Planet weekly 459

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>>> N E W S | T H E C H AM B E R OF COMM E R C E


NEW BUSINESS OPENINGS ARE WELCOMED Next Chamber in Session: State of the Schools Our annual State of the Schools event is set for Tues., June 17, at Hotel Capstone from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Expect presentations from Dr. Tommy Bice, Dr. Elizabeth Swinford and Dr. Paul McKendrick. Also, a special program is being prepared for this same morning. Stay tuned for more info. Welcome, B&H Furnishings We joined Jeff Hubbard and crew on May 2 for the grand opening of B&H Furnishings located at 2300 McFarland Blvd., E., Ste. F (next to Jason's Deli). Congrats! Learn more about the company at Save the Date for Washington Fly-In As always, our schedule while in the nation's capital will allow time for interaction with our members of Congress as well as engagements with other elected officials. It's also an opportunity, unlike any other,


MAY 15 + MAY 29

to network with fellow Chamber members. This year, the agenda will include some fun time at a Washington Nationals baseball game. Make plans to join us Sept. 24-26 and watch for more info coming soon! Ribbon Cutting at Buckle So glad to have Buckle as a new Chamber member! We celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Apr. 25. The store is located in University Mall and specializes in denim and unique customer service. Services include layaway, fitting appointments, free hemming and gift wrapping. Stop in and check out the spring merchandise! Sprint Mart Opens We marked the opening of Sprint Mart on 15th St. on Apr. 25. It offers a wide array of traditional convenience store items such as milk, soft drinks and

groceries as well as services such as ATMs and pre-paid cellular. You can count on Sprint Mart to have exactly what you need, when you need it. Always fresh. Always in stock. We welcome Matt Bogue and crew to our town! 15th Street Pharmacy Opens A ribbon cutting for the new 15th Street Pharmacy was held on Apr. 25. It opened late last month and is locally-owned and operated, providing fast and friendly service to our community. Pharmacists Chris Barwick and Brittany Cotant and staff will give you superior service! Visit dutchpharmacy. net to learn more.

the Jalapeño's Mexican Grill - Cottondale Location at 4432 Old Birmingham Hwy (Five Points)Congrats, Jheovanny! The restaurant is an area favorite! Ribbon Cutting for Southern Ale House We celebrated the great new addition to Tuscaloosa's dining scene on May 6. Southern Ale House is located in the former Desperado's space at 1530 McFarland Blvd., N. Congrats, Justin Holt! We love it. Check out the menu and more at southernalehouse. com. See the Planet Weekly review of the Southern Ale House on page 12.

Jalapeño's Mexican Grill Opens in Cottondale On May 2, we helped our friend Jheovanny Gomez cut the ribbon for

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17 7 >>> Complete our online survey to be entered in a drawing to select the restaurant of your choice for dinner for two. Other prizes include concert tickets, theatre tickets, Planet Weekly t-shirts, and more.



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Not the scandal they wanted






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"Do what you love…"



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 Please direct correspondence to: The Planet Weekly is a proud member of The West Alabama Chamber of Commerce. © 2014 All rights reserved. THE PLANET WEEKLY is a registered trademark. 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 four 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.


Tuscaloosa Monorail becomes a must-watch

16 WESTON & CROW // PETS OF THE WEEK How can you say yes?

17 ACOUSTIC NIGHT // KEVIN LEDGEWOOD You won't want to miss this

27 DARIUS RUCKER // TREY BROOKS His ever-changing career



entertainment 10-12 13





Events Calendar


Road Trip


Tuscaloosa music



23 Horoscopes // Sudoku 24 CROSSWORD PUZZLe


MAY 15 + MAY 29


>>> R E T R O S P E C T I V E | R A C H E L A H R N S E N


understand how fiercely I miss the shade of ancient oaks and walking from class under moonlit magnolias. How much I miss strolling along the Black Warrior river with my friends, or even ordering coffee at the library. Nostalgia has lent even the most mundane memories a golden, wistful glow. Yes, I’ve been reflecting. I’ve been thinking. And I’ve come to some conclusions. I know now that the University of Alabama saved me. It’s a strange savior, one mired in scandal and tradition and hard-won change. But it’s mine. It saved me from being apathetic, from leading a passionless life, from the idea that life is ordinary. I cannot explain this place. All I know is that I will miss it more than I can describe in metaphors. The university’s goal is to educate, and it succeeded, though not always in the way it intended. The many recent controversies have offered a valuable opportunity to learn. I learned what cowardice looks like, I learned what I stood for and I learned the value of fighting, even when it seems I always lose. Those lessons are worth more than knowing how to mold a mug using a pottery wheel or the significance of the Battle of the Seven Pines during the Civil War. But I know those things, too. And I know them well, because the teachers here are extraordinary. Not only did they educate me, but they challenged me, and continue to support me. These mentors, and the many friends I’ve gained here, have offered me extraordinary encouragement as I’ve attempted to transform my life into something I can be proud of. I’ve met the most inspired, passionate people here and they showed me how it feels to care until it hurts. They are devoted to solving Alabama’s many problems, and they appear to be on a Quixotic quest to single-handedly save the state. Truthfully, learning to care for and dedicate myself completely to something other than myself was the greatest lesson. Simply giving a damn was a revolutionary concept to me. I was raised to be mildmannered, to not disagree at the dinner table. Problems were for other people

Half of the student body at the cided to become a student at UA was that University of Alabama was predestined to the craziest option is often the best one. attend college in Tuscaloosa. They grew It’s been four years since I drove down up hearing tales about God’s favorite man, to Dixie, and I have now graduated. In a Bear Bryant, and typical post gradu"It's been four years since I ate life move, I’ve wore houndstooth backpacks to school. drove down to Dixie… I know temporarily moved Denny Chimes was that the University of Ala- back to live with my a beacon, beckonparents in Ohio. bama saved me… I began to I spend my free ing them to what their parents fondly realize that my voice did mat- time eating Quaker prophesied would be ter, and I started to use it. I instant grits and the best four years watchbecame less afraid… Simply repeatedly of their life. ing the bittersweet giving a damn was a revolu- final scene of Tim I am part of the other half. I was an tionary concept to me." Burton’s, “Big Fish,” Ohio girl who applied in an attempt to an hour before the application was due, exorcise my emotions about graduating because my mom wanted me to, “keep through tears. my options open.” Life in Alabama was as When I try to explain to my Ohioan foreign to me as life in Tibet. But the first friends why I’m moodily singing, “Dixiething I learned when I spontaneously deland Delight,” they don’t get it. They don’t


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to fix, and activists were annoying. But I had the classic college experience of questioning, of protesting. I think everyone should embrace their college years as a time to do that. As a journalism student, I began to meet the people who were affected by abstract political issues. I began to realize that my voice did matter, and I started to use it. I became less afraid, and I realized that apathy is the common factor in all societal ills. I vividly recall graduation, my last memory of life as a student. It was only two weeks ago, so I ought to. Normally, I’m a nervous person, prone to neurotic fantasies about tripping on stage or accidentally setting my gown ablaze. Instead, I thought about all I had accomplished. My hundreds of victories, and more importantly, the hundreds of defeats I had overcome. And as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma, I felt a strange feeling of supreme confidence. I knew I had earned it. I knew I could do anything I wanted after this moment. In my post graduate life, I face a discouraging job market. I haven’t yet thought of a new set of goals, and I don’t have many concrete plans. Older relatives might even call me, “directionless.” But they’re wrong. I do have a direction. I’m headed South.

>>> G OV E R N M E N T | N I C K VA N O C U R


The reporters and editors at the Planet Weekly pressroom were gathered around the TV awaiting breaking news so big that it it was interrupting the drinking, a rare thing around there. The Extra-Special House Committee to Finally Find Out What the Hell Almost or Might Have Happened in Benghazi That Will Ruin Hillary’s Chances in 2016 was about to reveal what they had discovered. The press conference was supposed to have started more than half an hour ago, but so far . . . nothing. The major networks had bumped Ellen and the like and yet . . . nothing. Nothing except a lot of off-stage shouting. Nothing distinct, but still, a lot of shouting. And then a Republican congressman, a member of the committee, was shoved out in camera view. But he quickly ran back. “Dropped a bribe?” one of the PW reporters suggested just before he remembered the bottle of Van Winkle 10-year-old on his desk. Then a Democratic committee member walked toward the microphones before being hauled back by three very white and newly elected youthful Republicans, none of whose hair moved an inch in the process. “Politics as normal,” a crusty old editor observed, wandering over to sit nearer the bottle himself. There was more off-stage shouting and a foot briefly appeared in mid-air from the side of the curtain. “One small step off plan . . . “ a copy girl observed proving she had a great future ahead of her at the Planet Weekly. Then a sheaf of papers flew out from behind the curtain to scatter all over the stage. “Interesting,” was the general agreement. Then eight bodies fell out at once, wrestling, punching and slapping. And the one token Republican woman had proved to have been chosen for reasons other than a brain. But she had a mean right hook! Couldn’t do anything to the left, though. By force of numbers and considerable elbows, the last one standing was a Republican. Not only was he the last

one standing, he was the last one who wanted to speak. But he was the only one. And every single camera was on him. He straightened his tie. His hair was still in place as there was enough hair spray holding it up that some folks, especially after drinks, wondered if they could ask for an environmental impact statement? With a very slight stagger, the congressman reached the podium. “Today, our special probe reached its conclusion. We thank you,” he said as he turned to walk past the pile of his colleagues’ prone forms as reporters’ jaws hit the floor. He didn’t get far. One Democrat was down, but not out and his extended foot met the Republican right in his Super PAC. He dropped with a look a only a few fortunate cameras captured. A shame. It took a bit, but the Democrat did what Democrats do, get up after getting knocked down, and with considerable and visible effort grasped and steadied himself with the podium. “There is a scandal that the committee found,” he said, not the beginning that was expected from a Democrat, most back in the newsroom thought as the bottle was passed furiously. “And Hillary Clinton was involved,” he continued as he wiped his forehead. “Upon the orders of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ambassador Chris Stevens was bringing her conclusive proof of climate change which he was picking up at the consulate on Benghazi when the attack had occurred. “Furthermore, the committee discovered that the funding for the raid came from a Koch Brothers dark money group who were ordered to stop Mrs. Clinton from getting the report by any means possible.” He paused and staggered and repeated “By any means possible!” “That is what the committee has found.” And with that he collapsed. As did the newsroom, except they were laughing. Finally, the managing editor, who at least managed to stop laughing, with the help of a nearby desk, rose up first. “How the hell are they going to spin this one?” he proclaimed with the most evil of grins. “By asking what difference does that make?” the bright copy girl said with a shrug.

Flo Rida

Catch Nick's wit on

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

Jacob Thompson MAY 15 + MAY 29


>>> C E L E B R AT I O N | K I M B E R LY E ATO N


The casting for the architectural frieze around the top of the museum exterior, March 6, 1939.

It’s a birthday celebration, and one you don’t want to miss. The University of Alabama’s Jones Museum at Moundville Archaeological Park is celebrating its 75th anniversary. It began as Dr. Walter B. Jones’ idea. With the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps, that idea became reality. But it was not an easy task. Construction of the museum began in February 1937 with only a small side camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps. When the 200-man Corps unit arrived in June the following year, the museum’s foundation had been completed, and, in less than a year, the project was finished. During the museum’s May 16, 1939 dedication, Robert Fechner, director of the Civilian Conservation Corps, gave the keys of the museum to Jones. “Without former State Geologist Walter B. Jones, the museum would simply not exist,” said Betsy Irwin, education outreach coordinator for the park. “It is entirely possible that the Moundville site, this amazing piece

Depitction of a prehistoric wedding ceremony


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of our heritage, would have been destroyed. “Hundreds of thousands of visitors, the majority of them school children, would never have known that this remarkable prehistoric society once thrived in our own backyard,” Irwin said. “I think Walter B. Jones would be proud of the renovated exhibits in the Jones Archaeological Museum. It’s amazing how much has been learned about the ancient Moundvillians and Southeastern Indians since the museum opened in 1939.” It began as a reinforced concrete structure consisting of a central gallery and two wings. The building was only to be 160 feet long and 60 feet wide, but it would house displays interpreting the culture and characteristics of the Indians who lived at Moundville. The wings were placed over burial groups that had only recently been exposed by excavations. In 1999, The University of Alabama Museums began a comprehensive effort to rebuild and redefine the museum, resulting in a $5 million renovation completed in 2010. Today, the museum combines the latest technology with more than 200 stunning artifacts to describe one of the most significant Native American archaeological sites in the United States. “Starting with the tireless efforts of community members over 75 years ago, countless individuals have worked to preserve this nationally significant site and tell the story of the ancient Moundville people through exhibits in the Jones Museum,” said Dr. William Bomar, interim executive director of University Museums and director of Moundville Archaeological Park. The scaffolding is in place for the installation of the frieze March 6, 1939. The scaffolding is in place for the installation of the frieze March 6, 1939. “Exploring the spectacular Moundville site is a wonderful outdoor experience, but the focus of our interpretation remains the park’s museum, where several hundred fantastic works of Moundville art made right here at this site over 800 years

ago, are displayed in engaging, immersive exhibits,” Bomar said. “Today, around 25,000 people visit Moundville Archaeological Park annually from all over the United States, and many other countries,” he said. “They continue to be amazed by this fantastic site, and most comment about how wonderful our museum is.” The celebration runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features art, craft and technology demonstrations, as well as dance and storytelling performances. Participants include renowned shell carver Dan Townsend (Muscogee Nation of Florida – Tallahassee), ancient weapons expert Bill Skinner (Thomaston), potter Chip Wente (Livingston), textile artist Cat Sloan (Cherokee – Warrior), living historian Robert Thrower (Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Poarch Band of Creek Indians), cultural demonstrator Margaret Baggett (Poarch Band of Creek Indians – Atmore), hoop dancer Lyndon Alec (Alabama – Livingston, Texas) and storyteller Amy Blumel (Chickasaw Nation – Ada, Oklahoma). Rebecca Alec will make frybread, a traditional Native American food, for visitors to sample. Additionally, UA Museum’s Office of Archaeological Research is sponsoring a table promoting the Alabama Archaeological Society. Visitors are welcome to bring any artifacts they may have for archaeologists to identify. At this table, children can also learn how to reconstruct a broken pot or match genuine ancient pottery fragments with the type of tools that might have decorated them. Another integral part of the celebration that day is a modest exhibition focused on Moundville Archaeological Park’s evolution and development. The main exhibit is open to the public in the Jones Archaeological Museum. Old photos, posters and logos feature the Civilian Conservation Corps work and the local community’s interactions with the Moundville site. Patrons of the Tuscaloosa Public Library’s main branch, as well as the Moundville Public Library, can get previews on kiosks installed at each facility in April. The exhibit will remain until 2014′s end. Rounding out the anniversary activities, a public lecture series emphasizing Moundville, its history and other scholarly research kicks off in the fall of 2014. During the series, Bob Pasquill, archaeologist with the USDA Forest Service and author of “The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama,” will discuss the contributions the CCC made to the Moundville site and the Jones Museum. Dr. F. Kent Reilly III, anthropology professor at Texas State University, San Marcos, and director of the Center for the Study of Arts and Symbolism in Ancient America will speak about Moundville’s iconography. Iconography is the science of identifying, describing, classifying and interpreting symbols, themes and subject matter on objects of art.


This display at the remodeled Jones Archaeological Museum depicts the arrival of an ancient bridal party. This display at the remodeled Jones Archaeological Museum depicts the arrival of an ancient bridal party. Reilly served as the guest curator for the Jones Archaeological Museum’s revitalized exhibit, “Lost Realm of the Black Warrior.” Many of the symbols on Moundville artwork relate to Native American understandings of the cosmos and constellations. Other presenting scholars, as well as the dates and times of these lectures, are still to be announced. The Moundville Native American Festival started in 1989 as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the museum’s opening. This year marks the festival’s 25th anniversary. Representatives from Southeastern Indian tribes will give brief speeches about what the Moundville site means to them as part of a ceremony held in honor of the festival. “Moundville Archaeological Park is undoubtedly the most important prehistoric site in Alabama,” Irwin said. “The massive amount of labor and skill involved in leveling the plaza and constructing the mounds reflects the sophistication of the ancient people who once lived here. Less than 15 percent of the site has been excavated, making Moundville the best preserved site of its kind. “This is very important to Native Americans, many of whom consider these mounds to be sacred,” Irwin said. “In close consultation with Southeastern Indian tribes, we developed the Jones Museum exhibits to reflect their culture from the past as accurately as possible. Moundville and the Jones Archaeological Museum are both treasures that belong to everyone.” “Throw back” admission for the May 10 celebration is 25 cents for children and 50 cents for adults, the same rate that was charged when the museum first opened. Regular admission is $6 for children and $8 for adults. Moundville Archaeological Park is 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa off of Alabama Highway 69. For more information, phone 371-2234, or visit




The laughs in Tuscaloosa have taken a hit in recent months. Beginning in 2013, Stand-Up Tuscaloosa was a collective of Tuscaloosa comedians, comedy writers, and performers formed to bring their art to the people. Unfortunately, Stand-Up Tuscaloosa took a hit around the new year. But thanks to a few good men and women, Stand-Up Tuscaloosa is back. The program has welcomed several new faces. Justin Pruden, 25, has been a staple in the Tuscaloosa comedy community for years now. We spoke about the funny, the not-so-funny, and the future of laughs town. Planet Weekly: How did you get into Stand-Up Comedy? Justin Pruden: I guess I've been a pretty avid listener ever since I was a little kid. I spent a lot of night watching Friday Night Stand-Up on Comedy Central. Eventually my mother got XM radio with some comedy stations on it. I heard people like Brian Regan and it all changed from there. It wasn't until much later in life, however, that I decided to take the stage for the first time. PW: What was that first time on stage like? JP: Easily my worst performance to date.

My friend, Justin Kelly, heard about a Comedy Open Mic in town and wanted to do a set. I had always wanted to try it so I worked on a 5 minute set the day of the show. When I did my set, the first joke I did got some laughs at the end of the bar, but the rest of my set was met in silence. Although I had been on stage a lot before this night, this was the scariest and went the poorest. PW: Has your material and subject matter changed since that first show? JP: Well, at the time of the first show, there was a lot of racial tension on the UA campus due to some incidences at fraternity houses that were made public. So I had a lot of racially charged material. I was a fan of more shocking comedians like Jim Norton. So I was really overstepping my abilities trying to make such shocking material funny. Since then, I would say my comedy isn't intentionally quite as shocking. I've definitely broadened the topics on which I write jokes about. And I've really just begun to understand how to "write a joke." Which seems basic, but is much more difficult than it sounds. So I would say that my material is more well written, delivered with more confidence, and covers a more broad range of subjects, but

still touching on controversial subjects like race, politics, and poverty. PW: What do you think caused that shortcoming? JP: Name something and it probably had a factor. Haha. I hate to admit that a big problem with my first show is that I was doing race jokes to a room full of black people. Not saying that's impossible to pull off, but for this first-timer it was. And yes, it's hard to describe the amount of insecurity and nervousness a person gets the first time they tell a joke that bombs. But sure. Inexperience, nerves, the lack of preparation, my own friends heckling me. It all came into play PW: Good friends. Who are your comedic heroes and heroines? JP: Brian Regan is probably the sole person who made me want to do stand-up. And any comedian not calling him a hero of theirs is not a comedian. He's hard to top. A true professional. George Carlin is the Art Tatum of comedy. A true God. Technically flawless, innovative, clever, and socially biting. I could go on for days about Carlin. Wow. Paul F. Tompkins is a true comedian. He's great at long-form jokes, short-form, improv, crowd work, you name it. One of the most well-rounded comedians to date. And so so smart. And I mentioned him earlier, but Jim Norton will forever be an idol of mine. I could go on for days about this. PW: What do you think of the comedy scene in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham? JP: They have their similarities and differences. In both areas, attendance is a big problem. It's just difficult to get people to come out consistently. Birmingham is definitely doing better in that respect. Venues like the Stardome seem to consistently have well-attended Open Mics and Showcases. However, other open mics in Birmingham like Comicaze struggle with getting non-comedians to attend, even though the most active Birmingham comedians attend weekly. In Tuscaloosa, we really have a problem with venues. We've had showcases and open mics in different bars and restaurants in town, but most venues don't believe in comedy and don't want to give it a chance to grow. It's like we're fighting for air sometimes just to get stage time in Tuscaloosa. Most bars would much rather have a cover band or simply not do anything. It's a really tough wall to break through. However, the Open Mic at Glory Bound is going great! They have a wonderful owner who is willing to do anything to make the comedy stay in Tuscaloosa. They really stepped to the plate and gave us Tuscaloosa comedians a home. And that show is only getting bigger! But as good as the open mic is, there are no comedy showcases in Tuscaloosa anymore, which allows us to bring bigger, more popular comedians to town. Birmingham, conversely, has the Iron City venue, which has the financial backing to get bigger names which I believe helps the scene a lot. PW: If you could change the comedy climate of Tuscaloosa (in terms of promo-

tion, venue space, and attendance) how would you do it? JP: Well I'd like for the venue to take part of the promotion. It seems they've always left it to us to promote ourselves, even though we generally make nothing to put on a show. I'd just like to have a handful of venues that actually like comedy and want to see it do well. Try to make specials that bring in people. Try to promote comedy nights on their social media accounts, etc. I really think if we had more venues like GloryBound, that's all I'd want to change. The rest of our problems, like attendance, would probably change on their own. But the comedians here seem to be dedicated. We don't have a lot of "hacks" come through. And the crowds we do get are generally good crowds. So Tuscaloosa definitely has its problems, but we may be seeing some light. But still have a lot of work to do. PW: When is the next time you're performing? JP: I plan on moving to NYC soon. Most likely, I will only be performing at the GloryBound Gyro Co. Open Mic in downtown Tuscaloosa every Wednesday. And these shows will obviously continue after I leave, so please try to support those guys. PW: Best of luck in NYC. I'm sure this won't be the last we hear from you. Any advice for people attempting to break into comedy? JP: Yeah, I hope to show my face around here again soon. And advice for new comedians: Make sure your intentions are pure. If you're going into stand-up thinking about making money, getting on TV, becoming famous, then rethink your motivation. Comedy is tough and it takes a long time to get recognized. All I can say is write as much as you can. Refine your writing as much as you can. And any amount of stage time you can get, go for it. PW: If you could joke about any subject, what would it be? JP: If I could only pick one subject? This is tough. Social satire will give anyone a career for the rest of their life. Religion always has a strong opinion on both ends. Always a fun and challenging subject to attack. But I think I'd have to pick my own brain. Stream of consciousness and improvisational comedy have shown me that sometimes the most creative things our mind can make up are revealed to us in times of stress. It's extremely rewarding to pull off a great clutch improv joke. Mostly because you don't know what you're about to say most of the time. It's almost like it's new to you and it's new to the crowd. So if I had to joke about something for the rest of my life, I'd turn inside instead of outside and just make fun of myself and my mental processes. If that answer isn't cheating, I don't know what is. HAHA. It was cheating, Justin. Totally cheating. To enjoy the comedic stylings of Justin Pruden and host of other hilarious talents, visit Glory Bound Gyro Company at 2325 University Blvd. in downtown Tuscaloosa every Wednesday night for Open Mic Night.


MAY 15 + MAY 29


PHOTOS: Judah Martin

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A young man once walked into The Comic Strip on Hargrove Road East, spotted the owner, and asked “do you guys sell comic books?” Greg Hulsey, 22, raised his hands emphatically over his head as he recounted the story. “Like, ‘no, none of this is for sale,’” he said mockingly, turning slightly so that the length of his outstretched arms panned along with his eyes across the rows of vintage comic books and collector’s items decorating the walls. David Odom, 43, was standing nearby and let out a short chuckle. As an avid collector who could tell you just about anything about the history of the Transformers comics, he more accurately represents the store’s clientele. “I found this place two or three years before he ever bought it,” Odom said, nodding to Hulsey. “This is where I’ve been getting most of my comics ever since.” As he spoke, he lifted his Chevrolet baseball cap to run a hand through his mussed, shoulder-legnth sandy hair before smoothing the cap back over it again. These days he spends a good deal of his time standing on the opposite side of the glass-enclosed counter


MAY 15 + MAY 29

from Hulsey, bantering with him, talking about Transformers, and occasionally trying to recall what year a particular character was introduced in a particular comic before finally giving up and agreeing that maybe Hulsey should just do a Google search on the Mac computer a few steps away. For the past year and a half, this has been a typical day for Hulsey. Although The Comic Strip is only officially open during the week from Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., it isn't uncommon for him to come in on a Sunday or stay in the front of the store talking to customers like Odom until 9 p.m. “My grandfather had a saying,” Hulsey said. “’Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’” The funny thing is that Hulsey was never interested in comic books when he was growing up. He was more of an anime kind of guy. One night when he was about five years old, his mother found him in front of the television far past his bedtime. “She asked me what I was watching and I told her I’m watching this show about a dude that’s a half demon,’” he recalled “She said ‘go to bed. In the morning I’ll buy you all the seasons I can find.’ That’s when my collection started to grow.” In many ways, his interest in anime anticipated his passion for comic books. One of his favorite anime shows was InuYasha, the story of a half demon, InuYasha, and 15 year old girl from Tokyo who is transported to the Sengoku period after falling in a well. The show was actually based on a Japanese comic book series.

Finally, when he was 18, Hulsey beone customer [who] only buys my Batman came fixated on a figurine he found of the toys. I've tried to get him to read comics. Joker. He was always a guy who rooted He said he used to and he flipped a coin for the villains. to see which one he wanted to continue “I literally surrounded myself with evand it landed on the toys side." erything Joker,” he said. Even now he was Aside from talking with customers, dressed in a black T-shirt with a Batman wrapping each individual comic book emblem faded enough to suggest that it's in cellophane and managing the store's one of his favorites paper work, Hulsey devotes most of his “I was like ‘you know what? Let’s start time to tracking down the rare vintage doing comics," Hulsey said. "So I started comic books the store specializes in, like collecting comic books and [merchanan edition of a spider man comic with dise]. If it had [the Joker's] face on it then the first appearance of the character Dr. I bought it." Octopus. A few years later, while he was study"I have to go through him like a broing business at ITT Tech, he found The ker," Odom said of Hulsey, explaining Comic Strip. He walked in one day to find that he doesn’t use the Internet. Both that the store’s owner was getting ready to men laughed at the analogy. "Most of close it down. Hulsey knew that the store, us do special orders for stuff that's hard originally located in Northport, had been to find." open since 1992 and was Tuscaloosa’s "It's the uncommon stuff like the oldest comic book store. It would sure be first appearance of Ghost Rider, Marvel a shame if it were gone. Spotlight Five," Hulsey "I pretty much just "I have a lot of "My grandfather had added. said to the owner 'well, customers that tell me how much for all of this a saying," "'Do what 'I can get it on Amazon stuff?'" Hulsey recalled. you love and you’ll but I want to support "I figured I was going to you, the local store. never work a day in school to start my own They don't want big your life.'" business and this just chains here. They'd landed in my lap and I rather have me be the was like 'I buy comics. I'm into some of smiling face behind the counter." the characters. Why not?' I've been doing "He's the broker of the deal," Odom good ever since." added. He didn't make very many changes to Again, Hulsey laughed at the comparithe store, except that now when a cusson before bragging that one customer tomer walks in they're usually met with an had once referred to him as a drug dealer. immediate greeting as well as the sound "That was when I talked a lady into of The Power Rangers or some other ani- buying more toys than she needed," he mated comic-based series coming from a laughed. flat screen TV mounted on the wall near "Hey, comics can be a drug just like the register. any other," Odom interjected. His store serves a variety of interests, Hulsey tilted his head back and from comic book lovers to bronies (male squeezed his eyes shut. My Little Pony fans) to Star Wars fans. "Oh, they can be a very addicting "There are some [customers] who drug,"Hulsey said, placing particular emdon't buy comics," Hulsey said. "I have phasis on the word "very."

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

>>> T U S C A LO O S A | K E N D A L L M A Y S


Frank Thagard (Co-producer/Co-Director/Editor) and Robin Rains (Co-producer/Co-Director)

Tuscaloosa has a proud and unique history that stretches back hundreds of years and links itself to many physical markers throughout the Druid City. Any one of these landmarks defines the city in some way. Each seems perfectly placed as a distinguished part of the Tuscaloosa landscape. But in the middle of great historical lineage, cultural icons, and dominating sports teams, Tuscaloosa has something more complicated and nuanced. It has character. Sometimes that character requires certain characters to bring it into focus. Every Saturday, at 3 a.m., Tuscaloosans can share a glimpse at some of those characters. Tuscaloosa Monorail started out as one of many film concepts co-director and producer Frank Thagard had kicked around. In keeping with his style, it was formless at first. “We knew that a lot of what we’d made before, and what we were interested in, was a little out there,” said Thagard, 25, whose mixed experiences with past productions made the success of Tuscaloosa Monorail matter all the more. “We wanted something that people could attach to and understand right away, while still being ourselves.” They’ve accomplished that in spades. Tuscaloosa Monorail is a late-night variety show with a format similar to American Bandstand but delivered in a surreal and comedic style. While the show principally focuses on featured guests from Tuscaloosa and Alabama, it has had visitors from beyond the Yellowhammer State. “We often start an interview and realize quickly how this show is gonna go,” said Zach Travis, host of Tuscaloosa Monorail. “Sometimes, you just get the feeling that things are going to be great, and other times not so much.” Travis, 26, comes off as an injection of pure comedy into the show. He combines elements from wildly different entertainment styles into his unique performance on Tuscaloosa Monorail. He skirts somewhere between the “Straightman” routine of David Letterman and the

absurdity of Zach Galifianakis. But the host is meticulous in preparation. “So often, Zach will be going over his questions days in advance,” said Robin Rains, executive producer of Tuscaloosa

Monorail. “It is not as improvised as people may think. But sometimes we go off a bit.” It does go off, quite a bit. Tuscaloosa Monorail’s name comes out of absurdity. “We thought about something funny that somehow describes Tuscaloosa. Eventually we started coming up with things that sounded ridiculous. The idea of a monorail in Tuscaloosa is itself ridiculous,” said Rains, 27. “We engage that comedy from the start.” Tuscaloosa Monorail’s segments, written and produced by the staff, most of whom are members of Marvin Video, Monorail’s production company, can be dark and somber or light-hearted and jovial at other times. “Each show is a collaborative effort,” said Rains. “We may have a basic plan going into a taping, but that get changed as we decide whether or not something is actually funny, too edgy, or strange.” Tuscaloosa Monorail didn’t become what it is overnight. The show launched in 2013 as a half-hour, subscriptionbased program available only to Comcast customers. Struggles with lighting, sound, gave the first season a different feel, entirely. “We were using standard definition cameras, without quality sound capturing. Everything had a graininess to it,

which is fine in some situations, but not others,” said Thagard. “The cameras came from a church who didn’t have much use for them.” In fact, Rains and Thagard used the resulting quality as part of the overall presentation of Tuscaloosa Monorail. The first season is grittier and has a darker feel throughout. These humble beginnings have shaped the current form of the show. “We transitioned to high definition cameras for the second season and Eat My Beats does our sound now, but we still use those old cameras for effect, occasionally,” said Thagard. The second season saw Tuscaloosa Monorail change carriers and format, as well. Becoming a 60-minute show airing on CBS-42. The format allows for more depth with guests and more insight into the producers. “We can afford to do a bit more this time around,” said Travis. “The time extension gives the guests more time to perform their material and us more time to produce content.” The show maintains a quality of informality throughout while still providing insight into the guests appearing on the show. Interviews are interspersed between musical performances and often are not restricted to the guests and Travis. The film crew can be heard throughout each episode with varying degrees of involvement in the interview itself. “There aren’t many people doing something like this,” said Rains. “It’s all about Tuscaloosa but with an dedication to artful expression.” In a recent episode, Tuscaloosa Monorail filmed at the soon-to-be-closed McFarland Mall. The episode featured a faux-news report delivered detrimental to McFarland Mall’s closing. Frank Thagard, depicted a technology developer and disgruntled Tuscaloosan. “I’m just a guy who loves the mall,”

said Thagard in the segment. “It’s just a shame really, because it was such a big building and it was all air conditioned.” The skit, which is truly a joke about nostalgia, culminates with Thagard displaying a virtual reality program used to give tours of the building through which a user, portrayed by Tuscaloosa Monorail cameraman and contributor Walter Nolan-Schmidt, could relive the heyday of McFarland Mall. Despite being a trail-blazing program in the area, Tuscaloosa Monorail may be hamstrung by its broadcast time. The producers eventually want more from the show in terms of value and staying power. “It’s our baby and we would love to see the show become super successful and popular, but we’re focusing on making what we have better, right now,” said Rains. “We would like to see Monorail be an influence on other people who want to break into film or creative production.” As of now, Tuscaloosa Monorail is the only publicly broadcast, locally produced comedy or entertainment program in the Birmingham region and one of few in the state. “A lot of it depends on advertising, which can be hard to come by,” said Thagard. “But we want to show that this sort of thing can be done if you’re passionate about it.” Prospective guests and sponsors are encouraged to contact the producers of Tuscaloosa Monorail at 344-2726 or at

“It’s our baby and we would love to see the show become super successful and popular, but we’re focusing on making what we have better, right now,”

Blaine Duncan & the Lookers

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

MAY 15 + MAY 29


>>> wine REVIEW | J O N R O G E R S

J LOHR WILDFLOWER VALDIGUIE 2012 I hadn’t heard about this wine or varietal until my old high school chum Dave told me about it. He had a lot to say about it so I invited him to help out with this review and he did a great job! According to J Lohr Estates, the Wildflower Monterey Valdiguie is sourced 100% from Valdiguie fruit. They say that the Valdiguie is a very largeberried grape that needs extra care when pruning. They prune it down to only one bud per spur and thin the shoots aggressively in order to prevent the yields from becoming too high. They also say that Valdiguie is a latematuring variety. They have a great write-up on the process on their website. On the back of the bottle they say the J Lohr Wildflower Monterey Valdiguie is “similar to the Gamay wines of France’s Beaujolais region.” Alcohol content of J Lohr Wildflower is 12.5% by volume and it’s a twist top. Best served slightly chilled, per J Lohr. J Lohr WildflowerIn appearance, this wine is purple in color and a bit dark. A little light shines through it, though. I noticed when poured, this wine exhibits some bubbles in the glass. Not nearly as much as a Lambrusco would, but noteworthy nonetheless. No carbonation, however. It’s a leggy wine, with many quick moving tears falling down the sides of the glass. Aroma of J Lohr Wildflower was noticeable right away and from afar. Not overly sweet on the nose. Dave and I both agreed it would be described as cherry or black cherry. Very pleasant. Upon tasting the wine, we both expressed how much we felt this was a very enjoyable wine. However, we were unable to nail down the flavor. After some laborious wine drinking :-) we decided to cheat and look at the bottle. Which I hate to do during a tasting! Pomegranate and berry was the answer. I’m not so sure Dave was convinced that’s what he was tasting, but I was swayed. Most importantly, we both loved the taste and had a couple quotes… From Dave: “Perfect for someone transitioning from a white wine drinker to a red wine drinker.” He also described the flavor as “clean.” From myself: “It tastes like what you would imagine wildflowers would taste like.” I know… corny. But, hey, that’s what came to mind. Tannins of the J Lohr Wildflower Valdiguie were soft and “comfortable” (so sayeth Dave) and noted on the tongue. No bitterness at all. We agreed the wine had a silky mouth-


MAY 15 + MAY 29


W here to E at in T uscaloosa


p.m. - 6:30 p.m. featuring 1/2 price appetizers. $2 Domestic Draft Beers and $3 Well cocktails.

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.

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

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 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. 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

feel. Finish was medium to long. Overall, a great wine. A super sipper that’s light in body and very enjoyable. Some more quotes of the evening were “delicious” and “a best kept secret from the quality to the ridiculously good price (about $10).” Also, Dave had some previous experience pairing this wine with different foods. He said that “it plays nice in the sandbox with food, going well with ham, pizza, steak, breaded chicken, turkey, chocolate… you name it.” I’m so glad my friend told me about this wine. Highly recommend and so pleased with the low price! Please visit my blog at

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 Los Tarascos (2 locations) 1759 Skyland Blvd // 553.8896 3380 McFarland Blvd | Northport // 330.0919 Margarita's Grill 1241 McFarland Blvd E // 343.0300 Moe’s Southwest Grill (2 locations) 2330 McFarland Blvd E // 342.1487 1130 University Blvd // 752.0234 Pepito’s (2 locations) 1203 University Blvd | The Strip // 391.9028 1301 McFarland Blvd NE // 391.4861 Taco Mama 2104 A University Blvd, Tuscaloosa 409-8173

FINE DINING 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


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 Mellow Mushroom 2230 University Blvd // 758.0112 Pizzas, calzones, hoagies and more. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Mr. G’s 908 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 339-8505 Olive Garden 2100 McFarland Blvd E // 750-0321 Open daily from 11 a.m.

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 The Blue Plate Restaurant (Was Northport Diner) 450 McFarland Blvd, Northport // 462-3626 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.


W here to E at in T uscaloosa ( cont . )

Chicken Salad Chick The Shoppes at Midtown & Essex Square, Northport | Said to 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.

through Saturday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. till 9 p.m. (Sunday Brunch 10:30am-3pm). Buffalo Wild Wings 2710 McFarland Blvd. East | Tuscaloosa // 523.0273 Sports grille with TVs galore. Diverse beer and wine selection, full bar 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.

Tacogi 500 Greensboro Ave | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 342.3647

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

Logan's Roadhouse 1511 Skyland Blvd E // 349.3554

Wilhagan’s 2209 4th St | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 366.0913

Madear’s 1735 Culver Road // 343.7773 Mon–Fri 6 a.m. - 5 p.m. | 2nd & 3rd Sunday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 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. The Southern Dining Room Grill (Behind Ryan's) 4251 Courtney Dr, Tuscaloosa 331-4043 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 Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thursday

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! WingZone 1241 McFarland Blvd E | Tuscaloosa // 342.2473

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

>>> beer review | B R E T T R E I D

CIGAR CITY'S MADURO BROWN // DELIGHTFUL I recently got the Maduro Brown Ale in a pick six from Spirits, a package store in Northport, and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t get a grasp of the greatness that Cigar City had just given me. So this past weekend, I ventured to Hop City, a local craft beer and wine store in Birmingham (with a location in Atlanta, too), in search of the Maduro. I found it, brought home, and chilled it for two days before cracking the first one open. I am so glad that I bought a full six-pack of this, because this beer was world class. First off, I just want to talk about how good this beer smells. If you don’t swirl and sniff after you pour a beer, you’re missing one of the best parts. Second, if you’re drinking at home and you’re not pouring into a glass, I don’t want to know what other atrocities you commit in your ridiculous life. Nonetheless, as soon as it’s poured, you can begin to smell hints of espresso and caramel, waft a little more and you begin to pick up toffee and roasted nuts. It smelled so good, I didn’t want to drink it because it would be gone and I couldn’t smell it anymore. Luckily, Cigar City’s website sells Maduro soap, so you can smell like your favorite CG beer all the time. You take in the scents, you process the goodness, and then you drink. This brown ale has easily moved into first place in my rankings of the style because of the layers of flavor and the ability to easily pick them up. Even someone with a simple palette and no knowledge of beer could easily describe what they taste after picking their tongue up off the floor. When you take your first sip, you immediately pick up notes of toffee and espresso that ravage your mouth, but wait, the show’s not over. Midway through, you begin to pick up the notes of caramel and chocolate that really balances out the flavor and settle well on the tongue. The Maduro finishes with another kick of coffee on the backend that has a dry finish to cleanse the palate and allows you to prepare yourself for another go around of Hallelujah sang by a chorus of angels. Coming in at 5.5% ABV and 25 IBU, this delectably smooth English brown ale is one of the easiest drinking browns I’ve ever had. The mouthfeel is superb compared to other beers in the style.

With perfectly dialed carbonation and a medium body, the Maduro really sets the bar for what all brown ales should strive for. This is definitely one of very few that could be considered a session beer (you could drink a few and not feel like garbage.) Now, you’re probably thinking “wow, he really convinced me to pick up one of these to go with dinner, but what should I pair it with?” Hey friend, don’t worry; your old buddy Brett is here to help you out. Most browns pair nicely with beef, or if you’re one of us who thinks beer can go great with dessert, a chocolate dessert. Also, if you’re a smoker, Cigar City suggest pairing this guy with a dark [robusto] cigar (go figure.) Overall, this beer is fantastic and I can’t wait to drink more of it. The qualities of this beer are what make it rank so high and rightfully so, because it’s done perfectly. I don’t want to say it’s the end all be all of brown ales, but it’s pretty close. Cigar City is becoming more readily available in our area, so send your prayers up and hope that more stores will offer this beer, because if you like brown ales, you’ll love this.


MAY 15 + MAY 29




Southern A le House continues the Tuscaloosa restaurant trend of southernstyle food with a variety of local brews on tap. This “uniquely Southern pub,” described by owner Justin Holt, offers gastropub favorites with a southernstyle spin. Attempting to live up to a true alehouse, this restaurant serves 15 local and standard beers on tap. All beer poured comes from local breweries in

Tuscaloosa and all across the Southern states. Holt says he has a goal of “keeping it southern.” A pleasant hostess greeted me and my husband at the door. The atmosphere was suitable for casual, family dining. Southern inspired mason jar light fixtures hang along with unique wine bottle chandlers. A large bar area demands center stage, providing ample seating for happy hour cocktails while catching a game. The restaurant extends onto a quant patio offering a relaxing setting to wine and dine with friends and family. We were immediately sat in a spacious, private booth. Paper menus were placed on the table while the server explained the evening’s specials. Involuntarily, my hand reached for the drink menu. Embracing my inner girly girl, I chose the Blue Chair Beachcomber. This refreshing sweet drink is made with Blue Chair bay rum, vodka, and a few splashes of this-and-that. It tasted like summertime, yielding an intoxicating fruity taste. The main menu was impressive and quite creative. Options

include pub favorites infused with southern staples like pimento cheese. The layout is simple, making it easy to navigate. Eyes browsed over the appetizers, entrées, burgers, and salads, but then stopped at a heading named “biscuits.” A truly southern inspired section devoted to homemade biscuits ranging from fried chicken, brisket, to pork biscuits. The evenings' appetizer was pimento cheese bacon stuffed potato skins. Presentation was nice. The plate displayed a green bed of arugula with 6 small potato skins. Each was filled with melting pimento cheese and topped with bacon, an appetizing start to the meal. The pickle burger and shrimp po-boy hit the table within ten minutes of ordering. Both entrees came with the house specialty slap-yo-momma sauce. This creole inspired sauce complemented each bite. This shrimp po-boy was dressed with French bread, crispy fried shrimp, arugula, and tomatoes. One of the best seafood plates I have had in town. Five stars go to the pickle burger. Hands down, best burger this side of the river. This juicy burger patty is made with a blend of ground brisket, sirloin, and chuck. In addition to the specialty blend, this burger comes topped with bacon, arugula, melted cheese, and fried pickle spears. My husband knew it would be a good burger when the server asked how he would like it cooked. Medium rare, of course, leaving a bit of a pinky center. It literally tasted as if it came off the grill at a backyard cookout. Each juicy bite melted in my mouth. The toppings and sauce just complemented the burger, letting the beef be the star of the show. This burger will be soon be a fan favorite. Who do you think has the best burger in town? Tweet us @ThePlanetWeekly and let us know. Located at 1530 McFarland Blvd. North. Southern Ale House occupies the space where Desperados Steakhouse once operated. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cindy Huggins is a registered dietitian nutritionist and local “foodie”! Follow her on twitter @DietitianCindy.


W here t o E a t i n T u s c a l o o s a ( c o n t . )

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 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.

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

Trey Yuen 4200 McFarland Blvd E // 752.0088

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.

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

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

MAY 15 + MAY 29

DELICATESSEN Honeybaked Ham Company 421 15th St. E // 345.5508

Swen Chinese Restaurant 1130 University Blvd | The Strip // 391.9887

Mellow Mushroom 2230 University Blvd | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 758.0112


1306 University Blvd | The Strip // 759.1004

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

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


Acclaimed French filmmaker Luc Besson has a knack for recycling material. Nevertheless, he knows how to write riveting action thrillers. “La Femme Nikita,” “The Transporter” trilogy, “Kiss of the Dragon,” “Taken,” “Taken 2,” “Lockout,” ‘The Family,” “Leon: The Professional,” and “Colombian” illustrate his expertise. Besson’s heroes and heroines are stalwart souls who refuse to be intimidated by either formidable foes or odds. Revenge usually lies at the heart of the matter, and the cruel, heartless villains get their just comeuppance by fade-out. Back in 2004, Besson wrote a gripping little actioneer about French ghettos entitled “District B13.” Essentially, “District B13” combined elements of the futuristic Kurt Russell sci-fi saga “Escape from New York” with “48 HRS.” A convict who had murdered a corrupt cop in a fit of rage teams up with an indestructible undercover detective to infiltrate a crime ridden neighborhood. They must retrieve a deadly bomb that has fallen into the hands of desperate drug-dealing criminals who live like warlords. The possibilities for conflict are predictably rampant. “District B13” served not only as the film title, but it also is the setting for all the anarchy. Since law & order never prevailed in the District, Parisian authorities have sealed it off with impressive containment walls that enclose it like a fortress. They are also evacuating their police forces to leave those lawless citizens to their own designs. Meanwhile, “District B13” gave audiences their first glimpse of stunt man David Belle. Officially, Belle originated Parkour. Parkour is a form of handto-hand combat where the combatant exploits his surroundings for maximum advantage. Meaning, our hero searches first to find ways out of a predicament and then fights only when individuals block his escape route. Belle qualifies as a competent enough actor, but his gift for adapting himself to his surroundings so he can elude the villains is extraordinary. Belle performs his outlandish feats with the grace and agility of a youthful Jackie

Chan. The character that he portrays is not a professional lawman, criminal, or mercenary. He is just a law-biding citizen seeking justice for others. Later, in 2009, Belle reprised his role in the dynamic sequel “District 13: Ultimatum.” He makes his English-language film debut in editorturned-director Camille Delamarre’s “Brick Mansions”, with the late Paul Walker as his co-star. Since Belle speaks with a heavy French accent, Vin Diesel dubbed him for American audiences. You’ll have to strain your ears to detect traces of that signature growl that has made Diesel famous. Unfortunately, this lukewarm action thriller is neither half as good as either of the “District B13” nail-biters. Belle upstages Walker in all their combat sequences, and the two actors display little camaraderie. Perhaps the language barrier prevented them from bonding. Presumably, “Brick Mansions” constituted little more than a paycheck movie for Walker between his “Fast and Furious” epics. What is worst is that Besson has rewritten crucial parts of his original “District B13” screenplay for this flawed remake. Essentially, it boils down to a case of fixing something that didn’t require fixing. Indeed, Besson has taken the edge off the action in many instances and packed in the clichés that he didn’t stick in either of the “District” movies. Basically, freshman director Camille Delamarre and Besson have transplanted the action to Detroit in the year 2018 and their dystopian storyline isn’t a far cry from the urban renewal machinations in the “RoboCop” franchise. The “RoboCop” thrillers occur in Detroit, too. Skyrocketing crime plagues the Motor City, and the Mayor (Bruce Ramsay of “Collateral Damage’) has constructed an impregnable wall around the troubled sector where the police wage a holding action until they can extract themselves. In a sense, “Brick Mansions” resembles “The Purge.” You can do anything you want within this labyrinth of housing projects designated Brick Mansions. Sure, the storyline shares similarities with the latest incarna-

tion of “Dredd,” except skyscrapers run by warlords don’t loom in this woebegone ghetto. African-Americans traffic in drugs like heroin and cocaine, and Tremaine Alexander (Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, a.k.a. RZA of “American Gangster”) is the alpha male of Brick Mansions. The first time we see our hero, Lino (David Belle of “Femme Fatale”); he is destroying a fortune in heroin. Alexander’s gun-toting henchmen swarm into Lino’s apartment complex, but he manages to escape them because he knows every nook and cranny in the place. Later, Alexander’s second-in-command K-2 (Grouchy Boy) comes up with a plan to lure Lino out. They take his ex-girlfriend, Lola (Catalina Denis), as a hostage. Miraculously, Lino breaks into Alexander’s stronghold and rescues Lola. He and she hold Alexander at gunpoint so his ruffians won’t kill them. At the police station, a corrupt cop turns Alexander loose and jails Lino. In “District B13,” the hostage was our hero’s sister. The sister made better sense in the first film than the ex-girlfriend. While this is going down in the Brick Mansions, undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker) has an agenda of his own. His father, who was a decorated cop, died under suspicious circumstances when he plunged into the Brick Mansions. Since then Collier has put Alexander on his

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short list of suspects who need to pay. The Mayor has been planning to renovate the Brick Mansions when the gangsters steal a deadly bomb. Collier accepts the assignment to retrieve the bomb. He wants more time to acquire intelligence about the Brick Mansions. The Mayor refuses to give him more time. Instead, he pairs him up with Lino. Naturally, the two men don’t trust each other. Worse, the criminals have tampered with the bomb and activated its countdown. Our heroes have less than 24 hours to disarm it. “Brick Mansions” packs enough surprises to make it palatable, but this is pales by comparison with Walker’s “Fast and Furious” franchise, and the shoot’em ups and close-quarters combat are considerably less gritty. “District B13” carried an R-rating, while “Brick Mansions” earned an PG-13 rating. Only hardcore Paul Walker fans will appreciate his second-to-last movie.

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




Readers of all ages will explore all things science this summer as the Tuscaloosa Public Library presents “Fizz, Boom, Read!” during their summer reading program. Activities will include science experiments, animals, juggling fun, safety programs, bubbles, magical balloons and more. The 2014 Summer Reading Program is open to all ages in the Tuscaloosa community, preschool children to senior citizens, with programs, prizes, storytimes, reading clubs, and more. Families are invited to join the fun together. Registration for “Fizz, Boom, Read!” begins on Saturday, May 17, 2014. The “Fizz, Boom, Read!” programs start on Monday, June 2, 2014. For more information, call the main library at 205-345-5820, visit the TPL website at, or visit a library location. All programs are free of charge. Find us online at


MAY 15 + MAY 29



MAY 15 + MAY 29




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


Through Their Eyes: Tuscaloosa City Students on Race, 60 Years After Brown WHEN: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: The University of Alabama Gallery at the CAC PHONE: 758.5195 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Held in the 1,500 square foot UA Gallery, “Through Their Eyes” showcases student photos on race in Tuscaloosa Schools. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the first Friday of every month from noon to 8 p.m. Exhibit concludes May 21. PARA Breakfast and Bingo WHEN: 8 a.m. COST: $4 WHERE: PARA, McAbee Center PHONE: 532.3235 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Enjoy and fun and delicious breakfast at the Tuscaloosa Country Park and Recreation Authority’s McAbee Center. After breakfast, patrons are invited to stay for a free bingo event specially designed for seniors. 21 Teen Zone: GeoTech Lab (Open Lab) WHEN: 3 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Tuscaloosa Public Library, Main Branch PHONE: 752.8300 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Teens and young adults can take advantage of technology like the “Makey-Makey,” a system that turns anything that conducts electricity, rather it’s aluminum foil or a banana peel, into an input device for a computer. Kids can design video games and video game controllers as a part of a month-long part Science Technology, Engineering and Math program.


Fun Friday Night at Children’s HandsOn Museum WHEN: 5 p.m. COST: Under 1 year: Free; Under 3 years: $6; 3-59 years: $9; 60 years and above: $7 WHERE: Children’s Hands-On Museum PHONE: 349.4235 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Children seven years and older can launch their imagination by sitting in a spaceship, building “sandcastles” from Mars and learning more about the solar system as well as NASA’s history and programs. Fundraising Telethon for the Salvation Army's Center of Hope Homeless Shelter WHEN: 9 a.m. COST: Donations Requested WHERE: Salvation Army PHONE: 553.1600 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Hosted by the Tuscaloosa Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, the celebration and fundraising


MAY 15 + MAY 29

telethon will benefit the Center of Hope homeless shelter. The event is part of a 4-day celebration for National Salvation Army Anniversary Week and will include “a Live Telethon and 4 days of interesting activities for everyone.”

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

WESTON AND CROW // WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE? // PLEASE ADOPT US Weston is an adorable eight-month-old male Pug/ Terrier mix with the face and ears of a pug and the slightly larger size of a terrier with him weighing about 15 pounds. He will likely get up to about 20 pounds in full adulthood. Weston is so friendly and loving. He is a puppy and will need some training and guidance to help him develop into a well-mannered adult dog. He should be fine around older children and does well around other dogs. He has started his crate training, is up to date on his vet care, neutered, heartworm negative, micro chipped and on heartworm and flea/ tick prevention. If you are interested in giving Weston the forever home he wants and deserves, visit the West Alabama Humane Society at or call us at or call us at 554.0011.

PARA Open House WHEN: 6 a.m. COST: Free WHERE: Belks Center and Phelps Center PHONE: 205.562.3220 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Enjoy a day of free access to brand new exercise equipment, including a walking track and gym from the Tuscaloosa Country Park and Recreation Authority.


PARA Open House WHEN: 6 a.m. COST: Free WHERE: Belks Center and Phelps Center PHONE: 562.3220 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Enjoy a day of free access to brand new exercise equipment, including a walking track and gym from the Tuscaloosa Country Park and Recreation Authority. Spring Ramble to Columbus, MS WHEN: 8 a.m. COST: $50 WHERE: Battle-Friedman House PHONE: 758.2238 LINK: DESCRIPTION: The Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society will depart from the Friedman House at 8 a.m. and drive to Columbus, Miss, where they will visit four historic houses: Riverview, Snowden, Waverly and the Old Fort-ThermelainDePriest House. They will have lunch at the Wavery Gold Club. BBQ & Blues WHEN: 6 p.m. COST: $40 each or $70 per couple WHERE: The Historic L&N Station PHONE: 759.7349 LINK: DESCRIPTION: The DCH Foundation will sponsor the 17th annual BBQ & Blues festival to benefit the DCH Help & Hope Patient Assistance Fund. The event will feature a silent auction, blues music by Tommie “T-Bone” Pruitt and barbecue from McAbee Pigfitter’s. Individual tickets and corporate sponsorships are available. Indoor Community Garage Sale WHEN: 7a.m COST: Free WHERE: PARA, Miller Center PHONE: 758.0419 LINK: DESCRIPTION: An indoor community event in the Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Authority’s Miller Center where shoppers can come for great bargain hunting. The event is described as an indoor flea market.

Meet Crow, a solid black adult male with gorgeous luminous green eyes. Crow is sleek and handsome with a somewhat regal air about him. He is long and solid and on the larger side for a cat, though not overweight by any means. Crow is very friendly and loves to snuggle and burrow under blankets. He is calm, gentle and mild-mannered and would do well in a quiet home that matches his personality. He is much better suited for older children who can handle him gently. He has never been around dogs but would likely be fine with a small and gentle dog under 12 lbs. Crow is negative for FIV and FeLK, current on vaccinations, and neutered. If you are interested in giving Crow the forever home he wants and deserves, visit the West Alabama Humane Society at or call us at 554-0011.

Benefits of Volunteering

Make a difference in the lives of homeless pets and work towards a community that is more humane for animals. Develop new skills while exploring the field of animal welfare. Meet new people with similar interests. Acquire experience for future endeavors. Enjoy a wagging tail or a soft purr. Get the satisfaction of knowing you have helped an animal in need.

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

>>> E V E N T | K E V I N L E D G E W O O D


Amy McCarley and Chambless & Muse will be the featured performers during Acoustic Night on May 22 at 7:30 p.m. Presented by The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, the project features both solo and ensemble performances of a wide range of acoustic music throughout the calendar year in the intimate setting of the Bama Theatre’s Greensboro Room. Cover charge is $5 with a full service bar available. Amy McCarley Growing up in rural Alabama, Amy McCarley’s interest in music and emotive storytelling blossomed in grade school when she formed her first rock band with classmates and spent hours rehearsing in the attic of her grandparents’ barn. McCarley says “Music is just something that’s always been on my mind. Ever since I can remember I’ve admired the ability to conduct emotion; to convey meaning in that way.” After four short years in Houston, Texas, she returned to Alabama. Performing locally with the occasional regional outburst for over a decade, she went on hiatus to dedicate herself more fully to writing, recording, mixing and playing all the instruments on the tracks she put down in her home. Working towards the completion of her second record, McCarley has teamed with Grammy award-winning guitarist, producer Kenny Vaughan, and some of Nashville’s most revered talent. A mid-2014 release date is anticipated. Chambless and Muse Originally from Montgomery, Jil Chambless now resides in Tuscaloosa and has played an active role in the Celtic music scene for more than 20 years. As singer and

flute and whistle player, she has completed many recording projects and performed at Celtic festivals and concerts across the United States as well as in Canada, Scotland and Israel with the band Henri’s Notions, guitarist Scooter Muse, Scottish singer Ed Miller, Scottish fiddler John Taylor, the band Vulcan Eejits!, the Vogt Family Contra Band and others. She brings to any audience a wonderful listening experience from haunting ballads and upbeat songs to toetapping tunes with a smooth delivery that never fails to bring both smiles and tears to every performance. Scooter Muse, already an accomplished guitarist, purchased his first banjo in 1972 and almost 40 years later has been fortunate to win countless banjo competitions throughout the southeast including the Tennessee Valley Championships eight times. He has performed with bluegrass legends Claire Lynch, Vassar Clements and a host of others as well as handling first call banjo duties for the world famous Muscle Shoals, Ala. recording industry. While at the Briarfield Bluegrass Festival in Alabama in the early 1980s, he experienced the progressive Celtic sounds of the band Touchstone, launching him into the world of Celtic music on banjo and the world of open tunings on the guitar. In the 1990s he founded the Full Moon Ensemble that toured the U.S., Canada and Scotland and also recorded five critically acclaimed CDs. After a successful 8 year run, the FME went their separate ways and Muse was drafted as the guitar player for the longest running Celtic band in the south, Henri’s Notions, based in Tuscaloosa, Ala. In 2005 he recorded his first solo guitar CD, “Saddell Abbey,” with all original material and music set to the poetry of Robert Burns. Chambless and Muse recently released their new CD, “The Laverock Sang,” featuring 12 tracks of Scottish and Irish songs.



BARK in the Park WHEN: 9 a.m. COST: Free WHERE: Monny Sokal Park Phone: 345.7323 LINK: DESCRIPTION: The Tuscaloosa Association of REALTORS will host their first annual BARK in the Park event. Dog owners can enter their pets for free. Events include bathing and grooming, a beauty contest, a Frisbee event, a contest for Tuscaloosa Pet Calendar and more.



WII for All WHEN: 3:30 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Tuscaloosa Public Library, Brown Branch PHONE: 391.9989 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Young children as well as teenagers are invited to spend the afternoon playing Wii video games in the Children’s Books section of the Brown Branch of the Tuscaloosa Public Library.

West Alabama Mountain Biking Association Weekly Beginner’s Ride WHEN: 5:45 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Monny Sokal Park PHONE: 562.3220 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Interested in mountain biking but don't know where to ride in Tuscaloosa? Come out to Sokal Park and join the beginners' group that ride out weekly on Monday evenings.


Tail Tellers WHEN: 6:30 p.m. COST: Free WHERE Tuscaloosa Public Library, Brown Branch PHONE: 391.9989 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Parents are invited to bring their children to practice reading to therapy dogs.


Acoustic Night with Amy McCarley and Chambless & Muse WHEN: 7:30 p.m. COST: $5 Cover Charge WHERE: Bama Theatre, Greensboro Room PHONE: 758.5195 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Presented by The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, the event will feature both ensemble and solo performances demonstrating a wide range of acoustic music. The cover charge includes access to a full service bar. Local Performers Amy McCarley and Chambless & Muse will be the lead acts for the event.


Freedom Creek Festival WHEN: 11:00 a.m. COST: Suggested donation of $10 WHERE: Cookieman’s Place at 1438 Wilder Circle, Aliceville, Ala. PHONE: 366.1307 LINK: DESCRIPTION: In honor of the late Willie King, an award-winning guitarist from Mississippi, the 17th annual Freedom Creek Festival features traditional blues from local and regional artists, including Mudcat, DieDra Hurdle and the Ruff Pro Band, "Birmingham" George Conner, Debbie Bond, SharBaby, BJ Miller and many more. Patrons are advised to bring their own refreshments, sunscreen and perhaps a lawn chair.

Tuscaloosa Public Library Monthly Book Discussion WHEN: 10 a.m. COST: Free WHERE: TPL Main Library, Brown Room PHONE: 752.8300 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Read Ted Kerasote’s Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog. Discussions will be held at the main branch of the Tuscaloosa Public Library.

TUESDAY, MAY 27, Wednesday, May 28 Sculpting with Lee Busby WHEN: 10 a.m. COST: $115 members, $125 non-members WHERE: Kentuck Art Center PHONE: 758.1257 LINK: DESCRIPTION: “This course is a twoday introductory sculpting course that will cover the basics of sculpting the human head, face and neck. Day one will focus on setting up an armature, and laying out the key masses, volume and proportions of a human head. Day two will move into the addition of detailing the bone structure, facial features, hair and texture. This is sure to be a fun and memorable experience.”


Teen Zone: GeoTech Lab (Open Lab) WHEN: 3 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Tuscaloosa Public Library, Main Branch PHONE: 752.8300 LINK: DESCRIPTION: Teens and young adults can take advantage of technology like the “Makey-Makey,” a system that turns anything that conducts electricity, rather it’s aluminum foil or a banana peel, into an input device for a computer. Kids can design video games and video game controllers as a part of a month-long part Science Technology, Engineering and Math program.

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

MAY 15 + MAY 29





BIRMINGHAM Zoso, WorkPlay Theatre Charlie Muncaster, Zydeco

HUNTSVILLE Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band, Coppertop ATLANTA Tegan and Sara, The Buckhead Theater NEW ORLEANS Aesthetic Perfection, Howlin’ Wolf NASHVILLE Aziz Ansari, Andrew Jackson Hall The 1975, Marathon Music Works


BIRMINGHAM All the Locals, Zydeco

HUNTSVILLE Lefty Williams Band, Humphrey’s Christa Burch, UAH Rollin’ in the Hay, Goose Pond Colony MONTGOMERY Lil Boosie, The Mansion GlowRage, Blue Iguana NASHVILLE Portugal. The Man, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom SIMO and the Esat Side Gamblers, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom ATLANTA Jason Aldean, Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood Wolfmother, Variety Playhouse NEW ORLEANS Fire Bug, One Eyed Jacks The Tanglers, Gasa Gasa

saturday, MAY 17

BIRMINGHAM Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss, BJCC Peter Bradley Adams, WorkPlay Theatre Reverse Order, The Nick ATLANTA Gladys Knight, The Gathering Place Valerie June, Variety Playhouse

KENNY CHESNEY // NEW ORLEANS //MAY 17 HUNTSVILLE Sweet Root, Diamond’s Sports Bar J. Curly Speegle, Humphrey’s NEW ORLEANS Kenny Chesney, House of Blues Ozomatli, Tipitina’s


NASHVILLE Sister Hazel, Wildhorse Saloon BIRMINGHAM Blackalicious, Zydeco

NASHVILLE Chelsea Handler, TPAC Andrew Jackson Hall Dennis Miller, Ryman Auditorium


BIRMINGHAM George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Iron City Truckfighters with Stoned Cobra, WorkPlay Theatre Mike Speenberg, Comedy Club Stardome NASHVILLE Rodney Carrington, TPAC Andrew Jackson Hall The Lonely Island with Vince Vaughn


MONTGOMERY Sonia Leigh, Adam Hood, and Chad Wilson, The Sanctuary


BIRMINGHAM Dave Matthews Band, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre Kid Ink, Iron City Adam Hood, Zydeco ATLANTA Ben Folds, Symphony Hall Atlanta Neon Trees, Tabernacle Eddie Izzard, Fabulous Fox Theater Buckcherry, Wild Bill’s NEW ORLEANS Emily Kopp with Bantam Foxes, Gasa Gasa

NEW ORLEANS Magnetic Ear, Gasa Gasa

NASHVILLE Heart of Metal, Exit In


ATLANTA Ingrid Michaelson, Center Stage


BIRMINGHAM Killswitch Engage, Iron City 10 Years, Iron Horse Café NASHVILLE Wye Oak, High Watt


HUNTSVILLE Theory of a Deadman, Sammy T’s Music Hall BIRMINGHAM Pop Evil and Escape the Fate, Iron City ATLANTA Primal Fear, The Masquerade



BIRMINGHAM Journey and Steve Miller Band, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre ATLANTA Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band, Chastain Park Amphitheatre

MONTGOMERY Scattered, Playoffs Pub

NASHVILLE The Black Keys, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom R5, Rocketown

BIRMINGHAM K Theory, Zydeco

NEW ORLEANS Sasha Masakowski, Gasa Gasa


ALICEVILLE 17th Annual Freedom Creek Festival, Cookieman's Place

HUNTSVILLE Blackbird, The Station Bar and Grill ATLANTA Dave Matthews Band, Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood Styx and Foreigner, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park Jazzy Jeff, Center Stage NEW ORLEANS Stephen Marley, House of Blues Red Fang, House of Blues

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

MAY 15 + MAY 29


ATLANTA Logic, Center Stage

>>> 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.



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


NEW ORLEANS Black Label Society, House of Blues


NASHVILLE Morrissey, Ryman Auditorium

ATLANTA Lucinda Williams, Variety Playhouse


ATLANTA Romeo Santos, The Arena at Gwinnett Center MONTGOMERY The Ben Sutton Band, Maestro 2300





MojoTrio / Crawfish boil, Rhythm & Brews Michael Battito, Innisfree Ridin' Dirty, Big Al's Mack Brown, Mike's Place Knympho Knife, Green Bar




// MAY 22-23

// MAY 29


Admiral Snack Bar/Form Constant, Green Bar Who Shot Lizzy, Mike's Place Solo Cupp, Innisfree


Plato Jones, Innisfree

Wyatt Edmondson, Green Bar Buck Wild, Mike's Place Matt Bennett Trio, Rounders CaseyThrasher, Rhythm & Brews


Nic Snow Duo, Rounders Hampton Gray Duo, Innisfree Eclectic Tuba w/ T – Prince, Green Bar



Ham Bagby Open Mic Night, Green Bar DJ ProtoJ, Rhythm & Brews


Snazz, Rhythm & Brews Tequila Mockinbird, Innisfree Big Joe Shelton, Big Al's Rob Wright, Rounders

Plato Jones, Innisfree


DJ ProtoJ, Rhythm & Brews Ham Bagby Open Mic Night, Green Bar


The Wheelers, Innisfree Hazy Ray, Green Bar Midlife Crisis, Big Al's Glen Templeton, Rhythm & Brews



GlenTempleton, Rhythm & Brews Charlie Beurgin, Big Al's the Jazz Seekers, Green Bar

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

Buffalo Wild Wings // 523-0273

Gallettes // 758-2010

Jackie's Lounge // 758-9179

Rhythm & Brews // 750-2992

1831 // 331-4632

Capones // 248-0255

Gnemis Top Shelf Tavern // 343-0020

The Jupiter // 248-6611

Rounders // 345-4848

Alcove // 469-9110

Carpe Vino // 366-8444

Grey Lady // 469-9521

The Legacy // 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


MAY 15 + MAY 29


>>> S P O R T S N O T E S | S T E P H E N S M I T H


The lights are off and Radio City Music Hall is empty, but this year’s draft was one of the best and deepest drafts in its history. Before the draft, Nick Saban and the Tide had 36 players (14 first round picks) in the National Football League. Upon its ending, Alabama’s trend continued as the Tide now has 50 players in the NFL. Eight Crimson Tide players were drafted and six players signed on to teams as undrafted free agents. Alabama’s Drafted Players ● CJ Mosley (LB) ● Round: First ● Pick: 17 ● Team: Baltimore Ravens ● Coach: John Harbaugh System Fit [A+]: General Manager Ozzie Newsome continues to draft Alabama players to the Baltimore Ravens. Before the draft, Baltimore had Courtney Upshaw and Terrence Cody. With the addition of Mosley, the Ravens have another instinctive player. Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil & Daryl Smith are pass rush specialist, but Mosley brings the coverage aspect to the table. Mosley’s lateral quickness and long arm enable him to defend the passing lanes as well as stuff the run. ● Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix ● Round: First ● Pick: 21 ● Team: Green Bay ● Coach: Mike McCarthy System Fit: [B+]: With drafting Clinton-Dix, Green Bay will look to have an effective secondary. The Packers were 24th in the league last season in pass defense (247.3 yards per game). ClintonDix provides Green Bay with an instinctive safety that has exceptional ball skills. He can undercut routes and create turnovers as well as deliver crushing hits on receivers and running backs. ● Cyrus Kouandjio (OT) ● Round: Second ● Pick: 44 ● Team: Buffalo Bills ● Coach: Doug Marrone System Fit [B]: The first question for Kouandjio is will he be able to deal with the cold climate? Kouandjio is a good run


MAY 15 + MAY 29

blocker. He locks up well and creates holes for running backs. Kouandjio can get out in space and set the edge for runs down the sideline. Buffalo averaged 144.2 yards per game rushing (2nd in the NFL) last season. Kouandjio must improve on pass blocking. At times, he’s slow getting off the ball. ● AJ McCarron (QB) ● Round: Fifth ● Pick: 164 ● Team: Cincinnati Bengals ● Coach: Marvin Lewis System Fit [A]: Despite dropping to the 5th round, McCarron to Cincinnati is a good fit. Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton is in the final year of his contract. In 48 games, Dalton is 30-18 with 11,360 passing yards, 80 touchdowns and 49 interceptions. Though he’s taken the Bengals to the playoffs in three seasons, Dalton struggled in the postseason. He’s tossed six interceptions and Cincinnati loss all three playoff games. Bringing McCarron in can possibly light a fire under Dalton. Having A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Jermaine Gresham and Giovani Bernard, will help McCarron develop. McCarron has the accuracy, decision making skills and ball placement to be an effective quarterback. He just needs to put it on the field at the next level. Kevin Norwood (WR) ● Round: Fourth ● Pick: 123 ● Team: Seattle Seahawks ● Coach: Pete Carroll System Fit [A+]: Owner Paul Allen, general manager John Schneider, head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks know how to find talented players late in the draft. Norwood is a possession receiver who will come in and compete for a spot. Carroll loves players with high energy and a competitive edge to them. Norwood has both along with size, great hands and speed. Norwood provides Russell Wilson another capable target to work with. If Norwood can improve on creating separation and getting yards after catch, he will be the steal of the draft. ● Vinnie Sunseri (S) ● Round: Fifth

● Pick: 167 ● Team: New Orleans Saints ● Coach: Sean Payton System Fit [B]: Fully recovered from an ACL and defeating draft projection odds is only half the battle for Sunseri. New Orleans finished 2nd in the league in pass defense (194.1 yards per game) in 2013. Under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Sunseri will be expected to contribute on special teams and in the secondary. He excelled on special teams at Alabama; however, it will be interesting to see if Sunseri is able to keep up with the fast NFC South receivers. Sunseri will be paired with Kenny Viccaro, Stanley Jean-Baptise and Kennan Lewis (4 interceptions in 2013). ● Ed Stinson (DE) ● Round: Fifth ● Pick: 160 ● Team: Arizona Cardinals ● Coach: Bruce Arians System Fit [A]: Sometimes, just doing your job well attracts NFL attention. Stinson wasn’t a player that jumped off the page, but he excelled in doing his job. Stinson projects as a five-technique in the NFL. He can play defensive end in a 3-4 or defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. As a senior at Alabama, Stinson recorded 42 tackles. He does a great job of filling up gaps and stopping the run. Arizona finished 2013 with the league’s best rush defense (84.4 yards per game). ● Jeoffrey Pagan (DE) ● Round: Sixth ● Pick: 177 ● Team: Houston Texans ● Coach: Bill O’Brien System Fit [A+]: An explosive offense is good, but a dominant team starts on defense. Bill O’Brien excels in developing quarterbacks; however, he is a tough, defensiveminded coach. With J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Louis Nix III and Jeoffrey Pagan, Houston looks to have a nasty defensive line. Pagan finished his junior season with 34 tackles and two sacks. The Texans were 3rd in the league in pass defense (195.2 yards per game), but 23rd in rush defense (1224.4 yards per game) in 2013. Pagan can not only pressure the quarterback, but he also does well in attacking the run.

Alabama’s Free Agent Signings ● Anthony Steen (OG) ● Team: Arizona Cardinals ● Coach: Bruce Arians System Fit [A]: The Cardinals love to run the ball and parlay it with play action pass. Arizona finished 23rd in the league in rush offense (96.3 yards per game) in 2013. Anthony Steen provided the Cardinals with extra steak upfront to create running lanes. As an offensive guard, Steen can lock up at the point of attack and pull around to throw kick out blocks. He understands protection schemes and knows how to shield defensive lineman away from the quarterback. ● Cody Mandell (P) ● Team: Dallas Cowboys

● Coach: Jason Garrett System Fit [A]: When you can affect field position, you are going to be asset on someone’s franchise. As a senior, Mandell averaged 47.1 yards per punt. 15 of his 39 punts pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line. He gets great hang time on punts and allows the coverage to cover the kick well. Dallas finished 8-8 in 2013. Some of its losses came from failing to control field position. ● Tana Patrick (LB) ● Team: Chicago Bears ● Coach: Marc Trestman System Fit [B-]: Chicago didn’t see a lot of film on Patrick, but they saw his potential to be a good linebacker at the next level. Patrick saw little minutes on the field for Alabama, but his highlight of season came against LSU. Patrick stripped the ball from Tigers’ full back J.C. Copeland in the redzone as Copeland was trying to cross. Landon Collins recovered the fumble and prevented LSU from scoring. Patrick recorded 12 tackles as a senior. He isn’t a pass rusher, but he knows how to find the ball. ● Adrian Hubbard (LB) ● Team: Green Bay Packers ● Coach: Mike McCarthy System Fit [A-]: If Hubbard brings his intensity game every day; Green Bay will be a good fit for him. He ended his career at Alabama with 83 tackles and 10 sacks. Hubbard is a good edge rusher who can also stop the run. With Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk and Nick Perry as leaders, they will teach Hubbard how to be effective in Green Bay. ● Deion Belue (CB) ● Team: Miami Dolphins ● Coach: Joe Phibin System Fit [C]: Belue is an average cornerback. He has speed and can play the ball well, but he lacks consistency. Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Jordan Kovacs and Reshad Jones will mentor him on how to effective in the system. Belue struggles with defending physical receivers. In the AFC East, he will compete against top talent, including Sammy Watkins. Belue finished 2013 recording 20 tackles and one interception at Alabama. ● John Fulton (CB) ● Team: Philadelphia Eagles ● Coach: Chip Kelly System Fit [C]: When he’s healthy, Fulton is a gamer. Like Belue, Fulton struggles with consistency. He tends to get burned on deep ball and post routes a lot. Philadelphia finished last in the league in pass defense (289.9 yards allowed). If Fulton wants to gel in Philadelphia and help this secondary improve, he has to learn from Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Boykin. Though he has stated via Twitter that he’s found an NFL home, there are no reports as to who Kenny Bell signed with. He is a talented receiver with speed and good hands. Bell is good route runner displays exceptional leaping ability. New Orleans, Arizona, New England, Green Bay and Carolina are possible team Bell Cory Whitsett could sign with.

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

>>> HIGH TIDE | G A R Y H A R R I S / W V U A S P O R T S D I R E C T O R


Dallas Warmack

Cyrus Kouandjio's knee problems are cleared up and he'll be given the chance to win a starting job with the Buffalo Bills as right tackle. Alabama had eight players drafted by NFL teams this year. That was good for second in the country behind SEC rival LSU, which had nine players drafted. Alabama had two players selected in the 1st round. Linebacker C.J. Mosley went 17th overall to the Baltimore Ravens and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was selected 21st overall by the Green Bay Packers. Since 2009, Alabama leads the country with 16 first round draft picks. No other school is even close. Under Nick Saban, Alabama has become a farm league for the NFL but that doesn't mean that everyone that was draft eligible at Alabama went as high as they hoped. KOUANDJIO DRAFTED BY BUFFALO IN 2ND ROUND Heading into the 2013 season, Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was projected to be a sure fire first round pick, probably a top 10 overall selection. But an up and down junior season along with a poor performance at the NFL combine and lingering questions about an old knee injury and Cyrus dropped into the 2nd round. Kouandjio was selected 44th overall by the Buffalo Bills. The good news is that he will be given an opportunity to win a starting job at right tackle as a rookie with the Bills. He also told the Buffalo Bills team website that his knee is fine and he's ready to go. "Well first of all, when all the articles came out about my knee, the doctors that did it were pretty well known and they really had a great track record and they cleared it up for me," Kouandjio said. "Letting people know that no, in fact nothing is wrong with my knee. I didn't really think too much about it. I didn't know it was going to impact me that crazy, but I'm glad everything happens for a reason, so I'm here in Buffalo." THE CURIOUS CASE OF AJ MCCARRON And then there is quarterback AJ Mc-

Carron, who told reporters that based on conversations he had with NFL executives that he might be a 1st round pick and definitely no later than a 2nd round selection. McCarron lasted until the 5th round when the Cincinnati Bengals took him with the 164th overall selection. McCarron had a lot to say leading up to the NFL draft and ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that some teams labeled McCarron as cocky. "During the interview process," Schefter stated, "a lot of executives across the league said they felt AJ McCarron rubbed them the wrong way." There were reports that scouts were "befuddled" by his claims he graded out as a first-round talent. Pro Football Talk reported that some scouts were put off by McCarron's extensive collection of tattoos. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said he spoke with general managers and scouts throughout the draft process about McCarron. He said there were some "personality issues," in the evaluation process. "Questions from evaluators: How much do teammates really like him? How much did he really follow him," Rapoport said during the NFL Network's live coverage of the draft.

Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta and the Falcons' cardiologist since 1992. Here's the total number of UA players either drafted by or signed by NFL teams as free agents: CJ Mosley - LB - Baltimore Ravens (1st Round, 17th overall) HaHa Clinton-Dix - FS - Green Bay Packers (1st Round, 21st overall) Cyrus Kouandjio - OT - Buffalo Bills (2nd Round, 44th overall) Kevin Norwood - WR - Seattle Seahawks (4th Round, 123rd overall) Ed Stinson - DE - Arizona Cardinals (5th Round, 160th overall) AJ McCarron - QB - Cincinnati Bengals (5th Round, 164th overall) Vinnie Sunseri - SS - New Orleans Saints (5th Round, 167th overall) Jeoffrey Pagan - DE - Houston Texans (6th Round, 177th overall) Deion Belue - CB - Miami Dolphins (undrafted free agent) Anthony Steen - OG - Arizona Cardinals (undrafted free agent) Adrian Hubbard - OLB - Green Bay Packers (undrafted free agent) Cody Mandell - P - Dallas Cowboys (undrafted free agent) John Fulton - CB - Philadelphia Eagles

(undrafted free agent) Tana Patrick - ILB - Chicago Bears (undrafted free agent)

HUBBARD WENT UNDRAFTED Outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers after going undrafted. Hubbard was projected as a second day pick blamed his snub on a minor heart abnormality for which he has been cleared. Hubbard told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he thought everything was okay. "I didn't know it could be a problem because we had all the issues fixed," Hubbard said. "I think the big problem was somehow, some way the papers didn't get to all the teams. But, oh well." Hubbard said he had been cleared by Charles Brown, chief medical officer at

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

MAY 15 + MAY 29


>>> T H E F L AT S C R E E N | C A R A B R A K E


During the day, television is family friendly with bubbly cartoons and funny, relatable sitcoms. At night, however, the tone changes and adult television shows come out to play. Usually these shows premier in the fall, with the season finales coming in spring or summer. In the case of "Penny Dreadful," summer just got scary. Written by John Logan, who also wrote the chilling screenplay for "Sweeney Todd" back in 2007, brings to life a few of history’s most well known literary characters and blends them into one plot. Adding actors such as Josh Hartnett ("The Black Dahlia," 2006), and Eva Green ("Dark Shadows," 2012), makes "Penny Dreadful" a predicted hit. In the pilot episode, Vanessa Ives (Green) and African explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) come together in Victorian London to fight off a supernatural presence that threatens the inhabitants of London. They recruit Ethan Chandler (Hartnett), a hired gun turned travelling show performer who is a perfect shot with a pistol, and Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), a brilliant doctor and scientist who has an eye for reanimation. The four join together to fight off and experiment on a massive enemy, a Master vampire that lurks in the sewers of London, in hopes of saving Sir Malcolm’s daughter. Some of the characters are original, but the name and some ideas are not. Penny Dreadfuls were real and very cherished in 1800’s London. Each week, underground writers would publish small booklet stories of a lascivious and gory nature that were otherwise kept in the dark. These stories were a penny each, hence the name. What most people don’t know is that these unknown and racy stories were the muses for classic novels like Frankenstein and Dracula. Some stories were single short fictions, others were series, aimed at bringing the working class of London back each week for the newest chapter or part of the story. The most popular of these characters, still well known today, was Sweeney Todd, who first appeared in the penny dreadful series “The String of Pearls: A Romance”. While it hasn’t been proven, there is speculation that the series “Varney the Vampire” was the inspiration for Dracula. The show itself was phenomenal; dark and gritty London is the perfect setting for the sordid pasts that collide when four different people, all with different stories, come together. Green and Dalton have a good chemistry, showing Vanessa and Sir Malcolm to have a professional relationship that is connected in a grueling way, as hinted during dialogue between the two. Ethan Chandler is the American foul-mouthed ladies’ man who rolled into London with a travelling show, and is approached by Vanessa to be their assassin for the night. The corpse is then brought to Dr. Frankenstein, who is a poor scientist looking for a way to create life from death. All the actors have wonderful chemistry, each one bringing an air of mystery to their character. Penny Dreadful will be available on Showtime, the pilot having aired May 11th at 9 p.m. For those that don’t have Showtime, the pilot is also available to stream on Showtime’s website and on Hulu for free. The show is intended for mature audiences, as it contains gore, graphic violence, nudity, sexual content and strong language. Episodes will air Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime and will be available to stream on Showtime’s website.


MAY 15 + MAY 29



weekly overview



The Full Moon on May 14 impacted your partnerships and love life. Saturn lurking nearby suggests you'll make an effort to respect others and treat them the way you want to be treated. The New Moon on May 28 could affect your finances and possessions. Don't be surprised if people want to give you things. Memorial Day weekend looks to be lavish, with good food, fun, and your favorite companions. Save your best recipes and most charming quips for that day. You might feel a little wired, but nerves should settle down shortly. If your mind shifts into overdrive, stay focused and don't turn into a chatterbox. The May 14 Full Moon shone for you in a secret way. Be prudent, behave well, and respect the positions of others or you could briefly turn into your own worst enemy. The May 28 New Moon is the time to make healthy changes to eat, rest, exercise, and simply be better to yourself in the long term. Look for an "ah ha" moment on May 30. Though creative conflict still appears in your life, you might be motivated to start on an idea you've been mulling over for some time. Don't let the Full Moon in your creative sector keep you from moving ahead. It's in Scorpio, so fear or doubt could assail you right when you need confidence and enthusiasm in order to get ahead. Fortunately, the rest of the week provides just that. Success happens when you take that first baby step and keep going. Conversations lead to productive encounters, collaboration, and opportunities to get involved in creative projects. Take it easy on Wednesday, as intense feelings could stir up issues at home. This isn't the time to make snap decisions or say anything you could regret later. The rest of the week seems delightfully upbeat, bringing encounters that inspire and delight. Sizzling chemistry may endear you to someone very quickly on Thursday. The weekend brings a chance for all-out indulgence. Business deals and career opportunities may show up this week, enhancing your prospects if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone. Connecting with key people, researching options, and gathering information can help you reach an important goal. However, an emotional surge may cloud thoughts midweek. Avoid making important decisions at that time. Wait a day or so to feel calmer and more collected for best results. There's also a chance of a small windfall - enough to put a smile on your face! Although relationships could be a bit of a challenge, there's also plenty of sizzle showing up in your social life. Opportunities to explore groups or move in new circles could be a revelation. Try to avoid splurging at the time of the midweek Full Moon, even if it does help you feel better. Chances are you'll regret it the next day. Still, one or two small luxuries could boost your mood. Romance can happen if you're willing to move outside your comfort zone and seek adventure.

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

You may be thinking about life's deeper issues, as a focus on spiritual and emotional matters could encourage a period of reflection. Perhaps what you really want is for harmony and balance to pervade your everyday existence. Don't let the Full Moon in Scorpio throw you off. Although powerful emotions may arise, simply feeling them can help them dissipate. If you've been considering therapy or counseling, this might be a good time to find a suitable person.

You seem to be on a roll, especially as your social life and love life are concerned. Interactions with many people can be the catalyst to some exciting things happening for you. Be willing to let your curiosity lead the way and more exciting things will come to you. Also, opportunities for romance seem particularly appealing. Whether you're in a long-term relationship or looking for love, the flame of passion could be kindled in the days ahead. The weekend You may be curious to explore options for new contracts, jobs, and work in general. With Mercury in Gemini and making some spectacular aspects this week, it's a good time to advertise your skills and services, apply for interviews, and get things up and running in general. There is also a lot happening on the home front, with the chance of a surprise visitor showing up. Socializing and home entertainment can be fun and delightful, with plenty to Opportunities for romance, business, and anything else you can think of could be there for you this week. Researching your options by surfing online could result in rich pickings. Try not to be swayed by the midweek Full Moon in Scorpio concerning an important career move or goal. Intense energies could cause you to doubt your motives - or someone else's. Reflect carefully before you make any important decisions. Later, the chance to do business in a fun, upbeat environment can be very enjoyable. Home and family matters seem positive, as upbeat transits may coincide with family get-togethers or celebrations. You might want to splurge on items for your home. A spontaneous decision to upgrade the decor could have you considering paint, carpets, or curtains. However, it also pays to monitor your spending and stick to a sensible budget. Spending without thinking could cause unnecessary anxiety later. The rest of the week brings a chance for good times that can generate happy memories. Pay more attention to the small, less exciting details of daily life, Aries. Get more organized, find those misplaced documents, and eat more healthfully. The weekend of May 24 could get rocky. Don't get bent out of shape if someone springs a surprise bigger than yours. The New Moon on May 28 is intense. You might get on people's nerves if you expect them to be equally intense. Focus on your own issues and cut others some slack.


MAY 15 + MAY 29




MAY 15 + MAY 29

3. Austria's capital, to the locals 4. Wintry, at times 5. N.F.L. linemen 1. Some camp denizens, for short 6. Sound of satisfaction 5. Unit of U.S. defense 7. Barely passing marks 10. Writer Hecht and others 8. Smell ___ (be leery) 14. Jib, e.g. 9. Stamp anew, maybe 15. Present 10. "Take a load off" 16. Poetry studied in Greek class 11. Certain Prot. 17. ___ Bay, Brooklyn 12. Triple trio 19. Perform in a glee club 13. Certain noncoms 20. Stereo component 18. Before surgery 21. Mise en scene 22. Cap and gown wearer 23. "___ of the D'Urbervilles" 24. One before Judge Judy 26. Land expanses 25. Copier of a manuscript 27. Buffet deal 32. Org. that released the "family jewels" 27. Congressional decrees 28. Place. in June 2007 29. Kindof excuse 33. Hostess Mesta 30. Teddy's 1904 foe 34. "Beloved" director 31. Reformer Edward and hymn man John 38. Fill-in employee 35. Character in "La Boheme" and "Rent" 40. Tushingham and Gam 42. Per ___ (how some people are paid) 36. Cocktail hour follower 37. Late actor Jannings 43. Plaintiffs 39. Comes from an earlier time 45. Italian wine brand 41. Dinner from a bucket 47. Spring month, in Mainz 44. Sought damages 48. "Ah, Wilderness!" playwright 46. "___ of robins...": Kilmer 51. James of 'Bad Influence' 49. Salutes 54. X-ray ___ (kids' goggles) 50. Epic film screenful 55. Rose Bowl city 58. German sculptor and wood carver Veit 51. Produce offspring 52. Barbecue locale 62. Keep ___ (persevere) 53. Cockeyed 63. Life with no money worries 56. Chemical formula for sodium hydroxide 66. Champagne or Chianti 57. Piedmontese wine center 67. "When I Take My Sugar ___" 59. Trompe l'___ (optical illusion) 68. Million or billion suffix 60. Virologist's comb. form 69. Negative votes 61. Prepare prunes 70. Hobbits' home, with "the" 64. "___ out!" (ump's cry) 71. Snail-like 65. So, to Burns Down SOLUTION FOR PUZZLEMANIA 1. Attention-getting sound CROSSWORD ON PAGE 27 2. Pearl Harbor's locale Across

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

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

MAY 15 + MAY 29




Every trip to the old Victorian house was like Christmas Morning. Whenever I could get there, by way of bus or foot or bicycle or ride-hitching, I felt like Christmas had just gotten jump-started. The Victorian home in Downtown Tuscaloosa, back in the 1950’s, had expelled its original dwellers and converted itself into the County Library. It seemed to exist solely for my pleasure. Up the stairs, not racing, in slow motion—didn’t want to incur the wrath of a shushing librarian—I would head for the bookcases containing the knowledge of the known world and the imagined knowledge of undiscovered worlds. Opening each book was like unwrapping a Christmas gift. Each volume contained its own peculiarities. In addition to the printed words within, there were always imagination-laden surprises: A pressed flower might drop spinning to the floor. A scrap of paper complete with cryptic message would unfold itself and read its contents to me. A margin scribble or an underline would challenge me to guess what a previous reader’s life was like. Mustard stains might tattle-tale whether the patron read at night or on the run at a hot dog stand. Unmistakable tobacco fragrances absorbed by the paper would be identified by brand-name (Cherry Blend was popular). Little crayoned bookmarks and turned-down corners made certain pages more intriguing. Coffee rings exposed the previous reader’s carelessness. Librarian mutilations included penciled numbers and rubber stamps and glued pockets and dog eared dated cards and taped-down dust jackets and intrusive binding materials and repaired/reinforced spines. The heft and texture and color and fragrance and flaws of the physical book were more fascinating than the book itself, at times. The powerful shower of Holmesian clues would almost make reading the book an anticlimactic exercise. To this day, I prefer the flawed personality of a well-used book to the pristine untouched edition that nobody ever opened. Every book has its own history, my dear Watson. I can tell you a lot about what that book has been through just from all the clues and hints of clues that warp it and give it character. Visit my Victorian shop in the Center of the Universe and commence your sleuthing ©2014 by Jim Reed


MAY 15 + MAY 29


>>> MUSIC | trey brooks





Several artists have left a successful band for a successful solo career. Peter Gabriel, Rod Stewart, Lou Reed and Michael Jackson are some of the more prominent names, but it happens quite regularly. However, those artists never drastically changed their sound when they went solo. Darius Rucker became a star in an entirely different genre. It’s one of the most unique career moves in modern music. Rucker’s voice was iconic for a generation, and now it’s winning over a completely new group of fans. On September 18th, Darius Rucker will be performing at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre, with special guest Chase Rice and Sam Hunt opening for him. He will be the last in a line of country musicians on the Amp’s schedule this summer, which includes Miranda Lambert and Jake Owen. However, Rucker is not your typical country artist. First, he’s one of the few African-American artists to ever score a hit on the country charts. Second, for most of his career he was famous for being the lead singer of a wildly successful alternative rock band. In the 1990’s, Hootie and the Blowfish dominated mainstream rock radio. Rucker’s voice fit the Eddie Vedder/Scott Weiland model that had proven effective in alternative rock, but Hootie’s songs were much more radio friendly and appealed to wider audiences. Their debut album Cracked Rear View was certified platinum 16 times, and they went on to sell 21 million albums in the United States alone. Songs like “Only Wanna Be With You”, “Hold My Hand” and “Let Her Cry” were all top ten hits and remain staples of alternative radio to this day. However, their albums in the latter half of the last decade failed to make any significant impact on American charts, and the band went into hiatus in 2008, performing just a few sparse charity events since. It’s not every day you see the leader of one of the 90’s biggest alternative groups begin a successful country music career. But that’s exactly what Darius Rucker has done. After an early R&B album went unnoticed, Rucker found success in 2008 with his first country album Learn to Live. The album spawned the hit “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”, which made the Rucker just the second African-American to have a top 20 song on the country charts (the other being Charlie Pride), eventually reaching number 1. Two more singles reached number 1 as well. Skepticism surrounded his foray into country, with many in the industry and media assuming it would be a short experiment. However, Rucker has released two more country albums since and had two more number 1 country hits. He was also invited by Brad Paisley to join the Grand Ole Opry, officially cementing his status as not just a country musician, but one who was at the top of the genre. He also won a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance for his cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” off his 2012 album True Believers. Darius Rucker used to be annoyed that despite his early success, people still referred to his as “Hootie” (the band was named for two college acquaintances that were not members of the group). Now he has blazed a new trail that has everyone getting his name right. His ability to move from one genre to the other is a testament to his song-writing ability, and his “alternative” voice has proved to be more than just a gimmick. Generation X will still remember him as “Hootie”, but Millennials will remember him for a successful crossover into country that shows no signs of slowing down.


MAY 15 + MAY 29



MAY 15 + MAY 29

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

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