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Technology Training-Microsoft Word 2010 for Power Users It's time you focused on features in Microsoft Word 2010 that will save you document creation time. Facilitator is Donna Gilliland, MOSTraining, Inc. Class will be Apr. 4th at the Chamber from 9a.m.-4p.m. Cost is $140/Chamber members and $165/nonmembers (includes a graphically illustrated workbook). RSVP by March 28 to stacey@ or 391.0559. Seating is limited. Lunch & Leadership Series-Class #2: The 8 Leadership Principles The 8 Leadership Principles of Peak Performers are a combination of attitudes



and actions that will allow you to not only survive, but to thrive in your chosen profession. Attendees will look at the necessity for continual training (growth, development, practice & preparation) and focus (getting rid of the noise). This 2-hour class will help you take your game to the next level. Facilitator is Martin Houston, The Empowerment Center. Class will be Apr. 2 at the Chamber from 11 a.m. - 1.p.m. Lunch will be provided. Cost is $50 for members and $65 for nonmembers. Price break is available for those attending the whole series. RSVP by March 28 to or 391.0559.

New YP(t) Event: Coffee & Cards Start your work day off by networking during breakfast. Meet other young professional members (under 40) and bring your co-workers to Coffee & Cards on Wed., Mar. 26

from 7:30 until 8:30am. Learn more at www. or email yptuscaloosa@

We celebrated the opening of Lucca on University Blvd, near Moe's BBQ, on March 7. It relocated from Midtown Village and makes a great addition to Downtown Tuscaloosa. Stop in and shop the chic spring inventory. Congrats, ladies!

REGISTER FOR DRUID CITY ART FESTIVAL Get an artists’ booth before the March 28 deadline to be a part of the 5th annual Druid City Arts Festival. Visit the festival on April 5 for a free day of art, music and inspiration hosted by the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission. Volunteers needed for Woman2Woman Empowerment We are seeking individuals to serve as teachers for our Empowering Choices Aftercare Program. We assist women returning to the community from incarceration. We offer classes on a variety of topics such as financial literacy ,self esteem, employ ability,stress,anger management,substance abuse and more. . No formal teaching experience required. We are only asking for a commitment of 2 hrs every 16 weeks. Curriculum furnished. Please call 552.5628, or email

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// GARY HARRIS Open of spring practice pleases Saban

First female to win this award






CAT R INA K ATTN E R 2 05. 52 3 . 1 4 6 0 Planet Weekly P. O . B o x 2 3 1 5 T u s c a l o o s a , AL 3 5 4 0 3 Phone: 205.792.7239 | 205.765.8007 Email: publisher@theplanetweek

8 POTTERY MAKING // ALYX CHANDLER Chance for you to give it a whirl 15 DRAGON HILLS


Medieval reenactment

20 DOUBLE DOSE OF BLUES // WILLIAM BARSHOP "Shameless" remains shameless


Dumped by the boyfriend


Rage night at the Green Bar




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Planet Weekly is published every other Thursday. No part of this publication including editorials may be reproduced, in whole or part, by any means, including electronic retrieval systems, without the Publisher’s prior expressed written consent. One copy of each issue of THE PLANET WEEKLY is free to each of our readers. Any reader who takes more than two copies without expressed permission of the publisher shall be deemed to have committed theft. The views and opinions of the authors of articles appearing in this publication may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Publisher.



Road Trip


Tuscaloosa music

Saving Alabama's lost and abandoned animals

23 Horoscopes // Sudoku 24 CROSSWORD PUZZLe




>>> NEWS // R Y A N P H I L L I P S


Miss Emily’s Tomatoes

Entering a new employment atmosphere can be difficult for anyone. Despite being the first day on the job for Angela Edmonds, it was not her first day at work. Edmonds, whose disability qualifies her for this particular position, is supervised through the Palk Enterprises Supported Employment program [PESE], and began the workday promptly at 9 a.m. in the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house on the campus of the University of Alabama. PESE, which functions through The Arc of Tuscaloosa County, aids in finding and facilitating employment for adults with disabilities. “I’ve loaded the paper towel holders on the table and did the dishes,” she said. “I sprayed the dishes off and put them through the steamer. I stocked their closet where they keep all their cookies and snacks, and I wiped down the tables



in the dining room. It’s fun, but first days on the job are always kind of jittery.” The American workforce would appear to have come a long way in its short, often turbulent, lifetime. From the days of exploited child labor in textile mills and coal mines, to discrimination against women and races in the workplace, labor laws have evolved in an attempt to protect groups once pushed to the fringes of society. With all chronicled social progress aside, one University of Alabama-housed advocacy program believes that there remains a demographic left out of consideration. Patrick Hackney, staff attorney for the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP), said that individuals with disabilities are a forgotten portion of the workforce and are often left with no other alternative than to work in a sheltered

workshop. This is where ADAP’s support of one particular piece of impactful legislation comes in to play. “There is currently a bill in the state legislature called the Jeff Ridgeway Employment First Initiative Act,” he said. “Essentially what that bill would do, would be to direct state agencies to look at employment as the first option for people with disabilities. Typically, folks with developmental and intellectual disabilities can go to school until they are 21. That is, if they are lucky enough to get services when they graduate.” Employment can serve as both therapy, and a means of social interaction for individuals with disabilities. However, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, only 17 percent of people with disabilities maintained some kind of employment. Although many are simply not capable of performing on the job, the Employment First Act seeks to help the ones that can work by restructuring the way employment is provided. Rep. Laura Hall (D), and a host of other representatives from both sides of the aisle in Montgomery, sponsored the Employment First Act, or HB-285. This bill was read to the house on January 16, 2014, and currently awaits a vote. One local legislator, Rep. Alan Harper (D), whose district covers Tuscaloosa and Pickens County, is also a co-sponsor of Employment First, and declined to comment on his involvement with the bill, as did Rep. Hall. The synopsis of HB-285 reads: “This bill would require state programs and services to promote the employment of youth and adults with disabilities by coordinating and collaborating to ensure that state programs, policies, procedures, and funding support competitive, integrated employment. This bill would authorize state agencies to adopt rules to implement the act. This bill would not require any employer to give preference to hiring individuals with disabilities.” Hackney then said that Employment First would combat “Day-Habilitation” centers that he pointed to as places of exploitation. According to ADAP’s stance on the issue, this would provide Tuscaloosa, and the state of Alabama, with a proactive route to avoid being impacted by the withdrawal of federal funding for these types of programs in 2015. “To be frank, you don’t do a whole lot in those programs,” he said. “You are suppose to teach daily living skills, but a lot of the programs are essentially babysitting. What we want to see is, instead of making


that jump to day-habilitation, lets see if you can work part time through various state agencies that can assist these folks as opposed to going somewhere and sitting for five or six days a week.” Jerry Pike, co-owner of Eagles’ Wings, provides both employment opportunities and on-site medical care for disabled participants in a new location off of Highway 82. According to Pike, the state of Alabama continues to struggle with fostering effective outlets for citizens with disabilities, which was the goal behind founding the Northport-based establishment. The new complex is able to facilitate 40 individuals, Pike said, but the number of those waiting for a spot is difficult to ignore. “We are creating slots that were not available in the community, but we have 35 on the wait list to get those 20 spots,” he said. “I recently was checking the numbers, and around 3,000 people are wait-listed for programs like ours around the state. When those people aren’t involved in the community or doing something, they will sit at home and regress.” Hackney stated that Eagles’ Wings is fairly new, and has not provided a reason

for scrutiny, but one program that is deeply rooted in Tuscaloosa has been in the crosshairs of ADAP for some time. “PALK Enterprises [through The Arc of Tuscaloosa County] is probably the best example of a sheltered workshop in Tuscaloosa,” he said. “It’s just a large room, and you have anywhere from a dozen to 100 folks with disabilities doing a variety of work, depending on what contract they have, but it is all piece-rate kind of work. The only folks they interact with that do not have disabilities are staff.” Ryan Delfin, executive director of The Arc of Tuscaloosa, defended Palk Enterprises, by citing the misconceptions often made by those who do not understand the operational procedure. “Palk Enterprises is a program that serves 50-individuals and offers much more than contract work,” he said. “This is not a program where people with disabilities just work on contracts. On the contrary, it offers training for various independent living and social skills, in addition to skills needed to help the people we serve find employment.” In addition to employment training, @jrphillips82689

>>>N E W S | C O N T I N U E D

Ryan Delfin Delfin said, Palk Enterprises also facilitates community involvement by pairing disabled individuals with employment opportunities aimed at promoting independence and fulfillment. “The program also takes the people we serve into various community settings for recreational, training and volunteer activities,” he said. “It’s through these activities that the people we serve socialize with people who do not have disabilities and are not our staff. While Palk Enterprises offers contract work, it also offers small mobile crews that go to different places of business in the community and provide either janitorial or window washing services, where they receive an hourly rate of pay at minimum wage. Additionally, one of the contracts we have relates to Saban Sauce and all of that work is paid at full minimum wage on an hourly basis, regardless of piece production.” On the second floor of the Lambda Chi Alpha house, another employee diligently cleaned the stains on the floor and walls from the night before. Oscar Johnson set down his broom and dustpan to talk about his past, and present employment through the PESE Program. Johnson, a valued worker, has not missed a day on the job in two years. “I love sweeping, mopping and just cleaning up,” he said. “When I worked at Partlow [Hospital] before it closed down, I hauled supplies to Bryce and stuff—I worked out there for more than ten years.” Before closing at the hands of ADAP and the state, Partlow Hospital was a mainstay of mental healthcare in Alabama. When the doors shut for the final time, many of the patients found programs like PESE, were sent to family, or were simply left to wander the streets. In the kitchen of the fraternity house, Edmonds loaded dirty dinner plates and cups into a large industrial washer as steam still emitted from the previous load. Her assigned employment specialist Cynthia Foster then explained the common attitudes that she sees in the program’s employees. “All [the PESE participants] want is someone to talk to and treat them like everyone else,” she said. “They are so dependable and their attitudes are such a blessing to be around. To get people like Angela, it is just such a pleasure. Our workers always want to be on the job.” Despite the community involvement seen with the PESE program at UA, Hackney and ADAP still view the sponsor, Palk Enterprises, as an example of exploi-

tive day-habilitation. “[Sheltered workshops] get permission from the federal government to pay below minimum wage,” he said. “They get paid on a piece rate, which means they get paid by each item you complete. If you go to a hotel, and see the little packets with the napkins and spoons in them, people with disabilities put those things together. They then turn around and pay the workers with disabilities for that work. We have seen folks that make anywhere from $0.50 to $2.00 per week.” After asserting that employees are indeed paid at minimum wage, Delfin pointed to the fact that each individual case must be handled in a particular fashion to best meet the needs of the participant. “While traditional community-based, competitive employment is a great fit for some, it is not the best fit for everyone with disabilities,” he said. “While some people with disabilities are able to work at traditional community settings, not all of them are, or want to. For those individuals, there needs to be other options, other than having to stay home throughout the day. Palk Enterprises offers those options.” Administrators of these programs have also come under criticism from ADAP, due to the paychecks that ADAP believes they take home. “We feel like it’s exploitive and it’s so condescending because the defense is ‘They are just so happy to get a paycheck,’ and if you go into a sheltered workshop and ask them if they want to make more money, 10 out of 10 will say yes,” he said. Hackney then said that Employment First, if passed, would serve more as a wake-up call than a malevolent political move. “To me, the employment first statue is the first start,” he said. “It is largely symbolic. It doesn’t ask for any state funds, it doesn’t make any agencies do anything in particular, but what it does say is that you need to be looking at this. If this passes, then that is the first move towards more integrated employment. In my opinion, this statue helps the state of Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa take a proactive approach when addressing this issue and figuring out a plan. The most important thing to me is equal opportunity. It is about giving folks a chance to be fully integrated in every aspect of their daily lives.” As the workday ended at the Lambda Chi Alpha house, Foster reflected on the good things that she has witnessed working as an employment specialist for Palk Enterprises. With sincerity, Foster recalled a fond memory from here career. “I had this one employee once who was just a great worker and person,” she said. “To show you how much he wanted to work, and cared about his job, he called me one morning and asked if he could have the day off for his sister’s wedding in November— he called me to ask off in January. He is no longer able to work, but he is still in contact with me to this day. We just want to support them and help them be as independent as possible.”

Flo Rida

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Jacob Thompson MARCH 20 + APRIL 3


>>> M U S I C |R E G G I E A L L E N


Outside Steamer’s on the Strip, sit the four members of the band, Good Love. They are taking the first of numerous breaks for their five hour set and have agreed to a quick interview. The band is now celebrating their first year as a group and they have quite the following. They all sit down outside, enjoying a drink from the bar or a cigarette, and every now and then, members are embraced by fans asking when they are getting back on stage to perform. The audience is anxious for more. Bass player Mark Hermecz , assured them that after the interview they will taking the stage by storm and will put on a great show. This is what Good Love is all about. “We’ll bring the good, ya’ll bring the love,” their tagline and mantra says. Lead singer, Aaron “AP” Posey leans back on his metal chair, taking a drag of his cigarette. “We just like to get in the groove,” Posey says calmly. “We can get pretty rowdy on stage, “drummer Drew O’Neal adds. Hermecz takes a sip of his Long Ale and jumps into the conversation. “And we try and wear ridiculous looking stuff,” Hermecz chuckles. As he says this he is wearing a large "grizzly bear" coat like the one worn in the Comedy Central show, “Workaholics”. According to Hermecz, no two Good Love shows are the same; the members gauge the audience and give them what the band thinks they want to hear. However, they try not to stray from their true roots: rap, soul and funk. There will always be a little Outkast and Red Hot Chili Peppers in their set mix. “We like to think of it as party, rather than a show,”Hermecz says. Good Love is comprised of Mark Hermecz (Bass), Nick Williams (Guitar), Drew O’ Neal (Drums) and Aaron “AP” Posey (Vocals.) But before the group became a four-



some named Good Love, they were a trio. Eventually taking their name from the song, “Good Love Is On the Way” by John Mayer, members Williams and Hermecz recall the passing of their close friend and brother in music, Carson Sumpter. The trio would all play the John Mayer song on numerous occasions, but this was halted when Sumpter developed Cancer. After he passed, the two performed it one last time as a celebration of his life, and vowed to never play it again. Yet Hermecz remembers the impact of all of the positive feedback from those at the performance. “So many people in the concert said you [Williams and Hermecz] have to keep playing, “ Hermecz says. “Carson would haunt you if you stopped playing.” They did not stop, and the rest, as they described it, was magic. Before the inception of what is now Good Love, the members led varied lives; Williams and Hermecz knew each other for the past seven years but were playing in different bands, O’ Neal was living in Pell City and Posey had not yet met the first two. Hermecz remembers meeting Posey at a friend's party, where there was word going around that a talented rapper was present. When Hermecz and Williams finally met him, everything came into place. Hermecz, Williams and Posey went into one of the empty rooms, where they found a guitar sitting in the corner; Hermecz played and Posey rapped. He describes how Posey’s words just flowed out of his mouth, like magic. Immediately, attendees from the party started to flood the tiny bedroom to hear the show. Hermecz remembers looking into Williams eyes and saying “Yeah, we need him to play with us.” “I never knew I had talent until I met them,” Posey says humbly. Until joining the band, the lead singer had only graced the stage by himself, and had never performed as a singer with another group.

O’Neal, the newest edition, joined Good Love after moving to Tuscaloosa this past February. Posey had known him from their days in their school’s drum line in Pell City. O’Neal, who was still living in Pell City at the time, came to visit. Coincidentally, Williams and Hermecz were present and there was a drum set in the room. O’Neal immediately began to play, filling the room with what they describe as a soulful, gospel blend. Hermecz says that he had heard many other drummers, but claims that O’Neal is possibly the best he has ever heard. In a college town, like Tuscaloosa, where most of the local talent are cover bands, Good Love says they try to break away from the mold of playing slow tempo songs by being energetic and moving with the music. Whether it’s Williams playing his guitar with his teeth, Hermecz playing his bass behind his back, O’Neal’s soulful melody or Posey’s James Brown inspired dance moves, the band resists being four typical guys standing around playing their instruments; the audience does not want to see that. “We play music that a lot of bands are not playing,” Hermecz says. “You will never hear us play ‘Wagon Wheel’.” Good Love describes their genre of music as a blend of rock, funk, soul and rap; it highlights the various individual and shared talents that members bring to the group. O’Neal, tapping into his old days as a church drummer, provides the soul.


Hermecz is the funk, embodying Anthony Kiedis and The Temptations. Posey and Williams share the stage with their rap talents, but with contrasting rap styles. Posey captures the essence of Big Boi and Andre 3000, while Williams' style more closely resembles Eminem. Though the band is a tight-knit group, while performing, each member has their moment to shine on stage. A performance of “Roses” by Outkast, can immediately be followed up with Williams spitting rhymes from Eminem or a drum solo from O’Neal: no one is overshadowed. Three out of the four members hail from the University of Alabama; Posey with a degree in Anthropology; Hermecz with a degree in Education and Williams pursuing a degree in Education. Some members, like Hermecz, plan to use their degree eventually, but first want to focus on their musical careers. “When I graduated I didn’t even apply for a job. Music was the only thing that I thought about,” Hermecz says. Now that the band has established themselves in Tuscaloosa, Good Love is taking their musical journey to the next level; they are building a recording studio in Talladega. With eight original songs already written, and many to come, they feel that it is time to start recording. An E.P is in the works and is expected to be released later this spring. According to Hermecz, once the E.P is completed, Good Love will test the water and perform outside the familiar ground of Tuscaloosa. “We love playing in Tuscaloosa, but we don’t want to our fan base to be worn out,” Hermecz says. Good Love is playing at the Copper Top on March 21.

>>> F I L M | V A N R O B E R T S


The surprising thing about “300: Rise of an Empire” is that the Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R-rating. Like its heroic predecessor about the Battle of Thermopylae, this sanguinary, sadomasochistic sequel depicts death by sword, spear, arrow, and oil, with its combatants slashing, hacking, and gashing limbs, legs, necks, and noggins with pugnacious abandon. Despite its ritualistic, CGI-laden depiction of naval battles, this “300” ranks as the bloodiest adventure epic ever produced about warfare during Classical Antiquity. Indeed, I felt like I was watching something that deserved a more appropriate NC-17 rating rather than a benign R-rating. Occasionally, Hollywood augments their fare when they launch them into the home video market with scenes appealing to a less family-friendly demographic. Typically, they synthesize more blood, sex, and violence into the cinematic content because the studios want to attract an audience that embraces a rougher treatment. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen the unrated versions of these DVDs and Blu-Rays. Apparently, the “300: Rise of an Empire” producers decided to retain abundant the graphic violence in their theatrical cut rather than delay it for home video. This gratuitous violence may sicken the squeamish, while gore lovers will applaud the hematic, larger-than-life intensity. Like the original, “300: Rise of an Empire” relies on slow-motion, ballet-like, battle sequences that enable us to appreciate the gravity-

defying maneuvers of the combatants as they fight to the death. Comparing it with “Saving Private Ryan,” “300: Rise of an Empire” shows everything but soldiers tangled up in their own intestines. Interestingly enough, this Warner Brothers release imitates the studio’s classic films “Bonnie & Clyde” (1967) and “The Wild Bunch” (1969) that were among the first to wallow in slow-motion violence with arterial blood sprays. “300: Rise of an Empire” does double duty as both a sequel and a prequel. “300” helmer Zach Snyder and “Act of Valor” scenarist Kurt Johnstad adapted Frank Miller's unpublished graphic novel “Xerxes.” Their screenplay covers historical action before and after the first film as well as during it. You could describe “300: Rise of an Empire” as the meanwhile back at the ranch movie. Although Snyder and Johnstad make mention of King Leonidas, they have only culled Gerard Butler’s scenes from the original. Now, the battles are shown from the perspective of Athenian statesman Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton of “Gangster Squad”), while Leonidas’ widow chimes in with some narration. Sadly, Stapleton amounts to a rather bland, lackluster protagonist. He doesn’t chew the scenery with the gusto that Gerard Butler did, but his exhortations sound like those of Leonidas. Stapleton doesn’t shout dialogue at the top of his lungs like “This is Sparta!” Although the Australian born Stapleton has a penetrating Montgomery Cliff stare, his Themistokles never overshadows brave King Leonidas. Nevertheless, whatever “Rise of an Empire” lacks in a charismatic hero, Smart People” director Noam Murro more than compensates for this shortcoming with the most extreme villainess.

“Casino Royale’s” Eva Green sets the bar for female villains just as “300: Rise of an Empire” creates a new standard for presenting violence in sword and sandal sagas. You’ll still be talking about Green’s dastardly dominatrix Artemisia long after you’ve forgotten about Stapleton’s Themistokles. She doesn’t cut anybody any slack and engages in some pretty audacious acts.. Although King Leonidas and his 300 warriors come up in the conversation, “300: Rise of an Empire” involves Athenians more than Spartans. Ambitious Athenian General Themistokles wants all Greek city-states to unite against the imminent threat King Darius (Igal Naor of “Green Zone”) of Persia poses with his massive military supremacy. As the action unfolds at the historic Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., Themistokles and his men rout Darius and his enormous naval fleet. Our aggressive Athenian champion proves his mettle when he mortally wounds the Persian monarch with a single, well-aimed arrow. Darius’ son Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro of “The Last Stand”) reaches his father’s side too late to save him. The Persians retreat as a consequence of Darius’ arrow in the chest. Darius dies in his bed after his semi-adopted daughter Artemisia (Eva Green of “Dark Shadows”) tears the arrow out of his torso without blinking. Afterward, she sends young Xerxes off into the desert on a journey of initiation to become a man. Later, Xerxes returns and resembles the giant with too much jewelry and mascara that he came to be, but he displays his considerable menace with his height and his deep baritone voice. While he dispatches emissaries to approach King Leonidas, Xerxes sends Artemisia and his fleet to contend with the Athenians. Hopelessly outnumbered, the Athenians rely on clever stratagems to blunt Artemisia’s probing incursions. Initially, Themistokles repulses her fleet, but she retaliates with something that the

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Greeks aren’t prepared for even as they witness it. Eventually, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey of “Game of Thrones”) reappears and spearheads an assault on the Persians along with “300” survivor. Dilios (David Wenham). Credit goes to Murro for choreographing some dynamic, but aesthetic battle scenes with gallons of ersatz blood and dismembered body parts flying. The naval battles in “300: Rise of an Empire” are nothing short of spectacular whether they are technically accurate or otherwise. Literally, the Greeks are reminiscent of David in his battle against Goliath as they mobilize their much smaller fleet and turn the Persians’ physical might against them. In other words, they rely on strategy forged in the crucible of their own cultural heritage as much as their geographic location. Artemisia’s back story about her captivity in slavery and the tortures that she endured at the hands and other appendages of the Greeks make you sympathize momentarily for her. Indeed, Artemisia makes a memorable villain who overshadows Themistokles. The back story of Xerxes is just as interesting, and the filmmakers have done a good job of converting the six foot, two-and-a-halfinch tall Rodrigo Santoro into a 10-foot giant. Altogether, “300: Rise of an Empire” qualifies as a rabble-rousing, historical hellraiser!




>>> A R T | A LY X C H A N D L E R


promote local artists.” Two years ago, the makers market was transformed from what used to be a T-shirt store into a place where people could sell their crafts without the stress of obtaining a business license. Milis said they represent a “completely local group of crafters” with over 100 people. Everyone at the “Meet Your Maker” event is invited to check out what Tuscaloosa artists are selling at any time during the event. Milis said that while the well-known Kentuck Art Center was based off of national exposure, he wanted the makers market to be a locally focused business. Occasionally though, talents like Weir's have a place in both communities. Emily Leigh, Kentuck's Assistant Director of the administrative staff, said that Weir has been a funny and friendly guy ever since he joined Clay Co-op, Kentuck's instructional potter group open to Tuscaloosa residents and students, about four years ago. “It's a place for hobby potters. They buy the clay from us [Kentuck Center], and

For centuries people have stared at a spinning pottery wheel, mesmerized by a potter's messy hands molding a lifeless lump of mud and transforming it into a glistening work of art. Even today, the simple technique in ceramics has the same spellbinding effect on people. Despite the physical rewards of pottery making, is isn't a common 2014 hobby. Over thousands of years, mindsets about art have slowly evolved from a respected talent into a less encouraged and appreciated activity. This includes the undying art of ceramics. “Think about when you're growing up,” Bob Weir, host for “Meet Your Maker” and local Tuscaloosa Clay Co-op potter, said. “We're taught as kids that if you can't draw or paint, you should let someone else do that. Think about in middle school when you're working on a project and your teacher says 'why don't you let so and so draw it, how about you cut out these letters instead?' That attitude right there doesn't give people the time to practice and get better at art.” Now Tuscaloosa will have an opportunity to learn what the art of ceramics is



create sculptures or vessels. Some use wheels and others hand-craft,” Leigh said. Weir's initial interest in the co-op begin after a work accident, when his amount of free time suddenly significantly increased. Formerly a construction company superintendent, he suffered from a four-story condo accident four and a half years ago. He said although now he's technically considered disabled, he considers it self-unemployment—and a chance to pursue an old passion. “In the clay world, we are always more than happy to help. I would be thrilled to teach you,” Weir said. “I'm no expert, but I'll show you what people showed me.” In high school he took a pottery class and was asked to be the teacher's assistant a year later. Other than that, Weir's only experience is trading secrets with the Clay Co-op community. Nonetheless, he now volunteers five hours a week teaching people how to create pottery. Ceramic instruction and equipment use is available for the 25 members of Clay Co-op throughout the week. Eventually participants are given a key to the

all about. The Makers Market in downtown Tuscaloosa, a retail space for local artists and crafters to rent and sell homemade items, will be hosting their first “Meet Your Maker” event of 2014. It will feature several hours of an unique opportunity for people to be instructed on the spinning craft behind a pottery wheel. The event will be free of charge on Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the corner of 4th Avenue, at 401 22nd Ave. As Weir put it, just look for a big pottery wheel set up in the middle of the street. “I asked them if they would like for me to bring a pottery wheel,” Weir said. “It's going to draw attention—it's like a clown.” Weir, who occasionally sells his pottery around Tuscaloosa, eagerly took the opportunity to teach and showcase his pottery passion. David Milis, coordinator of the event and co-owner of the makers market, hopes this will advertise some of their hidden talent. “We are West Alabama's largest craft mall,” Milis said.“The one thing we try to do different about our store is we try to

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>>> A R T |CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 studio so they can work on their pottery any time during the day. Due to limited studio space, the Co-op currently has a wait list for new members. “They range from people who are wanting to start dabbling in clay to the professionals. It's all levels. They all learn from each other,” Leigh said. Clay classes for children and adult workshops are available for either functional or decorative pottery marking. Although he doesn't anymore, Weir used to teach a free pottery class offered on Saturdays at the clay studio in the quad of the Kentuck Art Center. It starts at 10 a.m., and anyone is still welcome. “There's a lot of hobbies in art you can do alone, but it's pretty hard to have studio space with a wheel around here, we're the closest thing to an art center,” said Leigh. “They have their key and can come and go. Some people create early, late or maybe don't want to be around other people.” Wilis said though their one-of-a-kind craft store has sufficient business, they're always pushing to advertise the Makers Market. It's a convenient place for unaware people seeking unique or homemade items, including pottery pieces. In the past, Makers Market's "Meet Your Maker" events have attracted anywhere from 100-200 people. Since pottery pieces are a popular buy, Wilis and his wife wanted to give Tuscaloosa a chance to check out the compelling craft behind it. For Weir, the hands-on pottery making process now “fills a large void” where he used to dedicate his passion to his job. Before his accident, he hadn't touched clay since high school. In the last few years, he's expanded his different techniques with hours of practice in Kentuck's homey, welcoming clay studio. “I do know some short cuts, rights and wrongs, and every time you work with clay, it's a possibility that you're bound for disaster. You have to get your ducks in your row to succeed,” Weir said. After Weir set up a booth with a pottery wheel at the Kentuck Arts Festival, he was surprised at the large amount of people that simply wanted to stand there and watch him throw a little cup or bowl, which he said is actually a fairly simple task. He expects the “Meet Your Maker” to be a big hit. He will try to focus on more traditional clay forms, but Weir's favorite to create is abstract pottery. He's found he needed to make more “cutesy” or useful clay pieces, such as hand-painted clay decorations or large vessels and bowls. Without a source of income, selling his art is his way to pay for the Clay Co-op membership. Selling isn't his priority,though. Over the years, he's come to love the interaction with clay-loving people even more than the actual process. Since his sales mainly come from women, he gears his creations toward them. He said his creations are never perfect, but he tells people skeptical of selling that the important part he's learned is simply making ceramics appealing enough to buy.

“They've been making pottery for tens of thousands of years, so I promise, you are capable,” Weir said. Weir said the time and resources required for clay making is what discourages a lot of people from making it a hobby like him. In order to just throw a cup or plate, it's a one-week process. The clay must be thrown, dried, fired, dried again and then fired again. Even though people would only be working on the creation for maybe an hour a day, it's an art that relies on patience. “Once you learn how to do this though, you'll never have to buy another Christmas present in your life,” Weir said. With six sisters and all of their children to buy gifts for, Weir said he doesn't even have time to make enough to give away. Since kids under 12 years old have a shorter attention span, Weir doesn't encourage them to use the pottery wheel to throw, especially since the process can be physically tough. Instead he teaches them other techniques, such as molding pottery by hand. Weir said this is actually how he makes a majority of his pottery. Most people's first experience making pottery doesn't turn out nearly as successful as they expect. Weir said newcomers remind him of excited 8-year-olds because they want to keep everything at the beginning, no matter how bad it looks. As their practices continue, he said they learn that part of being a potter is knowing what to keep and what to try again. Teaching new people the art of clay has been far more rewarding than Weir ever thought it would be. Although he begin clay work as a individual pursuit, his favorite part now is interacting, learning and teaching other people. “But still, I can see the beauty in it. It's still a work of art no matter what it looks like,” Weir said. Everyone is encouraged to come check out the ever-enduring art of the pottery wheel. Tuscaloosa's recently finished bus stop and sidewalk next to the makers market will make it easier for people to attend. In addition, Wilis rented a few nearby parking spaces for Weir's demonstration. The contact number for the maker's market is 561.6666 if anyone has any questions or concerns. The event will be cancelled for any weather-related issues.

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>>> wine REVIEW | R Y A N P H I L L I P S



Brown Bag 9425 Jones Road | Northport // 333.0970 Its speciality, fried green tomatoes, joins barbecue plates and fish filets on an extended list of meats and vegetables. Tues 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Wed-Sat 10:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

W here to E at in T uscaloosa


City Cafe 408 Main Ave | Downtown Northport // 758.9171 Established in 1936. Big on food, low on price. Open for breakfast and lunch. Historic downtown Northport. Closed weekends. CountryPride Restaurant 3501 Buttermilk Rd // 554.0215 Breakfast 24 hours. Lunch and Dinner buffet. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 4800 Doris Pate Dr | Exit 76 // 562.8282 International House of Pancakes 724 Skyland Blvd // 366.1130 Jack's 1200 Hackberry Lane | Tuscaloosa // 345.1199 Maggie's Diner 1307 Ty Rogers Jr. Ave | Tuscaloosa // 366.0302 Mr. Bill's Family Restaurant 2715 McFarland Blvd | Tuscaloosa // 333.9312 Northport Diner 450 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 333.7190 Panera Bread 1800 McFarland Blvd *402 | Tuscaloosa // 366.8780 Quick Grill 1208 University Blvd | The Strip | Tuscaloosa // 342.0022 Rama Jama’s 1000 Bryant Dr // 750.0901 Closest restaurant to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Great-tasting wine can sometimes be difficult to find at a middle-of-the-road price, but some vineyards successfully hit the mark. Snobs may look at the price tag and turn their nose up, but some treats of the vine simply are diamonds in the rough awaiting discovery. On a hillside facing the Geyser Peak Mountains in California, a winery bares the name of the range and attempts to capture its expansive spirit in an understated glass bottle. For over 120 years, Geyser Peak Winery has capitalized on this pristine geo-thermal climate and produced flavorful wines aimed at appealing to the wallets of consumers. The Geyser Peak 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is a young white wine that is best enjoyed in the 18 months following its initial release. After slight aging, this youngster is full of bite with a crisp acidity that is both light and refreshing. According to Geyser Peak Winery, the flavor for this white is made possible by the employment of “grassier” elements with citrus, mineral notes, passion fruit and melon flavors. These come together for a bold splash of fruit flavor that is smooth and drinkable. In utilizing these different elements, the winemakers at Geyser Peak effectively combine French, Southern Hemisphere and Californian winemaking styles to evoke the unique blend found in the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is easily light enough for a first timer and refined enough for nearly any palate. Do not be misled by the price. For the money spent, this is a perfect white for any indoor dinner party. Many foods and snacks pair well with the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, so the possibilities are truly endless. As a personal suggestion, trying sampling this white with beef or ham to access the refreshing, cool qualities. The heavier the meat or vegetable, the more flavors that will be found in this quality California treat. In terms of body, the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is a



lightweight and makes for a great wine for large meals. Simply put, the less filled you are, the more you can drink and enjoy. Another older white offered by Geyser Peak can be found at the same price that offers a comparable flavor profile. Enter the 2012 Pinot Grigio. This white is bold and the product of progressive fermentation techniques that makes for a wine best enjoyed in its youth. In utilizing this particular varietal, the winemakers at Geyser Peak are able to harvest from both cool and warm growing climates under the cover of darkness to fully capture the dark hue associated with Pinot Grigio. Winner of the Gold Medal at the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, this white possesses a sharp nose that leads to a surprisingly heavy first taste. The weight of the initial sip then transitions to a manageable Pinot Grigio finish that is more filling than refreshing. While not as pleasant to the unfamiliar drinker as the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2012 Pinot Grigio is a heavier alternative that is an interesting west coast take on a time-tested favorite. Pairing notes for the 2012 Pinot Grigio call for drinkers to sample lighter fare to balance the wine’s taste and weight. Shellfish and light salads make for appropriate treats when looking to unlock the hidden varietal flavors in this white. However, in comparison to the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, this white is not quite as versatile due to the varietals used, but do not let that stop you from branching out and finding your own food pairings to enjoy with Geyser Peak. When taking cost into account, Geyser Peak is an established innovator that has made a mission out of providing their product at a price that all can afford. This winery also offers many other styles of white and red wines that are available wherever quality wines are sold. Grab a case and enjoy!

Tuscaloosa Burger & Poboys 1014 7th Ave. | Tusaloosa // 764.1976 Sports bar, breakfast, seafood, Cajun, and of course burgers Over 120 craft beers at the lowest prices in Tuscaloosa Closed Mondays, Tue. - Thu 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. fri - sat 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. sun 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Kitchen is open all hours including full menu late night The Waysider 1512 Greensboro Ave // 345.8239 Open for breakfast and lunch. Smoke free.

MEXICAN Chipotle Mexican Grill 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 391.0140 Don Rafa's 2313 4th Street | Temerson Square // 345.9191 El Rincon (2 locations) 1225 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa, AL // 366.0855 1726 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 330.1274 Fernando's Mexican Grill 824 McFarland Blvd E | Northport // 205.331.4587 Iguana Grill 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 752.5895 Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill 2001 New Watermelon Rd | Northport // 342.3378 LaGran Fiesta 9770 Hwy 69 S // 345.8871 Los Calientes Mexican Grill 3429 McFarland Blvd E // 553.1558

Epiphany Cafe 19 Greensboro Ave | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 344.5583 “New American cuisine” with a strong emphasis on local produce, organic meats, and sustainable seafood. The menu is always changing and features include an extensive wine list, a large vibrant bar and martini lounge area, as well as patio seating. Reservations are available online at or through open table. Hours: Mon–Sat 5 p.m. - until Evangeline’s 1653 McFarland Blvd. North // 752.0830 Located in the Tuscaloosa Galleria. 2004 West Alabama Tourism Award Winning Restaurant. American Eclectic Cuisine. Lunch: Mon–Fri 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Dinner: Tues–Sat 5 p.m. - until... Fall: Saturday Brunch. FIVE Bar 2324 6th Street. // 205.345.6089 A restaurant/bar based on simplicity. We offer 5 entrees, 5 red wines, 5 white wines, 5 import beers, 5 domestic, and 5 signature cocktails, to go along with our full liquor bar. Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 5-10; Friday and Saturday 5-12 Lunch: Friday and Saturday 11-3; Sunday Jazz Brunch: 10-3; 205.345.6089 Kozy’s 3510 Loop Road E | near VA Medical Center // 556.4112 Eclectic menu, extensive wine list. Dinner at Kozy’s is a romantic experience complete with candlelight and a roaring fireplace. | Twin 3700 6th St, Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa Country Club | 758-7528 | Certified USDA Prime Steaks; specialty Sushi and cocktails. Hours: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; 5 – 10 p.m.

JAPANESE Benkei Japanese Steak House 1223 McFarland Blvd // 759-5300 Hours: Mon–Thurs 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. | Fri–Sat 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Bento Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar 1306 University Blvd // 758.7426 Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant 607 15th Street Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Ichiban Japanese Grill & Sushi 502 15th Street // 752.8844 Tokyo Japanese Steak & Sushi Bar 6521 Hwy 69 S | Hillcrest Center // 366.1177 Offers steak, seafood, tempura, teriyaki and sushi. Including cooking at your table, if you choose. Sun–Thurs 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Fri & Sat 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. Kobe Steak House 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 759-1400 Lunch: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Dinner: 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Sat & Sun 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.

ITALIAN Avenue Pub 405 23rd Avenue Broadway Pizzeria 2880 Rice Mine Road Northeast Tuscaloosa, // 391.6969 DePalma’s Italian Cafe 2300 University Blvd, Downtown // 759.1879 Menu ranges from sanwiches to finer pasta dishes and pizza. Varied beer and wine selection. Hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. | Fri & Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Little Italy 1130 University Blvd. | Tuscaloosa // 205.345.4343

Los Tarascos (2 locations) 1759 Skyland Blvd // 553.8896 3380 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 330.0919

Mellow Mushroom 2230 University Blvd // 758.0112 Pizzas, calzones, hoagies and more. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Margarita's Grill 1241 McFarland Blvd E // 343.0300

Mr. G’s 908 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 339-8505

Moe’s Southwest Grill (2 locations) 2330 McFarland Blvd E // 342.1487 1130 University Blvd // 752.0234

Olive Garden 2100 McFarland Blvd E // 750-0321 Open daily from 11 a.m.

Pepito’s (2 locations) 1203 University Blvd | The Strip // 391.9028 1301 McFarland Blvd NE // 391.4861


Chuck’s Fish 508 Greensboro Ave | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 248.9370 Steak, seafood, & sushi specialities. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch. Great atmosphere and excellent service. Ladies Night on Tuesdays. Ladies receive ½ off on drinks. Uptown Wednesday - $6 Uptown Shrimp, $8 Uptown Tacos. Cypress Inn 501 Rice Mine Rd // 345.6963 Fax: 345.6997 | 2003 Restaurant of Distinction. Beautiful riverfront location. Steaks, seafood and more with Southern flavor. Wine list, full bar. Specialities of the house include Shrimp Cypress Inn and Smoked Chicken with white barbecue sauce. Kid friendly. Closed Saturday lunch. Mike Spiller is featured the first Thursday of every month. Happy Hour- Mon-Fri from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. featuring 1/2 price appetizers. $2 Domestic Draft Beers and $3 Well cocktails.


CASUAL DINING Avenue Pub 405 23rd Avenue // Tuscaloosa The pub offers a different menu for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Feature foods include pineapple French toast, pork sliders, and a house burger which changes daily. The drink menu features specialty cocktails, local pints, bottled beer, and wine. Monday through Friday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday Noon – 11 p.m., Sunday Noon p.m. – 9 p.m. Big Daddy’s Cafe 514 Greensboro Ave | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 759.9925 Buddy’s Ribs & Steaks 2701 Bridge Ave | Northport // 339.4885 Buffalo Wild Wings 2710 McFarland Blvd // 523.0273 Mon–Wed 11 a.m. - midnight | Thurs–Sat 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Chicken Salad Chick The Shoppes at Midtown & Essex Square, Northport | Said to


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be the very best chicken salad that can be found anywhere. Chili’s 1030 Skyland Blvd | Near McFarland Mall // 750.8881 Fax: 758.7715 // Dave’s Dogs 1701 McFarland Blvd E | University Mall // 722.2800 Five Guys Burgers & Fries 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 391.0575 Glory Bound Gyro Company 2325 University Blvd // 349-0505 Glory Bound Gyro Company is a unique restaurant that focuses on great food and service in a funky, fun-filled atmosphere. Open Mon-Thu: 11am - 10pm | Fri - Sat: 11am-10pm | Sun: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Hooligan’s 1915 University Blvd // 759.2424 From hamburgers to hummus. Open daily 10 a.m. - 11 p.m. Horny's 508 Red Drew Ave | Tuscaloosa // 345.6869 Mon 4 p.m. - 2 a.m. | Tues-Thurs 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. Fri 11 a.m. - 3 a.m. | Sat 4 p.m. - 2 a.m. New Orleans style atmosphere in the heart of Tuscaloosa on the strip. Horny's offerings include a full liquor bar, beer, and a variety of classic American food. Horny's Bar and Grill offers a limited late night menu from 1:30 a.m. - 2:30 a.m.

Champs Sports Grille 320 Paul Bryant Drive | inside Four Points Sheraton Hotel // 752.3200 Breakfast and lunch buffets. Sunday brunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Hooter’s 5025 Oscar Baxter Dr | Next to Jameson Inn // 758.3035 Wings, clams, shrimp and of course the Hooters Girls Innisfree Irish Pub 1925 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa // 345.1199 Moe's BBQ 101 15th Street | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 752.3616 Mon-Sat 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Bar open until 2 a.m., 3 a.m. on Fridays Mugshots Grill & Bar 511 Greensboro Ave // 391.0572 Great burgers. Full service bar. Open late. Tuscaloosa Burger & Poboys 1014 7th Ave. // 764.1976 Sports bar, breakfast, seafood, Cajun, and of course burgers Over 120 craft beers at the lowest prices in Tuscaloosa Closed Mondays, Tue. - Thu 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. fri - sat 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. sun 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Kitchen is open all hours including full menu late night Wilhagan’s 2209 4th St | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 366.0913

Logan's Roadhouse 1511 Skyland Blvd E // 349.3554

Wings U 1800 McFarland Blvd East Suite 218 | Pick-up Tuscaloosa // 561.3984 Features the first coal-fired pizza oven in Alabama. Owned by former UA/Miami Dolphins great Bob Baumhower. Completely open concept!

Madear’s 1735 Culver Road // 343.7773 Mon–Fri 6 a.m. - 5 p.m. | 2nd & 3rd Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

WingZone 1241 McFarland Blvd E | Tuscaloosa // 342.2473

Tacogi 500 Greensboro Ave | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 342.3647

Mugshots Grill & Bar 511 Greensboro Ave | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 391.0572 Great burgers & sandwiches. Unique setting, full service bar, veggie entrees, kid friendly, and open late Newk’s Express Cafe 205 University Blvd. East // 758.2455 Fax: 758.2470 // An express casual dining experience in a refreshing and stylish atmosphere. Serving fresh tossed salads, oven baked sandwiches, California style pizzas and homemade cakes from Newk’s open kitchen. Sun–Wed 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. | Thurs–Sat 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. O’Charley’s 3799 McFarland Blvd // 556.5143 Open daily for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch Panera Bread 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 366.8780 Piccadilly Cafeteria 1701 McFarland Blvd E | University Mall // 556.4960 Quick Grill 1208 University Blvd | The Strip // 342.0022 Ruby Tuesday (2 locations) 6421 Interstate Drive | Cottondale // 633.3939 Just off I-20/59 at exit 77. Near Hampton Inn and Microtel Inn 311 Merchants Walk | Northport // 345.4540 Ryan’s 4373 Courtney Dr // 366.1114 Near Marriott Courtyard and Fairfield Inn Sitar Indian Cuisine 500 15th St // 345-1419 Southland Restaurant 5388 Skyland Blvd E // 556.3070 Steaks, chops and home-cooked vegetables Mon–Fri 10:45 a.m. - 9 p.m. T-Town Café 500 14th Street, Tuscaloosa | 759-5559 | Mon - Fri: 5 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sat: 5 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sun: 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuscaloosa Burger & Poboys 1014 7th Ave. | Tusaloosa // 764.1976 Sports bar, breakfast, seafood, Cajun, and of course burgers Over 120 craft beers at the lowest prices in Tuscaloosa Closed Mondays, Tue. - Thu 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. fri - sat 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. sun 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Kitchen is open all hours including full menu late night Zoe’s Kitchen 312 Merchants Walk // 344.4450 A wonderful selection of Greek foods

SPORTS GRILL Baumhower's Wings of Tuscaloosa 500 Harper Lee Drive | catering-Pick-up Tuscaloosa // 556.5858 | Always fresh and always fun. Owned by former UA/ Miami Dolphins great Bob Baumhower. Kid Friendly Buffalo Phil’s 1149 University Blvd | The Strip // 758.3318 Sports grille with TVs galore. Diverse beer and wine selection, full bar Billy's Sports Grill Historic Downtown Northport / 879.2238 Good food, beverages and family friendly Buffalo Wild Wings 2710 McFarland Blvd. East | Tuscaloosa // 523.0273 Sports grille with TVs galore. Diverse beer and wine selection, full bar

BARBEQUE Archibald & Woodrow's BBQ 4215 Greensboro Ave | Tuscaloosa // 331.4858 Mon-Sat 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Sun lunch Bama BBQ & Grill 3380 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 333.9816 Dickey's BBQ 9770 Alabama 69 344.6500 Dreamland (2 locations) 5535 15th Ave | Tuscaloosa // 758.8135 101 Bridge Ave | Northport // 343.6677 The legend. On game day, get there early if you want to make kickoff. Seating is limited. Hours: Mon–Sat 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. | Sun 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Hick’s BBQ 4400 Fayette Hwy // 339.3678 // Tues–Sat 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Moe's Original BBQ 2101 University Blvd.. // 752.3616 Serving up an award-winning, all things Southern BBQ and Live music experience. Come dine-in or sit on the patio and enjoy some great Que, beers, whiskey, and live music on Thursday-Saturday. Roll Tide! Mon–Sat 11am - 10pm | Bar service Mon-Sat 2am and Fri -3am | Kitchen closes at 10pm Pottery Grill (2 locations) Highway 11 Cottondale // 554.1815 3420 Alabama 69, Northport // 333.5848 Menu: Awesome barbecue. The Pottery Grill serves up everything from pork, chicken, ribs and sausage to burgers, hot dogs and salads. Take-out and catering available. Tee’s Ribs and Thangs 1702 10th Avenue // 366.9974 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily

STEAKS Logan’s Roadhouse 1511 Skyland Blvd | next to Sams // 349.3554 Steaks, ribs and spirits Longhorn Steakhouse 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 345-8244 #412 Nick's In the Sticks 4018 Culver Rd | Tuscaloosa // 758.9316 A long-time Tuscaloosa tradition. Good steaks at a reasonable price Try a Nicodemus if you have a designated driver. Outback Steakhouse 5001 Oscar Baxter Dr // 759.9000 Twin Restaurant 3700 6th Street |Tuscaloosa | 758-7528 A full service restaurant specializing in Sushi, Prime Steaks, made fresh daily pasta, and whiskey oriented cocktails 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. // Former Tuscaloosa Country Club


Chuck’s Fish 508 Greensboro Ave // 248.9370 Happy Hour 3pm-6pm with $5 house wine, $5 top shelf, $3 well. $1 off bottle beer Red Lobster 2620 McFarland Blvd // 553.8810 McFarland Plaza Shopping Center Tin Top Restaurant & Oyster Bar 4851 Rice Mine Rd NE #460 // 462.3399

>>> beer review | R Y AN P H ILLIPS

ROGUE IRISH STYLE // A STANDOUT MAVERICK W ho says it has to be St. Patrick’s day for you to enjoy a high quality brew? While a belly-full of green domestic beer on the wettest of holidays is fun for many, the number of finely crafted Irish beers is plenty for every day of the week. So why limit yourself? Tastes of the Emerald Isle can be found in many colors and styles, but for the sake of brevity, we shall stick to one particular brand. To appeal across climates, a logical choice can be found in the Rogue IrishStyle Lager. Despite not being dyed green and served in a dingy plastic pitcher, this lager can be enjoyed in any atmosphere and is an appropriate choice when looking for a lighter beer with some attitude and culture about it. Rogue was born in 1987 to a brewery and pub in Ashland, Ore., and quickly became a staple of the community. This west coast gem has since produced a long line of stellar craft beers that speak to tastes across the seasonal and regional spectrum. If it is all in a name, then Rogue stands out as a maverick among competitors who try to mass-produce “craft” beer. Do you dare to be different? Do you aspire for a beer that is as rich in taste as it is in culture? St. Patrick’s day may be long gone, but each bottle of the Rogue Irish-Style Lager is sure to get your party started. The Rogue Irish Lager is a formidable drink, sporting a light golden hue, and a crisp apple accent. For a lager, this brew is a fresh alternative to a style that is often taken for granted and over-produced by macro-breweries. In order to fully enjoy this beer, all pre-conceived notions regarding lagers must be cast aside. A smooth pour forms a thick head that evaporates into a light, manageable white top-layer. This thick head is ideal for holding in the flavor of such an unorthodox lager, and is light enough to offer even a novice beer drinker. Although many immediately recall Guinness or Killian’s when asked about Irish beer, this American alternative provides a perfect addition for any St. Patrick’s Day shindig. Rogue hides a heavy taste in a light package that is a good companion for cold weather, but is not too overpowering for the heat of summer. On the label itself, Rogue features a delightful old man, shrouded in traditional green,

playing a penny whistle. Before the cap is even popped off, the drinker is immediately sent on a sensory walkabout through the streets of Dublin or Ashland—whichever you may prefer. In terms of production, Rogue crafts the Irish-Style Lager with Great Western Pale, Crystal -15, Wheat and Acidulated Malts that come together for the beer drinker’s equivalent to a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Sterling Hops also provide a stout nose compared to other lagers, which leads to full-bodied, refreshing flavor of apple and malts. Do not be fooled into thinking this brew can be factored into an all night St. Patty’s Day binge. The weight is not quite consistent with the light taste and can be filling, especially following meals. Try pairing the Rogue Irish-Style Lager with poultry or fish. Lighter meats tend to bring out the refreshing flavors while not filling the eater to the brim. Vanilla based treats also bring out the intended splash of Apple that hides beneath the nose. For the money spent, Rogue makes an exceptional product that is as enticingly delicious as it is steeped in American culture. When looking to branch out, Rogue also offers brews with just about every personality, many of which can be purchased where craft beer is sold in Tuscaloosa. A beer this flavorful does not take a great deal of courage to sample, but for those who set the bar high with their brews, it will prove a treat for any mood. Have a round of Rogue and celebrate Irish heritage, but be sure not to restrict this delicious treat to one day out of the year.







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McFarland Plaza Shopping Center & Temerson Square Wintzell’s Oyster House 1 Bridge Ave | Northport // 247.7772 Casual riverfront dining Sun–Thurs 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. | Fri–Sat 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

CHINESE Buffet City 1747 Skyland Blvd E // 553.3308 All you can eat buffet. Open 7 days a week. Chang’s Chinese Restaurant 1825 McFarland Blvd N // 391.9131 China Fun 2600 University Blvd | Alberta City // 553.2435 China Garden Hwy 69 S | Hillcrest Center // 758.0148 Hot Wok Express 6751 Alabama 69, Tuscaloosa // 758.0148 Lee Palace 6521 Highway 69 S // 391.9990 Open daily 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Mr. Chen's Authentic Chinese Cooking & Oriental Market 514 14th St. | In the Oz Music shopping center // 343.6889 // Open Sun - Thu 11am - 9pm, Fri & Sat 11am - 9:30pm Pearl Garden 2719 Lurleen Wallace Blvd | Northport // 339.0880 Peking Chinese Restaurant 1816 McFarland | Northport // 333.0361 Open 7 days a week. Super lunch and dinner buffet. Hours: Sun–Thurs 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. | Fri & Sat 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Swen Chinese Restaurant 1130 University Blvd | The Strip // 391.9887 Trey Yuen 4200 McFarland Blvd E // 752.0088

Southern hospitality, family, and football are just a few things the south is known for. But, ask anyone their favorite part about the South and chances are the answer will be home-style southern cooking. Owners and Chefs, David Ryan and Jamey Graham have been in the culinary scene for over ten years. In 2009, they first ventured into business together with the launching of Southern Dining Resources, a contract catering company. It was only a short time after that they would jump head first into restaurant ownership. In fall of 2012, T-Town Café opened its doors. Specializing in southern cuisine, the menu is made up of classic southern favorites like fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and fried okra. In addition to the static menu, this meat and three offers six to seven different vegetables and two to three different meats daily. An extended menu offers up a variety of burgers, sandwiches, fresh salads and sweet desserts. T-Town Café serves local brews from Druid City Brewery and Black Warrior Brewing Company and has an extended wine and bottled beer menu. With crawfish season underway each Thursday, T-Town Café hosts its own crawfish broil. On Fridays enjoy the taste of slow roasted prime rib. When asked why a southernstyle restaurant Chef Graham said, “We both grew up eating like this and there wasn’t any place in town where everything was fresh and made-to-order”. Chef Ryan and Chef Jamey pride themselves on buying local. “We try to buy everything grown in Alabama and off the Alabama Gulf Coast” states Chef Graham. The overall experience at T-Town café is just what one would expect, comforting and satisfying. When entering the café, one is greeted with a warm, inviting and quite cozy space. Dark wooded furniture makes up most of the room, with a stone fire place that brings a true sense of warmth and comfort. Sounds of the large Sunday crowd filled the room creating



an enjoyable family atmosphere. The restaurant expands outside to a nice sized covered patio packed with large picnic tables. The patio makes for the perfect setting to enjoy a nice spring day. Meal selection was easy here because it would be a crime to come to a southern café and not try the fried chicken. My Sunday meal consisted of the fried chicken breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. The family stuck with southern favorites opting for savory meatloaf, crispy fried okra, creamy squash casserole, jumbo shrimp, turnip greens and cornbread. Within fifteen to twenty minutes the meals arrived. Everything on the plate looked like it would make a momma proud. Portions were generous and the food was fresh and piping hot. The golden boneless fried chicken rendered a crispy texture full of flavor and, unfortunately, an abundance of salt. The sides made up for salty chicken. The buttery mashed potatoes were drenched in brown gravy giving a perfect balance of rich and creamy. The country-style green beans were a favorite, leaving a flavorful bite. The family had absolutely no complaints enjoying each and every bite. Good company and delicious southern food makes for a perfect way to spend a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, take some time to stop in T-Town Café and enjoy some local food prepared by some local chefs. T-Town Café is located at 500 14th St. in Tuscaloosa. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday Breakfast 5 a.m. till 10:30 p.m., Saturday Breakfast and Lunch 5 a.m. till 3 p.m., Sunday Lunch 10:30 a.m. till 3 p.m. Cindy Huggins, RD, LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and local “foodie”! Follow her on twitter @DietitianCindy.

ASIAN CUISINE Ruan Thai 1407 University Blvd // 391.9973 Exotic Thai cuisine. Offers vegetarian options, outdoor dining, and a full bar. Sushi on Thursdays. Lunch: Mon–Sat 11 a.m. -2 p.m. | Dinner: Mon–Thurs 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Fri & Sat 5 p.m. -10pm | Sun 11 a.m. -3 p.m. Surin of Thailand 1402 University Blvd // 752.7970 Authentic Thai restaurant and sushi bar. Open daily. Lunch: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Dinner: 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

PIZZA AND SUBS A Taste Of Chicago 1700 Greensboro Avenue 205-342-DOGS Mon. - Thurs. 10:00am - 9:00pm; Fri. - Sat. 10:00am - 10:00pm 17th Street and Greensboro Avenue. Authentic Chicago style foods with a taste of Chi-Town in every bite. Italian Beef Sandwiches, Chicago Rib Tips, and Chicago Style Pizza.View our menu online and order at CRIMSON2GO.COM. Follow us @TasteofChicagoTtown on Instagram. California Underground 13552 Highway 43, Northport | 339.8660 Firehouse Subs 1130 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa // 248.0680 Hungry Howie’s (2 locations) 1105 Southview Ln | South Tuscaloosa // 345.6000 1844 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 333.2633 1211 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa | The Strip // 366.1500 4851 Rice Mine Rd | Northriver/Holt // 345.3737 Lenny’s Sub Shop 220 15th St // 752.7450 Fax: 752.7481 // Little Caesars Pizza 1414 10th Ave // 366.2220 Little Italy 1130 University Blvd. // 345.4354 Mellow Mushroom 2230 University Blvd | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 758.0112 Subs n' You 2427 University Blvd. | Tuscaloosa // 205.758.0088 Roly Poly Sandwiches 2300 4th Street | Tuscaloosa // 366.1222 The Pita Pit 1207 University Blvd | The Strip // 345.9606 Hours: Mon–Sat 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. | Sun 11:30 a.m. - midnight Pizza Palace Buffet 6521 Alabama 69 Tuscaloosa, AL 35405 752.5444 Tut’s Place 1306 University Blvd | The Strip // 759.1004

DELICATESSEN Honeybaked Ham Company

421 15th St. E // 345.5508 Jason’s Deli 2300 McFarland Blvd // 752.6192 Fax: 752.6193 // Located in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center. Jimmy John’s (3 locations) 1400 University Blvd | The Strip // 366.3699 1875 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 752.7714 815 Lurleen B. Wallace S | Tuscaloosa // 722.2268 Delivery 7 days a week. Manna Grocery & Deli 2300 McFarland Blvd E | Tuscaloosa // 752.9955 McAlister’s Deli (2 locations) 101 15th St | Tuscaloosa // 758.0039 3021 Tyler Dr | Northport // 330.7940 Sandwiches, salads and spuds Momma Goldberg’s Deli 409 23rd Ave // 345.5501 Newk's 205 University Blvd E | Tuscaloosa // 758.2455 Schlotsky’s Deli 405 15th St. E // 759.1975 Which Wich University Blvd.// Downtown Tuscaloosa // Mon – Sat 10:30 – 9 // Sunday 11 – 7 // Fun atmosphere,fresh ingredients, great sandwiches. 764.1673

COFFEE SHOP Barnes & Noble 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Tuscaloosa 349.6366 Chloe's Cup 2117 University Blvd.| Tuscaloosa // 764.0218 Crimson Cafe International Coffee House & Gourmet Deli 1301 University Blvd | The Strip // 750.0203 Mon–Fri 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. | Sat & Sun 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. Five Java Coffee, fresh juices, smoothies and treats from Mary's Cakes. Open Monday - Saturday at 7am; 9am on Sundays Heritage House 18 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 758.0042 Krispy Kreme Doughnut 1400 McFarland Blvd // 758.6913 Starbucks (2 locations) 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 343.2468 1901 13th Ave East | inside Super Target // 462.1064

DESSERTS Celebrations Bakery, Inc. 1832 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 339.3221 Fax: 349.1945 Cold Stone Creamery 1130 University Blvd. | Tuscaloosa //343.1670 Specializes in customized ice cream Hours: Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. | Fri & Sat 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Sun 12 p.m. - 10 p.m. Mary's Cakes & Pastries 412 22nd Avenue | behind Opus | Northport // 345.8610 Mon–Fri 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. | Sat 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Smoothie King (2 locations) 415 15th Street | Tuscaloosa // 349.1721 Fax: 349.1945 1403 University Blvd | Tuscaloosa // 462.3664 Sweet CeCe's Frozen yogurt Treats 2217 University Blvd. | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 561.6458 A fun and friendly make your own creation, yogurt experience! TCBY (3 Locations) 2304 Mcfarland Blbd | Meadowbrook Shopping Center // 349.4661 // 2 Mcfarland Blvd | Northport | Essex Shopping Center // 758.6855 // 1130 Univ. Blvd. | The Strip // 345.0804 Yogurt In Love Patriot Center 7402 Highway 69 South Phone Number: 764.9173 Fax Number: 764.9228 Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Friday & Saturday 11 a.m.-10 pm. . Yogurt Lab 920 Paul W. Bryant Dr Ste 200 | Tuscaloosa // 347.9522 Yogurt Mountain 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 342.1484 Self-serve frozen yogurt experience Mon–Thurs 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. | Fri & Sat 11 a.m. - midnight


>>> PLANETWEEKLY • tuscaloosa's SOURCE for entertainment, music, sports & THE ARTS

>>> R E S TAU R A N T R E V I E W | RYA N P H I L L I P S


The blue and yellow cursive lettering on the neon sign above the small bustling outlet flickers, and is nearly shorted out, but the motion-activated electronic doorbell continues to sound as customers file in for the dinner rush. From Highway 43 in Northport, it can be hard to spot amidst the bustle of development around the growing Winn-Dixie shopping center, but in the kitchen, the clatter of pans ring in the air, and the heat from the brick oven makes the air thick. Yellow carbon-copy tickets, some smudged with greasy finger prints, hang from a rack reading delivery and pick up orders as a stocky man with a black crew-cut dusts excess cheese off of an uncooked pizza before putting it in the sweltering bowels of the oven. Since 2007, California-born Jeff Martin, 50, has owned California Underground Pizzeria, which has found a loyal following in the surrounding community. While small business everywhere seems to turn belly up in the face of major corporations, Martin is just content to own his business and have the work. Before the workday began, Martin sat at a dining table in a flour-covered black

t-shirt and matching swim trunks, drinking Pepsi on ice from a beer mug as a black and white episode of the Twilight Zone blared on one of the several small flat-screen televisions in the restaurant. “I love the freedom that I have at this place,” he said. “Most owners can’t just sit on their ass and do something like this before the day starts.” After finding success with a similar pizzeria in La Jolla, California, Martin’s entrepreneurial spirit brought him to Northport with his brother E.O. to start California Underground on the outskirts of a thriving college town. The Martin brothers found a place to rent in a constantly changing Winn-Dixie outlet, formerly occupied by an establishment named Chicago Pizza, which failed miserably in its pursuit to compete in the surrounding market. Martin’s brother, E.O., has since moved to Boston in the pursuit of starting another business, but still helps with various aspects of the pizzeria. “We came here and found that the local business climate was amazing,” Martin said. “No one in Alabama was trying to sell us anything, sue us or con

us in to anything like in California, so it definitely makes for better business. The people are nice here in the community, and we have loyal customers who are steady supporters.” When one enters the small eatery, the spirit of the West Coast is immediately brought to mind with ocean-blue walls, and colorful movie posters from The Golden State . Surfboards hang from the walls along with hand drawn pictures of old businesses in California. Upon placing your order, you must first scan a chalkboard that lists the specials of the day, often written with the fanciful and flamboyant penmanship that also adorns the glass windows facing out towards the street. Martin prides himself foremost on the pizza dough that is made fresh from scratch, and a brick oven taste that is not found anywhere else in Tuscaloosa County. “First thing I do every morning is make the dough,” he said. “Then I put the tubs in the fridge and let them cool. Then I will go shopping for the fresh vegetables to chop, then sweep the floors and prep for the day. Its pretty routine, but it makes for great pizza at the end of the day and I love my job.” In a large vat, the floury mixture is lumped together and twirled around under the gauged-lid until it is a solid warm blob of moist white dough. Each morning, Martin loads up as many as eight black bus-tubs by himself with about 30 pounds of pizza dough each that then goes into the cooler for the day before opening the shop. As the beads of oven sweat dried on his forehead, Martin took another gulp of Pepsi and explained the process further. “I try to get the freshest vegetables possible, which I then personally chop,” he said. “I spend a good bit of the time doing that during the day just to insure that our ingredients will be as fresh as possible, but we may get short on things during open hours, and I will have to break away from the oven and cut more vegetables for toppings, but I enjoy it. Most business owners do not work like that in their shops.” Martin also exercises laid-back management techniques with employees, many of whom are high school or college age. Ranging from age 16 to 50, employees are allowed choose what they wear to work, as long as it is up to health code. According to Sarah Watson, who has worked at California Underground for seven years, and is currently an intern at an accounting firm, the atmosphere makes for a pleasant work environment. “It started as a temporary job, but now the shop is my main source of income,” she said. “You get so attached and connected to the people you work with at a place like this, and to the management, that it makes it really enjoyable to work here. It is hard to leave.” As small family-owned

businesses struggle around the country, Watson said that California Underground continues to please customers, but has a hard time spreading the word as the area around the business becomes developed with the addition of two new family-owned Mexican restaurants, a Sports Bar and a Subway restaurant. Before the development, the only competition was a gas station Hardees and McDonalds across the street, but with new business comes new competition. “I don’t think this business is doing any worse or better than anyone else,” she said. “As far as retaining customers, we are really good at that, but getting new customers is hard. People order because they like the food, the atmosphere, and the people that work here. There are still people who come in and don’t like it, so it is a matter of preference, but our customers come from all around and most are happy when they leave here.” Watson also agreed with the effectiveness of a hands-on business owner when discussing how Martin operates his kitchen and business. While so many owners are detached, Martin is in the kitchen seven days a week, working the ovens and keeping the place open according to Watson. “You don’t see business owners like that a lot,” she said. “I have worked at other places where you may work in the kitchen, but you never see the owner. Jeff is a great boss because he is working right beside everyone and does not hold himself above his employees. It is a rare thing.” As a small-business owner, Martin has adopted work as his hobby and is content every morning to wake up and go through the routine of opening the shop for a new day of business. “It is nice to get to work and see the final product of your business, which for us is great pizza and service,” he said. “In retirement, I just want to do what I am doing now. Something has to get me out of bed, otherwise I would go insane. I’ve had money before, and when I had time off, and had money, I didn’t have a damn thing that I wanted to do. I just like to work.”

>>> PLANETWEEKLY • tuscaloosa's SOURCE for entertainment, music, sports & THE ARTS



>>> NEWS |R AC H E L A H R N S E N


Operations Manager Jennifer Earp sits at the front desk of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Animal Shelter as a phone’s shrill ring cuts through the cacophony of dogs barking. She answers, and the caller inquires if it’s legal to own an alligator in the state of Alabama. Earp raises her eyebrows and tugs on her ever-present baseball cap emblazoned with the Crimson Tide logo. “Sir, I’m not certain. I’m going to give you Game and Fish, they can help you out.” Earp hangs up the phone, and returns to typing a dog’s records for an adopter. In the period it takes her to fill out one form, she asks a co-worker to do a heartworm test, gives advice on a dog’s chip, signs in a volunteer, and directs workers through a PA system as she conducts the elaborate orchestra required for the daily care of approximately 225 shelter animals. In Alabama, shelter workers like Earp are faced with the Sisyphean task of saving animals in a state with few regulations and staggering overpopulation. “The summer months are our busiest. We’re in the 900 to 1,000 dogs a month range. Months like now, it fluctuates between 400 to 600 dogs,” Earp says. The overpopulation situation in Alabama is so dire that shelters have resorted to the extreme measure of transporting thousands of dogs out of state. The option for many dogs is to either die in Alabama, or be driven 1,360 miles to a place like Lewiston, Maine, where they can be more easily adopted. “We send animals out West, to Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, New York...anywhere but here. The end goal is to just get them out,” Earp says. Approximately 150,000 unwanted



“The bottom line is that transport programs cost us thousands and thousands of dollars. It’s a band-aid. We’ll never transport our way out of this problem. The cure is spay and neuter. Currently, we have low cost spay and neuter clinics. But the vet board is trying to close those clinics. It’s a huge battle right now.” The Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners is trying to close low-cost spay and neuter clinics because they believe the clinics have an unfair advantage over veterinarians who perform the same service. Rep. Patricia Todd's bill, HB141, would allow the four low-cost spay and neuter clinics to continue operating. Shirley says, “The people want these clinics. We have these vet boards that have so much control. How can that be? These senators, if they do not pass this, I am convinced they will be voted out in November. It’s just not logical.” Shirley remembers a grim life before animals are euthanized every year in the low cost clinics. Alabama. Earp believes there’s several “Our intake ten years ago was $8,000 factors as to why the unwanted animal a year. Literally hours of our day was spent population in Alabama is so much greater euthanizing. That’s a dark world to live than in other states. in. No one who works here wants to kill “The main factor is lack of spay and animals; our passion is saving them.” neuter laws which require owners to She sighs, “It takes a toll on your soul... take responsibility and spay and neuter we started transtheir pets. Then porting dogs out there’s a lack of "The Alabama State Board of of desperation. knowledge. They Veterinary Medical Examiners is We were sick don’t know the trying to close low-cost spay and and tired of havseverity of the neuter clinics because they believe ing to euthanize. animal overthe clinics have an unfair advantage It gave us a glimpopulation. Most over veterinarians who perform the mer of hope.” people don’t same service." Shirley know a dog can knows the spay have from seven and neuter clinics have nearly doubled to 14 puppies a litter, and they can have the amount of dogs that leave the Shelby up to three litters a year. Down South, its Humane shelter alive. kind of that mentality of, ‘out of sight, out “In 2008, our annual live release rate of mind.’ And the less people know, the was 35.4%, which is horrible. In 2013, the less gets done.” rate was 64%. The way we’ve done that is Earp facilitates the complex logistics a quick fix program that utilizes low cost behind transporting even one animal spay and neuter clinics. We’ve facilitated across state lines, a process which can take months for one animal. She first must over 10,000 surgeries in this time frame.” “Our intake has been lowered to about find a place for an animal among the vast 5,000 per year for last three years. It’s my network of groups Metro coordinates with. opinion that though it’s taken six years to The animal then has to meet health and reduce intake that much, it will take less adoptability criteria. Finally, the shelter than two years for it to spike back up.” must find money in their scarce funds to If the clinics disappear, Shirley doesn’t pay for the journey. know if she’ll be able to continue her life’s Metro has even resorted to flying work. dogs out through a group called Pilots “It’s the most horrible feeling in the And Paws, with pilots that volunteer their world. I am absolutely terrified of what's plane and time to fly the animals out of the going to happen if those clinics are closed. Tuscaloosa airport. Two weeks ago, 17 Metro animals flew to Florida and Georgia. We have not had to euthanize a dog in three years for space. And I don’t think I However, Shelby Humane Society Excan go back to taking the life of a healthy ecutive Director Sara Shirley realizes that driving or flying dogs thousands of miles is dog just because we have nowhere to put them. I don’t think I can handle that again.” not a practical solution.


Her voice trembles, “I’ll have to leave.” When asked what kind of people are willing to drive twenty hours to save a dog from euthanasia, Shirley answers, “Angels. It’s such a wide variety of people. We have young adults, up to retired people that volunteer their time. They’re from all walks of life but they all have that passion of giving back and saving animals.” One of these people is Maryella Matthews, who will drive out of Tuscaloosa in an oversized van carrying about 15 dogs the first weekend in April. Matthews was galvanized to act when she learned about the amount of dogs that are euthanized. “It seemed almost like an animal holocaust, and I don’t use that word lightly. I thought that if there’s a way for me to help, I’ve got to do it.” Matthews recognizes that she’s unique; that most people wouldn’t do this. “It’s okay, that most people don’t think a dog’s life is important enough to drive twenty hours. It doesn’t matter what most people do. It just matters what I do. Lots of people don’t have the resources, the compassion, or the time. So I do it.” Kenny Kruse has also transported dogs. He has taken two trips, to New Hampshire and Maine. “Driving there, you have to drive straight through. You can’t stop for a hotel or food, only to get gas. I've been so exhausted when we drop them off that I don’t process everything until later. I’m really happy those specific dogs are going to good homes. But at the end of the day, it’s such a small bite out of the huge problem that I almost can’t appreciate that those dogs do get a shot. I believe Shelby County transported 7,000 dogs over seven years. But that’s so tiny compared to the overall number.” Kruse says the first time he transported, he was not overwhelmed with joy from saving lives, but instead was upset by the stark contrast between the Northeast and Alabama. “You go into these facilities up there, these huge buildings with tons of volunteers and so much support. And think about the people back in Alabama who do so much with so few makes me angry.” The volunteers and workers in Alabama who dedicate their lives to saving animals’ struggle against this disheartening reality. “It’s hard to endure the constant negativity. You’ve got to be strong to do this job. Not just any average person can do it,” Earp says. These are people who feel guilty when they sleep, because they know dogs are dying while they rest. These are people who spend hours trying to catch a dog they saw on the highway, hopeful that there’s a worried owner to return it to. These are people who stubbornly work towards their shared hope that one day, every animal in Alabama will have a loving home. Until then, they’ll keep on driving.

>>> I D E S O F M A R C H |A LY X C H A N D L E R


For the twenty- eight-year old trained prosecutor Ruston Kneely, a black eye isn't exactly easy for him to explain at the office—especially when it's from a javelin to the face. Back in college Kneely was always an athletic and schooldriven guy, so when he took a chance on something unusual, he had no idea what he was getting himself into, or just how competitive this new hobby would be. The Ides of March, a series of medieval, foam-based weapon battles known as Dagorhir, take place over three days. Scoreboards are nonexistent in this world—there's only a weapon, a shield and lightning-fast skill. Adrenaline pumps as hundreds of people dart along the barren, sweat-soaked field. Competitors aren't themselves: they're dirt-faced, armored and clothed like 'Lord of the Rings' characters. What started as about 40 people partaking in the Ides of March battles morphed over the years into a six-battle war involving over 450 people. It's not for the light-hearted: it's a sport. "I've cracked a rib, broken a few noses, left a ton of bruises. You know, I come to win," said Kneely. This year Ides of March took place March 13-16 at Dragon Hills located in Bowdon, GA, in a large open field. The secluded, scenic location has been used several times now.

“It's the biggest event in the South, I believe. We take pride,” Ray Almand, the President Dragon Hills, said. For Kneely, or more accurately his character name 'Troan,' participating in these battles is a welcomed side hobby and escape from the rule oriented world of being a lawyer. This is a game based on an honor code, the rules of warfare, which includes honest fighters admitting when they've been hit. The breakdown of rules goes as follows: if someone is struck with a weapon on a certain limb, then he or she cannot use that limb to battle anymore, except if it's their hand. They can place the struck limb behind their back or drop it. People can grapple or wrestle, but if they're using a particular weapon to hit anyone, it must be qualified as “a good, hard hit,” otherwise the opposing person can yell the word “light” and continue fighting with that particular limb. Though some people associate Dagorhir fighters with the more commonly known group known as Live Action Role-Players, or LARPERS, they are distinctly different. It's a common and sometimes touchy mistake. LARPERS focus more directly on playing the part of the fictional character they represent than the actual fighting, while Dagorhir focuses almost entirely on the melee battles and the physical sport in fighting. Another important discrepancy is that while LARPERS use “magic” in their battles, Dagorhir does not. "I have my funny name and my funny clothes but that's where it stops. There's no magic involved, just competing,” Almand said. Competitors who fight must be at least 18 years old with the median age at the Ides of March is being 21-28 years old. The medieval based attire, called garb, is left for everyone to decide for themselves what to wear. Although the battle-friendly gear can be intimidating for newcomers, it's part of the fun that sets the mood back to a few centuries ago. “Most of us are do-it-

yourself (DIY) enthusiasts,” Megan Sacks, who made her own outfit and battled as a green-painted Ork, said. Some intricate garb is sold at the participating vendors, but most people prefer the creative freedom to experiment and try their hand at some DIY costumes. Handmaking unique garb fuels people's imaginative side, especially for die-hard crafters. No one is required to partake in roleplay, but every person must go by a Dagorhir character name that represents them, whatever or however silly they please. Some of the Tuscaloosa competitors have names such as Santa, Flower and Kneefers. Competitors also have the choice to be from whatever medieval or mythical time period they chose, including Lord of the Rings. Characters range anywhere from Orks, rangers, knights, hobbits, 'Dungeon and Dragon' characters, elves or any other medieval character. People usually have some sort of story made up to go along with their chosen character. Competitors do at least six hours of fighting a day at the Ides of March. By the end of it, everyone is sore and ready to rest, but the majority of the time, the Dagorhir is an event based highly on companionship. “Once it comes time to feast by the campfire, everyone is friendly,” Almand said. People come from all over the U.S to delve into their competitive side and spar with each other. Jackson Downing, a University of Alabama Public Relations sophomore, attended the Ides of March with one of the Tuscaloosa Dagorhir groups. Downing started going to practice after he first came to UA. Since then, he's been to the Ides of March once and one of the largest week-long Dagorhir events in the country that took place in Pennsylvania. “The people is what give this sport its spark,” said Downing. Groups of Dagorhir teammates who practice together in the same town are divided up into realms. Tuscaloosa's realm that Downing belongs to is called “Sluagh.” For four years the group of Tuscaloosa residents and recreational students has met at Bowden Park every Sunday at 3 p.m. to practice their battle skills. They attend Dagorhir events together. Downing said anyone is welcome. “Let me tell you this, if you just watch the mass of people charging at each other, you don't understand the practice and skill that goes into it,” Downing said. “But try watching the one-on-one battles—they go so lighting fast that you don't even know who died.” The intensity of the fighting is different from group to group. Downing's group is known for their friendly nature. He said that this sport is still “less dangerous than football,” and that most people don't really worry about getting too hurt, including newbies. The danger-loving element is just a risk. All weapons are required to be made out of foam and must pass the weapon check before the games. They can be bought from crafters or carefully homemade. Common weapons used in battle include swords, axes, bows and arrows,

Photos: Bobby Lewis

javelins, spears, slingshots or any other medieval styled weapon. Many girls choose to use the lighter weapons, such as bows and arrows. Usually everyone carries some sort of foam shield and, sometimes, even armor. “Even though it's dorky, you have an unbelievable amount of fun,” enthused Downing. Six organized battles took place over the Dagorhir weekend, ranging from strategic capture-the flag-based battles to the brutally known front-line charging Gully Battle which takes place on a small, one-lane road, with opposing teams about 15 feet from each other. On one side of the road is a steep hill, with only a few feet till the drop-off into the creek. Thorns surround the sides of the road so that competitors are forced to go forward. Heralds, the referees who make sure no one is cheating or getting hurt, stand on the edges to make sure no one gets too close to falling down. EMT trained onlookers are available if needed. “When you don't have any room to move around, things can get a bit dicey,” Downing said, who participated in the Gully Battle. Even with cut knuckles, a scratched eye and some bloody knees, he couldn't help but be invigorated. Although for some people like Downing, the nighttime festivities are what they look forward to the most. “Some people are really just here to hit with sticks, but definitely not everyone,” Almand said. When nighttime finally hits, the competitive battle atmosphere transforms into a huge companionship-based meal rightfully termed “the Feast.” After people spend practically all day cooking a hearty meal everyone gathers in the Barn to refuel and relax together in the traditional way medieval people once celebrated. Friends sit around telling stories by campfires while people mingle and get to know each other. Others practice one-on-one duels, especially on Friday night when reflexes are still rusty. An event and parking fee are required for anyone thinking about attending the Ides of March next year. If people don't bring their own tents and camping supplies, then they have to find their own place to stay. Kneely plans to keep working on his skills and come back every year—this is his sport. “I'm a damn good lawyer—and a damn good sparrer,” he said.






NOTE: All events listed here have phone numbers in the 205 area code unless otherwise indicated.


10 YEARS OF PRINTMAKING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA WHEN: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 3815 Clairmont Ave, Birmingham PHONE: 348.7884 LINK: DESCRIPTION: The work in this exhibition documents ten years of printmaking classes at the University of Alabama. Sarah Marshall, area head for printmaking at U.A, contextualizes printmaking courses within an ongoing history of graphic processes that is inexorably linked to the history of information exchange. Check it out on the third Friday of the month with UA’s Creative Campus. THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE WHEN: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. COST: $10 general WHERE: 600 Greensboro Ave PHONE: 785.5195 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Brookwood High School presents the classic musical at the historic Bama Theatre on Friday and Saturday. Small-town girl Millie Dillmount escapes to the jungle of New York City with music and lyrics by Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan.


MEET YOUR MAKER WHEN: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 401 22nd Ave PHONE: 561.6666 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Local potter Bob Weir will perform a live demonstration at the maker’s market, Tuscaloosa’s home for locally made goods and artisan shops. See Weir create pottery with a foot-powered wheel and see what’s new at the market. SAKURA FESTIVAL WHEN: 10 a.m. – COST: $9 WHERE: CHILDREN’S HANDS-ON MUSEUM PHONE: 349.4235 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Every Saturday in March the Children’s Hands-On Museum will have activities to celebrate Japanese culture including crafts like Japanese carp kites and origami. All activities are covered by the cost of admission.


READER’S THEATER WHEN: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Tuscaloosa Public Library, Main Branch PHONE: 752.8300 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Young readers can act out scenes from Giant Dance Par ty by Betsy Bird at this family friendly event at Tuscaloosa Public Librar y. Patrons at the librar y are encouraged to interact with librar y staf f and get to know the resources available for all ages.




ESTATE PLANNING WORKSHOP WHEN: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 500 Towncenter Blvd, Suite B PHONE: 764.1262 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Red Oak Legal, PC is offering a free estate planning and asset protection workshop, presented by local attorneys Steve Wiggins and Raley Wiggins. The session will cover wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required by calling or going online.


ELEMENTS IN TRANSITION: BARRY GRAHAM AND LAURA BROOKHART WHEN: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Kentuck Art Center PHONE: 758.5195 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Last day to see Graham and Brookhart’s paintings and photography, on display now at the Kentuck TEMP Gallery. Graham and Brookhart’s collaborative exhibition uses photomontage, and recycled and antique materials in the new works by these two artists.


“MNEMONIC” MFA EXHIBITION, BY MARK BERRY WHEN: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 620 Greensboro Ave. PHONE: 758.5195 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Last day to see Mark Berry’s art, on display now at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Berry’s MFA thesis exhibition features geometric abstract paintings with layers of colors that act as a type of painted stratum that viewers can explore. REGISTER FOR DRUID CITY ART FESTIVAL WHEN: All day COST: Free admission, $25 booth WHERE: 6th Street Government Plaza PHONE: 391.9200 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Get an artists’ booth before the March 28 deadline to be a part of the 5th annual Druid City Arts Festival. Visit the festival on April 5 for a free day of art, music and inspiration hosted by the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission. BACK TO THE THRONE: THE RECROWNING OF CREATIVE MINDS WHEN: 7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. COST: $10 - $32 WHERE: 800 Monroe Dr., Huntsville LINK: DESCRIPTION: Native Dreamers Clothing presents a fashions show, spoken word performances and live DJs and music performances at this networking social event at Huntsville’s Embassy Suites ballroom.

>>> PET PLANET | T H I S M O N T H ' S P E T S


This sweet young man is Timmy, a 9 month old male terrier/pointer mix. He has such a handsome deep dark red and white smooth coat with some red flecking that makes us think there might be some pointer in him. Timmy will get a bit bigger, weighing 30 pounds right now, probably up to around 40 pounds when full grown. Timmy is very friendly and fun. He has a lot of energy so he will need a fenced yard to run and play in. Timmy is still a puppy so he will need training and structure to help him develop into a well-mannered adult dog. He should be fine with children and seems to do well with other dogs. We have started him on his crate training. Timmy is up to date on his vet care, neutered, heartworm negative and is micro chipped. He is on heartworm and flea/tick prevention. Timmy will make a wonderful pet and lifelong friend for a very lucky owner! For more information on Timmy and other adoptable pets, contact the Humane Society or visit This sweet young lady is Sally, a short-haired gray tabby female about one year old. She's small for her age, and may not get much bigger. Sally is a friendly, mediumenergy girl who'd make a wonderful companion! Sally does have a bit of youthful, playful energy. She just loves to hang out with people! She does fine around other friendly cats, and should do fine around children. She may do fine around small dogs. Stop by the Humane Society cat adoption center to meet Sally and more adoptable cats and kittens! For more information, visit

This pretty lady is Chloe, a 1 1/2 year old female Shepherd/Labrador mix. She has a beautiful snow white coat with brown/black markings -- check out the great eye patches, how cute is that! Chloe is a good sized dog at about 40-45 pounds. She is a super sweet, pretty calm, easy going dog. She loves to run and play and is good with other dogs. Chloe should be fine with children, she is not real jumpy but may be better if kids are over 10 years of age just due to her size. Chloe will require a fenced yard so she can run around to get some exercise but she will want to be inside with you a lot, she is quite the people pleasing dog. She does great riding in cars. Chloe is up to date on her vet care, spayed, micro chipped and is heartworm negative. She has started heartworm and flea/tick prevention. Such a nice dog, you will be so happy to have Chloe as part of your family. For more information on Chloe and other dogs available for adoption, contact the Humane Society or visit

>>> PLANETWEEKLY • tuscaloosa's SOURCE for entertainment, music, sports & THE ARTS

>>> P R E S E R V A T I O N | S T A F F R E P O R T


>>> EVENTS CALENDAR | The purpose of this event is to inspire creative minds to “go back to our royal roots & start living life in the days as such as when we were Kings and Queens.” Some proceeds go to the “Creative Minds Scholarship.” Find out more by emailing ALABAMA BASEBALL VS OLE MISS WHEN: 6:35 p.m. COST: $8 adult, $5 under 18 WHERE: 1201 Coliseum Circle PHONE: 348.2262 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Watch UA’s baseball team face Mississippi’s team in the new and improved Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Friday is the first game of a three-day conference through Sunday March 30.

The Old Tavern, in Tuscaloosa’s Capitol Park, will take on its historic role as host to political dignitaries on Saturday, April 5, when Alabama’s early Governors as well as today’s local leaders make guest appearances. On Saturday morning time will be turned back in the Park itself when 19th century games and crafts will be available to 21st century children. Demonstrations of printing and more will give children and their parents a closer look at technology in the 1800s! From April 3 to April 6 the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society Heritage Celebration, A Capital Idea! will provide area residents a chance to look at life as it was between 1826 and 1846 when Tuscaloosa served as the state Capitol. Throughout the weekend in addition to dignitaries visiting the Old Tavern and children rolling hoops in the park, Southern foods, lectures about the Capitol era, a 19th century Southern garden, stage coach rides and homes from the era will help re-create life as it was. Adults will enjoy stories of the colorful pasts of some of Tuscaloosa’s original citizens as they tour Greenwood cemetery on Friday evening. “Heritage Weekend is a time to look at our past and to see the events and people who laid the basis for the city we are today. In the early 1800s when Tuscaloosa became the Capitol the dynamic of the city changed and it’s growth began in earnest,” said Marty Hamner, President of the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society. “In an attempt to create an awareness of the city’s history among our youngest citizens we have included the Saturday morning events in Capitol Park. We hope the park will be full of youngsters learning about their home town.” Contact the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society at 758.2238 or 758.6138 for information about tickets for all weekend events as well as information about children’s’ free events. Or visit

THEATRE CAMP 2014 // REGISTER YOUR CHILD NOW Theatre Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre are partnering once again to offer Theatre Camp 2014. Classes will meet Monday-Friday between 8:15 a.m. and noon, June 16-27, 2014. Classes are offered for students who will have completed Kindergarten through 11th grade. Session topics offered will include acting, dance/movement, singing, improvisation, auditioning, stage makeup, and technical theatre. Camp instructors are seasoned theatre professionals who have demonstrated their talents both onstage and off. This year's instructors include Lindsey Jones, Mary Kathryn Mathews, Brent Jones, Jeff Wilson, Benny Russell and Jeanette Waterman. They will pass on their knowledge and experience to campers using fun group exercises and interactive projects. Registration is limited to 18 campers per class and operates on a first-come-firstserved basis, so be sure to register as soon as possible to guarantee your child's Sofia Talvik space!

ALABAMA SOFTBALL VS LSU WHEN: 6:30 p.m. COST: $7 WHERE: 321 5th Ave E PHONE: 348.2262 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Watch UA’s softball team face Louisiana State in Rhoads Stadium. Friday is the first game of a three-day conference through Sunday March 30.


HOSPICE OF ALABAMA’S 5K RUN/WALK WHEN: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. COST: $20 WHERE: 6198 Watermelon Road PHONE: 523.0101 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Hospice of West Alabama’s 5th Annual Family 5K Run/Walk will be held at Munny Sokol Park, starting at the Willow Pavilion. Bring the kids to participate in memory of a loved one. Registration is available online and at the event.


SACRED CINEMA PRESENTS: A SMALL ACT WHEN: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. COST: Free, donations accepted WHERE: 600 Greensboro Ave PHONE: 785.5195 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Canterbury Chapel’s Sacred Cinema and the historic Bama Theatre present the Sundance-selected film about a Kenyan student who graduates from Harvard, becomes a Human Rights Lawyer for the United Nations and decides to find the stranger who sponsored his education and changed his life. This film by Jennifer Arnold was chosen by Sacred Cinema to explore faith and social consciousness through film.


University of Alabama campus recall maritime paintings of the traditional nineteenth century with a stylistic twist. The exhibit will be available through Friday, May 9.

TUESDAY, APRIL 1 INDOOR SWIM LESSONS WHEN: All day COST: $25 WHERE: 3601 Stillman Blvd. PHONE: 349.4240 LINK:

SPIRIT NIGHT FUNDRAISER AT JIM ‘N NICKS WHEN: 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. COST: No extra cost WHERE: 305 21st Ave PHONE: 469.2060 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Come to Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q and say you came to support the Alabama Blues Project, and 10 percent of your dine-in and carryout purchase will help provide instruments and scholarships for Blues Project campers! Support local music community and enjoy classic barbecue meals like ribs or Tuesday tacos.


HERITAGE CELEBRATION: A CAPITAL IDEA! TUSCALOOSA 1826-1846 WHEN: 6:30 – 9:30 COST: Costs vary per event WHERE: 1600 Dearing Place PHONE: 758.2238 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Celebrate the time when Tuscaloosa was the capitol of Alabama with Historic Tuscaloosa! Meet with past governors of Alabama, tour historic sites like the Greenwood cemetery and play period games. Events kick off with a patron’s party at the FosterCummings house and end with an antebellum Garden show on April 28. Find the calendar of events on Historic Tuscaloosa’s website. ALABAMA HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY SUMMIT (HBCU) WHEN: All day COST: $25 WHERE: 3601 Stillman Blvd. PHONE: 349.4240 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Student leaders throughout the state will come together to network, share best practices and develop leaderships skills through sponsored sessions. State representative Christopher England will be address the students as an opening speaker. Registration fee covers lunch and dinner on Friday and breakfast on Saturday. Email Nancy Boyd at to submit registration or get more information.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF EXPLORATION WHEN: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 103 Garland Hall PHONE: 348.1890 LINK: DESCRIPTION: New York artist Katherine Bradford presents adventurous new ideas that pivot on the concepts of great journey. The fourteen paintings on display at the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art on the

>>> PLANETWEEKLY • tuscaloosa's SOURCE for entertainment, music, sports & THE ARTS






NASHVILLE Nicole Atkins, High Watt

BIRMINGHAM Brian Regan, Alabama Theater SoMo, Zydeco


NASHVILLE Dave Hause, High Watt Kenny Loggins, Schermerhorn Symphony Center


Birmingham Ron White, Alabama Theater Pains of Being True at Heart, Bottletree Café Three 6 Mafia, Iron Horse Café Sunday Best, Zydeco The Del McCoury Band, Iron City

BIRMINGHAM Pentatonix, Iron City

ATLANTA Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin, Symphony Hall Atlanta NASHVILLE Juicy J, Marathon Music Works March 23- PigPen Theater Co., High Watt NEW ORLEANS Flogging Molly, House of Blues Craig Paddock, Gasa Gasa

MONTGOMERY Avenue of Giants, Rock Bottom


ATLANTA Tyler the Creator, Tabernacle Moody Blues, Fabulous Fox Theater Southern Soul Assembly, Center Stage

BIRMINGHAM Okkervil River, WorkPlay Theater Gavin DeGraw, Iron City

NASHVILLE George Strait, Bridgestone Arena Space Capone, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom NEW ORLEANS Buku Music and Arts Project Elton John, New Orleans Arena The Johnny Clegg Band, House of Blues The Yisrael Trio, Batch Taj Mahal, Tipitina’s

NEW ORLEANS HIM, House of Blues NASHVILLE VNV Nation, Exit In Joe DeRosa, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom


ATLANTA We Are in the Crowd, The Masquerade

saturday, MARCH 22

NASHVILLE Elizabeth Eckert, High Watt

BIRMINGHAM The Devil Wears Prada, Zydeco Lindsey Hinkle, Iron City


MONTGOMERY Ron White, Montgomery Performing Arts Center

BIRMINGHAM Turnpike Troubadours, WorkPlay Theater NEW ORLEANS Queensryche, House of Blues Chelsea Peretti, One Eyed Jack’s Jet Lounge, House of Blues

HUNTSVILLE Chris Jackson, Moe’s Original BBQ Trick, Olivia’s Bar and Grill ATLANTA Crosby, Stills and Nash, Fabulous Fox Theater Half King, The Masquerade NEW ORLEANS Buku Music and Arts Project Ronnie Milsap, Delta Downs Event Center Interactivo, Tipitina’s

ATLANTA Aaron Neville, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center David Garrett, Symphony Hall Atlanta


HUNTSVILLE Radiotron, Coppertop

NEW ORLEANS Yonder Mountain String Band, House of Blues Pink Martini, The Civic Center Kevin Gates, Howlin’ Wolf


BIRMINGHAM Unknown Hinson, Zydeco

HUNTSVILLE Lee Gibson, Von Braun Concert Hall Alias For Now, Coppertop Jonathan Laird, Simp McGhee’s MONTGOMERY Splendid Chaos, Blue Iguana Souled Out, Pure Artistry Literary Café Timmeh, Alley Bar ATLANTA Mike Birbiglia, The Buckhead Theater Texas Hippie Coalition, The Masquerade NASHVILLE Gabriel Iglesias, Ryman Auditorium Halestorm, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom Chris Mann, James K. Polk Theater Mike Epps, Bridgestone Arena


MONTGOMERY Crazy Chester, Horseshoe Tavern ulie Gribble, Fountain City Arts Festival V-8 Death Car, Rock Bottom Kyle Wilson, Blue Iguana HUNTSVILLE Impulse, London’s Travis Posey, Moe’s Original BBQ Stone Senate, Humphrey’s NASHVILLE Demi Lovato, Bridgestone Arena ATLANTA Colt Ford, Wild Bill’s Yo La Tengo, Variety Playhouse

GABRIEL IGLASIUS // NASHVILLE //MARCH 28 HUNTSVILLE The Ten Tenors, Von Braun Concert Hall ATLANTA Bayside, The Masquerade


ATLANTA Steve Hackett, Symphony Hall Atlanta


NASHVILLE Vince Gill, Ryman Auditorium

NEW ORLEANS Jillian Michaels, Saenger Theater


BIRMINGHAM All Time Low, Zydeco

ATLANTA Jesse Cook, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center Yo-Yo Ma, Symphony Hall Atlanta Television, Variety Playhouse NASHVILLE Marsha Ambrosius, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom NEW ORLEANS The Wonder Years, House of Blues


ATLANTA Childish Gambino, The Masquerade Grouplove, Tabernacle BIRMINGHAM Dave Barnes, Iron City MONTGOMERY The 24th Street Wailers, Capitol Oyster Bar

SUNDAY, MARCH 30 BIRMINGHAM Ready for the Industry, Zydeco

MONTGOMERY Bob Margolin, Capitol Music

>>> R OA D T R I P D I R E C T O RY Travel the South's best venues. Visit their website for ticket info and more. Acoustic Café 2758 County Hwy 9 205.647.3237

Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree St NE 404.881.2100

Moe’s Original BBQ 6423 Park Dr 251.625.7427

Amphitheater at the Wharf 23101 Canal Rd 251.224.1020

The Hangout 251.948.3030

Bridgestone Arena 501 Broadway 615.770.2000

Marathon Music Works 1402 Clinton St 615.891.1781

Montgomery Performing Arts Center 201 Tallapoosa St 334.481.5100

Centennial Olympic Park 265 Park Ave W NW 404.223.4412

Minglewood Hall 1555 Madison Ave 901.312.6058



205.324.1911 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre 2200 Encore Pkwy 404.733.5010 Von Braun Center 700 Monroe St SW 256.551.2345

The Nick 2514 10th Ave S 205.252.3831

WorkPlay 500 23rd St S 205.380.4082

Sloss Furnaces 20 32nd St N

Zydeco 2001 15th Ave S 205.933.1032










Copper Top: Badstick Green Bar: The Bohannons, Golden Monica

Copper Top: Jon May Rhythm & Brews: J.K. Terrell Green Bar: Comedy Night


Rhythm & Brews: Rexton Lee Green Bar: Economy Cartel Copper Top: Good Love



Green Bar: Six Shot Revival, Manchino, forgotten grey Rhythm & Brews: Cooter Brown Copper Top: 90 Proof


Copper Top: Plato Jones

Rhythm & Brews:Mojo Trio Copper Top: Soul Tide Gray Lady: CBDB



Green Bar: Open Mic with Ham Bagby


Copper Top: Plato Jones

Rhythm & Brews: XXXXX Rounders: Soul Marinade Copper Top: Hampton Gray


Green Bar: Open Mic with Ham Bagby Copper Top: CBDB Rhythm & Brews: DJ ProtoJ



Copper Top: Charlie Wilson Rhythm & Brews:XXXXX



Rhythm & Brews: Casey Thrasher

>>> LO C A L B A R S 4th & 23rd

Buffalo Wild Wings // 523-0273

Gallettes // 758-2010

Jackie's Lounge // 758-9179

1831 // 331-4632

Capones // 248-0255

Gnemis Top Shelf Tavern // 343-0020

The Jupiter // 248-6611

Rhythm & Brews // 750-2992

Alcove // 469-9110

Carpe Vino // 366-8444

Grey Lady // 469-9521

The Legacy // 345-4848

Rooster's Blues House // 334-4507 Rounders // 345-4848

Bear Trap // 345-2766

Catch 22 // 344-9347

Harry's Bar // 331-4151

Mellow Mushroom // 758-0112

Big Al's // 759-9180

Copper Top // 343-6867

Houndstooth // 752-8444

Mike's Place // 764-0185

The Booth // 764-0557

Downtown Pub // 750-0008

Innisfree // 345-1199

Mugshots // 391-0572


The Red Shed // 344-4372



>>> M U S I C | W I L L I A M B A R S H O P


CAROLINE SHINES Tuscaloosa’s coming up with a case of the blues. Debbie Bond and Caroline Shines are scheduled for a rare performance at Green Bar on Friday April 18. Bond, a co-founder of the Alabama Blues Project, and Shines, the daughter of the late, great Johnny Shines, are both respected as talented members of the blues community. The pair have collaborated before, and both perform around the state of Alabama, but they only play the blues in Tuscaloosa a few times a year. Bond was 22 when she first came to Alabama, and she caught the blues bug almost immediately. She quickly started working with musicians she admired and became a part of Johnny Shines’ band. “I learned so much from him,” Bond said. “He had so many ups and downs and he always came back to it. He did his best even if there was just a few people.” She had played in a band back home in England, but the Alabama blues was what set her heart on fire. Even though friends were surprised by how much she liked the energy of performing, Bond learned the guitar and improved to the point where she became a recognized musician in her own right. “It’s a funny contradiction,” Bond said. “There’s this shy, quiet part of me, and the other part likes being on stage in front of



a crowd. You feel like passion is being shared by all these musicians, and fans too.” After more than 30 years of playing the blues and “paying her dues”, along with starting the Alabama Blues Project, Bond said she is finally dedicating time to her own, original music. She recently released her third LP, That Thing Called Love, which has been well-received in the blues community. Bond says one musician who carries on the tradition of Johnny Shines’ music is his own daughter, Caroline. “She’s a fantastic singer and a fantastic blues woman,” Bond said. “She has this amazing, belting voice. You can see Johnny Shines in her.” Bond and Shines will each play a set of their own, then play together for their show at Green Bar, a venue with a history in the blues community. “Green Bar used to be a blues bar, so they got a double dose of the blues,” Bond said. Green Bar’s owner, Bill Lloyd, said when the bar started out as Little Willie’s it had not yet branched out to book indie bands or country artists. “We started out with a lot of blues and some jazz musicians, and there was about four years of that,” Lloyd said. “We just didn’t get enough support to keep it

season they put on a show that Jenks says is the highlight of the program for many of the kids because it’s not just a “mommy and daddy” recital. “It gives the kids such an empowered feeling,” Jenks said. “I remember one song the students wrote was about bullying. One song was about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Jenks said the children are often surprised how much blues they listen to without even knowing it. “It’s really where rock ‘n roll comes from, as well as hip-hop,” Jenks said. “It all comes back to the blues. If they understand that they can see that the blues is still alive.” The Magic City Blues Society based in Birmingham has a similar goal of letting the blues be heard, and the group’s president Roger Stephenson agreed that the blues is much more prevalent than people tend to think. “Newer audiences may not even realize they are listening to blues or music that has strong blues influences,” Stephenson said. “Alabama Shakes started out with a little bit of blues to them.” The South has become an anchor for blues music, SteDEBBIE BOND phenson said, trailing from a long line of legendary musicians to the birth of blues. that way.” “Alabama as with Mississippi has a Lloyd said he tends to favor blues and strong connection to the blues from the jazz, himself, but he needed to bring in a days of the plantations,” Stephenson said. younger audience to turn a profit. “African Americans were at a point where “I’m well into my 50s and most blues and jazz fans tend to be older,” Lloyd said. they weren’t welcome in music venues, so they created this music and the Southern “A few beers or a few glasses of wine and feel to it.” they’re ready to go home. That’s just not a “The blues has always been about lovsustainable business model.” ing the music.” Music venues that cater to the blues With the greatest blues musicians community have disappeared slowly in more focused on playing within the comTuscaloosa since Bond started playmunity that has grown around the music, ing. She said there are blues outlets Bond said the blues tends to stay with the around the state, but she rarely plays in people who hold it most dear. Still, with a Tuscaloosa more than once or twice a strong group of young people catching the year for special occasions. Part of her blues and going on to play in the Alamission in founding the Alabama Blues bama Blues Project’s advanced band, the Project was to keep the blues alive. The legacy of the music is in good hands. organization’s program manager, Anna Bond said she hopes she will see Jenks said the annual camp aims to exfamiliar faces at Green Bar for her show pose young people to the style of music. with Caroline Shines, and she is excited “Our mission is to preserve the blues to collaborate again with Shines, who in Alabama and to develop confidence bears a very different style of music from and music skills in children that would herself. normally not get a chance to experience “Willie King says music is like a soup,” music lessons,” Jenks said. “Well really all Bond said. “Everyone is bringing spices kids are at risk because music is so often and ingredients and we make a cool cut out of schools.” gumbo. That’s the exciting part of playing Students at the Summertime Blues the blues.” Program get an education in blues hisThe show will start at 8 p.m. at Green tory from seasoned performers like B.J. Cory Whitsett Bar on Friday, April 18 with a $10 admission. Reed and SharBaby. At the end of the

>>> PLANETWEEKLY • tuscaloosa's SOURCE for entertainment, music, sports & THE ARTS



the program. Jai Miller decided to focus on academics and not come back and be a part of the team for right now." ON WR ARDARIUS STEWART WORKING AT DB: "ArDarius Stewart, we are going to spend two or three days looking at him as a defensive back. This is very experimental. We're just trying to sort of find out if he could play safety or not."

Dallas Warmack

The Crimson Tide opened up spring practice on Saturday, March 15. The team worked in shorts and helmets. Here are Nick Saban's comments following the first practice. ON THE FIRST PRACTICE: "It was great to get started today. We're certainly excited with the way the players responded in the off-season program. We really had a good off-season program. Made a lot of improvement. The first practice is always sort of a work in progress for everybody. I think the most important thing is that every player knows that we're committed to helping them to become as successful as they can be as football players and to make as much improvement as we can individually and collectively as a group, as we possibly can. "Practice really to get the repetiJASON MILLERisBAND tion to develop the habits that3 you need rHYTHM & BREWS // AUGUST to go out and play well. I think that's what we want our players to understand and that's what we're trying to do to help them prepare for the season. "Obviously there are some things that

we want to improve on, offensively, defensively and on special teams, that comes from the quality control that you do in the off-season. Not many of those things could we address today. Not many of those things can we address that are beyond fundamentals until we start getting a little further along in the installation of the things we do. "Practice tempo, I thought, was good. Players have to develop the discipline to sustain so that we can finish practice, finish games, finish quarters, finish halves, like we really want to and need to."

ON TREY DEPRIEST AS A LEADER "Trey has a lot of experience. He's a very good player. We need his leadership on defense. He's obviously going to become the signal-caller, which I think everybody looks up to. He certainly has the knowledge and maturity and experience to affect other players in a positive way. That's certainly something that will be important to our defensive football team, that he not only contribute with his physical performance, but that he also affect everyone else." ON BLAKE SIMS AS A PASSER "That's a work in progress for Blake. I thought that he made significant progress last year. I think that's one of the things we'll evaluate, and we know that he needs to progress in is his ability to become a more consistent passer, especially in the system that we implement now.

"I think all of you know that the quarterback competition this spring is something that a lot of people are going to get a lot of opportunity at. Jacob is not going to be here in the spring, but he's going to get an opportunity when he gets here's as well. That's going to be the goal, to develop each of the quarterbacks to see which one would have the best opportunity to help us be successful." ON WHAT THE STAFF IS LOOKING FOR IN A QB: "Success is defined by consistency in performance. So who can be the most consistent guy doing his job well at that position? That's a critical position, because that guy distributes the ball to somebody every down. So the choices and decisions they have to make go a long way in determining how effective and efficient your offense runs. It's all about playing winning football, which you can evaluate in practice every day. I think that a lot the guys we have, have ability but they don't have a lot of experience. It'll be a work in progress all spring to see how they develop. It's going to be a long time in us developing those players, not being so quick to criticize or quick to make a judgment about any particular player, but to be patient trying to develop those guys into the kind of guys that can play winning football."

ON PLAYERS NO LONGER ON THE TEAM "Harrison Jones and Chad Lindsay were not out there today. Both of those guys were fifth-year guys who have graduated and decided not to come back and play. We certainly appreciate the great job that they did when they were involved in the program. We wish them well and they will always be a part of what we've done here. We certainly appreciate their efforts to the success that we've had in

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Branching off of popular television shows and movies is a common practice among directors and producers, especially if the show or movie had previously aired. It is rare, however, to find producers creating a show while its parent show is still on the air. Such is the case with "Supernatural," one of the most popular and long-running television shows. Now nine seasons in, and renewed for a tenth season, "Supernatural" first aired in 2005. It's still going strong in 2014, but that didn’t stop producers from announcing that a spin-off is in the works. has released information, including a small synopsis. "Supernatural: Bloodlines," formerly titled Supernatural: Tribes, will take place in Chicago; more specifically the underground parts of Chicago. The series will show mafia-type families of supernatural creatures who run the affairs of other creatures in the underbelly of Chicago. A new hunter named Ennis Roth (played by Lucian Laviscount) emerges, and now the families must figure out how to evade the hunter whose mission is to eradicate all supernatural beings in Chicago, one at a time. The point of a spin-off is to resemble, but still be different from, the original show. To keep the same feeling that Supernatural fans love, Bloodlines will be written by Supernatural writer/producer Andrew Dabb, and directed by the current producer of Supernatural, Robert Singer. Only three cast members have been revealed, including Nathaniel Buzolic, who made his TV debut in The Vampire Diaries, and Melissa Roxburgh as Violet Durant. She is a werewolf, but keeps her werewolf curse hidden because she loves David Hayden, Buzolic’s character. Other cast members include Danielle Savre as Margo Hayden, Sean Faris as Julian Durant, and Stephen Martines as Freddie Costa, and Bryce Johnson, whose character has not been released. Violet and Ennis are the only characters to have plot information released about them. Will the cast of "Supernatural" make an appearance in "Bloodlines?" Mark Pedowitz, the president of CW, said that the main cast will make an appearance but won’t be regulars on the show. Pedowitz told Entertainment Weekly, “For spin-offs to work, you have to stand them on their own two legs, so you can only do those crossovers when the time is right.” How well could a spin-off of a well-loved TV show run alongside said TV show? Executive producer Jeremy Carver is confident that "Bloodlines" can run side by side "Supernatural." Said Carver to EW, “We’ve created a world that feels like the ‘Supernatural’ world yet has so much more story to be told that doesn’t trample on the mother ship’s terrain. You’ve got two shows that are going to be able to exist in total harmony, I think.” Filming has already begun in Vancouver, where most of "Supernatural" is filmed. "Supernatural: Bloodlines" will have a single episode premiere on April 29th of this year, the same day as a "Supernatural" episode, with a full season airing in fall of 2014.





week l y o verv i ew



Partnerships, possibly business related, are on the agenda, Taurus. You might find yourself in discussions dealing with such partnerships, as well as contracts and other paperwork. You might also set aside time during which you can concentrate on a romantic relationship, a new one or current one that's changing and growing. This is a good time to make decisions, as your mind is particularly focused now.

Paperwork regarding finances, possibly those connected with your job, might take up a lot of your time this week, Gemini. You should be feeling especially strong, confident, and focused, so if you've been thinking about looking for a new position, this is the day to check the ads. Advancement through your own efforts is strongly indicated by the aspects in force today.

A creative project, perhaps one that could earn you some money, might well be the primary focus of your attention this week. Perhaps you've been doing some writing or intend to teach a class. You might want to give the idea some thought, Cancer, if you haven't already. Your physical and mental energies are high. Success is strongly indicated if you start the ball rolling.

A couple with a child might visit you this week. One or both of these people could be connected with you in a business capacity. Whatever the connection, Leo, a lot of interesting discussion should take place, and promising plans for the future could well be made. Take care not to stay up too late, however. Your mind could go a thousand miles an hour and you'll need to unwind so you can sleep!

A lot of paperwork involving new plans for your business interests could need immediate attention. Getting it done properly is probably going to require a lot of ingenuity on your part, Virgo, but you'll manage it. Your mind is particularly quick, sharp, and focused today, so you'll be able to accomplish a lot in whatever you try. In the evening, attend a concert, lecture, or other event in your community. A new business opportunity may come your way, Libra. You aren't likely to want to commit to a permanent involvement, but you might take it on temporarily simply for the sake of the money. Perhaps you want to make some changes in your home, such as new furniture or paint. Whatever comes your way, you'll probably put a lot of energy into it and accomplish it all. Go for it!

It's easy to play Sudoku! Simply fill every column, row and 3x3 box so they contain every number between 1 and 9. The game is easy to play but difficult to master! Solution Page 27

Your physical energy is high and your ambition even higher, Scorpio. You're likely to want to turn your mind to new projects that can advance your socioeconomic status. You could spend a lot of time this week gathering information and sending it out, doing whatever it takes to accomplish your goals. A number of short journeys in your neighborhood are definitely on the agenda. Pace yourself so you don't get too tired.

Practical abilities that you didn't know you possessed might suddenly appear this week, Sagittarius. You could be working behind the scenes on a project of some kind, perhaps involving earning some extra money or raising funds for a worthy cause. Your intuition is operating at a high level, so don't be surprised if you tune in to the thoughts of others. Your imagination and inspiration are also on target. Make use of them! The completion of a long-term goal might have you feeling enthusiastic, energetic, and happy. You're also likely to be looking to the future, Capricorn, formulating ideas for other projects and discussing them with friends. Group activities could benefit you at this time and put you in touch with new people who could possibly become close to you. In the evening, go to an exciting movie. A thriller would suit you just fine. Career matters are at the forefront of your concerns this week, Aquarius. Opportunities for advancement may suddenly appear that you weren't aware of yesterday, and you'll need to make snap decisions and go for what you want right away. Don't be surprised if someone you'd nearly forgotten about is of great help today. The presence of people dear to you is going to be significant.

Travel that is possibly related to business could come up for you, Pisces. A friend or colleague may accompany you. Expect the unexpected where your career is concerned. Unusual developments may open new doors so you can pursue different goals. You might want to take a course of some kind for pleasure or advancement. Your mind is especially sharp, so you're likely to retain whatever you study now.

If you've been thinking about trying some new investments or starting a new savings plan, this is the time to get started, Aries. You're a lot more mentally focused than usual. People around you might have ideas that you should consider. You might experience some intuitive insights, so go with your gut. Don't let your mind get in the way. Tonight, keep a notebook by your bed to record your dreams!





Across 1. "____ tale's best for winter": Shak. 5. It's a wrap 10. Resort on the southern tip of Baja 14. Absolute 15. Nigeria's capital 16. Rank 17. Garbage container 19. Juicehead who's into the grape 20. Teach privately 21. Popular name for a newspaper 23. Wee ones 26. Pieces for nine 27. "Out of the Inkwell" classic toon 32. It goes before the "carte" 33. Brit's greeting 34. Alexander Hamilton's birthplace 38. The O'Haras' plantation 40. Effie ___, Scott heroine 42. "Lovely ___, meter maid" (Beatles lyric) 43. Convex molding 45. Spanish girls 47. Chemical base: Abbr. 48. Judy Garland's daughter 51. Actress Pier 54. They give people big heads 55. Sudden decline 58. ___ ante (raise) 62. One of a kind 63. Ohio's buckeye, California's redwood, etc. 66. Hun leader 67. Bathsheba's first husband 68. Former Baathist state 69. "I ___ Teenage Werewolf" 70. Gomer and Goober 71. Outdoes Down 1. Abbr. on a schedule 2. "Star Trek" officer 3. Smell ___ (be leery)



4. Old Chrysler model 5. Capuchin monkey 6. Network of "Lost" 7. Boonies denizen 8. He rescued Achilles' body 9. 1998 Olympics city 10. Sharer of a prize 11. Fashionable cut 12. Intelligence test pioneer 13. Joss stick emanations 18. Lovers' plight 22. Like a fresh-smelling lawn 24. Dull blow 25. "Dreaming of You" singer 27. "The Green Hornet" role 28. Former king of Norway 29. Brand of syrup 30. It may be staked 31. Mrs. Muhammad Ali 35. Test tube 36. "___ do for now" 37. Literary pen name 39. "Praise the Lord!" 41. Did a vocal number 44. Gets the squeak out of, as a hinge 46. Aardvark feature 49. Closes a fly 50. Zest 51. Attorney follower 52. Sailor to Seneca 53. Half-cups 56. Macy Gray's first Top 10 tune 57. Item often filed 59. Mr. T's family name 60. Accumulate. 61. Law office titles: Abbr. 64. Menlo Park inits. 65. Questioning sounds SOLUTION FOR PUZZLEMANIA CROSSWORD ON PAGE 27

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>>> LO C A L N E W S | J O H N N I E A Y C O C K


Miss Alabama's Outstanding Teen for 2014 was crowned on Sunday at B.B.Comer High School. Morgan Green, a 16 year old Junior at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, entertained the audience with a vocal performance to, Don’t Rain On My Parade. She was awarded $112,224 in cash and in-kind scholarships. The contestants competed Train in a personal interview with the judges, talent, fitness, and evening gown. With the title, Morgan was awarded 4-year renewable full-tuition scholarships to her choice of Auburn University, the University of Alabama, and Troy University, as well as a 12hour scholarship to Jacksonville State University. She also received other cash scholarships and prizes. Morgan is the daughter of Gail Stringfellow and Keith Green. More than $500,000 in scholarship money was awarded at this year's pageant. Forty-five contestants competed in preliminary events on Saturday, with fifteen finalists advancing to compete on Sunday afternoon. The top fifteen finalists included: Morgan Green (winner) of Tuscaloosa, Kelsey Smith (1st Alternate) of Gardendale, Tiara Pennington (2nd Alternate) of

Helena, Katelyn Richard (3rd Alternate) of Hoover, Emma Caroline Gaddy (4th Alternate) of Moulton, Brooklyn Holt (Finalist) of Birmingham, Bria Kalpen (Finalist) of Phenix City, Olivia Kurosaka (Finalist) of Columbiana, Natalie Layton (Finalist) of Alabaster, Mary Grace Long (Finalist) of Alabaster, Shelby Andrews (Finalist) of Dothan, DeJaNeal Brown (Finalist) of Hoover, Mikaylah Dugans (Finalist) of Springville, Collins Kitchens (Finalist) of Vestavia Hills, and Isabella Powell (Finalist) of Calera. Bria Kalpen of Phenix City was the Academic Winner and was awarded her choice of a 4-year renewable full tuition scholarship to Auburn University, The University of Alabama and Troy University. Additional academic scholarships were awarded to Shiann Harper of Mt. Olive, Maggie Jones of Springville, Sarah Turner of Alexandria, Elizabeth Weyerman of Trussville, and Alyssa Whitaker of Morris. Morgan will compete for the title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen in Orlando, Florida, July 29 – August 2. The Miss Alabama's Outstanding Teen Pageant is part of the Miss America Organization.

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ELMO RILEY CALLS ME JIMBO, AND I CALL HIM BO // WE DON'T KNOW WHY Tex Ritter’s next cowboy action film is being previewed on the patched screen of the ratty Ritz Theatre in Downtown Tuscaloosa. Tex is firing both pistols at the bad guys while backing toward his trusty steed. Suddenly, he twists in the air, is astride in a split second, and gallops away to safety. “See it at a theatre near you!” the excited, dulcet voice of the announcer shouts, which is what my pal Bo Riley and I firmly intend to do this time next Saturday. Meanwhile, it’s time to splurge our two nickels for some popcorn and soft drink, before the chapter starts, the chapter being an episode of an extended serial, featuring Batman and his pal, Robin, the Boy Wonder. While a preview of one of those disgustingly smoochy Barbara Stanwyck romance movies is running, we both run to the shabby concession stand, lay down our coins, grab some grub and rush back to the torn and rickety seats. Scrunching down in anticipation of unknown horrors and victories to come, we brace ourselves to see whether our heroes will survive diabolical schemes of the villains of the day. Back then, the Batmobile is just a black Ford, but we don’t know any better. We don’t know about high-tech and million-dollar movie prop design. Low-budget Batman and Robin are all we have. But one thing Batman possesses that surpasses all the low- and high-tech gadgets you could possibly imagine, is…the utility belt! Inside that thick black leather belt is anything you could ever need to escape an impossible situation. In one tense episode, Batman and Robin are thrown into a jail cell while the criminals make their get-away. The cell is solidly built and the situation seems hopeless. Suddenly, Batman remembers that his utility belt holds the solution to any problem. He whips out a blowtorch, lights it up with a batmatch, and handily cuts the bars, long before anybody dreams up a batlaser or an atomic-ray knife. The day is saved! We hardly remember the bus ride home, because we are re-playing the serial scenes in our minds—long before instant replay and slo-mo are invented. Back in the day, small movie fans still play in yards, unaware of the eventual onslaught of videos and television and ipods and texting and a dozen other indoor distractions. The yards are made for play and adventure, and they become whatever we desire—today, simply an outdoor batcave where we can come up with a slew of gadgets like Batman would use. Taping together some old belt and suspender parts, I dye them black with liquid shoe polish, fashion a bat insignia out of felt, glue it over a buckle, staple some cloth pockets to the inside of the makeshift belt, then look around for emergency tools with which to stuff them. Let’s see…what would come in handy for Batman? A small pocket knife (who doesn’t need one on hand?), a tiny file (can’t find a blowtorch), nail clippers (might need to snip my way out of a gypsy’s burlap bag), matches (for warming my hands during an arctic escapade), three quarters (could use them to bribe a henchman), two bandages (wound prevention), a small slingshot (silent weapons are always in vogue), four marbles (could throw them behind me while being chased by buffoons who would in all likelihood slip on them), and so on and so forth. Pretty soon, that utility belt is loaded, my pants are becoming baggy and weighted down, and I’m beginning to lope along like a wounded buffalo. But I’m prepared! Within minutes, I learn the pitfalls of wearing a utility belt. When under threat, you need to remember exactly where you placed the needed tool…not only that, you have to whip it out before the bad guys can overwhelm you! It just doesn’t work. You feel like a jerk, asking the desperadoes to hold on while you draw your weapon. You wind up abandoning the project in order to keep your playmates from rolling on the lawn, laughing. It’s enough to make you retreat back into your solitary books and movies, where you can always find what you need in that utility belt…because fulfilling your fantasy does not require reality. I can lick any bully on the playground, as long as it happens inside my head. This does become a somewhat effective strategy…the bullies are puzzled because I seem so confident and because they don’t know why I have that quiet smile on my face— maybe they’re afraid I have a secret plan that might make them laughingstocks. Better leave the dreaming nerd kid alone and go pick on someone who seems afraid and clueless. Jimbo Baggypants once again saves the day ©2014 by Jim Reed




>>> MUSIC | trey brooks


Snoop Lion




When it comes to live events, most bars in Tuscaloosa have some sort of formula to which they adhere in order to bring in a loyal and returning crowd. For the Jupiter, they bring in nationally recognized touring acts. Rhythm and Brews focuses on country, blues and rock acts. Bars such as Red Shed, Filling Station and Bear Trap mainly use local acts. All these places add to the variety of music available on any night in Tuscaloosa. Each has a character all its own. Then there’s Green Bar. The little sister of Wilhaggens, Green Bar by far brings in the most unique acts in the city. Nationally touring groups like American Aquarium have graced its stage. Local acts are a constant. The bar has been a hot spot for fledgling hip-hop and stand-up comedy scenes. Formerly Little Willie Blues and Jazz Club, the décor still matches the New Orleans/Memphis style of the original bar. Reimagined as an eco-friendly spot, that aspect has taken a back seat to the ever expanding list of acts that make Green Bar a true original. One of the upcoming shows that highlights such variety is coming on April 12th. That night, Green Bar will host a double-bill show with Take the Power Back and Economy Cartel. The punk-metal combination is sure to be a rager in the small venue. Tuscaloosa is no stranger to punk rock. Local punk act Baak Gwai is one of the biggest shows in town, and Egan’s constantly brings in punk acts. But, you will not see these two acts at any other place in town. Take the Power Back will definitely be a must-see. They are an all-female Rage Against the Machine cover band. In the 1990’s, Rage Against the Machine changed the face of heavy metal by fusing funk and hip-hop into their sound, along with politically charged lyrics. These weren’t your typical hippie-peace protest songs either. They did everything but call for the violent overthrow of the government, advocating extremely radical positions. They released only 3 albums, yet they remain one of the most influential acts of the 90’s, and were largely responsible (along with Pantera and Korn) for the rise of nu metal. The all-female tribute band is not a new concept. One of the biggest tribute bands in the nation is Lez Zeppelin, an all-female Led Zeppelin cover group. It will be interesting to see if they can match the absolute energy that Rage brought to the stage constantly during their heyday. Near riots often broke out at those shows. Such energy in an intimate venue like Green Bar could be fun. Economy Cartel also channels energy from past bands. While not a cover band like Take the Power Back, as a punk band they carry on a tradition started in the 1970’s by bands such as The Ramones, The Clash and The Sex Pistols. The concept of aggressive simplicity, mixed with rebellious lyrics and attitude, has lasted decades. Economy Cartel are often referred to as “street punk”, though according to the band this because they are often the only legitimate punk music their audience ever hears. The Tuscaloosa natives do not have many peers in playing punk locally, so this attitude is understandable. The rejection of an applied label also speaks to their punk sensibilities. Some nights you will find neo-classic country at Green Bar. Other nights you will find jam bands playing. The next you may see a rap group. On the 12th of April, you’ll get a healthy dose of punk and metal. Such is the variety that Green Bar offers in their live music schedule.






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