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Category: Events

Bham Events: Epic City Rush

epic city rush

 

Zyp BikeShare exists in part to ease day-to-day reliance on cars, but its bikes are also the ultimate way to explore the city. Especially this Saturday, during Zyp’s Epic City Rush. Whether you sign up for the rush of competition, the thrill of civic pride, or the real possibility of winning cash money for loving your city, we think their urban scavenger hunt is the event this weekend.

“This really will be a one-of-a-kind event in downtown Birmingham,” said Michael Symes, Zyp’s sales & marketing coordinator. “Create a team of 4 with friends, co-workers, neighbors and enjoy a day filled with adrenaline, excitement, chaos, teamwork, and FUN while you are on a mad dash through town!”  

“The one major rule is NO DRIVING! We want you to experience the city from a first-hand perspective, and hopefully you’ll discover a new favorite spot,” he said.

Participants will have to devise a game plan for the race, Symes explained. Most clues will lead to spots on the north side, though there may be some scattered closer to the Railroad Park start line.

“It’s all about strategy. Do you run to the furthest location and work your way backwards, do you make a loop around the city, or do you hit all the closest landmarks and make a straight line mad dash to the finish at the end?” Symes said.

There’s a $10,000 prize waiting for the winning team, but Symes said there will also be “instant rewards” teams can earn along the way. There’s even a “Most Epic Team” prize up for grabs, he said, a reward for teams who take on Zyp’s challenge to “dress up, be crazy and creative” in executing a group “theme.”

Even if you opt out of racing, you should definitely join the after party — which Symes said is open to participants and observers alike — at Good People Brewing Company. The party, which begins as soon as the first racers arrive, will include food truck vendors and “moments captured on social media” during the race, according to Symes, with awards presented at 1:30 p.m.

Registration is open through race day. If you’re not already a Zyp Member, Symes recommended getting a 24-hour membership — available for $6 through the Zyp app.

 

Bham Events: The H2 Downtown Loft Tour

birminghamview

 

Ever wondered what it’s like to live downtown? You know there’s the convenience of walking to the office or to grab a quick coffee, sure, but would the space really feel like home? And how do folks fit an entire home’s worth of living in a single loft space? This weekend is your chance to find out. Join us tomorrow — Saturday, April 30 — for our Downtown Loft Tour and its look at Loft District living.

From the constant surprise of new things, to the forward-thinking business spaces you read about, to the homes amidst it all, we’ve put together a collection of spaces that offers something for everyone. Really. All the way from modern industrial lines to craftsman-inspired carpentry. If you aren’t already in love with the neighborhood, you soon will be. And with our limited-run hard hat tours of new construction, you’ll even see how the neighborhood’s next great buildings are coming together.

The tour is a little like walking through a magazine feature, bringing you inside the ways people live and work here. There’s the unique magic of our skylight view or the citywide perspective from the Lewis Communications roof deck. There are gorgeously weathered hardwood floors and industrial windows that only open in the center. There are balconies that look out on El Barrio, and actual lofted bedrooms, and the ways people live within them.

There’s something about it here that you simply have to experience. The way the light feels from an upper floor or the reality of how close your favorite watering holes really are. Seeing Zyp bikes in action and feeling truly part of a resurrecting city. Your ticket fees even help keep the resurrection going, since all the day’s proceeds support REV Birmingham.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live downtown, this is the time to find out. Find all the details and grab your tickets here.

 

Bham Events: Barons Begin 2016 Home Games

“Regions Field has emerged as such a fixture of the city and of downtown in particular, and to me, it represents a lot of the optimism, the excitement for where the city is going, and that’s something we really want to be a part of now and forever.” – Harris Stewart, owner of Trim Tab Brewing Co., to AL.com

 

regions field birmingham

 

There are many markers of spring – the time change, the equinox – but in Birmingham there’s only one that really matters. Spring isn’t officially here until the Barons are, which means spring 2016 begins today, April 12. It’s the season of Thirsty Thursdays, racing tacos, and the occasional kiss cam proposal. Mostly, though, it’s the season where we remember how great it is to be in Birmingham right now.

From the skyline views to the brand new beer garden, Barons games are a celebration of Birmingham. The team has built its brand around “civic pride” the Birmingham Business Journal reported, and that investment has paid big dividends. Their Parkside stadium setup “helped the city rank among the top half of minor league markets by the Sports Business Journal,” according to the BBJ.

Regions Field has become not just a sports venue but a full-on destination. Good People Brewing Company Co-Owner Michael Sellers compared the field’s Birmingham sign to the iconic Hollywood letters, telling news station WVTM that it constantly draws a crowd for pictures.

To visit Regions Field and the Parkside district is to simultaneously inhabit Birmingham’s past and its future. It is to enjoy both simple outdoor pleasures and the exhilarating challenge of this city’s rebirth. So much of what’s good and bad in this city can be told through the baseball lens, and the new Negro Southern League Museum nearby helps honor Birmingham’s complicated history.

Yet, the sheer presence of so much growth around Regions Field is a reminder of all that is possible. Where once the Barons were part of a revitalization outpost, they’re now features of a recognized community. Having America’s pastime return to Birmingham was the experiment that proved the Railroad Park hypothesis: People want to spend time in Birmingham. We have to keep giving them reasons to.

Bham Events: YP Socials

Image via YPBirmingham

 

Networking events can feel like a chore, a necessary evil in the name of building professional connections. But Young Professionals of Birmingham has a different proposal for your professional development. In their effort to help folks “get out, get social,” they hold cocktail gatherings at some of Birmingham’s hottest places. Places you’d willingly hang out anyway, now with a handy productivity excuse. So check out YPBirmingham board member Brailyn Hardy’s advice below for optimizing your experience, then join us tonight at 5:30 at Lakeview’s Sky Castle Gastro Lounge for the March social.

 

Feeling shy? Remember you’re there with a shared purpose.

“Everyone who attends our socials is there looking to meet new people, so don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to someone new,” Hardy says. “We select venues that provide a light-hearted, open, inclusive, and low-pressure environment to make networking a little more casual.”

 

Wear your expertise like a badge (literally).

Hardy suggests YP-ers take advantage of event name tags that include your industry affiliation. “When you arrive at the door you have the opportunity to select a name tag that specifies your field, so it’s easier to determine which people are in the same or opposite professions in hopes to make new connections and contacts,” she says.

 

Arrive early for full event perks.

“Sky Castle will be providing small bites to give attendees a taste of what to expect on from their Southern Progressive menu,” Hardy says, “ including the official Sky Castle Burger, Lakeview Chick chicken sandwiches, Korean and Honey Bourbon BBQ Wings, and Hummus.” But be one of the first 150 YPBirmingham members through the door, and you’ll get a free drink ticket as well, she adds. There’s also a free drink waiting for 150 new members.

 

H2 Real Estate specializes in helping young professionals live in Birmingham, from choosing physical homes to finding communities. That’s why we’re also proud sponsors of YPBirmingham. Say hello tonight — we’d love to meet you — and be sure to follow our series of YP Tips.  

Bham Events: Happy Hour Yoga at Good People

 

happy hour yoga
image via Good People Brewing Company

 

When we heard about happy hour yoga at Good People Brewing Company, our first thought was: That’s genius! Now that we’ve heard more, we stand behind our original conclusion. We haven’t made it to a class yet, but you can bet it’s on our list. In the meantime, we asked Ally Edwards, a physical therapist and yoga teacher in training who leads the class, to tell us what we can expect.

 

An affordable, unorthodox class:

“When there’s a fork lift running around and brewers making beer in the background, you go with the flow,” Edwards said. Plus, she said, the $10 class fee also buys you a cold beer for a post-workout treat. It is, in fact, one of the best workout bargains we’ve seen.

 

A practice for all, even the brand-new yogi:

The class is based on vinyasa, a flowing style of yoga that will be familiar to most folks who’ve tried a sun salutation. “It is open to all levels of skill,” Edwards said. She makes sure to teach variations on most poses so there really is a version of the practice for anyone who attends: “Don’t feel like you can’t do yoga just because you aren’t flexible.” The gender balance — which Edwards said is often “50/50” — is also different from the majority-female classes you’re likely to see at many yoga studios.

 

A teacher who’s tuned in to your body’s needs:

“I am also a Doctor of Physical Therapy,” Edwards said, “so I tend to approach my practice a bit differently and would also describe it as very therapeutic.” Edwards is in the process of completing a 200-hour teacher training, but she’s also spent 8 months working with another physical therapist/yoga teacher. “My background as a DPT has also helped tremendously with the knowledge of anatomy and how certain motions can be beneficial for different body types/injuries.”

 

A friendly, easy-going environment:

Edwards says turnout so far has been between 10 and 15 people, which we think is enough that you don’t feel like the center of attention but not so many you feel lost in the crowd. She described a real “camaraderie” among folks who’ve attended multiple classes, often rounding out their post-practice enjoying beer together on their yoga mats. But don’t think it’s too late to be part of this beer-loving zen crowd: “We also love new people!” Edwards said.

Bham Events: Wacky Tacky Holidays in Crestwood

crestwood holiday lights

 

Driving around to look at Christmas lights is a time-honored holiday tradition for many families, but Fresh Air Family has made it even better. Their Wacky Tacky Christmas Light Tour bundles all of our irreverent favorites – tacky sweaters, processed snacks, and gaudy light displays – into one big celebration of holiday excess. And with its many Crestwood attractions, we think the tour is more evidence that Birmingham neighborhoods supply holiday spirit for the entire metro area.

“Crestwood is loaded; it’s great,” tour creator and Fresh Air Family Executive Director Verna Gates told us. Attractions include “Santa in all kinds of Caribbean-esque situations” at a Jimmy Buffet-themed house, live entertainment from kids on 5th Terrace, and Gates’s own brontosaurus. (“Nothing says Christmas like a prehistoric animal,” Gates said.) Also included is the Hanukkah House, which she said has beefed up its usual display this year with a menorah-bearing Vulcan.

Folks frequently ask Gates if being included on the tour hurts homeowners’ feelings, but Gates assured us participants needn’t worry. “Half of them are lobbying me to be on the tour,” she said. “If you get up and add 60,000 lights off of your roof, you are not cursed with shyness. You want people to come.”

Besides enjoying the holiday fun, tour participants can also feel good about what their ticket purchases support: scholarships to Fresh Air Family’s Gross Out summer science camps. “About 41 percent of our kids at the summer camps come on some form of scholarship,” Gates said.

“We just started recently an in-school education program based on the Gross Out Camps, so we’re doing all kinds of wonderful things,” Gates said. “With a small staff, we get a lot of bang for our buck. We do a lot, and this is one way we raise some money to keep our programs going.”

When Gates began the fundraising tour as a fundraiser, she wasn’t convinced it would find an audience. “Four years ago somebody suggested I should make it a fundraiser for Fresh Air Family, and I was like, ‘Who’s going to want to do that?’“ she said. But the numbers proved her wrong. “We’ve already sold 600 tickets, so apparently a lot of people.”

There will be 20 buses running during the tour’s two nights of operation, tonight (December 15) and tomorrow night (December 16). Click here to purchase tickets.

“It’s going to be quite an adventure,” Gates said, “but we have proved over and over again with Fresh Air Family that it really is the simple things of life that people enjoy the most.”

It’s also the simple things Gates loves about living in Crestwood. “It’s a real neighborhood,” she said. She described a place where residents have holiday block parties or take each other to the hospital. And some of the neighborliness is just good, old-fashioned wacky.

Gates has a collection of tacky Christmas yard decor that she said would be wasted on her small side street, so it decorates a neighbor’s more trafficked lot instead: “There’s not many neighborhoods that you can walk around the corner and say, ‘Hey, can I hang a bunch of tacky decorations in your yard?’ And to have other neighbors come over and help me do it.”

Bham Events: Holiday Spirit at the Alabama Theatre

alabama theatre holiday film series

 

In an age of Netflix and on-demand everything, it would be easy to wonder why the Holiday Film Series at the Alabama Theatre endures. It requires getting out of the house, after all, and out of your favorite loungewear. It requires a sense of occasion that we no longer associate with the movie experience. But if the holiday season is about anything, it’s a sense of occasion. A sense that there’s something special — dare we say magical — about the way sparkling lights brighten our shorter, darker days.

A good holiday film succeeds by embracing the power of Christmas cheer to offset the colder realities of our day-to-day lives. Consider the two most shown movies of the series: Elf and White Christmas. In Elf, wrote Roger Ebert after its 2003 release:

The whole world has grown too cynical, which is why Santa is facing an energy crisis this year. His sleigh is powered by faith, and if enough people don’t believe in Santa Claus, it can’t fly. That leads to one of those scenes where a flying machine … tries to fly and doesn’t seem to be able to achieve takeoff velocity, and … well, it would be a terrible thing if Santa were to go down in flames, so let’s hope Buddy persuades enough people to believe.

White Christmas is, arguably, the more realistic tale. Its focus is on the power of a good, old-fashioned show by friends old and new to save an unseasonably warm Christmas. Like Elf, though, White Christmas celebrates the magic of community, the more metaphorical of holiday lights. Both films hold up the people who make repeat appearances in our lives, the ones we discover along the way, and the pulling-together spirit that makes it all work.

And the Alabama Theatre is the perfect place to watch them. Saved by an unlikely cast of organists, its own preservation story reads like the plot of a classic Christmas movie. No roped-off museum piece, it has once again become a magical movie palace with an enduring community life.

Holidays at the Alabama Theatre represent everything we love most about our Loft District. It isn’t just a place for looking back but for embracing the Birmingham we have right now, and appreciating each incarnation of its magic.

Bham Events: Art Crawl at H2 Gallery on 1st

Art Crawl at H2 is bigger and better this month, with two distinct artists showing their work at our Gallery on 1st. Their works range from detailed sci-fi paintings to fine art photography, both accompanied by our usual line up of beverages and snacks. So without further ado, meet David LaRocca and Claude Hupp.

David LaRocca is the type of artist who sells not only at your standard art show but at specialty events like Magic City Con. In his bio, LaRocca confesses to a “childhood fascination with fantasy, darkness and mystery,” that’s shifted into an art mission “to explore the shadowy world of the mind without regard to the polite tastes of the mainstream.” No standard landscapes for this guy, in other words. Instead, you’ll find detailed paintings with a common focus on light versus dark and a strong sense of perspective.

 

image via David LaRocca

 

LaRocca’s studied 3D animation, and he’s worked in industries from comic books to gaming, according to his bio. But he also produces independent art and has embraced crowdfunding to make that work possible. This fall he ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund his “Star Spawn” digital painting of H.P. Lovecraft characters. The idea for crowdfunding, he explained on the project site, was to create more space in his freelance illustration schedule for a passion piece and still be able to pay the family bills. The campaign reached its target funding in only 30 hours. So if you have your own crowdfunding side hustle dreams, you’ll want to chat with LaRocca.

 

Image via Claude Hupp Photography

 

Photograper Claude Hupp echoes LaRocca’s light and dark themes, recently focusing on literal lights captured with what we’re guessing is a low shutter speed. Framed by minimal night sky backgrounds, the colored light installations in Hupp’s work take center stage. The results are dramatic, modern abstracts that could easily find a home in a minimalist loft with exposed brick.  

Because this month’s Art Crawl coincides with the holiday season, it also features Deck the ‘Ham window displays around the Loft District. You’ll want to explore as many venues as possible for a holiday experience that’s fun on its own but also tailored for crowd participation. You’ll have until December 18th to share an instagram photo of your favorite window, using the hashtag #DecktheHam. Check out the Art Crawl website for more details, and ‘gram away.

H2 Does Art Crawl: Featuring Sonia Jackson Summers

Image via Sonia Jackson Summers

 

We had a blast hosting our first Art Crawl in October, and we’re excited it’s that time again. This month we’re hosting artist Sonia Jackson Summers, who works in media from comic strip drawings to scratchboard portraits to acrylic landscapes. Her work stands on its own, but we can’t help being excited about her approach to marketing as well, which is basically to let us all in on her production process. If you’re a creative type trying to market your work, consider Sonia your source of inspiration.

Probably her most impressive tactic is her series of time lapse youtube videos. Remember those intro to drawing books where they teach combine basic shapes to form a drawing? The series of ovals that becomes a droopy-eared dog, for instance. Or even Bob Ross’s process of creating happy trees. Sonia’s youtube feed is a little like that, but with no instruction or narration to get in the way of her work.

You’ll see her brush strokes create the splayed tufts on a spaniel’s feet or her layers of color capture a terrier’s mottled coat. You’ll also see her adjusting a project in process, painting out bits that didn’t turn out as planned and revising them with a fresh attempt. There’s a confidence in both her brush strokes and in the way she attacks mistakes that’s inspiring.

Her blog complements her youtube stream by giving additional backstory to her projects: how she incorporates lace, or why she reworks old pieces. She even clues us in to the exhibition and selling process for a working artist:

While I consider most Art Crawls moderate successes if there is decent traffic and good conversation about art, I am very happy and excited to say I sold a painting last night at the Birmingham, Art Crawl! This was the busiest Art Crawl in several months, and my fourth sale (of my own, non-commission art) through this venue within a year.

Her commissioned portraits of children and animals make us all gooey inside, but her Birmingham landscapes will always have our heart. Whether it’s downtown in the snow or a view of Rojo, her Birmingham scenes feel like an instagram-filtered photograph. Her Linn Park work (already sold, unfortunately) even features the dappled effect of afternoon sunlight on a camera lens.

We’re not sure what she’ll be showing in our offices, but that’s all the more reason to stop by from 5-9 pm on November 5th. Get to know Sonia (and us) while you enjoy beer and snacks. You might even win a raffle in the process. And we’ll happily award bragging rights to the visitor who asks Sonia the best painting/creative marketing question. See y’all at the crawl.

 

Bham Events: H2 Does Art Crawl

Image via Melissa Shultz-Jones

We’ve featured the Loft District’s Art Crawl before, but we’re extra excited to be participants this go-round. We have a sparkling new space to share, and we’ll be using it to showcase the work of local artist Melissa Shultz-Jones.

Shultz-Jones had formal art lessons as a child, but she also pored over the work of classic artists in a coffee table book for a self-directed style of discovery, she told artsBHAM.com in August. That early experience with books continued to shape her art, finding inspiration in all sorts of printed pages so long as they contained “a good story,” she told the site. “It’s difficult to stay in one genre when there are so many things I want to say.”

That focus on story over genre is clear in her impressive stylistic range. There are colorful, rounded characters that are begging to dress up a nursery or kid’s room. There are moody, graphic novel stylings, realistic character portraits drawn in India ink, and coloring book pages that would make for awesomely minimalist loft-style art.

One of our favorites in her portfolio is her take on the classic Terminal Station Birmingham sign. The clean, graphic lines of India ink appeal to our modern tastes, while gray-tinged clouds of watercolor and gouache add a more fanciful touch. Her colorful abstraction of the Alabama Theatre is another favorite, offering a great alternative to the many charming but literal representations of our city icons.

We also love her series of gouache scenes on salvaged paper — everything from children’s books to old hymnal pages. Pieces like this one incorporate original details into the new design and bring a historic, handcrafted touch to any space.

You may have noticed, we tend to focus on the home applications of art, and that’s part of what we love about Art Crawl. It’s a chance to discover local artists doing affordable work you can actually imagine hanging in your home. It’s art for everyday life, which is our very favorite kind.

But don’t take our word for it. Come say hello and see for yourself.