Kaleidoscope March 2021

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We hope you enjoy this month’s virtual magazine. We put care into curating an issue that celebrates what spring brings us from Women’s History Month to March Madness. We also want to acknowledge what the pandemic has changed for students. This March is a difficult one. We’ve hit the one-year mark since the WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic and have come off a turbulent election where the humanity of the most vulnerable was called into question. It’s important that you take time to introspect and recover after such a difficult year.

STAFF Editor in Chief Hannah Richey Managing Editor Caleb Wood Arts Editor Jada Nguyen

Here at Kaleidoscope we hope that all people who have been affected by this turbulent and painful year can find some peace. We send our sympathy to the students, faculty and staff who have lost loved ones this year and wish a speedy recovery to our

Photographer Dawson Martin

community members who have dealt with this illness themselves. That said, I am proud of the UAB community because we have been careful to keep our COVID cases down and protect each other as best we can. It’s an honor to close out this mess of a school year as Kaleidoscope’s editor-in-chief. I can’t wait to see what next school year brings us. Best,

Hannah Richey

Copy Editor Celia Shepard Writers Sindhu Dwarampudi James Goodman Lucy Graves Jeff Martin Daniel Morales Jackson Ragland Tyler Szczudlak Anjali Thottassery





Influential Women of UAB

Profiles on four of UAB’s most notable women.


A Bold Vision for Smithfield

A look at the group working to transform the neighborhood.

On Campus

Photo by Dawson Martin



One Year After Lockdown

On a Binge

The 205

A Woman’s Hand

A Safe Space to Explore



Six great female directed movies

Living in a pandemic, one year in




Iniquities is not your average sex shop


The Essentials

Health Tips You Can Appreciate

The long-lasting legacy of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark 15 Side of the Moon’ Tax Filing To-do List Remembering the iconic album.

Be prepared come April 15




Manage your life with these UAB apps

Visual and Performing Spring Listening Our staff’s favorite playlists this season Arts Students Learn to Adapt

March Madness Fast Facts Watch the tournament like an expert

How they’ve survived a pandemic

WHM Stories focusing on Women in honor of Women’s History Month

ONE YEAR AFTER LOCKDOWN by Anjali Thottassery


arch 11 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In the following days, former president Donald Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency and issued a travel ban from Europe. In the following weeks, states issued stay-athome orders, restrictions on the amount of toilet paper and hand sanitizer that can be bought and high unemployment rates. Now 500,000 deaths later, we are approaching one year since our lives have experienced change emotionally, physically and mentally. Dr. Paul Erwin, dean of the School of Public Health, said he remembers telling employees to be prepared for change in the way class is conducted for the next few weeks. “I recall having a lunch meeting across the schools, and telling faculty that they may want to be prepared to not come back to work Monday,” said Erwin.

Emily Magda, a junior majoring in political science and international studies, said the changes caused chaos. “Everyone was freaking out. Professors didn’t know what to do, the administration didn’t really know what to do,” Magda said. “Professors especially had to adjust all of their teaching, all of their modules, assignments, projects to online. A few of my classes just dropped off,” she said. Magda said UAB was scrutinized for its response but she said she takes a different approach. “No one was prepared for a pandemic. No one. I think they did the best job that they could” said Magda. One year ago everyone was trying to figure out what was going on.

Professors were transferring their teaching format to all online and students had to leave campus in a matter of days. Erwin said COVID has impacted more parts of our campus life than just classes. “I can’t think of a facet of our lives where COVID hasn’t impacted while living in the pandemic” said Erwin, “There is something to be learned and gained from me as a dean to walk around and interact with faculty and staff throughout the building,” he said. Magda said COVID has given her an opportunity to be alone and live a calmer lifestyle. “This whole COVID period has forced us to be alone with ourselves or alone with our family. It has provided a period of slow paced life for a lot of people which I think is very important,” Magda said. Residence and housing has also taken major hits by the pandemic. Capri Alex, a senior neuroscience major and a residence assistant for Blazer Hall, said the pandemic has changed her job a lot. “Being an RA during the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely been a challenge and unlike living in the residence halls during a normal year,” Alex said. “Student Housing and Residence Life has been working tirelessly to try to give residents an enjoyable and safe college experience,” she said. Alex said other RA’s have been finding unique ways to make housing more like home for their residents. “I think it has brought out a lot of creativity on our staff. Although it’s been a challenge, Blazer Hall still feels like the community it always has been thanks to our residents and staff,” Alex said. Erwin said he is proud of all UAB students of their efforts in helping combat this virus; however, he said he has a few reminders so we can go back to normal in the safest way possible. “Pay heed to guidance and recommendation of limiting the number of people we gather with,” said Erwin. “Hang on. Keep doing these protective measures. Keep limiting these exposures. We will get beyond this. It may be a few months yet, but we will get beyond it. I have confidence we will get beyond it.”


Photo courtesy of UAB Image Gallery


roups at UAB are using technology to promote mental and physical health among the campus community. “The B Well Mental Health App features were all ideas that came directly from students who were looking for a central hub for all the mental health resources, events and services on campus, instead of having to figure out where to go to get information about events, or counseling appointments, or crisis help or education about self-care and resources for resiliency,” said Angela Stowe, Ph.D. and director of Student Counseling Service. Stowe said the team behind the app understands the struggle students are facing to maintain mental health practices. “Many students are struggling and are seeking and needing support. Some students are looking for ways to make sure they can take care of themselves,” Stowe said. “This app’s highlight feature that we’re so proud of is the customizable, interactive self-care plan that students are able to individualize and then can use the wellness tracker and journal to help follow their self-care plan and support their mental health. Students are also really loving the live calendar feed that is bringing in to one place all of the events related to supporting mental health on campus.”

5 Stowe said one of the app’s features is a calendar that combines mental health events happening on campus. Other features include a self-care plan, self-help modules through Therapy Assistance Online, access to your patient portal in Counseling Services and more. In the near future, Stowe said the app will be updated with additional learning features. “In just a few weeks we’re going to release a major update that is going to have a feature with notifications as well as in-app video and audio exercises for breathing, grounding, finding calm, yoga and mindfulness exercises,” Stowe said. Stowe said the development of the B Well App was a team effort. “Our IT team at UAB is brilliant and brought their ideas to life in a beautiful app that has so many features to bring the ability to manage and take care of your mental health at your fingertips,” Stowe said. UAB’s University Recreation has been working on Caravan Wellness, another app that will be available soon. This app also emphasizes student health. “It’s a software that has a bunch of virtual options, a bunch of virtual videos from experts in the field of wellbeing”, said Payton Joyner, Assistant Director of Fitness & Well Being at University Recreation. Since the pandemic began, University Recreation has offered free, virtual exercise classes on their website. Joyner said the app will offer videos ranging from one to 30 minutes emphasizing emotional wellbeing, body awareness, yoga, light stretching and strength workouts. Beyond the app and online exercises, Joyner said University Recreation employees enforce health protocols to keep the UAB community healthy. These protocols include heightened cleaning efforts, mask wearing and social distancing. Additionally, guests are required to present their UAB Passport when entering the building.


How UAB’s visual and performing arts students are making the most of a bad situation

by Hannah Richey


isual and performing arts students had to make big changes when classes went online in March but now these adjustments have become part of their new normal.

One of Sanford’s self-portraits Photo courtesy of Levi Sanford

Levi Sanford, a senior majoring in graphic design, said in an interview last year that canvas discussion boards for critique didn’t work as well for him. But this year he said they work pretty well since students have become more acquainted with them. “It’s definitely been quite the transition for me and a lot of other people as well. Just discussing things with other people in person is something I definitely miss,” Sanford said. Sanford said he’s been doing self-portraits for his photography classes in order to be safe, but he said it’s also been good for him. “It’s a time of just learning about yourself more and self-growth,” he said. Some students said they’ve been able to be more creative with what they do for class. Sanford said although this time has allowed him to push his creativity, it also has gotten in the way of his art. “While being isolated I’ve experienced imposter syndrome and feeling like a fraud. I’ve

just got this far by luck,” Sanford said. “I know that’s not true, but your brain tricks you into thinking that. And when you’re alone you have all that time to think so it’s distracting.” Briana Hernandez, a junior majoring in musical theatre, is in a musical theatre history class and is doing a project on a figure from musical theatre history with a performance. “I do think there’s more freedom with what we’re doing because it doesn’t have to be ‘I’m standing in front of the classroom and performing my thing’,” Hernandez said. “Instead I can make a music video or something else.” Cameron Johnson, a freshman instrumental education major, said he didn’t know what to expect starting school during the pandemic. “I don’t want to say it was discouraging. It was just so different and jarring,” Johnson said. “It was like ‘Oh this is more difficult than it already is normally’ because of the extra precautions we have to take.”

“It’s a time of just learning about yourself more and self-growth” -Levi Sanford

Filming scenes for Disconnect, the Virtual Theatre Project Photo courtesy of Briana Hernandez

Johnson said his professors have made it Last year Roy Lightner, assistant professor clear they have been a lot more lenient than in the department of theater said “this is a they would be because they don’t know what to challenging time for everybody, especially in expect either. the creative and performing industry, in a world where we exist with the audience and we exist “Last semester we were on Zoom for a class with collaboration and we exist with peer-toand half of us couldn’t hear the piano because peer learning.” of the way she had her speakers set up so she Hernandez said she and cancelled class for the day her peers have adapted and pushed back the quiz and so has theatre. until she figured it out,” “I have an acting class Johnson said. “They’re in on zoom and we’re the business of ‘let’s get just doing monologues this done some way or but that’s how we are another’,” he said. auditioning for things Johnson said one of the now. We’re sending things that’s gotten in the videos of ourselves doing way of his education the monologues and singing -Cameron Johnson most is getting practice songs,” Hernandez said. time in. The move online has also changed job hunting “In high school it was easy to go somewhere for students. after school and practice for x amount of time. Hernandez said she’s been able to audition Coming into college it’s a hassle to go and make and get callbacks for things they normally sure I have everything with me and then go to wouldn’t have necessarily been able to before. the practice room for my scheduled time. It was “There are audition conferences around this almost discouraging because I can only do this time of year but we’re doing all of them from for small increments of time and that’s not an home. So, it’s less expensive and we’re getting effective way to practice in my opinion.” all these companies to see us.” Johnson also writes music in his spare time She said she hopes that these sorts of and that has also been impeded because he can’t accommodations become standard alongside play very easily. He said working on music with normal in-person auditions. other students was something he was looking forward to but can’t do right now. Sanford said this has given himself and other students opportunities they normally wouldn’t “Inspiration has been harder to come by have. because I’m confined to a space and can’t get out and see other things.” “It’s given people these opportunities for remote internships that you normally couldn’t “Inspiration has been harder to come by because I’m confined to a space and can’t get out access in New York, California and Colorado,” Sanford said. and see other things,” Johnson said.

“Inspiration has been harder to come by because I’m confined to a space and can’t get out and see other things”

Pop/Rock Masterclass with Broadway’s Krystina Alabado and Desi Oakley Photo courtesy of Briana Hernandez




by Sindu Dwarampudi

Dr. Kerry Madden-Lunsford is

a big part of her life. “Books saved me because I could see an Associate Professor in the English the characters and my life was so much Department and director of the creative about football because we had to go to the games and I was not a jock and I was not writing program at UAB. a cheerleader, so the novels showed me adden-Lunsford said she another way to be,” Madden-Lunsford credits growing up as the said. daughter of a football coach and With her own work, Madden-Lunsford frequently moving for her said she draws development as a writer. inspiration from being “I had to reinvent a mother of three myself in each new place. children, seasons, and My father would stories about family say ‘You won’t members. remember these “To tell their story people. So you want is to keep them to stay in the same alive and so having town your whole to say goodbye so life, what kind of life much, I hung on and is that?’” she said. remembered and Madden-Lunsford now it’s coming out said out of defiance in stories,” she said. she would vow to Madden-Lunsford remember people said one of her she encountered and favorite projects began writing letters has been writing to friends. Having a a picture book, fourth grade teacher Ernestine’s Milky who saw something Way, about her special in her and friend Ernestine. told her she was a “I met a woman good writer also named Ernestine. helped. She was deeply a “That was the first Photo courtesy of UAB Image Gallery mountain woman. time a teacher had She was bossy and funny and said anything like that. They usually said then she told me about her job as a little ‘Aren’t you a nice tall girl’ and ‘Don’t you girl to carry milk. I thought that would listen well,” Madden-Lunsford said. make a great picture book, and that has led me to write more picture books,” Madden“Meeting other women Lunsford said. writers, supporting women She said she also enjoys telling women’s and girls’ stories. writers, telling women’s “All my novels have been about girls stories, we just have to wanting adventure and more than what their families told them they could have,” keep telling more and she said. “Meeting other women writers, supporting women writers, telling more. That’s been a joy for women’s stories, we just have to keep me as a writer.” telling more and more. That’s been a joy Madden-Lunsford said books were also




for me as a writer.” Madden-Lunsford said she did not set out to be a professor and instead just wanted to write stories. Working on a biography of Harper Lee brought her to Alabama, before being hired at UAB. “I feel like my students are my colleagues and we’re all in it together,” she said. “It means that my writing community got so much bigger and my friendships got deeper. It’s so exciting to see new work come out into the world that began in a workshop.” She said huge challenge for her has been her son’s addiction. “Other families are going through this. I think we need to talk about it more because sometimes it is like a shameful secret. It’s important to learn to cope and realize that we deserve lives too,” Madden-Lunsford said. She is currently writing a children’s novel on the topic from a little boy’s point of view. “It’s writing the pain through the silence. Let’s talk about this and make something good come out of this grief,” she said. Madden-Lunsford said although it is difficult she tries to live in the moment instead of planning for the future. “If you are always in the past or always in the future, you can’t be right here.” Madden Lunsford said.

Dr. Farah Lubin is an Associate

Professor of Neurobiology and an Associate Professor of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology in the School of Medicine.


ubin said becoming a physician was her initial goal, and she did everything she could to prepare for that path, including internships at New York City hospitals and nursing homes. This also happened to be at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “A lot of patients were dying around me and we really didn’t have a true handle on HIV and AIDS at that time,” she said. During this time, she said she also observed the relationship between nurses and doctors, and said she realized that the nurses were closer to the ground and that the doctors were not coming up with cures. Having only known about being an M.D. until that point, Lubin said she began to question how cures for diseases are found. In undergrad, Lubin was part of a program called MARC (Minorities Access to Research Careers) and said she became curious about research at the bench and making discoveries.

Photo courtesy of UAB Image Gallery

11 Through a combination of summer internships and a senior honors thesis project, Lubin said she realized that she could make a big difference discovering new things in a lab, but also developed an appreciation for how to translate it to the clinic. Ultimately, attended graduate school, and received a Ph. D. in Molecular Genetics and Immunology. Then, she made the transition to neuroscience research at the post doc fellowship level in Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where she said she felt that her future in academia solidified.

“I wish one day, I could walk into a room, and my science and my intelligence walk in first, not my race, not my gender.”

Lubin said her research focus is to understand the basic mechanisms underlying learning and memory and her ultimate goal is to find a way to prevent or reverse memory loss associated with certain neurological disorders. “Our memories are who we are. Losing memories is devastation not only for that person, the patient, but also the families.

It’s like losing a family member,” Lubin said. Lubin said her mission is “disseminating important information to the public about how to keep a healthy mindset and appreciate that the brain can be influenced by everything, from what’s around you, what you eat. Every type of environmental influence can impact your brain function.” Lubin said it was through expanding her knowledge and staying curious that she was able to find a passion for translational research and finding cures. Lubin has also spearheaded programs to increase diversity in STEM. “These programs were born out of my desire to not be the only. I was always the only one in every stage of my career,” Lubin said. “When I looked around, no one else looked like me, so I was determined to start bringing more who looked like me into the field. Representation matters, but also diversity at the table matters,” she said. She said she wishes that people did not prejudge on the basis of race or gender and believes that increasing representation is the solution. “I wish one day, I could walk into a room, and my science and my intelligence walk in first, not my race, not my gender,” Lubin said.

Instead of a work-life balance, Lubin said she finds a work-life blend depending on the day. “My work-life blend is a combination of doing selfcare and then also giving myself time to ignore my emails or giving myself time to ignore my family members,” she said. Lubin said she also takes the time to relax and rest after major deadlines and projects before moving on to the next one. “The reality is that life happens at work and work happens with life, so you can’t really separate them,” she said. Lubin said her final advice is this: “Dare to fail and give yourself permission to fail. If your initial career choice or thoughts are that ‘I want to do XYZ’ and it doesn’t work out, forgive yourself, learn from it, learn that you can repurpose your skill sets and utilize them in another area that you are passionate about. Remain curious, stay passionate, and try to stay excited.”


Dr. Brynn Welch is an Assistant

Professor in the Department of Philosophy at UAB. She specializes in social and political philosophy, with her primary focus being the intersection of family and public policies.

Photo by Dawson Martin


elch said because there was a lottery system for registration, she took an introductory philosophy class, which was her very last choice. However, she said she was “absolutely hooked” on the first reading, “The Laches.” She then took Philosophy of Religion and said she was fascinated by the structure of the arguments. “The deal with my family had always been that my brother and I got four years on our parents, and then we were on our own. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I decided to apply to graduate school, thinking that that would buy me some time while I figured out what I wanted to do,” Welch said. Welch said it never occurred to her that she would want to be a professional

philosopher but with a supportive program and great advisor, she was able to find her passion. As a professor, Welch said she uses a Socratic teaching style with a lot of discussion. “It’s like ‘Okay, so you say X. But what about…’ and then I challenge student views. I tell them frequently that the class requires a lot of trust. They’ve got to trust each other, none of us can take that lightly,” Welch said. “But usually, it’s a lot of fun, challenging discussion that leaves all of us with more questions than answers when it’s over,” she said. Welch said her favorite part of teaching is seeing students start thinking in a philosophical style. “It’s exciting to know that’s one more person in the world who will know better than to make jokes about whether philosophy is pointless. It’s really, really not,” she said. Welch said one of her major accomplishments was writing a children’s book, Bennie Goes Up! Up! Up!, and a major source of motivation behind this and everything she does was her daughter, Lizzy. Outside of work, Welch said most of her time is devoted to her family. “When I can, I get to the gym, and my husband and I have become a bit obsessed with Killing Eve on BBC,” she said.

“It’s exciting to know that’s one more person in the world who will know better than to make jokes about whether philosophy is pointless. It’s really, really not.”

Welch said although she feels she has had a smooth career trajectory, there have been many obstacles she has had to overcome.

“There’s being a woman in philosophy, for one thing. I spent a good portion of graduate school waging an unpleasant war with endometriosis,” Welch said. “I was until quite recently a solo parent by choice, which was sort of a constant challenge but not one that I wanted to overcome as much as embrace. Overall, I have an engaging and rewarding career doing exactly what I want to be doing, and it brings me a lot of happiness, and I just try not to take for granted how rare that is,” she said. Welch said being a woman in the field of philosophy brings mixed feelings. “On the one hand, I look back at just moments in my career and think ‘No wonder there are so few of us,’” Welch said. “For example, there was the time a program asked to interview me in a hotel room - and not one with a suite or a couch to sit on. It was such an absurd situation. On the other hand, I’m proud to be a woman in this field, and those frustrating memories have really helped shape my views and the way I structure my courses. I include in my courses, for instance, feminist criticisms that ask us to consider the arguments we’ve just studied all semester, but from a woman’s perspective,” she said.

Dr. Henna Budhwani is an

Assistant Professor in the UAB School of Public Health. Budhwani conducts studies to address the causes and consequences of health disparities among stigmatized populations that experience adverse health outcomes in resourceconstrained settings.


udhwani was born in Cook County Hospital, in Chicago, Illinois. “I share this because Cook County is one of the largest providers of indigent healthcare in the country. Just like many of our first generation students here at UAB, I was not born into wealth and privilege,” she said. Budhwani said she worked all through college from retail to being a bank teller to a restaurant server. She said she also used to participate in Live Action Roleplay and rollerblade when she was younger. Budhwani said her path to graduate school was different than most. “I attended college at Loyola University, came home and attended Harper Community College, and finally graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1998,” Budhwani said. She said she sends love to other community college attendees. Budhwani said she worked in marketing and sales in downtown Chicago before relocating to Birmingham, Alabama. Eventually, she went on to receive a master’s in Sociology in 2007, a master’s in Public Health in Health Care Organization and Policy in 2008 and a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology in 2012. She said she was committed to global development early on because she found the prevalence of poverty inhumane and unacceptable. Budhwani said her focus is in the realm of action-oriented, implementation science research to improve health equity among



underserved populations. “To address disparities, we need to learn about historic contexts underlying why diverse populations have experienced different trajectories, and we need to elucidate how structural forces, such as racism, misogyny, and stigma, constrain behavior and affect health. This applies globally, in the United States, and here at home in Alabama,” Budhwani said. Budhwani was the co-recipient of the international Robert Carr Research Award at the international AIDS conference in 2020, alongside Dr. John Waters for the conduct of population size estimates across six eastern Caribbean islands. “The award recognizes research projects conducted by a community-academia partnership that aims to advance human rights-based policies and practices, mainly in countries where communities disproportionately affected by HIV continue to face discrimination, social rejection, violence and imprisonment, often by government officials and agencies,” she said.

“Just like many of our first generation students here at UAB, I was not born into wealth and privilege.”

Budhwani said she find the hard work immensely rewarding and credits her community partners for working just as hard to ensure their constituents’ needs are met. “Being an academic means having the freedom to pick up my twin boys from school last Friday and taking them for a trip down 280 to ThirsTea to try bubble tea for the first time, but this also means that I spent all of this past Sunday reviewing grant applications,” she said. As a final word of wisdom Budhwani said “occasionally eating ice cream sandwiches for breakfast is good for the soul.”

Photo courtesy of UAB Image Gallery


Tax filing

to-do list

by Hannah Richey

Tax filing season is here. The deadline to file is April 15 and there are a few things you’ll need before you can get started. Here’s a list to help you get ready.

What you need

W-2 form(s) whether physical copies or digital 1099 form if you were on unemployment 1098-T tuition statement This can be found under links and forms on BlazerNet or here. If you haven’t used this before make a new account.

Any other tax forms you may have If you were on unemployment and are a dependent you may need your parents tax information if you have more than $2200 in unearned income.

Now that you have your supplies you can begin filing. There are a few free filing services available. There are two free filing options for all state taxes. Other services may charge a fee for state.

1. Free File by TurboTax 2. OLT Free File Program If your residence is in another state you can find other free filing services on the IRS website.


On a Binge Arts & Culture

A Woman’s Hand

by Caleb Wood This Women’s History Month, check out a couple of movies that highlight the excellment work of women behind the camera.

Coming of Age

The Slums of Beverly Hills (1998) Directed by: Tamara Jenkins

The movie that made Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”, “Orange is the New Black”), “The Slums of Beverly Hills” focuses on a teenage girl who moves from apartment to apartment in Beverly Hills as her father (Alan Arkin as the loving deadbeat) tries to keep the kids in the city schools paying as little as possible. Director Tamara Jenkins delivers an amazing insight into the thoughts of a teenager rarely captured in film, and captures a family dynamic at times bizarre and at times all too familiar to any viewer.

True Stories

Can You Ever Forgive Me (2019) Directed by: Marielle Heller

The incredible true story of little-read writer Lee Irsrael (Melissa McCarthy in a more dramatic turn) who discovers she can find money and acclaim that her own work never received by forging personal letters of prominent writers. McCarthy and her costar Richard E. Grant are both fantastic lending humanity to two lonely New Yorkers who could easily be written off as old grumps. And director Marielle Heller’s attention to recreating a lost 1980s New York washes over the whole film.


The Farewell (2019) Directed by: Lulu Wang

The story of a young woman (Awkwafina in a star-defining role) travelling with her family to China to say goodbye to her grandmother (Zhao Shuzhen) who is, unbeknownst to her, dying of cancer is one that instantly connects. Wang based the film off her own life story and that personal heartbreak comes through but do the joys of a family. Real human emotion radiates from every scene in this film, and it’s something to behold. Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen in “The Farewell”. Photo courtesy of A24.



The Breadwinner (2017) Directed by: Nora Twomey

Based off Deborah Ellis’ popular children’s book, “The Breadwinner” is the story of a young Afghani girl who disguises herself as a boy to support her family under Taliban rule. Utilizing a fairytale format, the movie seems to be both at once a classic tale and a refreshingly innovative take on recent events. Even as a story for children, it is not afraid to tackle large issues with the complexity they deserve.


Strange Days (1995)

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)

Directed by: Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris’ documentary places you right in the middle of a long-gone subculture: the 1980s Los Angeles punk scene. In interviews with several notable bands of from the era, she captures the excitement and toxicity that permeated the scene. It becomes more than just a documentary, with its fast-paced concert sequences and revealing interviews. It becomes the authoritative work on punk.

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Given the premise of a man must solve a murder mystery on the New Year’s Day in 1999 involving a black-market ring of VR devices, you might think that “Strange Days” would be dated. It is anything but. Kathryn Bigelow’s 1995 sci-fi thriller is an exciting and dangerous film with two iconic actors, Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett, each delivering performances among the best in their careers. The carefully crafted actions sequences by Bigelow should be enough to put to bed any notions of woman directors not favoring action sequences as much as their male counterparts.

Cameron McPhail’s Kaleidoscope Story Kaleidosope taught me to move from being a passive observer into an active participant in the scene, giving myself and my photos more insight into what I’m shooting.

UAB Class of 2020, Mote Marine Lab Photography Intern Start Your Story. Apply Today



The long-lasting legacy of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by Jackson Ragland

“The Dark Side of The Moon,” is one of the best albums of all time. This album was the Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album, it was released on March 1973. This album is an amazing spectacle of the bands ability. This album explores themes of greed, mental illness, conflict, death and time. The band used snippets of interviews of their road crew and philosophical quotes in the album. The theme of mental illness was explored because of former member Syd Barrett whose mental state was deteriorating according to the other members. This album is glorious, showing a change in the band; they went from “psychedelic noodling” to more experimental rock. They are well known for their progressive rock and trying to do things to make themselves unique. The best songs on this album are the two songs chosen for promotion “Money,” “Us and Them” and the song ‘The Great Gig in the Sky”. These songs are great on their own, but each one exemplifies a theme that the album represents. “Money” is all about greed and consumerism, playing the sound of cash registers and

coins falling. The style of this song is bluesy, starting with dry sounds (no echoes or reverb), but towards the end during the guitar solo, the band turned all dynamics up, producing wet sounds (echoes and reverb). The sound effects heard throughout the song were made to give a “walk around the room,” vibe. “Us and Them” is about the isolation of the depressed, using simple dichotomies (conflicts) for personal relationships. The song goes along with “Money,” with some slower blues styles, but the opening gives off feelings of a church when walking in the door. ‘The Great Gig in The Sky” is the final song on the first side of the album and is symbolic of death. The wordless vocals were sung by guest singer Clare Torry. The sounds that Torry make give listeners chills, as if she were just another instrument on the track. The band interviewed people about life and death, some snippets were used like “I never said I was frightened by death,” said Patricia Watts, their road manager’s wife. The overall feeling of this album is depressing, taking all these themes and combining them into one amazing album. The second side starts nice and

smooth, but soon continues to slow down and bring the main ideas of each song out through the lyrics. The sounds this band have created were ahead of their time and were very experimental. This album could have been a major flop if not handled correctly, but it was handled wonderfully by the band and studio engineer, Alan Parsons. This album is timeless, it can be listened to over and over again. This band is one of the greatest in rock history, they are the inspiration behind so many bands and artists. The vocals, music, and meanings all come together to create a masterpiece that shook the foundations of rock for generations.

Fast Facts

• “Dark Side of The Moon” went Platinum 15 times in the United States and 14 times in the United Kingdom. • This album pairs up perfectly with “The Wizard of Oz” and makes a pairing fans call “The Dark Side of Oz” or “The Wizard of Floyd”.

Spring Listening Kaleidoscope Staff Spring Playlist

Get into spring by listening to the songs and artists that our staff has on repeat. Featuring: • Rina Sawayama • Olivia Rodrigo • Maggie Rogers • Post Malone • The Kinks • & More

Women’s History Month Playlist

Honor Women’s History Month by listening to some of the best, most important and most influential songs by female artists. Featuring : • Billie Holliday • Madonna • Lauryn Hill • Dolly Parton • & More



The 205 A Safe Space to Explore

by Caleb Wood hen Meme “Mambo Baptiste” Armstrong set off to create Iniquities, she wanted to make a safe space in the heart of Southside. Living up to its intentions, Iniquities is not your average sex shop.


The small store in the heart of Birmingham’s Southside sells everything from c—k rings to chicken feet to cold brews. Sex toys, hoodoo spiritualism and coffee made on site are all mix in the 3,200 square foot store. Iniquities originally started as a boutique for sex toys and fetish items in Spike’s Leather Club, a now closed gay bar in the Lakeview area. Owner Meme Armstrong, a member of the city’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, had been selling toys long before, though. She has been an avid collector since she was 15 and seller since she was 18. Armstrong’s brother, Yancy Benson, has been along for the ride since before the store was even created. He said he loves working at the store and helping people find their direction.

Iniquities owner Meme Armstrong is an expert on helping people in both their sexual and spiritual journeys. Photo by Caleb Wood. “I just hope they can spread the joy with whatever they learn [here] and come back,” Benson said.

Creating the Space

The decision to become an independent store came from a desire to create space safe for people of all backgrounds to question and explore. “I got to find a place where my people can feel safe and it’s clean and someone actually cares and is knowledgeable about the challenges they face in their journey,” Armstrong said.

The store does not have the seediness you might find in an adult bookshop or the sterile environment of a sex toy emporium like Callie’s Love Stuff. It seeks to fill a different function as an environment where anyone can go to ask questions and learn. Armstrong grew up in a Pentecostal household near the Walker-Winston County line, an area she described as very prejudiced. “It never made any sense to me growing up and I was like “How can you hate somebody for something they can’t


control?’” Armstrong said. Armstrong is a practitioner of Hoodoo and the store sells a variety of spiritual items in accordance with those traditions, many made in house.

A Labor of Love

The shop is a labor of love for Armstrong. She is the only regular employee in the shop. Several volunteers rotate out during in the store, but the store at this time cannot afford to have anyone on payroll. “It’s something I’m so passionate about that it doesn’t seem like work,” Armstrong said. “I wake up every day and I’m like ‘All right let’s see who we’re gonna meet today. Let’s see what difference we are going to make today.’” Jarvis Jones is one of the volunteers who rotates out at Iniquities. He began taking shifts four months ago but has been friends with Armstrong since the days when she was selling toys at Spike’s. “[Working here] gives me

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Spiritual items on sale in Iniquities Photo by Caleb Wood. a great place to come and hang out and to get to know everybody and to create a great atmosphere,” Jones said.

Building a Future

Surviving COVID proved to be a challenge for the shop. The store had only been open for a few months when the pandemic began and did not receive federal assistance, so they had to adapt. “The community banded together and they supported me, and I was literally selling

novelties out of the door like a back-hand deal,” Armstrong said. Currently, the store is limited in the selection it has on site and still working to recover from the pandemic, but Armstrong said she is hopeful for where they will be in a year. “I know that with enough diligence and determination we will be successful,” Armstrong said. Iniquities is located at 2501 Seventh Avenue South.

A Bold Vision for Smithfield by Caleb Wood


t’s early Sunday morning, and Reverend Majadi Baruti is grabbing tools out the back of a beat-up black sedan and placing them onto the ground outside a rusty trailer on a lot in Smithfield. It used to be the site of a store, but only portions of the etched concrete floor remain. The original plan for the day to move a second trailer onto the site that would serve as housing has fallen through, but Baruti still has a purpose for the day. He is moving those tools into the trailer, the start of a future tool-loaning program. As he walks across the lot, he is relaying a vision of what this piece of land could be. That rusty trailer will be painted with sunflowers. A second trailer will be moved in as a piece of affordable housing. A patch of land will become a community garden with a rotating selection of crops. A roadside area will be transformed into a sunflower garden for playing and relaxation. Quail coops will sit in front of a thick of trees. It is a bold plan for just one lot but Baruti has plans to transform much of the community into similar spaces.


Baruti is the community engagement director of the Dynamite Hill-Smithfield Community Land Trust (DH-SCLT). The Land Trust is a community-led organization that seeks to improve the Smithfield neighborhood through programs aimed at increasing affordable housing, providing access to fresh foods, maintaining community spaces and other programs. It was founded in 2015 by Susan Diane Mitchell with the help of the Magic City Agriculture Project. A fear of gentrification for the downtown adjacent community spurred its creation, particularly in the wake of the announcement that Birmingham would soon host the World Games. Similar multi-sport events have developed a reputation for gentrifying and clearing neighborhoods in other cities. “We’re trying to stop gentrification,” Baruti said. “Gentrification is a form of neocolonialism.” Rev. Majadi Baruti, community engagement director of the Dynamite Hill-Smithfield Community Land Trust. Photo by Dawson Martin.



The group, along with its team of volunteers organized under the name Friends of Dynamite Hill, maintains a variety of community programs, including maintaining the Enon Ridge Trail that separates East Thomas and Enon Ridge and running the Graymont Fresh Market that sells farm-fresh food. Many of their projects are works in progress, though. The visions that Baruti laid out around creating an experimental housing project and

work that they do. They oppose the top-down planning structure that many nonprofits take. “That approach is not community development. It’s urban redevelopment which translates to an urban erasure to indigenous people,” Mitchell, a graduate of UAB, said. A community land trust (or CLT) upends that structure by placing the power over land into the hands of community members that comprise it. The community land trust uses that land to

A Christian Music building sits in the Smithfield neighborhood. Photo by Dawson Martin community garden are still being developed. Other plans such as retrofitting housing into being more eco-friendly have yet to begin, and some like a plan to develop the former Hill Elementary School into a community aid center are sitting in limbo.


For many, the idea of a community land trust is one that takes a minute to wrap your head around. It does not operate as a traditional model of a nonprofit. Mutual aid is more akin to the

make affordable housing. They own the land but will either sell or lease housing to residents at an affordable price, allowing them to develop equity and build wealth. When the residents sell the home, the land still stays with the land trust and they can provide affordable housing in that same location to another resident. Many land trusts, like DH-SCLT, operate other programs like urban farming along with that, but a commitment to providing affordable housing is always at their core.


“The money is gonna turn right back into the housing,” Baruti said. “If we get more money then we’re gonna build more housing.” The success of land trusts in creating lasting affordability like the Dudley Street Initiative in Boston and New Communities, Inc. in Albany, Ga. have inspired the development of the DHSCLT.


The name Dynamite Hill-Smithfield Community Land Trust refers to the two names of the community it operates: Smithfield, the official name, and Dynamite Hill, a nickname it gained in the 1950s from the numerous racist bombings that occurred against Black families there. The neighborhood played a major role in Birmingham’s Civil Rights Movement, with A.H. Parker High School being the one of the primary sites at the beginning of the Children’s Crusade and Angela Davis’ childhood home still standing on Center Street. Center Street historically divided the neighborhood between Black residents on its east side and white residents on its west under Birmingham’s racial zoning ordinance. A lawsuit filed by prominent civil rights attorney and Smithfield resident Arthur Shores changed that by ruling Birmingham’s racial zoning unconstitutional. With the neighborhood’s

A cornerstore on Center Street. Land Trust Intiatives like the Graymont Fresh Market seek to address a lack of access to fresh food that much of Smithfield faces. Photo by Dawson Martin either burned.” The Smithfield community is a city subdivision immediately west of downtown made up of five neighborhoods: College Hills, East Thomas, Enon Ridge, Graymont and Smithfield. Originally developed as a plantation farm, it was divided into homes in the late 1800s and began attracting residents both Black and white. Formerly the center of Birmingham’s successful Black middle class, years of systemic hurdles have crippled the community from extensive white flight to the construction of interstates disconnecting its neighborhoods to the long-lasting effects of redlining. Today, nearly

“The history of Dynamite Hill is what got me so passionately involved, not just to revisit all the pain but to embrace the beauty, the resiliency, the human spirit that could survive and thrive through that.” integration, came violence. There were over 50 bombing from 1947 to 1965 by white residents attacking pioneering Black families. “Well, Blacks began to buy property on that half, and whites across the street begin moving out,” Shores said in a 1985 interview. “They sold their houses to Blacks, and before [they] could move in that house was blown up, dynamited or

40% of the 9,262 residents in the 35204 zip code that contains Smithfield live in poverty. The Land Trust is deeply aware of the painful history of its home, and that history informs the work that they do. “The history of Dynamite Hill is what got me so passionately involved,” Mitchell said, “not


just to revisit all the pain but to embrace the beauty, the resiliency, the human spirit that could survive and thrive through that.”

Other obstacles come from COVID restrictions that have scattered their work and made organizing more difficult.


“I miss that collaborative work we were doing, that collaborative work that we were doing,” Mitchell said. “We still have events but nearly at the level we were at.”

The Land Trust is looking to work with the community to achieve these goals, but they have had their struggles along the way. Finding a way to work with the traditional neighborhood structures has been a challenge for them. “I was surprised that more people wouldn’t show up at our events,” Mitchell said. “The bulk of our volunteers are people who don’t live in the area.” As a community-based organization, the group values participation from the community. They want their volunteers to reflect the community they’re located in.

But these challenges don’t stop them. The next weekend after Baruti loaded those tools into the trailer, he was working again helping clean up the Enon Ridge Trail. Just another action in the fight for a better neighborhood. You can connect with the Dynamite HillSmithfield Community Land Trust on their Facebook page or website.

Their vision of a community-led group dedicated to improving the lives of it A view down Center Street highlighting markers along the Civil Rights Trail that runs through Smithfield. Photo by Dawson Martin


March is an important time of month for a lot of reasons. It’s International Women’s Month, it’s home to St. Patrick’s Day and it starts spring. Every March, however, is special to sports fans for one reason: March Madness. It’s that time of year where people all over the world get a chance to win $1,000,000 for a perfectly filled out bracket. It’s also an important for seniors and other draft prospects to shine with almost everyone watching the tournament. It’s also a chance for a college to have bragging rights to show that they were the best team throughout the year. Since Covid-19 hit the Unites States last year, March Madness was cancelled for the 2020 season. Some people have been waiting for this one shining moment to happen for over a year. • The term March Madness did not become • The NCAA basketball tournament, better associated with NCAA a until 1982 known as March Madness, has been when Brent Musberger, an American happening for 82 years starting in 1939. Back sportscaster used it during the tournament then, it consisted of 8 teams. Oregon was the that year. first winner of the tournament beating Ohio State for the title. • UAB basketball’s regular season ended with a record of 22-7 (13-5 in conference) after a • In 1951 it doubled to 16 teams and doubled loss to Western Kentucky in the Conference again to 32 teams in 1975. The last time USA men’s basketball tournament semifinals. March Madness doubled its tournament was in 1985 to 64 teams. • UAB has appeared in March Madness with a total of 15 times with the most recent • In 2001 the Mountain West Conference joined in 2015. Though UAB has never won the Division I in NCAA making the bracket 65 teams. This made it uneven, so a single game tournament, the biggest accomplishment UAB made was making it to the Elite 8 in 1982. was added prior to the first round. • In 2011 3 more teams were added to the bracket and with them 3 more games to round out the First Four. This is the March Madness we all know and love today with a total of 68 teams.

Background photo courtesy of Google Images


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