Birmingham’s Pulse


She’s more alive than you think…

A few nights ago, I met a few fabulous friends at the Birmingham Museum of Art’s opening preview of their newest exhibition, a collection of 175 photographs that document the mid 20th century revolution that was known as “rock and roll”.

Listening to Gail Buckland, guest curator and photographic historian who composed Who Shot Rock and Roll (there’s a book, by the way), I picked up on these key words:  “Every revolution must be documented.”  And wow, how superbly Gail’s collection shows the ways in which music moved a generation (or two).  Go check it out.  It rocks…really, it does.

After returning home from the show, I opened up an email from a Charleston-based couple struggling with the decision on whether or not to accept a nice promotion and move to the Magic City.  They’d been feverishly searching the web for any and all information that might provide some clarity, and they’d stumbled upon my blog.   This sweet pair, whom I’ve never met, this transplant-in-waiting, they reached out with hope that I might be able to ease their uncertainty.   And their question, should we leave this great city for Birmingham, got me instantly thinking about all the many people from all over the metro region who are just a’ movin’ and a’ shakin’, about all the many things that are whirling about and rockin’ Birmingham.

So here’s my short list.  (No doubt I’ve missed a few noteworthy  people/places/projects, so I encourage you to post a few of your own.)   I think it’s fair to say that I’ll be able to respond to their email with a  weighty yes, you should. Things are looking good, y’all.  Things are really on the move…

  • Places like Railroad Park provide opportunities for me to have experiences like thisAnd more places like it are just around the corner… literally.
  • The Next Big Thing” has been identified and rewarded and the momentum of its development is running strong… AND, all the “leftover” ideas have just been posted here, in the “Idea Library”.  To say the sky is the limit is understating the city’s potential as the Community Foundation pushes forward with more innovative, interactive development opportunities.
  • Avondale Park is getting a facelift.
  • Crestwood Park is getting a facelift.
  • Big business is getting an image booster.
  • Galleries like Lite Box and Naked Art and beta pictoris and Roam Projects are vibrant fixtures, lighting up the community with amazing exhibits, lectures and featured artists.
  • The culinary community just added one more trophy for the oven.  Local chef and restaurateur James Lewis of Bettola dons the cover of Food & Wine this month as one of their “Best New Chefs”, and his new venture opens this summer, right next door at Pepper Place.  (Eating Lewis’ house-made gnocchi might just change your life…trust me, and then order dessert.)  That makes for a nice handful of nationally renowned chefs mixing it up in the Magic City.
  • There are consistent, buzz worthy exhibits at the BMA, the BBG and the CRI.
  • Air quality is being addressed.
  • A local, online media breakthrough is about to descend.
  • The city’s aged print newspaper is having conversations like this.
  • Surprisingly,Birmingham’s main man in charge is facing not only little-to-no competition in the upcoming mayoral election, but he’s also trusted.  That’s groundbreaking for 21st century politics in Jones Valley.
  • The schools have a fighting chance because of this group and this guy.
  • Stories of April 27 are being eloquently and respectfully documented…in so many different mediums.
  • Our neighborhoods are rebuilding themselves.   And the people are the foundation of this rebuilding process.  It’s a fascinating thing to watch.
  • ‘Bama is rising.
  • And, last and certainly most notable – Vulcan is still standing.

So you see, the beat of Birmingham is creating quite a significant rhythm, and I don’t see it’s tuning out anytime soon.

Life is good.  Right here.  In Birmingham.  Our sweet home Alabama.  It feels like a true revolution is upon us.  And I know you feel it, too…

2 Responses to “Birmingham’s Pulse”

  1. Tom says:

    And don’t forget about Woodlawn. This previously neglected area of BHM is really starting to rock and roll.
    Woodrow Hall kinda started it 3 years ago by being restored into the grand ballroom it once was. It now hosts weddings most weekends and has been becoming active on the music scene with Friday On My Mind every month where people dance to the old stars.

    Just last weekend we hosted an Album Release Party for a wonderful band called The Delicate Cutters.

    And in just a few weeks a second banquet hall, just as authentic albeit a bit more modestly sized than Woodrow Hall for moderate size events, will be opening with hand made tables, wonderful window treatments, new lighting and the vintage feel of a century old banquet facility. It easily seats 100 with space for dancing!

    Others are becoming VERY interested in Woodlawn as numerous lots are being grabbed up by people looking to restore this once wonderful part of BHM to a bedroom community. Look out Historic Loft District, here comes Woodlawn!

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