCS rankings. LSU beat Georgia Saturday 42-10 for the SEC Championship, while Alabama’s last game was the Iron Bowl, beating Auburn 42-14 on Nov. 26.

No matter who wins, the SEC will take home the national title for the sixth consecutive year. Auburn won the 2010 title, while Alabama won the 2009.

The game airs at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 on ESPN, in 3D where available.

• Heisman finalists will be announced tonight, and expected to make the short list is Trent Richardson, running back at Alabama. Mark Ingram won it at Alabama in 2009. Update: It’s official, as Richardson will be competing against Tyrann Mathieu of LSU, Andrew Luck of Stanford, Montee Ball of Wisconsin and Robert Griffin III of Baylor.

• Other bowl games:

  • Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Virginia (8-4) will face No. 25 Auburn (7-5) on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.
  • BBVA Compass Bowl: Southern Methodist (7-5) will head to Birmingham for the Jan. 7 game, thanks to the SEC pulling out of the bowl this year, opening a slot for a Conference USA team. SMU will face Pitt (6-6) representing the Big East. Pitt defeated Kentucky this year at the first BBVA Compass Bowl.

• UAB finished its season 3-9, leading to the firing of coach Neil Callaway and Sunday’s hire of Garrick McGee, Arkansas’ offensive coordinator, as his successor.

Hoover, the only Birmingham-area team to play in the state finals, lost to Prattville 35-34 Friday in Tuscaloosa.

Sidewalk 2011: Your first in-depth look at Birmingham’s film festival

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011


Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, Alabama Theatre

The crowds will converge on the Alabama Theatre downtown
a month earlier for the 13th annual Sidewalk Moving
Picture Festival.

Note: This is an expanded version of a story that originally appeared on Magic City Post.

The state’s biggest film festival is hitting the streets.

Wade on Birmingham - Sidewalk Moving Picture FestivalWhen the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival returns a month earlier for its 13th edition, it will offer a new venue unlike any other: an outdoor screen and stage.

The free area, Sidewalk Central will feature live music and comedy, as well as panels and one or two evening screenings. It will run all day Aug. 27 and 28 in conjunction with the annual downtown event, which shows more than 200 movies from local and out-of-state filmmakers. The festival had taken place in late September in previous years.

“We’ve tried a variety of things over the years,” says Chloe Collins, festival executive director, about finding a way to feed attendees on site. “This is providing a central hub for everybody to possibly be entertained, definitely get something to eat or drink, hang out for a while and cool off in the misting tent.”

Food vendors at Sidewalk Central will include Bottletree Cafe, Brick and Tin, Carmella’s Italian Ice, the Dreamcakes Bakery cupcake truck, the Cantina food truck, plus beverages from Buffalo Rock. Also available will be vegetarian options, beer, wine and frozen drinks.

Schaeffer Eye Center, which will sponsor the audience choice award, will do a special promotion on site, though Collins declined to elaborate.

Take it outside

The new outdoor hub will be just west of the Alabama Theatre, on a closed-off portion of 18th Street North between Third and Fourth Avenues. In case of rain, Sidewalk Central will still offer food and drink service, but the stage will be shut down.

Festival organizers have tried other options in the past, including asking area restaurants to stay open for the weekend and including their info in the program, and providing on-site caterers. In 2010, the SideLot was to be a meeting place in the parking lot across from McWane Science Center, with bands, sponsor tables and a food vendor.

Instead, it hit a series of mishaps and became the focus of ire for many attendees. The lot’s owner changed the allotted space to one-half the original size a few weeks before the festival; the food vendor didn’t open for business until late Saturday afternoon; sponsors tables went unstaffed for most of the weekend.

While the outdoor area will serve as a gathering place, it’s the indoor venues that will again serve as film oases from the brutal August heat. Sidewalk dropped a venue and shrunk the festival “footprint” considerably: All seven venues encircle a two-block area.

“I’m really excited about the footprint,” Collins says. “Pulling everything closer together is going to force more interaction. It’s going to be really obvious that an event is taking place.”

Map: Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival 2011 layout

No more long walks or drives uptown to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama Power headquarters or even the Birmingham Museum of Art. (In fact, sponsor Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram is providing five Dodge Durangos for continuous shuttle service around the site.)

[Update July 11: Scratch that. The festival swapped in Alabama Power and dropped the Harambe Room in its venue list. The map above has been updated to reflect the change.]

The festival still plans to cross-promote with the Civil Rights Institute during Aug. 27 and 28, offering free or discounted admission to the museum with certain Sidewalk passes and booth space.

The footprint has shrunk, but one major genre has spread out. Like 2010, both Sidewalk and gay/lesbian film festival Birmingham Shout will take place the same weekend. Shout screenings, which had all been at the Hill Event Center at the Alabama Theatre, will be interspersed throughout all venues in 2011. As before, a 1- or 2-day pass allows entrance into both Sidewalk and Shout screenings.

Downtown concentration

The total number of venues for the combined festivals will be seven, one fewer than in 2010, though Collins says the total number of films to be scheduled, more than 200, will be only slightly less than in previous years. That’s because Shout is dropping a single film block, the opening night film that had been on Thursday night in 2010.

Even the awards ceremony has moved on site to the Alabama Theatre, after having been held for years on Sunday night at WorkPlay in Lakeview.

Both festivals will share a single 8.5- by 11-inch program, though with only a one cover this year (2010 had dual covers for Sidewalk and Shout). In addition, Collins says the festivals will offer a pocket-size version, similar to other film festivals, because of audience demand for something more portable.

And both festivals continue to be programmed by separate committees, with separate entry processes for submitting filmmakers. In addition to a Sunday night closing film for each festival, organizers may also have a Saturday night spotlight film for each. (While the festival will have two encore screenings s on Sunday, the Edge 12 will offer more Sidewalk encores in a 5-week series in the fall.)

No lineup has been announced for either festival, though organizers plan to show previews of a few selections at the free monthly Sidewalk Salon at 6 tonight at Rojo on Southside. In addition, the Filmmobile will be stopping by. The blue bus from Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles is on a 6-week cross-country tour showing movies and providing filmmaking workshops.

Sidewalk itself has been on the move, having completed a 2-week online fund-raising campaign last week to bring in $20,682.

The momentum has Collins cautiously optimistic, looking to increase revenues by 7 percent.

“This year, I feel really good, and I’m knocking on wood that that’s not an omen of bad things to come,” she says, with a laugh.

Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival takes place Aug. 26-28 downtown. Tickets are $10 for a single film up to $275 for a VIP pass and can be purchased online. For more information, visit theSidewalk Moving Picture Festival site.


• • •

Action! Complete Sidewalk Festival coverage.

Why Birmingham? Web video series examines an important question

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Video: Wade Kwon’s interview for WhyBHM

Scott Pierce and I have several things in common. We both work on the Internet (he serves as director of technology for Intermark Interactive). We both love public speaking, having shared the stage at Ignite Birmingham. We’ve both spent years recruiting people to work in our city.

Scott PierceAnd we both love Birmingham.

Recruiting nationwide has been challenging at times, trying to convince talented professionals to consider Birmingham, not only as a place of future employment but as a livable city. It often took both sweet talk and careful strategy to lure, for lack of a better word, candidates here to see what we have to offer.

At the Birmingham Post-Herald, we went to considerable expense and trouble to show off what we loved about our chosen location. We took immense pride in showing off our hangouts, our restaurants and our ways about town. If we had someone look beyond the uninformed perception that Birmingham is a backward, terrible, hostile city, we succeeded.

There’s your new tourism slogan … “Birmingham: It’s not as horrid as you might think!”

Pierce has made it his mission to change those outside perceptions using a new website, rather than take the super-expensive inefficient route of flying everyone in the world to Birmingham for a visit. It is narrative journalism on video.

He calls it WhyBHM.

Pierce interviews residents from the metro area to ask two questions: Why did you come to Birmingham? And why did you stay?

I was honored to be one of the initial six participants, whose videos are posted on the site. My 9-minute story talks about my serendipitous journey through journalism and how Birmingham became not just my hometown, but my home.

Viewers will learn that the answers to those two questions vary greatly. And that each person’s story helps build the case for why Birmingham.

If you want to participate, email Scott Pierce at whybhm@piercingwit.com.

Paul McDonald on ‘American Idol’: Top Eight

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Video: Paul McDonald sings “Old Time Rock and Roll”
from “Risky Business” for movie night.

Lights. Camera. Action.

American Idol“American Idol” returns to one of its favorite recurring themes, movie songs. Huntsville’s Paul McDonald engages in some risky business.

“Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jewish God! Help me, Allah! Help me, Tom Cruise!”

Song: “Old Time Rock and Roll,” by Bob Seger

[buy Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll"
on iTunes, Amazon; buy Paul's version
aff. links]

Judges say: Steven: “I love your crazy, wild abandon. What you got back from (the audience), that says it all.” J. Lo: “Every time you come out here, it’s like you’re going a little bit further in your performance, in just letting go. You killed it. Good job.” Randy: “America, you just witnessed the first number in the Paul McDonald concert. I love that you are just not a typical singer — you’re definitely an artist.” 

We say: Paul is becoming the good time guy, but can he really stir people, or will he always just be the party rock guy? And will it take him much further in the competition?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio: “Old Time Rock and Roll,” Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Really rosy.

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Sax with Paul.

Paul McDonald, American Idol

“American Idol” airs at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox 6.

Voting closes at 10:30 tonight.

Update April 14: After his second trip to the Bottom Three, Paul McDonald was eliminated in eighth place, making him the first male contestant gone from the Top 13.

Previous: Top Nine — Rock and Roll Hall of Fame songs
Next: Top Seven

Video: “Old Time Rock and Roll,” by Bob Seger


• • •

More “American Idol” at idol.wadeonbirmingham.com.

Paul McDonald on ‘American Idol’: Top Nine

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Video: Paul McDonald sings “Folsom Prison Blues”
for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame night.

Are you ready to rock?

American IdolWe said, are you ready to rock?

No? OK. Well, these nine “American Idol” contestants are ready, including Huntsville’s Paul McDonald. The quirky singer faced a close call last week as part of the Bottom Three in which two others were sent home.

This time, the man onstage took on the Man in Black, Johnny Cash.

Song: “Folsom Prison Blues,” by Johnny Cash

[buy Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues"
on iTunes, Amazon
; buy Paul's version aff. links]

Judges say: Randy: “I got three words for you: I loved it!” Steven: “You’re such a crazy character. You rocked the house.” J. Lo: “A perfect way to end the show. Good job.” 

We say: High energy, maybe not our favorite version of the song, but should be enough to keep him out of the Bottom Three again.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio: “Folsom Prison Blues,” Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Paul McDonald, American Idol

Paul McDonald, American Idol

“American Idol” airs at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox 6.

Voting closes at 10:30 tonight.

Update April 7: Pia Toscano was sent home in ninth place.

Previous: Top 11 again — Elton John songs
Next: Top Eight — movie songs

Video: “Folsom Prison Blues,” by Johnny Cash


• • •

More “American Idol” at idol.wadeonbirmingham.com.