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NEWS

ADOPT A SCHOOL // GOLFERS GET READY REGISTER NOW FOR STATE OF THE SCHOOLS Register Now for State of the Schools Our annual Chamber in Session: State of the Schools event, sponsored by Ellis Architects, 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. Cost is $25/person. There will be a special program by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama before the lunch, from 9 – 11 a.m., which is free to attend. RSVP by June 12 by calling 391.0559 or Stacey@tuscaloosachamber.com.

Bryant Museum Named May Difference Maker Ken Gaddy, museum director at Bryant Museum, accepted our May Difference Maker award from Moody Radio's Greg Rogers at our mixer last week. The museum is in its 26th year of operation and is a great place for family, church and senior citizen groups to visit. Teachers are encouraged to bring classes as the museum offers a Punt, Pass & Learn activity booklet so students can engage their sports interest with learning. Also, the staff recently produced the popular documentary, "Mama Called", as part of the centennial of the birth of Paul Bryant.

Bama Brew & Que Now Part of Alabama BBQ Trail, Registration is Open Got the best BBQ around? Here's your chance to prove it! Register for the 2nd Annual Bama Brew & Que in Tuscaloosa, a KCBS Sanctioned Event being held Sept. 12 – 13. There will be a Professional Division and a Backyard Division. Event is sponsored by Young Professionals of Tuscaloosa or YP(t). Click here for an entry form. For more info, email bamabrewandque@gmail.com or call 633.0236.

Welcome, El Mariachi! El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant celebrated becoming a Chamber member with a ribbon cutting on May 22. The address is 3520 McFarland Blvd., E. in Tuscaloosa. Call 205-409-8585 for more info. Thanks to Vanessa Sanchez and crew for treating us to a delicious traditional Mexican meal, including their fabulous salsa!

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Save the Date: 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, 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.

Ribbon Cutting for Be Well Naturally, LLC We'll celebrate this natural wellness spa on Sat., May 31 with a ribbon cutting at 10a.m. Grand Opening event lasts until 4p.m. Enjoy food, door prizes, tours and product samples. Address is 353 Bear Creek Rd. in Tuscaloosa (second house on the right). Call 205-409-8281 for more info.

Save the Date: Adopt-A-School Golf Tournament The annual Nucor Tuscaloosa Adopt-ASchool Golf Tourney will be held at Ol Colony Golf Course on Sept. 11. Details to come.

Northington Elementary Students Learn About the World of Banking A selected group of 4th and 5th grade students from Northington Elementary recently spent the morning with Adopt-ASchool partner Cadence Bank. During the visit, the students learned about safe deposit boxes, tellers, vaults, banking products/ services, mortgages, business loans and customer relationships. They also enjoyed lunch at the bank and each student received a goodie bag. Cadence and Northington have been partners for over 20 years and the job shadow program is one of the many experiences provided for the students through the partnership.

Ribbon Cutting at Eagles' Wings Eagles' Wings will hold a Grand Opening for its new facility at 12379 Eagles' Wings Dr. in Coker on May 30 from 9a.m. to 4p.m. Ribbon cutting will be held at 9a.m. with special guest Gov. Robert Bentley! (The facility is located on 96 acres off Hwy. 82 W.) Call 205-345-5484 for more info or visit eagleswingsoftuscaloosa.org.

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inside

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STORIES 5 "PROCEED AND BE BOLD" // TheLMA PAULSEN

A look at world famous Sourthern Studio's past 20 years and the innovations

HIGH TIDE SPORTS 21 TIDE LEGEND DERRICK THOMAS MAKES COLLEGE HALL OF FAME—AT LAST

7 summer film series 2014 // kevin ledgewood Bama Art House brings a wealth of cinema to Tuscaloosa PUBLISHER LIN DA W. J OHNSON MANAGING EDITOR H ER B NEU ASSISTANT EDITOR J U DA H MA R TIN COVER DESIGN LAU R A LIN E B E R R Y EVENTS J U D A H MA R TIN ROAD TRIP T R E Y B R OOK S DESIGN/PRODUCTION HERB NEU

ADVERTISING CAT R INA K ATTN E R

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS c a r a br a ke T R E Y B R OO K S G A R Y H A R R IS CIN DY H UG G INS K E VIN L EDG E WOOD J U D A H MA R TIN T H E LMA PAULS E N J IM RE E D B RE TT RE ID j o n r o ger s VAN R O B E R TS ST E P HE N SMITH W ILLIAM BAR SH OP IMAGES: Shared unless otherwise attributed to source

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 ly.com Please direct correspondence to: publisher@theplanetweekly.com 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.

8 summer anthems // william barshop Who wil rule the airwaves?

14 GETTING BETTER WITH AGE // JUDAH MARTIN Trail biking rocks!

17 YVONNE WELLS' QUILT EXHIBIT // KEVIN LEDGEWOOD At the Cultural Arts Center

27 HAM HAM JAM JAM // TREY BROOKS

The 6th annual tribute to an all around good guy and great local musician

entertainment 10-12 13

RESTAURANT GUIDE / WINE & BEER

MOVIE REVIEW

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FEATURE

13 "GODZILLA–2014" // VAN ROBERTS Saving mankind like no other monster can

Events Calendar

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Road Trip

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Tuscaloosa music

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THE FLAT SCREEN

23 Horoscopes // Sudoku 24 CROSSWORD PUZZLe

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MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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>>> I N N OVAT I O N | T H E L M A P A U L S E N

"PROCEED AND BE BOLD" // RURAL STUDIO ENTERS ITS 21ST YEAR

Photo by Walker Evans, 1936

Hale County, Alabama, south of Tuscaloosa, shares the dark, rich soil of the Black Belt with its next-door neighbors. Although not actually carved into a county from the lands of those nearby until two years after the end of the Civil War, in the antebellum days of the cotton plantations, the area reflected regional wealth. Not any more. Parts of rural counties of west-central Alabama are deemed by some to be a “third-world” sector of a poor southern state existing within the world’s wealthiest nation. Nearly a third of the residents of Hale County — named for Confederate Lt. Col. Stephen Hale, who perished in battle — live below the poverty level; some don’t have running water. The region can, despite its ethereal beauty, seem like the land of the forlorn and forgotten. And it’s been that way for awhile. Back in 1936, six years into the Great Depression, Fortune magazine sent photographer Walker Evans (who’d previously documented conditions there for the Farm Services Administration) and writer James Agee, to Hale County and nearby areas to collaborate on a story. It never ran,

but Evans and Agee used that work to collaborate on a book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, that made them famous and Hale County infamous. Fast forward thirty-odd years and native son William Christenberry, born in Tuscaloosa the year Walker Evans visited, followed his lead, photographing the abandoned and disappearing landmarks of the same community where his extended family lived and where he’d spent boyhood summers. Christenberry, who’d obtained a Master of Art in Painting from the University of Alabama, was influenced by Evan’s work and met him while living in New York. When Christenberry began a professorship at the Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., in 1967, photographing fading landmarks became a mission of his annual trip “home.” In 1973, two years before his death, Evans accompanied Christenberry on his pilgrimage back to Hale County. That was during the next to last academic year for an architecture student at Auburn University by the name of Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee. A native of Meridian and a fifth generation Mississippian,

Photo by William Christenberry, 1973, in Havana, Alabama

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Mockbee was aware of the disparate conditions among residents of Hale County, Alabama, and any number of similar counties in his home state next door. Taking his architecture degree back to Meridian, he went into the business of designing buildings, which he did for nearly twenty years. Then his alma mater came calling, and he returned to teach where he’d been taught. And that is where our true story begins. Collaborating with Dennis “D. K.” Ruth, then head of the architecture program at Auburn, he set about to create a real-world, designbuild program for their students. The charming, bearded, bear-like Mockbee thought and spoke about the social responsibility of architects and the need and right of the soul to live in harmonious, well-designed surroundings. "Everyone deserves good design,” he was quoted as saying. He thought he knew of a place where a kind of even exchange could occur, architecture students getting profound, start-to-finish, hands-on opportunities and a community getting much-needed housing for some of its most distressed citizens: Hale County, whose seat, Greensboro, is a two-and-a-half-hour drive west of Auburn.

It was in Hale County, in 1993, that Mockbee’s Rural Studio was born. Twenty years later, more than 600 “citizen architect” students from Auburn’s five-year program have moved through it; and more than 150 projects have been designed, built and completed by it, reaching into neighboring counties, as well. The pro-

Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee

gram has received accolades, awards and international recognition. In the early years of the studio, Mockbee searched out clients, scouring the bucolic landscape for suitable prospects. The first he found were in a snug hamlet called Mason’s Bend, home to multiple

The iconic "Butterfly House", 1996/1997, reflective of the early cutting edge designs of the Rural Studio program under Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee.

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Hale County Animal Shelter in Greensboro, Ala., designed and built by Rural Studio students in 2005/2006. Photo: Timothy Hursley

Sam Mockbee received recognition and numerous awards for his work, including the Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” in 2000. In 2001, he passed away due to complications from the leukemia he’d been diagnosed with three years earlier. Stepping up to the helm of leadership behind Mockbee was Andrew Freear, a U. K. architect who’d joined the program the year before. Freear has guided the Rural Studio projects toward what some might see as a more pragmatic path in design and choice of materials. Mockbee was an artistarchitect; he challenged his students to push the boundaries of design. And although many designs emanating from the studio today continue to have a modernistic bent, as well as being built with locally sourced materials, there has been a renewed recognition of and return to traditional vernacular design. In a recent article written by Nick Kaye and published in the online newsletter, TheBitter Southerner.com, Freear talked about the wisdom in the functional design of local antebellum houses “... built 150 years ago. They all had big Andrew Freear Photo: Rural Studio roofs and big overhangs. They all had tall ceilings. They all had good crossdio located in Newbern (population 185), ventilation. They all had porches. And they nine miles south of Greensboro. survived, right? ...They were smart and Because donations or raised funds are the things have lasted, so why not learn required for the actual construction of the from those?” projects, in the first years especially, the As the Rural Studio has evolved and studio utilized locally sourced and recycled matured, still young yet old at 20, it no lonmaterials. To a lesser but still significant ger seeks out customers. Instead, projects degree, this policy continues. The early come to them. While the studio continues building materials included tires covered in to build houses, it has increased its focus stucco, bales of shredded, waxed cardon community-oriented projects that benefit board used to construct a student-housing larger groups. Its clients include churches, pod on the Newbern campus and a chapel youth and civic groups, municipal and roof made of from car windshields, $25 for recreation programs, parks, museums, and the whole roof full. non-profit organizations. They’ve brought For those who have suggested that innovative and affordable design and conthe architecture program might be taking struction to parks, a town hall, a library, a advantage of the community it serves, fire station, an animal shelter, playgrounds, Mockbee would say, “Come on down!” The ball fields, a home-grown civil-rights mustudent architects-in-training gain a depth seum, a farmers’ market and more. of insight, real-world problem-solving and Under Mockbee, then Freear, the design experience, and hands-on learning program and its citizen architects have from inception to completion. They actually been particularly skilled at blending in, get to build, in architecture school, a big being good neighbors, becoming a part deal. Students even tend to the upkeep of former projects. The houses have been do- of the locale. Third and 5th year architecture students attend the Rural Studio. nated to the in-need clients and observed The agenda of the students at the studio for design effectiveness, pleasure and has transitioned with the program. Curdurability. These houses change lives. generations of four families. There the Rural Studio student architects designed and built the Hay Bale House, the Smoke House made of stacked, broken and discarded concrete “stones,” the Butterfly House with a roof cut at angles that made it appear ready for for fluttered flight, a basketball court and the Glass Chapel community center. Interspersed with these projects were numerous others including the Yancey Tire Chapel in Sawyerville , the Akron Pavilion, and new buildings on the Morrisette House campus of the stu-

rently, the dozen or so 3rd Year Design Studio undergraduates collaborate on a multi-phase, food and gardening project on the Rural Studio Farm, located on the Newbern campus, where they reside in student-designed-and-built “pods” during their stay. According to the Rural Studio website, 5th year, or thesis students, work on community projects that “...are typically completed in 18 to 24 months and are built by teams of three to five students.” These final-year students collaborate with local municipalities and advisory boards and typically stay a year beyond graduation to see their assignment through. On the Studio’s Morrisette House campus in Newbern, student teams have designed and are building a solar greenhouse using recycled 55 gallon drums. And since 2005, the Rural Studio has taken on a project known as the 20K House, which had a particularly interesting genesis. In 1999, Mockbee established the Outreach Program “as a way to bring students and collaborators fromFlo outside RidaAuburn University into the fold of the Studio.” Four placements are available in the program per academic year and preferences are given to those with architecture or design backgrounds. Outreach fellows pay full tuition (around $12,000), as well as locating their own housing and covering other personal expenses. In 2003, an Outreach fellow named Pam Dorr arrived in Hale County from her home state of California, and never left. Following a successful 20-year career as a designer and product developer for Victoria’s Secret and Baby Gap, she was searching for more meaning and purpose in her life. Although she would never meet Sambo Mockbee, she’d read about and been inspired by his vision and his works. The historic town of Greensboro, with its beautiful but often abandoned buildings, and the surrounding community, with its impoverished population, called to her. Here she might have something to contribute. And she did. The year Dorr studied and toiled as an Outreach fellow, Freear gave them the assignment to find a need in the community and then design a project to address that need. It took her a bit. At first she she explored a gardening project that met with only marginal success among those it was designed to assist. Yet she became aware of another problem, a recurring scenario she encountered when she reached out to people in the community: elderly widows on a very low, fixed income, living in substandard housing, who had applied and

Pam Dorr

Newbern Town Hall, a Rural Studio project, 2010/2011 Photo: Timothy Hursley

qualified for USDA rural housing loans. There was only one catch: the amount of loan money they qualified for was only $20,000, based on monthly Social Security income of less than $700. A desire of the Rural Studio, and other housing-related programs that would develop in Hale and adjoining counties, was the elimination of substandard housing in the area. Providing houses as alternatives to trailers, which depreciate and slowly disintegrate around the occupants living in them, had always been a program priority. Can a house be built for $20,000?— Dorr began to ask, receiving a nearly universal no. But Andrew Freear, who also expressed doubt that it could be done, was willing to have the Rural Studio give it a try. The Rural Studio 20K House Project was born with a goal to design a model home that met FHA standards and could be reproduced by a contractor in the real-world marketplace for clients, many of whom never believed they could own a home. “Rural Studio is a hothouse for architecture students who build sophisticated homes for desperately poor, typically black clients — people so far off from the economic mainstream that the subprime mortgage mess couldn’t even find them.” Karrie Jacobs wrote in Elle Decor about the development the 20K Project and the clients it serves. The first houses, designed and built by the first students given the challenge, were planned with $10,000 allotted to materials and $10,000 for cost of building (once the prototype become marketably viable). That formula ultimately shifted to $12,000 for materials and $8,000 labor. At the end of her year in the Outreach Program, Dorr went to work with for Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization, HERO, a non-profit formed in 1994 as a social service and community development organization. Dorr would head up a new program there, the Housing Resource Center. She had found her calling, one that related in some manner to an early piece of her history which she has vaguely and emotionally referenced in talks and presentations: the need for a home. At Rural Studio and HERO she learned to write grants and develop housing programs, with a goal of home ownership for the recipients.

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CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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>>> I N N OVAT I O N | CONTINU E D FR OM PAG E 5

CAN A HOUSE BE BUILT FOR 20K?

Redesigned Safe House Museum in Greensboro, a Rural Studio project in 2009/2010

Photo: Timothy Hursley

The first 20K house, Elizabeth’s House, was designed and built by Rural Studio students in 2005. With sleek lines and modernistic angles, it’s a design winner but was ultimately deemed too trailer-like in shape and appearance. In the ensuing nine years, 20K models have continued to be designed and built by the studio, first 3rd year students, then Outreach Program fellows. In 2011, a 20K Manager was hired with the goal being to take the 20K House from project to product. They now have a line of viable model homes which meet their goals. Joanne’s House is one. Over at HERO, Dorr continued to develop knowledge and expertise which she skillfully applied to ideas and programs. She moved into the position of executive director. And this is where her history of working with reclaimed materials, her passion for securing basic, decent housing for those in need, and her design and product development experience would marvelously merge. But not without some turbulence. Back in 2001, designer John Bielenberg, based in Maine, had heard Sam Mockbee speak and, in turn, became inspired to create Project M, a non-profit with a mission to use good design to aid social change. In part, this would be facilitated through the use of design blitzes in which groups of young creatives would gather for a month in a location deemed in need of some social intervention. There they would socialize and visualize and invent. Project M first came to Greensboro in 2007 at the invitation of HERO Executive Director Pam Dorr. For the first few weeks the youthful creatives — who were invited into the homes and churches of the locals — biked and skateboarded around town, ate fried whiting, catfish, cornbread and okra, and spun their mental wheels. It just wasn’t coming together. Then there was some kind of ruckus clash of emotions and ideations, out of which finally sprang an idea — water meters. Turns out, according to a pamphlet Depitction of aand prehistoric wedding they designed released on the topic, ceremony one in four households in Hale County

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was without access to a municipal water source, thereby exposing inhabitants to contaminated drinking water. Inspiration hit in a big way. The visitors designed a stunningly effective campaign, led by a stark, grainy, gray and white flier, printed on newsprint and photographed creased and lying on grass, which read: “Oprah has one (a scrappy, metal-sided barn is seen in the background). So does Paris Hilton (an abandoned tireless car in front of an abandoned building)...” It goes on to name famous and infamous who “have one,” then says, “You do, too (the image on this page is a water meter). Herbert Banks doesn’t have one (an AfricanAmerican man stands in front of a house). Neither do Jackie and Damien Green (an African-American mother is pictured holding her toddler son).” But it is the next statement on the next page which is the clincher, in more ways than one. In large, white letters superimposed over an image of downtown Greensboro, were the words: “That’s because in Hale County, Alabama, water is not a right.” BAM! These kids were good, but... (Although the number of folks without access to clean water in Hale County may have been appalling, water isn’t actually a “right” in any municipality in the U.S.). Printed by a local newspaper, these fliers had been mailed all over the country. And there was a clever website: BuyAMeter.org for people to access. The contact was Pam Dorr at HERO. Money poured in: $55,000 and nearly a hundred families had water meters installed for the first time. HERO and Project M were ecstatic — until the backlash. Who did these people think they were! insulted and outraged locals asked, to come from the other ends of the country and tell Hale County how to run its civic affairs! Hale County is no “third world-like” place! Many Hale Countians hadn’t appreciated the focus of Evans and Agee seventy years before, and they resented the outsider “dogooders” bringing that focus back now,

Joanne's House, a 20K Model House, 2011

Photo: Timothy Hursley

gooders” — they are not in the business of unfairly some of them thought. stroking egos. Architecture will not solve Dorr tried to smooth over the fuss poverty, Freear observes. and believed she had done so as HERO But the Rural Studio 20K House Prodmoved forward with its agenda. They’ve uct, and its socially-conscious mission, developed, built and rehabbed scores may change the world of architecture, of homes and buildings, some historic, including storefronts downtown. They pro- bringing good, basic design to those most in need of it. vide education on home ownership, home It was Pam Dorr who couldn’t let go repair and rental assistance. Dorr started of an idea that sparked a discussion that a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. fired up the project. She never met MockAnd HERO developed a number of cottage industries: a thrift store, a rag busi- bee, but certainly he would be pleased. Rural Studio at Twenty: Designing ness, a day care, a restaurant, a jewelry and Building in Hale County, Alabama, business, a pecan busines (branded PECANS!), a bamboo bike company (bamboo by Andrew Freear, Elena Barthel and photographer Timothy Hursley has just grows weed-like in Hale County), named been published. How fortunate we are as HERO bike — the University of Alabama a people for the visionaries, the artists, recreation program purchased a “fleet” the designers, the builders amongst us of them — that produces income for the who have the power to inspire others and program and jobs for the community, as alter the world. many as 50. HERO has reached out to art “Proceed and be bold,” Mockbee adschools and universities for assistance in monished his students. the design of their products. They are, Sam. They are. Project M continued their annual monthlong creative in the community and the PieLab, a kind of pie-making, coffee-brewing, ideation and gathering venue, was born to MUCH positive press. But it was in the promotion of the PieLab that the creatives stirred the ire of locals once again. They created a poster that said (in a wink and nod to Marie Antoinette): “Eat pie. F#@K cake.” Definitely not a southern approach. Dorr was on the defensive again. Throughout the ripples in the relationship between HERO, Dorr and the locals, the Rural Studio has attempted to step away. They are about architecture, education, design, Freear has reiterated. Yes, they have done “charity” projects, but they 3rd year students at their design/build solar greenhouse project on Newbern Rural Studio campus. Photo: Rural Studio are not “do-

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>>> F I L M // K E V IN L E D G E W OO D

BAMA ART HOUSE // SUMMER 2014 BEGINS JUNE 10 // SIX FILMS TO BE FEATURED The B ama A rt H ouse Summer Film Series will begin on June 10, 2014 and will feature six movies. A program of The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, the movies represent the organization’s goals to bring new and unique film to the West Alabama area. Screenings will take place on Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. with the box office opening at 6:30 p.m. and doors at 6:45 p.m. Discount Punchcard Tickets ($50) will be available at the door prior to screenings and will be good for any 10 Bama Art House films. Single Tickets are priced at $7 general, $6 seniors & students and $5 Arts Council members. Patrons can visit bamatheatre.org/ bamaarthouse to view the list of films, details and accompanying trailers.

June 24: “Joe”

July 15: “Fading Gigolo”

June 10: “A Night in Old Mexico” July 1: “Alan Partridge” “Only Lovers Left Alive” and “Under the Skin” will be sponsored by Left Hand Soap Company. This series also marks the beginning of the Bama’s exclusive use of the Proludio

digital playback system along with the addition of two new digital projectors. The transfer to the new system is primarily taking place due to the distribution of films in digital format. “The Bama Art House Series is an important part of the theatre’s programming. Our new system will allow us to continue to bring a variety of quality and unique film to West Alabama while enhancing the viewers’ visual and audio experience,” stated David Allgood, Bama Theatre Manager. The current platter system will remain at the theatre and will be utilized for special situations requiring the 35mm format. The mission of the Bama Art House series is to bring current and contemporary independent film to West Alabama, transforming the historic Bama Theatre into a cinematic art house. The Bama Theatre is located at 600 Greensboro Ave. in Downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information about The Arts Council or Bama Theatre, patrons should LIKE the Facebook page “The Arts Council – Bama Theatre – Cultural Arts Center” and follow tuscarts on Twitter. Call 205-758-5195 or visit tuscarts.org for further information.

June 17: “Only Lovers Left Alive” July 8: “Under the Skin”

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

SUMMER ANTHEMS // WHO WILL RULE THE AIRWAVES?

is palpable on lines like “Now I’ve got you in my space/I won’t let go of you.” The way Smith controls his voice like a fighter pilot makes people wonder if he’s the male answer to Adele. He’s gearing up to put out his first proper album, so the next “Rolling in the Deep” could be near upon us. If you like this, try this: Jamie Lidell – Multiply, Raphael Saadiq – 100 Yard Dash

Sam Smith her verse is an old favorite: she’s better off without him. But the melody Grande delivers feels fresh and makes for a slow-growing earworm. Even if you don’t hear back from Iggy, Ariana will surely be back with a vengeance. If you like this, try this: Kreayshawn – Gucci, Gucci, AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies

Driving with the windows rolled down and lounging out on a beach towel don’t feel right without the right music to bring you back to those memories for years to come. More than any other season, the songs of the summer need to be warm, memorable and fun to sing along. So what will the universal anthem for the next few months turn out to be? Or for the more cynical, what song will you be desperately trying to escape as

you flip through radio stations? Veteran hit-makers like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Usher already have a leg up, but there’s plenty of room on the airwaves for unexpected successes. Check out our list of artists, new and old, who may have the defining song of this summer.

Iggy Azalea

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Iggy Azalea “First things first: I’m the realest,” Iggy fires off on the first bar of her debut hit, “Fancy.” It’s not clear if the Australian rapper is claiming her Black Southern drawl or her Brooklyn bravado is the most authentic, but her stakes on the charts are as real as it gets for a woman in hip-hop. The track is already at #2 on the Hot 100 with help from a chorus by Charli XCX, who penned Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” Prepare to hear Iggy’s quotable one-liners over and over until you can recite her rhymes in your sleep. Azalea also makes an appearance on Ariana Grande’s newest hit, “Problem,” the newest jewel in Grande’s crown as the “new Mariah Carey.” The message that Iggy parrots on

Sia Sia Furler prefers to stay out of the spotlight, which is hard with a voice like hers. Best known for the inimitable vocals on David Guetta’s “Titanium,” the second Australian on this list is one of the few pop stars today who puts vocals first and image last. She’s not a household name

Jack Antonoff / Bleacher Sam Smith This young, powerhouse singer takes notes from traditional American soul and gospel, as well as his English contemporaries like the late Amy Winehouse. Smith’s first step into the music scene was on EDM duo Disclosure’s track “Latch,” a bubbly love song elevated by his spot-on falsetto. His more recent songs like “Stay With Me” and “Leave Your Lover” offer the same hopeless romanticism but against a (yet) but she’s written songs for every gloomy, soulful background. pop star from Beyonce to Britney Spears Smith’s chops are best exhibited on to Christina Aguilera, and offered vocals his acoustic version of “Latch,” in which to other hits like Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones.” he forgoes the electronic bells and whisHer newest solo effort, “Chandetles for a quiet piano track. With nothing else to focus on, the yearning in his voice lier” starts modestly enough with light, party-girl lyrics, but everything unhinges when Sia Sia Furler starts swinging from ceiling fixtures. She lets loose an operatic bellow that feels exhilarating and dangerous. It actually sounds like she might be a weeping mess when she belts out “feel my tears as they dry,” and she definitely sounds like someone holding on for dear life. If you hear incoherent screaming from a neighboring car at a stoplight, it might just be someone trying to sing this chorus. If you like this, try this: Beyonce Florence + The Machine – Dog Days are Over, Phantogram – Fall In Love

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Bleachers Jack Antonoff’s new project is an offshoot from the biggest rock band of the


Beyonce

past decade, fun. He still tours and plays guitar for the band, but with Bleachers he wants the freedom to write and play what he wants. Antonoff brings a less polished rock sound than fun.’s arena anthems (thanks again for “Some Nights,” a Crimson Tide favorite!), but his rough edges may break the glittery mold of current radio fare. The first taste of Bleacher’s debut album is “I Wanna Get Better.” Antanoff uses the song to sprint through erratic piano mashing and a dynamo of a guitar solo, cheesy 80s ballad crooning and angst-y punk howls. It’s a lot to take in, but in a school’s out, freedom-waving way that takes the “empowering pop” cli-

Robyn mate to a different plane. The lyrics can be read as an antithesis to the cartel of songs from Katy Perry and P!nk assuring target demos that “it gets better.” Antanoff puts the reins in the listener’s hands and takes them on a bumpy ride. If you like this, try this: MGMT – Your Life is a Lie, TV On The Radio – Will Do Beyonce There’s no hyperbole for Beyonce’s talent or power that hasn’t been explored, but damn if we don’t give it a try. The titan of pop, RnB and hip-hop, mother, entrepreneur and Time magazine’s most influential artist, reconstructed the way fans interact with the music industry by releasing her fifth album in the middle of the night with no promotion whatsoever. Right now she’s embarking on two monstrous tours, one with her husband, an older rapper from New York called Jay-Z. At some point, dominating radio became insignificant for Queen Bey, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility. “XO” is the love anthem from Be-

yonce’s self-titled album that seems poised for single promotion. The tender proclamation of marital bliss will undoubtedly soundtrack firework shows and wedding proposals for years to come with the heartfelt plea to “love me, lights out.” As ZZ Packer wrote for Newsweek, “It’s Beyonce’s world, and we’re just living in it.” If she wants to rule the airwaves too, she’ll get her way. If you like this, try this: Solange – Lovers in a Parking Lot, Janelle Monae – Primetime Robyn America’s appetite for dance music has become even more ravenous since Robyn released the excellent Body Talk in 2010. Could radio audiences be ready to launch the Swedish pop singer into the next strata of megastars? The recent crop of pop sensations have all been veterans to their niche genres before one song caught the attention of millions. Robin Thicke and John Legend were both pleasing the smooth RnB crowd for years before their hit singles caught on. Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk were both legends in their own right before they happened to collaborate on the biggest song of last year. Robyn’s newest single with production duo Royksopp is called “Do It Again,” and it checks every box of an undeniable pop tune without feeling like a corporate boardwritten Frankenstein. Shimmery synths and Devil-may-care lyrics may sound stale on paper, but Robyn dares you not to break out your Disco Point and dance along. If you like this, try this: The Knife – Heartbeats, La Roux – Let Me Down Gently

Blaine Duncan & the Lookers

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MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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

SILVER PALM // STAYING TRUE // A GOOD CABERNET pouring and the deep cherry aroma was noticeable from well over a foot away from the glass.  I sensed aromas of earth, tobacco and clove closer to the glass.  There was also a slightly noticeable sting of alcohol in the nose. To me, the Silver Palm’s taste was of pure Cabernet Sauvignon.  There was little else to get in the way and I found it very enjoyable.  Like many Cabernet wines it is a bit dry, but not in a bad way.  I called it “nothing but grape.” Very well balanced tannins were noticed all over the mouth.  Mouthfeel of Silver Palm Cabernet was soft and cottony. The wine’s finish was long with a slight hint of bitterness toward the end. Overall I found this to be a very enjoyable, well structured and smooth wine to drink.  It wasn’t overly complex, it just stayed true to being a good Cabernet with consistent flavor.  I described as “seamless” in my notes.  Recommend! See more of Jon Rogers' wine reviews at www.honestwinereviews.com

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W here to E at in T uscaloosa

BREAKFAST / DINNER

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 epiphanyfinedining.com 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 www.ta.travelcenters.com Breakfast 24 hours. Lunch and Dinner buffet. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 4800 Doris Pate Dr | Exit 76 // 562.8282 www.crackerbarrel.com 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 www.chipotle.com

This review is of Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from the North Coast of California, USA.  According to Silver Palm Wines the grapes for this varietal come only from the California North Coast, including Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties. This area is greatly influenced by cooler coastal air and ocean fog.  And as a result, the climate is perfect for cultivating the Cabernet Sauvignon grape.  Per the tasting notes, “2010 was a very cool growing year punctuated by two notable heat spikes, which ultimately benefited many of the vineyards.”  Also, the notes say that the overall quality of the fruit was very good and they called it a “European” vintage. Silver Palm’s winemaker is Matt Smith and he became the winemaker for Silver Palm in 2010. Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 is actually a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot. Alcohol content of Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon is 13.9% by volume according to the bottle. Price for Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon was $17.99. In appearance, this wine is very dark plum in color with a slightly garnet rim.  Hardly any light shines through.  The wine is leggy, but the legs are slow to develop.  Once they started, there were many and they took a long time to fall down the glass. Silver Palm Cabernet is very aromatic.  I noticed it immediately upon

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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

Silver Palm’s winemaker is Matt Smith

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 moes.com 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 | www.cypressinnrestaurant.com 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

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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 five-bar.com; 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. |killionrestaurants.com/kozys/ Twin 3700 6th St, Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa Country Club | 758-7528 | http://twinpowersactivate.com 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. www.depalmascafe.com 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. www.mellowmushroom.com Mr. G’s 908 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 339-8505 Olive Garden 2100 McFarland Blvd E // 750-0321 Open daily from 11 a.m. www.olivegarden.com

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.


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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. www.chickensaladchick.com Chili’s 1030 Skyland Blvd | Near McFarland Mall // 750.8881 Fax: 758.7715 // www.chilis.com Dave’s Dogs 1701 McFarland Blvd E | University Mall // 722.2800 Five Guys Burgers & Fries 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 391.0575 www.fiveguys.com 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 www.hooters.com 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. www.mugshotsgrillandbar.com

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 www.mugshotsgrillandbar.com Newk’s Express Cafe 205 University Blvd. East // 758.2455 Fax: 758.2470 // www.newkscafe.com 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 www.ocharleys.com Panera Bread 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 366.8780 www.panerabread.com Piccadilly Cafeteria 1701 McFarland Blvd E | University Mall // 556.4960 www.piccadilly.com Quick Grill 1208 University Blvd | The Strip // 342.0022 www.bamaquickgrill.com 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 www.rubytuesdays.com 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 |www.ttowncafe.co 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! www.wingsu.com 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: thepotterygrill.com 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

SEAFOOD

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

"GOOD LORD, IS THIS BOOZE?" // FASCIST PIG ALE I’ ve been at home for a majority of the day today, finishing projects I had out for freelance work and what not, so I decided to kick back, watch some Miami Vice and have a beer. Out of my sixer, I chose the only full pint can I picked up at the store, because, hey, I’m celebrating. Today, I’m drinking the Fascist Pig Ale from Finch’s Beer Company. I had never heard of this beer before, and to be honest, the only reason I got it was because Kayla, my fiancé, said the can was “cute.” I will admit, the can is pretty cool, but aside from that, I was a little skeptical about a beer I had never heard of or one that didn’t even a style labeling on it. Against my concerns, I went ahead and purchased the beer. This beer pours a deep, I mean deep, red with a thin light brown head; maybe half a finger width. There are some strong aromas coming off of this bad boy in the way of caramel, toffee and chocolate, but the toffee being the most prominent and in your face. It’s also pretty malty as well, but you can also pick up some rye too. It’s a really strong aroma, but it smells really good. The taste is really nice, but strong. Upon first taste, you get a lot of sweetness of caramel and some rye, but those soon fade as the flavors progress. The rye gets a little stronger and the caramel starts to decrease, but the hops are continuously stronger on your tongue as you drink. There is a citrus flavor that the hops produce, but those are soon lost and flavors like pine and earthy hops start to be more in play than anything else. As it finishes, the flavors seem to “wrap up,” but there is a nice bitter, yet moderately sweet flavor, resting on your tongue. Another thing you really taste is the alcohol, and really strong. The beer is 8% and there is no hiding that level in this beer. As soon as I tasted it for the first time, I said, “Good lord, is this booze?” So, if you’re not a fan of high alcohol content beers that have a strong alcohol flavor, turn away now. The mouthfeel is much different from any Red Ale I’ve ever had. There is a creaminess quality that is really strong all the way throughout, and there is a velvety quality that allows the beer to rest on your tongue quite nicely. I’m used to most Red Ales having a lot of carbonation and being extremely bubbly, but this was a nice change of pace. The beer was extremely thick, as I mentioned before, and, oddly enough, had a similar mouthfeel as a Double IPA in some aspects. I would definitely drink this beer again just for the feel and taste of it.

Overall, this beer is very good, if you like Red Ales. It was a different take on what I am used to when it comes to the style, but still has some aspects that remind you what you’re drinking. I enjoyed the lasting after taste and the sweetness that was really prevalent in this beer. I hope to be able to try other things from Finch’s Beer in the near future if they’re all as good as this.

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MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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>>> RESTAURANT REVIEW | C I N D Y H U G G I N S

THE BLUE PLATE // SOUTHERN HOME COOKIN' GOOD TO THE LAST BITE // YET...

>>> RESTAURANTS |

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

B lue plate diners and cafés have been known for producing low-cost meat-and-threes since the early 1920s. We've all heard of “the blue plate special.” Maybe not, since the tradition of serving fast food on a blue plate has ceased, or has it? Bringing a little history and southern diner charm to town is The Blue Plate restaurant. Locals will recognize the location as the spot of the former Northport Diner. After the closing of Northport Diner in 2013, new owner Chris Bradshaw decided to bring in The Blue Plate. Bradshaw also runs two Blue Plate restaurants in Dothan, Alabama. Though there is a new name on the sign, nothing much has changed. The Blue Plate offers a casual dining experience fit for the family. The menu still offers a nice variety of traditional southern meals. Fortunately, these meals are good, yet the same cannot be said about my overall dining experience. Ambience was a problem for me. Dingy, worn black and white checkered floors lead customers to a large dining area with diner-appropriate booths and tables. Bold blue, red, and yellow paint accent the walls. Art is limited, although, one wall possesses a grand arrangement of blue plates. Undoubtedly, this is a family place with the noise of conversation and babies crying. The tired atmosphere and loud crowd left me hesitating to order. The waitress, dressed in blue jeans and t-shirt, approached the table with laminated menus. The menu stays true to the blue plate tradition offering meat and vegetables with appetizers and dessert. While glancing over the options it was hard to find something that sounded appealing. The menu appeared boring and lacked originality. Reluctantly, I ordered “the local favorite,” country fried steak. Before our meal came a basket of stale cornbread and tiny biscuits were severed. My hopes of a good home-cooked meal was slowly slipping away. On a positive note, meals were prompt. Remarkably, the country fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy,

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and turnip greens looked extremely appetizing. Perhaps, it was the blue plate it was served on? Portions were adequate, with the steak filling half of the plate. Thick, white peppered gravy smothered the crispy country fried steak. It is important to point out the gravy. Southerners are picky about their gravy and have good reason to be. Nothing ruins a meal quicker than watery gravy soaking the plate. Viscosity is key! The first bite was savory and tantalizing. The steak was seasoned and fried beautifully rendering a golden brown color. Each bite was a nice balance of creamy and crunchy. But, the last bite is always my favorite. My goal is to create the perfect bite. I stab the last bit of steak and gravy with my fork and scrape up the remaining mashed potatoes and turnips. Simply delicious and satisfying. Ending the meal was a bowl of home-made banana pudding. Truly, home-made creamy pudding with vanilla wafers, topped with a touch of cream. This shared dessert was gone within a matter of minutes. In the end, I did enjoy my meal. However, I was unimpressed with the tired atmosphere, noise level, and fast-paced servers. Pricing is fair with entrees ranging from $4.99 and up. They offer dine-in, carry-out, or drive-thru. If you want to skip the dining experience, you can order to-go and just enjoy the delicious food. Let us know what you think about The Blue Plate. Tweet us @ThePlanetWeekly. The Blue Plate is located at 450 McFarland Blvd., next door to Sportsman's Outfitters. Hours of operation are Monday-Sunday 10:30 am — 8:30 pm. Cindy Huggins is a registered dietitian nutritionist. Follow her on Twitter @DietitianCindy.

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.

1306 University Blvd | The Strip // 759.1004

DELICATESSEN Honeybaked Ham Company 421 15th St. E // 345.5508 www.honeybaked.com Jason’s Deli 2300 McFarland Blvd // 752.6192 Fax: 752.6193 // www.jasonsdeli.com 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. www.jimmyjohns.com 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 www.mcalistersdeli.com Momma Goldberg’s Deli 409 23rd Ave // 345.5501 www.mommagoldbergs.com Newk's 205 University Blvd E | Tuscaloosa // 758.2455 Schlotsky’s Deli 405 15th St. E // 759.1975 schlotskys.com Which Wich University Blvd.// Downtown Tuscaloosa // Mon – Sat 10:30 – 9 // Sunday 11 – 7 // Fun atmosphere,fresh ingredients, great sandwiches. 764.1673

COFFEE SHOP

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

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

ASIAN CUISINE

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. thecrimsoncafe.com

Ruan Thai 1407 University Blvd // 391.9973 ruanthaituscaloosa.com 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. www.surinofthailand.com

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 // www.lennys.com Little Caesars Pizza 1414 10th Ave // 366.2220 www.littlecaesars.com Little Italy 1130 University Blvd. // 345.4354 Mellow Mushroom 2230 University Blvd | Downtown Tuscaloosa // 758.0112 Subs n' You 2427 University Blvd. | Tuscaloosa // 205.758.0088 Roly Poly Sandwiches 2300 4th Street | Tuscaloosa // 366.1222 The Pita Pit 1207 University Blvd | The Strip // 345.9606 Hours: Mon–Sat 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. | Sun 11:30 a.m. - midnight Pizza Palace Buffet 6521 Alabama 69 Tuscaloosa, AL 35405 752.5444 Tut’s Place

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 www.krispykreme.com Starbucks (2 locations) 1800 McFarland Blvd E | Midtown Village // 343.2468 1901 13th Ave East | inside Super Target // 462.1064 starbucks.com

DESSERTS Celebrations Bakery, Inc. 1832 McFarland Blvd N | Northport // 339.3221 Fax: 349.1945 Cold Stone Creamery 1130 University Blvd. | Tuscaloosa //343.1670 www.coldstonecreamery.com 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 www.maryscakesandpastries.com 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

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

"GODZILLA – 2014" // THIS CREATURE IS TREATED WITH RESPECT «««

Believe it or not, although the Japanese made their landmark monster movie “Godzilla” in 1954, Hollywood beat them to the punch with “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.” Adapted from a Ray Bradbury short story published in “The Saturday Evening Post” magazine, “Beast” concerned a prodigious prehistoric amphibian awakened from hibernation by atomic bomb blasts. Wasting no time, the scaly leviathan wended its way to New York City where it wrecked havoc on a heretofore unparalleled scale. Even before “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,” Hollywood had made a 1925 silent-era movie “The Lost World” where a dinosaur on the loose rampaged through London. Anyway, about a year after “Beast” came out, the Japanese released “Gojira,” and the Toho Company went on to exploit its radioactive creature for every cent it was worth. Godzilla stomped Tokyo to smithereens, and the film proved so profitable that Hollywood reedited it to accommodate American actors and changed the title from “Gojira” to “Godzilla.” Afterward, Hollywood entrusted the gigantic monster genre to the Japanese. Meantime, Toho has churned out at least 28 Godzilla epics over a 60 year period and coined millions at the box office with their man in a rubber suit. Eventually, rival Japanese studios produced Godzilla knock-offs; the chief example was the titanic turtle “Gamera” that breathed fire. In 1998, “Independence Day” direc-

tor Roland Emmerich helmed the first American “Godzilla,” but it took too many liberties with the Toho legend. First, Big G lost his incendiary breath. Second, Big G resembled a Komodo dragon. Emmerich and co-scenarist Dean Devlin rewrote Godzilla’s origins. Comparably, “Godzilla” (1998) sold only half as many tickets during its opening weekend as “Monster” director Gareth Edwards’ ambitious, second American reboot of Big G. Unlike Emmerich’s “Godzilla” that synthesized spectacle and slapstick, Edwards and “Seventh Son” scenarist Max Borenstein have shunned humor in favor of catastrophe. The new “Godzilla” doesn’t embroil lame-brained amateurs, but grim-faced scientific and military types. Indeed, this “Godzilla” treats the Toho icon with genuine respect and dignity. This time around Godzilla isn’t searching for someplace to lay its eggs. Instead, Big G has embarked on its own crusade to defend mankind and thwart a couple of nuclear-age behemoths that want to lay their eggs in San Francisco. Ironically, Big G wins the battle of the monsters, but he doesn’t garner as much stomp time as he did in Emmerich’s “Godzilla.” You’ll have to wait patiently about an hour for Big G to show up. Nevertheless, Godzilla makes a dramatic entrance, and he dominates the action for the last half-hour. Edwards’ straightforward version of “Godzilla” eclipses

Emmerich’s comic version. Most of the amusing “Godzilla” movies from the 1960s & 1970s pitted Big G against two enemies, and the new “Godzilla” adopts the scenario of the outnumbered hero. The battle scenes between Godzilla and the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) are thoroughly invigorating. Unfortunately, the two biggest drawbacks to Edwards’ largely entertaining “Godzilla” are its dreary, one-dimensional humans who clutter up the action and the bland MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) monsters that resemble gargantuan mosquitoes that walk on their knuckles like gorillas. A cast of familiar faces cannot compensate for their sketchy characters. Mankind isn’t half as interesting as Godzilla, especially when he tangles with the MUTOs in a world class smackdown brawl. Ironically, Big G appears to get the short shrift. “Godzilla” isn’t so much about the monsters as the spectacular collateral damage that Godzilla and two airborne giants wreck on mankind. The destruction, or perhaps urban renewal, matches the wholesale mayhem of the “Transformers” trilogy and Marvel’s “The Avengers.” Traditionally, filmmakers have employed Godzilla as allegory for the appalling consequences mankind has paid for tampering with our environment. Essentially, Godzilla has always been the cultural embodiment of global warming. The action unfolds in 1954 when the military detonates atomic devices at the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in a futile effort to destroy Godzilla. We catch a glimpse of Big-G’s heavily spiked back emerging from the depths as the explosions erupt. Later, a nuclear power plant in Japan collapses, and the radioactive ruins become the equivalent of Area 51. Janjira Plant Supervisor Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston of “Drive”) watches in horror as his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche of “The English Patient”) dies when the reactor blows up. Afterward, the government quarantines the collapsed plant, but Brody suspects the government is orchestrating a cover-up. Meantime, Joe's son Ford (Aaron Taylor-

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Johnson of “Savages”) grows up, joins the Navy, and specializes in explosive ordnance disposal. He marries Elle (Elizabeth Olsen of “Oldboy”) who is nurse in San Francisco. Naturally, they have a son Sam (Carson Bolde). Fifteen years after the Janjira disaster, Joe hasn’t recanted his crazy theories about a cover-up. The authorities arrest him for trespassing in his old home in the quarantine zone. They escort him to meet two scientists, Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Graham (Sally Hawkins), who have established a secret facility within the Janjira ruins. All hell breaks loose a second time, and a colossal, winged reptile materializes. Clearly, the last thing director Gareth Edwards wanted for us to do is snicker at his “Godzilla” reboot. Not only does he want us to take Godzilla seriously as a monster, but he also wants us to take the movie “Godzilla” seriously. This new “Godzilla” shares little in common with the-man-in-a-rubbersuit “Godzilla” franchise. If you haven’t seen either “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” (1994) or “Godzilla vs. Megalon” (1973), you haven’t seen some of the vintage “Godzilla” entries that challenge your suspension of disbelief. Edwards draws on Steven Spielberg’s classic “Jaws” as a template for both the presentation and the pacing of this impressive, beautifully lensed, two hour plus CGI monstrosity. Like the 1998 “Godzilla,” the new “Godzilla” rewrites the creature’s origins. Despite the outlandish sci-fi fantasy elements, the visual effects make everything appear believable. The spectacle of destruction in Japan, Hawaii, Las Vegas and San Francisco is stunning. Altogether, Edward’s “Godzilla” breathes new fire into a old franchise.

BACKROAD ANTHEM

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MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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>>> L E I S U R E | J U DA H M A R T I N

Photos: Judah Martin

GETTING BETTER WITH AGE // WITH WEST ALABAMA MOUNTAIN BIKING ASSOCIATION

Michael Cornwell Michael Cornwell doesn't spend much time being idle, and he has the scars to prove it. Now 70, he has devoted most of his life to pursuing whatever form of excitement comes his way. After graduating from college in 1966, he bought his first Corvette Stingray and crashed it just a few months later. So he saved up and bought another and shipped it with him on a trip to Germany, where he eventually wrecked it as well. The second accident wasn't his fault, he contends, but it was clear that he wasn't going to have any luck with sports cars. Years later in the mid-90s, a friend invited him to Oak Mountain State Park in Birmingham, Ala., to accompany him on a mountain biking trip. Although Cornwell had never even rode a mountain bike at the time, he was still an outdoorsman. In fact, he had spent much of his leisure time over the past twenty years since returning from Vietnam white water kayaking. When his friend lent him his mountain bike, though, he was smitten with the sport. Almost immediately, he went out and bought one for himself.

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That was 19 years, two bikes and a heck of a lot of scars ago, now. “I have fallen; you’re going to fall if you ride,” he said, pointing to a fresh gash on his right cheek. He had earned the stripe the previous Friday while riding along “Death by Concrete,” one of Tuscaloosa’s more difficult trails, and one of Cornwell's favorites. “I was on that concrete skinny and I didn’t have the line and I needed to stop, but it’s got this piece of the concrete where it goes down and I said ‘I’m gonna make it,’” he recounted, grinning widely as he gestured with his hands. “I kept going and forcing [the bike] to go. There was a little tree and I kind of fell over, somehow, and hit my face.” Don’t let that little mishap fool you, though. Cornwell has spent a lot of time biking, especially after joining the West Alabama Mountain Biking Association, based in Tuscaloosa. In recent years, Cornwell has travelled often to races and competitions in places like North Carolina and Colorado. He's especially proud to have competed in Utah, considered by many to be the nation's mountain biking

capitol. "I enjoy [competing] but, at my age, I'm really just riding for fun," he said. He laughed almost incredulously as he exclaimed that "there’s nobody in my age bracket to compete with! They put me with the guys who are 65 and older, or maybe 60 and older. You know, there’s a big difference between 60 and 70.” Although he conceded that he thinks he’s too old for speed now, he still likes to challenge himself. “Actually, I have become… no, I am still becoming a better technical rider,” Cornwell said. “Like controlling or hitting a line like on that concrete skinny, or riding a narrow rock thing where you’ve got to stay in a certain line like on the one we’ve got down here called ‘roots of death.’ When it comes to that kind of technical riding, I’ve gotten better with age.” He said his biking equipment has improved with the years, too. He’s especially proud of his newest bicycle that he purchased from a factory in 2011. “I won’t tell you how much it cost, other than that it cost $600 more than my first Corvette Stingray,” he said. Judging by the way he proudly eyed the bike, using one hand to balance it by holding the handlebars and the other to point out its features, it must have cost a pretty penny indeed. Pivot mountain bikes, a brand that Cornwell described as a “regarded manufacturer,” don’t usually come cheap, especially not when they’ve got as much stuff as his. He pointed to the front and rear shocks that provide the bike’s dual suspension, and then to its 29-inch wheels. “For years and years the standard mountain bike only had 26 inch wheels,” he explained. As he peered down at the wheels he remembered the two scars on

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his right thigh. “Oh, I forgot about these,” he said, grinning again as he lifted up the leg of his shorts. “I got these two standing still. I was straddling a bike out in Lurleen and I reached down to pick up a limb and throw it off and somehow the bike twisted and I was straddling the bar and it went over, then the pedal came back and gouged it.” Most of his wounds he’s gotten weren’t nearly as bad as they looked, he said. So far he hasn’t broken anything. He doesn’t try any of the really dangerous stunts he’s seen in Youtube videos, like riding along the edges of fences or using the rear wheel to hop on top of cars. He described such stunts as “a different type of riding.” When he isn’t competing, he enjoys biking with his friends at WAMBA events. One of the organization’s key objectives is to restore and maintain biking trails in Tuscaloosa. Cornwell volunteered to be trail coordinator for the organization and, now that he’s semi-retired, he spends time each week helping to clear the WAMBA trails in Munny Sokol Park and Lake Lurleen State Park. Many of the trails are purposed for a relaxing, beginner level ride. Still, other trails like “Death by Concrete” and “Storm Loop” provide a bit more adventure. “We still have trails where you’ve got to be constantly making sharp turns,”


Nate Taylor

Cornwell said. “That teaches you how to ride well. You don’t want a bunch of open trails where you might as well be riding out on the street.” Luckily, you don't have to be much of a daredevil to have a good time with WAMBA, although that does seem to help. “The rule of thumb is we don’t ask anybody to do anything they’re uncomfortable

with,” said Michael Hayes, 57, who serves as beginning ride coordinator for WAMBA. “The first thing we try to do with a newbie is teach them the new trails. A lot of times we’ll start them off doing dirt trails and then we’ll build up their confidence.” Anyone can join WAMBA for their beginner rides in Munny Sokol Park at 5:45 on Monday afternoons. Often, veteran bikers like Nate Taylor, 45, invite their friends and family to the rides. Taylor described the rides as therapeutic. When he lost his home in the tornado that struck Tuscaloosa in 2011, Taylor would convince his two sons, now 19 and 21, to take their minds off of the stress by riding with him on some of WAMBA’s more laidback trails. “When you’re riding you can’t think about nothing but the trail,” Taylor said. Though his voiced seemed characteristically monotone, a smile began to color his face. “If you take your mind of the trail you’ll be eating a dirt cupcake.” Like Taylor, Cornwell has also passed the baton to his kids. With a smile on his face, he reminisced on white water kayaking with his son, now 41, and later watching as he quickly learned all of the mountain biking techniques his father enjoyed. “He’s the younger version of his dad,” Cornwell bragged. “He’s a natural athlete, he can outride me—of course, he should.”

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MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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>>> EVENTS CALENDAR |

THE SOUTHEAST'S LARGEST

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

FRIDAY, MAY 30

West Alabama Dance WHEN: 6:45 p.m COST: $5 WHERE: Northport Community Center PHONE: 562.3220 LINK: http://www.tcpara.org/ DESCRIPTION: Enjoy country dancing to the tunes of “The Echos.”

SATURDAY, MAY 31

Story Time at the Owl Tree WHEN: 2:30 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: www.chomonline.org DESCRIPTION: The event is available for children of all ages.

SUNDAY, JUNE 1

Circlewood Baptist Church 4th Annual Biker Day WHEN: 9:30 a.m. COST: Free WHERE: Circlewood Baptist Church PHONE: 344.1897 LINK: http://www.circlewood.org/ DESCRIPTION: All motor cycle riders are invited to join the church for breakfast, worship and lunch. 5th Street Vintage Market WHEN: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. COST: Free Admission WHERE: 4150 5th Street, Northport, Ala. PHONE: 345.4763 LINK: 5thstreetvintagemarket.com/ DESCRIPTION: 5th Street Vintage Market is West Alabama's only all vintage day market. 5th Street Vintage Market brings a one of a kind shopping experience to the area featuring dozens of dealers from the region who specialize in vintage clothing, furnishings and vinyl records. Concessions on site

MONDAY, JUNE 2

West Alabama Mountain Biking Association Weekly Beginner’s Ride WHEN: 5:45 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Monny Sokal Park PHONE: 562.3220 LINK: http://www.wambarides.org/ 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.

TUESDAY, JUNE 3

WII for All WHEN: 3:30 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Tuscaloosa Public Library, Brown Branch PHONE: 391.9989 LINK: tuscaloosa-library.org/ DESCRIPTION: Young children as well as teenagers are invited to spend the

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afternoon playing Wii video games in the Children’s Books section of the Brown Branch of the Tuscaloosa Public Library.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4

Preschool Story Time WHEN: 10 a.m. WHERE: Tuscaloosa Public Library, Brown Branch PHONE: 391.9989 LINK: tuscaloosa-library.org/ DESCRIPTION: Preschool Story Time consists of stories, songs, activities, and crafts.

THURSDAY, JUNE 5

Kentuck Art Night WHEN: 5 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: 503 Main Avenue, Northport PHONE: 758.1257 LINK: kentuck.org/ DESCRIPTION: Local galleries and their artists are featured in an “open house” atmosphere. Patrons can visit galleries in any order which is convenient, but are encouraged to visit all to take advantage of what is offered.

FRIDAY, JUNE 6

“Seven Deadly Sins” WHEN: 5 p.m. WHERE: Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center PHONE: 758.5195 LINK: //tuscarts.org/ DESCRIPTION: The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa will host a presentation of work by Yvonne Wells, a self-taught quilting artist and retired teacher. A CAC will also feature a poetry reading at 7 p.m. The display, titled “Seven Deadly Sins,” will be available until June 27. West Alabama Dance WHEN: 6:45 p.m COST: $5 WHERE: Northport Community Center PHONE: 562.3220 LINK: tcpara.org/ DESCRIPTION: Enjoy country dancing to the tunes of “The Echos.”

SATURDAY, JUNE 7

Alta Marea Spin Clinic WHEN: 8 a.m. COST: $25 WHERE: PARA, Bobby Miller Center PHONE: 758.0419 LINK: tcpara.org/ DESCRIPTION: The camp is open to anyone interested in color guard and flag guard and offers the opportunity to learn spinning techniques from experts. Lunch will be provided. Handmade June Jam WHEN: 9 a.m. COST: Free Admission WHERE: Northport Civic Center PHONE: 333.3006 LINK: findfestival.com/northport/2014/handmade-june-jam/ DESCRIPTION: Buy and sell handcrafted goods to promote literacy and justice for the Books to Prison Project. Vendors are asked to make a suggested donation of $25.

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

TERRIFIC COMPANIONS // FRANCOIS , SARA, AND HANK Bonjour, Francois! This short-haired male Tuxedo cat is Francois. He is roughly one year old and is very loving and affectionate; he loves to cuddle, rub against things, purr and to have his belly rubbed. Francois is always the center of attention and would make a great lap kitty! He also has a fun side and loves to be silly. Francois is negative for FIV and FeLK, current on vaccinations and neutered. If you are interested in giving Francois the forever home he wants and deserves, visit the Humane Society of West Alabama at: humanesocietyofwa. org or call us at 554-0011.

dashing

Meet Sara, female “Bagel” mix with the typical long body and short legs of a Basset Hound and the head of a Beagle! A one-to two-year-old, Sara has a smooth, shiny black coat with white markings on her chest and feet. She is medium in size, weighing about 28 pounds in full adulthood. She is a very friendly, fun-loving and social dog who loves to be around people! She is energetic but also able to settle down. She would be a great pet for children 10 years and older. She is fine with other calm dogs but would also be a great only pet. Being a scent hound, she will require a fenced yard. Sara is up to date on her vet care, spayed, heartworm negative and micro chipped. She is on heartworm and flea/tick prevention and has started her crate training. If you are interested in giving Sara the forever home she wants and deserves, visit the West Alabama Humane Society at humanesocietyofwa.org or call us at 554-0011. This dashing little guy is Hank, a nine-week-old male long-haired Tuxedo kitten with cute wispy fluff on his legs! Hank is a friendly and very energetic little kitten who loves to play with toys and his human companions! Being a kitten, he can be a little rough and energetic so he might not be the best companion for an older cat and, due to his age and petite size, he will not be adopted out to a home with children under age of 12. Hank is very small and still at a critical age in his development, so pet ownership experience is a must! He'll need a watchful eye and can't be left alone for several hours during the day. We do not recommend Hank to be around dogs until he is a few months older. Hank is negative for FIV and FeLK and current on his first round of vaccinations; the next and final round for the year (including the Rabies vaccine) is due three weeks after the previous round. Since he is underage for a spay/neuter surgery, adoption requires an additional refundable spay/neuter deposit to reinforce State requirements for all adopted pets to be fixed by age of maturity. If you are interested in giving Hank the forever home he wants and deserves, visit the West Alabama Humane Society at humanesocietyofwa.org or call us at 554-0011.

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>>> T H E A R T S | K E V I N L E D G E W O O D

QUILTS // RENOWNED SELFTAUGHT ARTIST YVONNE WELLS

>>> EVENTS CALENDAR | Water Safety Fun Day WHEN: 10 a.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 DESCRIPTION: Children are invited to meet Buddy the Beaver and his U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger friends, make a boat craft and play water safety bingo.

MONDAY, JUNE 9

West Alabama Mountain Biking Association Weekly Beginner’s Ride WHEN: 5:45 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Monny Sokal Park PHONE: 562.3220 LINK: ambarides.org/ 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. The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa will host a presentation of work by quilter and artist Yvonne Wells at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. The exhibit, titled "Seven Deadly Sins," will open with a reception on June 6, 2014 from 5 – 8 p.m. during First Friday and will conclude on June 27. A poetry reading will also take place from 7 – 8 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. The exhibit is the compilation of seven quilts created by Wells from 2004 - 2006, all within the same theme. “I had heard about the Seven Deadly Sins for many years, but I wanted to do my own interpretation of each in an identifiable presentation,” stated Wells. Yvonne Wells is a self-taught artist and retired physical education teacher, having taught in the Tuscaloosa public schools for most of her adult life. In 1979, during a major renovation of her home, she decided to make her first quilt. With knowledge of how her mother, many years before, made utility quilts, she made her simple pieced quilt. The experience inspired her to create story and picture quilts that expressed the messages in her heart. Wells refers to herself an artist who makes folk art and her medium is the quilt. She is now famous for her signature picture quilts, which often include Biblical and civil rights themes. The artist sells her quilts at festivals and in galleries. Almost all of her work is displayed on a wall instead of lying across a bed. Her style has attracted attention far beyond Tuscaloosa, and in recent years her work has been featured in traveling exhibits at museums all over the country. Six of her quilts are now part of the permanent collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Nebraska. Wells has exhibited her work at Northport's Kentuck Festival of the Arts

for almost thirty years and has received numerous awards, including Best in Show. Inspired by the talent the venue's namesake generously shared, Ms. Wells created a Dinah Washington quilt and donated it to the Cultural Arts Center. In addition to the quilt exhibit, the CAC will also feature a poetry reading in the Black Box Theatre from 7 – 8 p.m. The featured writers will be Jessica Fordham Kidd from Coker, Ala.; Holly Burdoff and P.J. Williams, both pursuing the Master of Fine Arts in Poetry at The University of Alabama; and Brian Oliu, Instructor in the Department of English at The University of Alabama. The Arts Council Gallery hours are 9 – noon and 1 - 4 p.m. on weekdays and noon – 8 p.m. on First Fridays. The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is located at 620 Greensboro Avenue in Downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information about the CAC, Call 758.5195 or visit tuscarts.org for further information.

TUESDAY, JUNE 10

WII for All WHEN: 3:30 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Tuscaloosa Public Library, Brown Branch PHONE: 391.9989 LINK: tuscaloosa-library.org/ DESCRIPTION: Young children as well as teenagers are invited to spend the

THE SOUTHEAST'S LARGEST afternoon playing Wii video games in the Children’s Books section of the Brown Branch of the Tuscaloosa Public Library

THURSDAY, May 12

Hilton Garden Inn Re-launch Party WHEN: 5 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Hilton Garden Inn PHONE: 722.0360 LINK: visittuscaloosa.com/visitors/calendar-of-events/ DESCRIPTION: To celebrate recent renovations, the Hilton Garden Inn is hosting a party with treats, beverages and live entertainment from Buddy Gray Entertainment. Sundown Lecture Series WHEN: 5:15 p.m. COST: Free WHERE: Jemison Van de Graaff Mansion PHONE: 758.6138 LINK: historictuscaloosa.org/ DESCRIPTION: A new edition of The Journal of Sarah Haynsworth Gayle, wife of early Alabama governor John Gayle, will be the lecture’s topic. This new edition of the journal, edited in part by Dr. Sarah Wiggins, professor emerita of history at the University of Alabama and the lecture’s speaker, reveals new information about Gayle’s economic hardships and opium use. PUBLICIZE YOUR EVENT. CONTACT

planeteditor@yahoo.com

The Dinah Washington Quilt

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

MAY 29 + JUNE 12

17


>>> ROAD TRIP | SOUT H E AST E R N CONC E R TS AN D E V E NTS

THE KILLS / NUNS // NASHVILLE // MAY 30

THURSDAY, MAY 29

WAKA FLOCKA FLAME // BIRMINGHAM // MAY 31

MORRISSEY // ATLANTA

HUNTSVILLE Payton Taylor, Celtic Cup Coffee House Shawna P, The Brick Deli and Tavern

MONTGOMERY Derek Sellers, Mellow Mushroom The Ben Sutton Band, Maestro 2300

NEW ORLEANS Peter Murphy, One Eyed Jacks

HUNTSVILLE Psychedelic Circus, NSS Building ATLANTA Lucinda Williams, Variety Playhouse Between the Buried and Me, The Masquerade

NASHVILLE Manchester Orchestra, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom

SUNDAY, JUNE 1

MONTGOMERY Big Al and the Heavyweights, Capitol Oyster Bar

NASHVILLE Aziz Ansari, Andrew Jackson Hall The 1975, Marathon Music Works

NEW ORLEANS The 1975 w/Bad Suns, House of Blues

FRIDAY, MAY 30

MONDAY, JUNE 2

BIRMINGHAM Flow Tribe, Zydeco Turbo Fruits, Bottletree Café

NASHVILLE Darius Rucker, Wildhorse Saloon

HUNTSVILLE Milele Roots, Humphrey’s

ATLANTA Jack Johnson, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park NEW ORLEANS Jack White, Saenger Theatre Vintage Trouble, House of Blues

ATLANTA Journey and Steve Miller Band, Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood Manchester Orchestra, Tabernacle

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4

NASHVILLE Marty Stuart, Ryman Auditorium

NEW ORLEANS Borgore, Republic of New Orleans Colin Jost, The Civic Theater Vinyl Tap, Howlin’ Wolf

BIRMINGHAM Infected Mushroom, Iron City Animals As Leaders, Zydeco

saturday, MAY 31

MONTOGMERY James Gregory, Montgomery Performing Arts Center Dr. Ralph Stanley, Bluegrass On the Plains Rollin’ in the Hay, 1048 Jazz and Blues Stephen Paul Bray, Rick and Mo’s ATLANTA Needtobreathe, Tabernacle Third Day and Friends, The Arena at Gwinnett Center

NEW ORLEANS Max Gomez and Nikki Lane, House of Blues Swearin’ with Potty Mouth and Pope, Gasa Gasa

MONTGOMERY Nephew Tommy, Montgomery Performing Arts Center BIRMINGHAM Sister Hazel, Iron City Earphunk and Festival Expressions, Zydeco ATLANTA Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Masquerade NEW ORLEANS Bruno Mars, New Orleans Arena Feedback Revival, Howlin’ Wolf Grant Watts and the Old Family, One Eyed Jacks

STEVE MARTIN // BIRMINGHAM

// JUNE 8

ATLANTA Cut Copy, Variety Playhouse

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 11

BIRMINGHAM Bruno Mars, BJCC Murder Junkies, Zydeco

FRIDAY, JUNE 13

SUNDAY, JUNE 8

NEW ORLEANS Orgone, Maison De Musique

NASHVILLE An Evening With Failure, Exit In

HUNTSVILLE Martina McBride, Von Braun Concert Hall

THURSDAY, JUNE 5

MONDAY, JUNE 9

ATLANTA Tracey Morgan, Tabernacle

NASHVILLE Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Ryman Auditorium

BIRMINGHAM Steve Martin, Alys Stephens Center

NASHVILLE Melanie Martinez, High Watt

TUESDAY, JUNE 10

MONTGOMERY Tony Brook, Montgomery Performing Arts Center

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 thehangout1.com

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 29 + JUNE 12

// JUNE 7

ATLANTA Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Atlanta Botanical Garden Chrisette Michele & Chico DeBarge, 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.

18

BRUNO MARS // NEW ORLEANS

HUNTSVILLE Debbie Bond and the Trudats, Kaffeeklatsch Bar

ATLANTA Morrissey, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

BIRMINGHAM Waka Flocka Flame, Zydeco

FRIDAY, JUNE 6

BIRMINGHAM Zac Brown Band, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre Magic City Brewfest, Sloss Furnaces The Park Band, Zydeco

SATURDAY, JUNE 7

TUESDAY, JUNE 3

NASHVILLE The Kills / plus Nuns, Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom Jared Logan, High Watt

BIRMINGHAM Jamey Johnson, Iron City

NASHVILLE Conor Oberst, Ryman Auditorium The Outlaw Project, Wildhorse Saloon

NEW ORLEANS Heavenly Beat, Hi-Ho Lounge

MONTGOMERY DJ G-Rivers, Blue Iguana

// JUNE 4

Pop Evil, Mercy Lounge/ Cannery Ballroom

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

>>> VISIT US ON THE WEB @ THEPLANETWEEKLY.COM

SATURDAY, JUNE 14

TO HAVE YOUR VENUE AND EVENTS LISTED FREE, PLEASE EMAIL PLANETEDITOR@YAHOO.COM TO BE INCLUDED IN THE NEXT ISSUE.


>>> LOCAL MUSIC | WHO'S PLAYING AROUND TOWN

AXE TO GRIND // ROUNDERS

// MAY 31

THURSDAY MAY 29

WAKA FLOCKA FLAME // JUPITER

// JUNE 7

BLOODY DIAMONDS // GREEN BAR // JUNE 6

THE BELLFURIES // GREEN BAR

// JUNE 12

Cash Thrasher, Rounders Rarmers Daughter, Rhythm & Brews

Snazz/crawfish eating contest, Rhythm & Brews Tequila Mockingbird, Innisfree Wyatt Edmundson Duo, Green Bar Rob Wright, Rounders

Open Mic with Ham Bagby, Green Bar

FRIDAY, MAY 30

THURSDAY, JUNE 12

The Sharrows, Green Bar Elijah Butler Band, Innisfree Nick Snow, Rounders Snazz, Rhythm & Brews

WEDNESDAY JUNE 11

Trig Country, Rhythm & Brews Soul Tide, Innisfree Nick Snow Duo, Rounders The Bellfuries, Green Bar

SATURDAY, MAY 31

Axe to Grind, Rounders Axe to Grind, Innisfree The Doctors & The Lawyers, Green Bar Mojo Trio, Rhythm & Brews

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4

Open Mic with Ham Bagby, Green Bar

THURSDAY, JUNE 5

ROUNDERS 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY URI, Innisfree Benjamin Hoefling, Green Bar Gentleman Zero, Rhythm & Brews

FRIDAY, JUNE 6

Jason Miller, Rhythm & Brews Bloody Diamonds, Manchino, Green Bar

STORY ON PAGE 27

SATURDAY, JUNE 7

The Bonnaires, Downright, Green Bar The Heritage Band, Innisfree Waka Flocka Flame, Jupiter

>>> 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

>>> VISIT US ON THE WEB @ THEPLANETWEEKLY.COM

MAY 29 + JUNE 12

19


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

ROY KRAMER AND ALABAMA FOOTBALL // HOW TWO PIONEERS CHANGED THE GAME

Roy Kramer It was an interesting year in 1992. William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton became the 42nd president of the United States, Nirvana brought grunge music to pop culture and gasoline was a dollar a gallon. Politics, transportation and music are important, but despite this, 1992 did unveil two thing people were happy about, Roy Kramer and Alabama football. Before Kramer, college football was simple. Each division had nine teams. Schools would play each other until the two best teams remained. These two teams would battle for ultimate supremacy in a national championship game. The equation was the more you win, the better your chances were of getting to a title game. Seeing teams fight for a shot at a national title is exciting; however, when a gamble is thrown into the mix, it opens up a can of controversy and uncertainty that’s also appealing. Roy Kramer has worn many hats as a savvy businessman. His football debut came in 1967. From 1967-1977, Kramer was the head coach for Central Michigan University. The Chippewas compiled a record of 83-32-2 under Kramer and won an NCAA Division II National Football Championship in 1974. After Central Michigan, Kramer served as Vanderbilt’s athletic director from 19781990. Though he had a leadership role in the Southeastern Conference, Kramer’s big break didn’t come until 1990. The SEC has been known for years as being the most dominant conference in college football. From its adoring fan base and decorative coaches to passionate players and championship hardware, the SEC prides itself on being the best. When something has been defined as the best, it can be difficult to refine or make improvements. This didn’t stop Kramer from taking a shot at trying to improve the best conference in football in 1990 when he took over as commissioner of the SEC. Kramer’s vision for the SEC was for it to be the most watched conference in football. In his quest to put the conference in front of the pack, Kramer steered the SEC into uncharted waters by proposing a conference championship game to the organization. A conference had to have 12 schools for a title game to be installed. On July 1,

20

MAY 29 + JUNE 12

Steve Spurrier

1991, the SEC expanded, adding Arkansas and South Carolina to the conference. With two new schools added, Kramer continued to pitch his proposal for an SEC title game to the organization. Change is difficult for everyone, but especially the SEC. Many coaches, including Steve Spurrier met the proposal with friction and negativity. The coaches felt that adding a championship game would give the conference an excuse to beat itself up. College football analysts felt that it was a stupid idea because if a team lost the conference title game, it would jeopardize its chance at playing for a national title. While the conference focused on the rough, Kramer consistently pushed the positive side of the proposal. Revenue and fan base were the two aspects Kramer had on the forefront. Since no other conference held a title game, Kramer felt if the SEC seized the opportunity it would generate more television contracts. In return, the title game would bring in more revenue to the conference, which would help out with expansions and broaden the fan base. The organization was still unsure about the idea, yet Kramer inked a deal with ABC to air the championship game. Florida and Alabama separated themselves from the pack before the ’92 conference title game. Both programs were dominant; however, they contrasted in style of play. The Crimson Tide stuck to the old school. From Wallace Wade to Paul Bryant, Alabama was a tradition power run team with a ferocious defense. In the 90s, people believed that only power run teams with a tough defense could win the SEC. Under head coach Steve Spurrier, the Gators were poised to combat that idea. As an elder statesman of the SEC, Spurrier has grown to obtain little knowledge on defense, but his main prognosis is offense. Spurrier is quarterbacks coach and has been that way since his playing days at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Spurrier was Florida’s quarterback from 1963-66. In his junior season, Spurrier passed for 4,848 yards and 37 touchdowns. He was awarded the Walter Camp Memorial Trophy and the Heisman Trophy. He had a prolific collegiate career and played 10 years in the National Football League, but Spurrier’s greatest

success came as a head coach. After being a quarterbacks coach at Florida and Georgia Tech, Spurrier became Duke’s offensive coordinator from 1980-82. In 1983, Spurrier became the youngest head coach (37 years old) in the United States Football League. He coached the Tampa Bay Bandits in the USFL and compiled a 35-21 record in three seasons. In his return to college football, Spurrier became Duke’s head coach in 1987. He guided the Blue Devils to a bowl game and a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference title in 1989. Spurrier was named ACC Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989. Ben Hill Griffin was just another sports venue in Florida. It wasn’t coined as “The Swamp” until Spurrier landed in 1990. From 1990-01, Spurrier turned Florida into a powerhouse. His motive was to embarrass the opponent by scoring as much as often he could. Under Spurrier, Florida achieved a national title in 1997, six SEC titles (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2000) and its second Heisman winner, Danny Wuerffel. Alabama and Florida faced off on the gridiron in 1991. Under head coach Gene Stallings, the Tide had a dominant defense led by defensive ends John Copeland and Eric Curry. Alabama’s defense was first in the nation in points allowed, surrendering 10.7 points per game. Spurrier and the Gators put on its full aerial attack against Alabama. With Shane Matthews under center, Florida scored 35 points and shutout the Tide 35-0. After Kramer notched the television contract in 1991, the SEC title game was put in play. As the 1992 season rolled in, Florida was favored to win the conference. Alabama’s defense tore through the SEC West. The Crimson Tide allowed 8.0 points per game. Alabama finished the 1992 regular season undefeated at 11-0. Normally, the Tide would have played No.1 Miami for the national title. After the conference title game was passed, Alabama had to face Florida. Florida finished the regular season at 8-3. Despite the losses, the Gators managed to win the SEC East crown. Most fans pinned Alabama as the favorite in the rematch. Spurrier embraced the underdog role. Part one of Kramer’s gamble was complete as Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.) was packed out to see the first inaugural SEC Championship Game. Not only did ABC Sports air the game, but the conference game was the only sporting event televised. Before the game, Alabama’s defense

allowed 126 passing yards per game. Against Florida, Shane Matthews passed for 287 yards. Gators running back Errict Rhett scored the first touchdown of the game off a 5-yard run. The Crimson Tide responded with solid play on defense and 21 unanswered points. In the regular season, Alabama was unbeatable when it had a huge lead late in games. Florida found itself down 21-7 with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter. The Gators scored 14 unanswered points and tied the game at 21. What was once an insurmountable lead; turned into a scare for Alabama fans, college football and Roy Kramer. As pressure rose from his gamble, Kramer hid himself from the crowd in the event of Alabama losing the game and its shot at immortality. With the score tied at 21 in the fourth quarter, Kramer’s gamble and Alabama football would collide in creating the biggest landscape change in college football history. Along with shovel passes to Rhett, Florida ran hi-lo routes against Alabama secondary all game. With 3:25 remaining in regulation, Crimson Tide defensive back Antonio Langham decided enough was enough. Before the matchup against Florida, Langham intercepted Auburn’s quarterback Stan White. Langham returned the interception for a 61-yard touchdown. The score sparked the Tide’s 17-0 victory over the Tigers. Spurrier called a hi-low play for Matthews to run. Instead of going through progressions, Matthews locks in on his primary target. He telegraphs his pass and Langham jumped the route. Langham intercepted the pass and went 28 yards for a touchdown. As the smoke cleared, Langham celebrated, Matthews was disgusted, Alabama fans rejoiced and Kramer’s gamble paid off. The Crimson Tide won 28-21 and punched its ticket to the national title game. Alabama defeated Miami 34-13 to win its first national title since Paul Bryant. The first inaugural SEC title game had 83,091 fans in attendance. In his tenure as commissioner, Kramer oversaw the distribution of a then-league record $95.7 million to its member institutions for 2001–02. Kramer’s gamble and Langham’s interception did more than just rack in funds, it paved the way for other conference to adopt a conference title game. Since 1992, seven conferences have a conference championship game (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, C-USA, Mountain West and Mid-American). Yes. The SEC is the most dominant conference in football, but would it have been that way if Kramer didn’t make the proposal. Kramer was more than a businessman; he was a pioneer who saw the conference thrive ahead of its time. Cory Whitsett

>>> 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

DERRICK THOMAS // TIDE LEGEND FINALLY MAKES COLLEGE HALL OF FAME

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.

distinguished history." Thomas set an Alabama record for sacks and tackles for a loss in 1988 on his way to winning the Butkus Award, CBS' Defensive Player of the Year and the Washington Pigskin Club's Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior in 1988, Thomas recorded 88 tackles with 39 tackles for a loss of 250 yards while registering 27 sacks for a loss of 204 yards. He recorded 18 sacks for 142 yards as a junior in 1987 along with 67 tackles. He finished his career with 204 tackles, 68 tackles for loss (465 yards), 52 sacks (408 yards), 10 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Thomas with the fourth overall pick of the 1989 NFL Draft. He spent his entire 11-year career with the Chiefs and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He's just the fourth Alabama player to earn his way into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The others are receiver Don Hutson, guard John Hannah and tight end Ozzie Newsome. It's great that Thomas finally made it into the College Football Hall of Fame, but many are still asking the question: "What took so long?" J.C. HASSENAUER Always Wanted To Play For The Tide

The wait is finally over for friends, fans and the family of the late great Derrick Thomas. Thomas was recently named to the 2014 class of the College Football Hall of Fame. Thomas, a native of Miami, Fla., one of the Crimson Tide's all-time great linebackers, played for head coaches Ray Perkins and Bill Curry from 1985-88. A unanimous All-America selection in 1988 and a two-time All-SEC selection in 1987 and 1988, Thomas is the 24th Alabama player or coach to be selected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Thomas died at the age of 33, in

2000, after suffering a broken neck and back in an accident during a snow storm. "Derrick Thomas' career at Alabama is legendary," UA Director of Athletics Bill Battle said. "One of the most dominant linebackers to ever play the position, he was a game-changing player who, to this day, more than 25 years after the close of his collegiate career, still owns several Crimson Tide records. We are proud and honored to see him inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, an organization with which The University of Alabama has a long and

Carl Peterson inducts Derrick Thomas into the NFL Hall of Fame in a 30-minute ceremony.

Incoming freshman center J.C. Hassenauer recently arrived in Tuscaloosa with the distinction of being one of the few players from the state of Minnesota to ever play for the Crimson Tide. The 6-2 1/2, 306-pound Hassenauer, from East Ridge HS in Woodbury, is considered by some as the nation's top center prospect. "Believe it or not, playing for Alabama was his goal since day one," says East Ridge head coach Mike Pendino. "Alabama is always where he's wanted to play. I don't know the exact reason, but that's always been his priority -- to go to Alabama and play football." Hassenauer is looking forward to getting to work on the field and in the classroom. "He's real excited," Pendino says. "He's ready to start school down there

this summer. He's going to be there a week and then he comes back home to walk through the graduation ceremony here. Then he's headed right back down to Alabama." Since the end of football season, Hassenauer has spent many hours in the gym every day preparing for the start of summer workouts at UA. "He's about 306 pounds right now," Pendino says. "He's gotten stronger. He's gotten bigger. "He's also been helping us here. We can't work with our players this time of the year, so he's working with our offensive linemen. He takes them out with him and works with them on different things. He's done a great job with our young linemen." Hassenauer suffered a knee injury during his senior season that caused him some problems. "It was nothing major, no ACL or any ligament damage at all, just a knee cap problem," Pendino says. "It's been completely taken care of. When he went down to Alabama, the doctors down there looked at it and everything has been taken care of. He's fine and ready to go. He's as good as new." So what kind of player is Alabama getting in Hassenauer? "They're getting a tough, physical kid that loves to play the game and doesn't take no for an answer," Pendino says. "He's athletic and has long arms." "He's going to start a bunch of games down there." NOTE: Alabama Media Relations contributed to the Derrick Thomas story.

Planet Weekly's Catrina Kattner works with local businesses to help get more customers. For a no-obligation meeting with Catrina, please call 205.523.1460. Or send Catrina an email: ckattner@theplanetweekly.com

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

MAY 29 + JUNE 12

21


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

"SALEM" // THE WITCHES ARE VERY REAL // ACTORS TOP NOTCH

Over the years, the Salem witch trials have been publicized in television shows, books, and movies. Schools teach about them, showing the good people involved, along with the accused witches. The newest installment of the trials is "Salem," a television show hosted on the WGN network. "Salem" focuses on the height of the witch hunts in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts. John Alden, born and raised in Salem, leaves for war. He comes back to find his love, Mary, but instead he finds a very different Salem. Suddenly it’s friend against friend as the Reverend Cotton Mather and Mary, now married to rich, but ill George Sibley, try to find the unholy witches that plague Salem. John is roped into helping, but it turns out the witches are very real, and not who everyone would expect. Romantic, haunting, and back stabbing plots all combine-but can the small town of Salem stay together, or will it shatter? While most of the show is fiction, there are a few elements of Salem that are historically accurate. Most of the characters are named after real citizens of Salem and the surrounding areas, including Mary Warren, renamed Sibley for the show, John Alden, Tituba, and Mercy Lewis, one of those afflicted by curses. Others like Cotton Mather, the show’s head witch hunter and pastor of Salem, were made up for the show. A lot of the history and mystery surrounding the trials has been unveiled, but the true events, only witnessed by the villagers in the 17th century, are still a mystery to this day. This leaves them to be reimagined for a modern, thrill seeking audience. The scenery and set are also historically accurate, along with the clothing. Unlike most shows depicting Puritan life, with belt buckle hats and bonnets, the dark, modest clothing and hairstyles are rather authentic. Some of the side characters, such as Mercy Lewis’ friends, represent the children that were affected by Tituba and her powers. Overall, Salem does a great job of winding together history and fiction into one interesting plot that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Salem delivers when it comes to chills and thrills, featuring dark storylines and haunting special effects. Topped with an all star cast, including Janet Montgomery as Mary Sibley, who was also featured in the hit film "Black Swan," and the popular British television show, "Merlin." John Alden is portrayed by Shane West, most well known for his roles in "League of Extraordinary Gentleman" as Tom Sawyer, and as Landon Carter in "A Walk To Remember." Other cast members include Seth Gabe, well known for "Fringe," and Ashley Madekewe, who played in the show, "Revenge," in 2011. Salem airs Sundays at 10 p.m., 9 p.m. central time, on the WGN network. Episodes are available to stream online as well. It is not for the faint hearted, as it contains graphic violence, disturbing imagery, gore, sexual content, and strong language.

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>>> VISIT US ON THE WEB @ THEPLANETWEEKLY.COM


>>> HOROSCOPES |

weekly overview

>>> PUZZLEMAniA |

Sudoku

You'll be in your element this week, as Venus moves into your sign to give you a confidence boost and perhaps make you an attractive option. Image may become important as a result, encouraging you to consider a makeover that could increase the feel-good factor. Where money is concerned, make use of the midweek New Moon if you're about to initiate a financial plan, especially if you want to increase your cash reserves. It might help things come together for you sooner This week's New Moon in Gemini may be the best of the year for you. It brings the chance to make changes in any area of life you choose. Whether its money, health, or career, you have a two-week window of opportunity in which to start. Roll with the Moon tide and the results could be better than you'd hoped. Mercury eases into Cancer to enhance your ability to intuit the best financial deals or bargains. Trusting your gut could lead to lucrative opportunities.

As tension continues to ease, you'll feel a lot better about your situation than you did. Perhaps you'll be motivated to move out of your comfort zone and take on a challenge that may have seemed too daunting before. Venus eases into Taurus and your social sector lights up to become a haven of indulgent opportunities. It might be hard to resist invitations to delicious meals, shopping trips with your best pals, or a spa day. Intuitively, you're on a roll! This week's New Moon brings the promise of new friends and the chance to move in new circles. This isn't the time to stay stuck in a social rut but rather to mix with all kinds of folks, particularly those who can help you reach your key goals. Later, as Mercury moves into Cancer, you may find your dreams becoming more powerful. It might be a good idea to take note of particularly vivid ones, as they may have special guidance for you. You get the opportunity to make a fresh career start, as this week's New Moon encourages you to forge ahead with plans and ideas. Collaborating with others and pooling resources might be another way to succeed at a goal that would be impossible otherwise. However, be careful when signing contracts or important deals, and be sure to read the fine print, because not everything is as it seems. Later, Mercury's move into Cancer enhances social opportunities for romance and business. Exploring fresh options, moving out of your comfort zone, and expanding your horizons can help you get the most out of life. Whether you want to travel, study, or see a different side of life, this week's influences encourage you to try. Venus enters Taurus midweek to also enhance your love life and help make your most intimate moments deeply sensual. From Thursday, pay attention to intuitive nudges, as doing so could help your career to blossom while saving time and resources.

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

If you've been hoping for a new financial start, this week's New Moon could be the catalyst that encourages you to act. Use this opportunity to consolidate debts, review investments, and get your money to work harder for you in general. Venus enters Taurus midweek to enhance a love relationship, bringing extra warmth and nurturing to those important bonds. From Thursday, you might be tempted to take a trip down memory lane, particularly if meeting an old friend or

You can certainly have fun, but you'll have more enjoyment if you tackle a pending worry early and get it out of the way. Use the Gemini New Moon to discuss plans with your sweetheart or other interested parties before taking action. As Venus enters Taurus midweek, there may be a tendency to overindulge, which might not help your diet or exercise efforts. "Everything in moderation" should perhaps be your mantra, giving you a chance to keep fit and look good. Leisure and pleasure activities, including romance, may seem irresistible this week as Venus encourages you to kick back and relax. It's possible you'll feel more self-indulgent than usual, preferring to do your own thing rather than buckle down on tasks and chores. But you deserve some downtime, and a key relationship might benefit from the chance to enjoy doing something together. As Mercury eases into Cancer, you may find your intuition about a certain person is right on target. Perhaps it's time to seize a romantic opportunity and make the most of it. If you're hoping to get more deeply involved with someone, this might be the perfect chance to propose a date. Plus, homey pursuits could tempt you to spend more time entertaining at your place as the influence of Venus encourages you to play host. Inviting your pals and extended family for some of your home-cooked food and nurturing attention could keep you busy but happy.

If you're eager to make changes on the home front, the midweek New Moon in Gemini could be the best time to start. Whether you're dealing with a major project or redecorating, put your best foot forward by tapping into this productive Moon phase. You'll also find that Venus entering Taurus can help you obtain some lucrative deals if you're willing to connect with the right people. Later, your natural empathy may be enhanced, enabling you to better connect with others.

If you're thinking of signing a deal, writing that novel, or beginning an Internet business, this week's New Moon in Gemini may be the best time to make a start. Taking action in conjunction with the Moon tide could help bring success sooner than you'd hoped. On another note, you may be drawn to life's luxuries, which you thoroughly deserve. However, don't let extravagance lead to overspending. Your intuition kicks in later, enabling you to focus on your best course of action.

>>> VISIT US ON THE WEB @ THEPLANETWEEKLY.COM

MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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>>> PUZZLEMANIA | C R OSS W O R D PU Z Z L E

>>> M U S I C | J U D A H M A R T I N

TUSKALOOSA MUSIC MAFIA TEAMS UP WITH SOUTHERN ROCKERS // BIG SHOW COMING J.K. Terrell and Dave Ivy

Across 1. Some camp denizens, for short 5. Unit of U.S. defense 10. Writer Hecht and others 14. Jib, e.g. 15. Present 16. Poetry studied in Greek class 17. ___ Bay, Brooklyn 19. Perform in a glee club 20. Stereo component 21. Mise en scene 23. "___ of the D'Urbervilles" 26. Land expanses 27. Buffet deal 32. Org. that released the "family jewels" in June 2007 33. Hostess Mesta 34. "Beloved" director 38. Fill-in employee 40. Tushingham and Gam 42. Per ___ (how some people are paid) 43. Plaintiffs 45. Italian wine brand 47. Spring month, in Mainz 48. "Ah, Wilderness!" playwright 51. James of 'Bad Influence' 54. X-ray ___ (kids' goggles) 55. Rose Bowl city 58. German sculptor and wood carver Veit 62. Keep ___ (persevere) 63. Life with no money worries 66. Champagne or Chianti 67. "When I Take My Sugar ___" 68. Million or billion suffix 69. Negative votes 70. Hobbits' home, with "the" 71. Snail-like Down 1. Attention-getting sound 2. Pearl Harbor's locale 3. Austria's capital, to the locals

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4. Wintry, at times 5. N.F.L. linemen 6. Sound of satisfaction 7. Barely passing marks 8. Smell ___ (be leery) 9. Stamp anew, maybe 10. "Take a load off" 11. Certain Prot. 12. Triple trio 13. Certain noncoms 18. Before surgery 22. Cap and gown wearer 24. One before Judge Judy 25. Copier of a manuscript 27. Congressional decrees 28. Place. 29. Kind of excuse 30. Teddy's 1904 foe 31. Reformer Edward and hymn man John 35. Character in "La Boheme" and "Rent" 36. Cocktail hour follower 37. Late actor Jannings 39. Comes from an earlier time 41. Dinner from a bucket 44. Sought damages 46. "___ of robins...": Kilmer 49. Salutes 50. Epic film screenful 51. Produce offspring 52. Barbecue locale 53. Cockeyed 56. Chemical formula for sodium hydroxide 57. Piedmontese wine center 59. Trompe l'___ (optical illusion) 60. Virologist's comb. form 61. Prepare prunes 64. "___ out!" (ump's cry) 65. So, to Burns SOLUTION FOR PUZZLEMANIA CROSSWORD ON PAGE 27

The Blues Crew will release their new album “It’s Time For Crewzin” at the Southern Rock and Roll Blues show on June 28 show at the Bama Theatre. The Blues Crew, founded by Michael B. Reddy in 2012, is known for its unique sound, which they call “Southern Rock and Roll Blues”. The group is a part of the Tuskaloosa Music Mafia, an organization also started by Michael B. Reddy along with his wife, Katrina, to aid local musicians attempting to enter the music industry. John Kliner, a 15 gold-record engineer and owner of Southern Breeze Studio, serves as the group’s drummer. Michael “Razor” Sharp and Gary “Mr. Rock and Roll and Blues” Edmonds play guitar for the group, Dave Ivie plays bass, Don Dendy plays the keyboard, Thomas Jenkins plays the fiddle, Jameson “Dynamite” Hubbard plays harmonica and J.K. Terrel plays percussion. The Blues Crew will be joined by four other musical acts, including: • Shawna P, a recent contestant on NBC’s The Voice who is known among her fans as the “Queen of Funk.” Shawna P has also played with with the likes of BB King and Kid Rock. • Chris Simmons and the Royal Blue Band. Simmons has traveled the globe, touring with acts like “Cadillac Voodoo Shawna P Choir.” • The Toney Boys, a band composed of brothers O. G. and C. W. Toney. Originally from Nashville, the brothers specialize in a southern rock/ funk/blues sound and focus on delivering a positive message in a soulful way. • Ken Randolph and his band, Cooter Brown. Randolph has performed at the white house and was appointed State of Alabama Ambassador of Arts and Music by Former Governor Bob Riley. The show will start with a warm up gathering at 5:30 p.m., and the first performance starts Ken Randolph at 6:45. Tickets are $20.

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


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

MAY 29 + JUNE 12

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>>> RED CLAY DIARY | J I M R E E D

ARE YOU REALLY THERE? // AND AM I ACTUALLY PRESENT HERE?

It’s taken me years to almost adjust to the fact that when somebody seems to be in my presence, they often are not. I walk into a fast-food restaurant and it comes my turn to order from the menu. The fast-food woman smiles at me, wide-eyed and focused on me—but not really, since I realize that she is staring at a computer screen that is at eye level, she’s reading off her questions, and she hasn’t once seen my face, nor will she. The computer is me, to her. I enter the living room to greet and chat with a grandchild, but she only screams in protest when I innocently turn the TV off in order to visit with her. I thought I was doing us both a favor by reducing distractions so that we can actually visit with one another. She sees only the screen and wouldn’t know it if I were wearing a monkey on my head. I’m being interviewed on a Cable TV show by an interviewer who never once looks at me, since she’s staring at herself in the monitor and adjusting her hair and angle the whole time. After recording a number of my stories for broadcast on a Tuscaloosa radio station, I attempt to exchange pleasantries with the station manager, but I suddenly notice that he’s staring at his computer and clicking away the entire time he talks with me—he is responding to my comments with generic quips but doesn’t know what I am saying. I slink away and he doesn’t notice. The game-play kid looks at his lap as he visits with me, his thumb moving the images around, never once looking at my face. A texting teen stares enraptured at phone in hand and laughs at what she sees and what she transmits while almost listening to me but never knowing when the conversation has ceased. The hospital orderly with pods in both ears looks at me but does not hear my question because the music he hears is the thing. I walk away uninformed. The hospital nurse talks as she enters and reads from the laptop before her, never seeing me but appropriately answering my questions. The man whose home I’m visiting watches his enormous television screen as we chat. He doesn’t see me at all. I am the interloper, the real flesh and bone person who is no longer needed in these people’s lives. In order to have them see me, I will have to become an entity on Twitter and Facebook and blog and blast and text and email and video-record, I will have to become a virtual being so that they will recognize me as being real. I see their flesh, they see my virtual electronic self. O brave new world. Uh, whatever

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©2014 by Jim Reed


>>> MUSIC | trey brooks

HAM HAM JAM JAM // LOCAL MUSICIAN CELEBRATED AT EGANS // THREE NIGHTS

SOLUTION FOR PUZZLEMAINIA SUDOKO PAGE 23

SOLUTION FOR PUZZLEMAINIA CROSSWORD PAGE 24

@TreyBrooks88

The Tuscaloosa music scene has been marked by several great artists over the years, but very few would qualify as “legends”. However, there is one man who stands up to that label, and his name is Ham Bagby. Bagby is a guitar virtuoso whose country-tinged songs have resonated with almost all who play the nightlife circuit in town. He is a regular at some of the most wellknown venues in town for singer-songwriters, and has grown into larger consciousness with the town as a whole. Many have shared the stage with him, but few can match his charisma as a performer. This past weekend, the music of Ham Bagby was celebrated at one of his favorite places to perform. In what has become an annual tradition, Egans celebrated the Ham Ham Jam Jam. The 3-night event brought in some of the most well-known acts on the Ham Bagby Tuscaloosa circuit to perform in honor of T-Town’s resident troubadour. This was the 6th year of the event, which has become a must-see for anyone who wishes to experience Tuscaloosa music. Many of the artists featured have been friends with Bagby for years, while others are breaking into a similar scene music-wise. The setting showed the alternative country and rock that has grown in popularity around town. On Friday, May 23rd, the greatest volume of artists performed. Elliot and Sweetdog took the stage first to begin the event. They were followed by an artist most Tuscaloosa music fans should recognize. Blaine Duncan and the Lookers have been a staple on the scene for several years. In fact, Duncan himself might be one of the few musicians in town that can hold his own on stage with Bagby. The Lookers bring a heavier rock sensibility, but they are still rooted in country, much like Bagby himself. The third act of the night was Golden Monica, who can be described as a sort of Tuscaloosa super group, consisting Blaine Duncan and the Lookers of former members of classic T-Town bands such as Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Druid City Rockers, Southpaw Bandits and the Bangtail Cats, among several others. The headlniner for the night was the man of the hour himself, Ham Bagby, playing with his band the Siege. Bagby is a legend among the Egans crowd, and their devotion to him never ceases to amaze. This night was truly a tremendous celebration of all he has accomplished. The next two nights were lighter on bands, but not on fun. Saturday’s event saw Shiny Machine open the evening. A relative newGolden Monica comer on the scene, Shiny Machine cover a wide range of Americana-influence music and are steadily rising in Tuscaloosa. They were followed by another familiar face: The Ne’er Do Wells. The Ne’er Do Wells bring a heavy bluegrass inspire sound to more traditional rock, and they have been a staple around town for many years. Sunday’s lineup began with a freeform jam, before the biggest name in Tuscaloosa music took the stage: Baak Gwai. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: Baak Gwai at Egans is a must for any fan of Tuscaloosa music. The neo-punk trio have been moshing town for many years now, and their influence has spread all over the southeast. The continue to be the boldest group on the scene. Ham Ham Jam Jam VI showed just how much Tuscaloosa appreciates its musical heroes. Ham Bagby will continue to be an inspiration to future musicians in and around town. Due to the nature of college bands being around for only a short time, it’s always refreshing to know some things never change, and some artists will grace the scene for years to come.

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