Make great weekend plans, as social distancing and self quarantining continue.
Magic City Art Connection Virtual Festival opens Friday online
Magic City Art Connection (MCAC) Virtual, a weeklong online festival opening at 6 a.m. Friday, April 24, features original works for sale by many of MCAC’s 2020 exhibitors. Artists who were juried into the 37th annual festival have been busy making work for the spring show, which was originally scheduled April 24-26 in Birmingham’s Linn Park. MCAC is launching its digital storefront to spotlight the artists’ efforts and creations, and connect them with collectors, art lovers and newbies in Birmingham and beyond. Virtual is the next best thing to being at the annual festival. A diverse selection of original artworks in all mediums and price points are available on the website, or connect directly to the virtual art marketplace here. MCAC’s second initiative, a hybrid fall event at Moss Rock Festival Nov. 7-8, will infuse arts and cultural experiences for all visitors. Each festival’s mission will be on display at The Preserve in Hoover, presenting art and design, kids’ art workshops, performances, nature, smart living and eco-creativity.
Virtual Tasting with Classic Wine Company
Enjoy a virtual wine-tasting event with the Classic Wine Company Friday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m. The guided tasting will be led by Jorge Liloy, director of Portfolio Sales at VinoMundo. The event will offer tasting notes and background stories on South American bottles in an hour-long educational experience, including Catena Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina; Lapostolle Grand Selection Sauvignon Blanc from Colchagua Valley, Chile; and Tilia Chardonnay from Mendoza, Argentina. To have bottles pulled in advance, call Classic Wine Company at 205-871-9463. Zoom meeting access will be provided at the time of purchase. Pick up your order curbside and taste alongside a wine expert. Follow along on Facebook. Classic Wine Co. is at 1831 28th Ave. South in Homewood.
Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Stay Connected with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) while you are physically isolating and social distancing. ASO is offering a variety of resources, including teaching guides, music education and lesson plans. Visit the website for more information: alabamasymphony.org/learning.
Support local and independently owned restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a handy guide for delivery, curbside and bar to-go services for Birmingham, Homewood, Hoover, Leeds, Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook. Buy gift cards, get swag and donate via restaurants’ Venmo or GoFundMe. Learn more about participating restaurants at bhamnomnom.com.
Home learning with Louie the Lightning Bug
Keep kids learning and engaged with “Learn with Louie,” a website filled with electrical safety activities and videos. The Louie the Lightning Bug character was developed for Alabama Power in 1983 to introduce electrical safety to children. Follow this link to learn with Louie.
Virtual Talladega Superspeedway to host eNASCAR race Sunday
NASCAR, iRacing and FOX Sports joined forces last month to create the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series after suspension of its schedule because of COVID-19. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer have been competing every Sunday using virtual NASCAR Cup Series cars on digital replicas of NASCAR’s most iconic tracks. Nearly 1 million viewers tuned in on FS1 to watch the inaugural race March 15. FOX Sports has expanded broadcast coverage to the FOX Network, making the races the most viewed eSports TV broadcasts ever. The virtual race at Talladega Superspeedway will broadcast nationwide Sunday at noon on FS1 and FOX on the same day NASCAR’s Geico 500 was scheduled to run. The live schedule will remain suspended through at least May 9.
Postcards from Quarantine
Learn new ways to meet members of the community where they are by re-allocating funds for small commissions of artwork to send to people who need a little light in their life right now. The Alabama Contemporary Art Center is shifting ways to connect with people through the arts in the age of social distancing. For more information on submitting designs or participating in the postcard campaign, call 251-208-5660 or message [email protected].
Magic City Songwriting Contest
While quarantining, Magic City Songwriting is looking for new quaran-tunes. Magic City Songwriting is in search of Birmingham’s best original music to showcase. This year’s theme is “change.” Entries for new songs themed around what change means are due by Sunday, May 31. One winner will be selected to record his or her song, free of charge, at the Mason Music Recording Studio. The completed track will be played on Birmingham Mountain Radio. The winner will be contacted via email to schedule a recording date within the first two weeks of June. If accommodations cannot be made or the winner cannot be reached, a runner-up will be selected for the Grand Prize package. Judges will score submissions based on melody, lyrics, composition and originality. Songs should clearly reference the theme. Songs that do not reference the theme will be disqualified. Submissions must be family-friendly and include no profanity. Only original music is allowed. Please limit your submission to 5 minutes in length. Submissions can be made in the form of voice memos, YouTube video clips or digital demo recordings of any kind. Submit lyrics in a PDF document for consideration. Learn more at masonmusicstudios.com/mcsc.
Get moving while quarantining through Fitness Friday with Forma Arts + Wellness Friday, April 24. The free virtual dance class is 45 minutes, which will get your blood flowing and heart beating as you move to the music. Registration is required.
Spring Reading Challenge
The Spring Reading Challenge is underway through Thursday, April 30, at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL). Children of all ages will experience the joy of reading, plus a chance to win weekly mystery prizes. Learn more about the Spring Reading Challenge here. For information about other programs and services at BPL, visit www.cobpl.org. Go here to support BPL.
Online UAB arts lessons
When you cannot come to arts classes and events at UAB, the arts will come to you as you do your part and stay home during the coronavirus crisis. ArtPlay, AEIVA and Arts in Medicine now have playlists on the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center’s YouTube channel. Virtual activities, from hand-stitching, paper crafts and visual arts to storytelling, writing and more, are available. New content will be added weekly, so be sure to subscribe for updates. Teaching artists from UAB’s ArtPlay and artists-in-residence with UAB Arts in Medicine lead the lessons. The “Storytime” book-reading series kicks off with “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat, as well as a Spanish “Storytime” reading of “Llama Llama Rojo Pijama” by Anna Dewdney. Go behind the scenes with staff from UAB’s Abroms-Engel Institute for the Arts for a closer look at its permanent collection. Visit UAB’s Alys Stephens Center on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit AEIVA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
AIM activity lessons include:
- Body Percussion with Resident Artist Melissa Turnage.
- Tree Watercolor Activity with Artist-in-Residence Valerie Hanks.
- Storytelling with Elizabeth Vanderkamp (AVI).
- Paper hexagons with Resident Artist Lillis Taylor.
- Basic Stitching with Lillis Taylor.
- Zentangle with Elizabeth Vanderkamp.
- Roads with Valerie Hanks.
- New Life with Valerie Hanks.
ArtPlay activity lessons include:
- Writing “Character” with Teaching Artist Audrey Atkins.
- Story time featuring “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat, narrated by ArtPlay Director Heath Mixon.
- Paper Flowers with Ms. Mollie.
- Writing with Audrey Atkins (Exciting Story Arc).
- Print project with Ms. Mollie.
- La Hora del Cuento “Llama Llama Rojo Pijama” con Christina, narrated by Christina McClellan of AEIVA.
AEIVA Behind the Scenes includes:
- Staff Chat as staff members examine a work by Peter Halley found in AEIVA’s permanent art collection.
- Objects from the Collection (Levinthal) discussion led by Christina McClellan, the collections manager and coordinator of exhibitions and programs at AEIVA. In 2018, AEIVA presented the exhibition “David Levinthal: Playland.” The majority of works on display in the exhibition came from the most recent addition to AEIVA’s permanent art collection, a gift of 59 large-format Polaroids by Levinthal.
- Chat with Guest featuring Emmie Megan Hicks as she examines a work by Pablo Picasso found in AEIVA’s permanent art collection.
Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema
Bring cinema magic to your home with Sidewalk Home Video. Select Sidewalk partners have made their films (often Sidewalk Cinema selections) available to rent or purchase on demand. Sidewalk will receive a portion of the proceeds with every film rental or purchase through an affiliate. Over the next 30 days, there will be a membership drive with a goal to sell $30,000 in memberships. Memberships include $8 tickets, invitations to a special members-only event and a limited edition T-shirt. Choose from a variety of home videos here. Click here for beer, wine and movie-night snacks. For more information, visit sidewalkfest.com.
Vulcan Park & Museum Shows Unity with Special Lighting
Vulcan Park & Museum will stand in solidarity with the Birmingham community during the COVID-19 pandemic with a special light presentation. Until further notice, each night starting at dusk, the pedestal will stay dark and Vulcan will be lit in his signature white to give a message of hope. Vulcan Park & Museum President and CEO Darlene Negrotto hopes the focus on Vulcan is a reminder of his symbolic importance for many generations. This lighting capability is made possible through the generous support of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham with its centennial gift to the city.
The following adjustments have been made on the Vulcan property:
- The park grounds, including Kiwanis Centennial Plaza, will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, free of charge.
- Vulcan Center, The Anvil and Vulcan’s Observation Tower are closed until further notice.
- Out of abundance of caution, the picnic area has been closed and tables and chairs removed on the overlook. Handrails and branches are sanitized daily.
- All student and adult programs have been canceled.
- For private events, contact the event organizer for more information.
Highland Park Golf Course
Unwind at the Highland Park Golf Course in Birmingham from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Golfers are welcome to walk along the cart path. Book your tee time at highlandparkgolf.com or call 205-322-1902. The course management is carefully monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and is in regular contact with health agencies for information. Click here for updates.
Park rules for Railroad Park
Railroad Park will be limited to visitors who are walking, running and exercising. Visitors cannot sit or congregate near cars around the park’s perimeter. Group activity of two or more is not permitted. Remain six feet away from others, which includes family members, roommates or anyone from the same household. If visitors break these rules, Railroad Park may be closed by the city of Birmingham. The playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment areas are closed. Chairs and tables have been removed from the pavilions and the Boxcar Cafe is closed. Park programs have been suspended. Follow this link for park updates.
Birmingham Zoo Launches Virtual Zoo
The Birmingham Zoo is offering a virtual look inside the zoo with access to signature camps and programs. Guests who follow Facebook and Instagram will have an opportunity to tour the grounds and see behind-the-scenes areas, learn what’s new at the zoo and meet their animal neighbors. Additionally, the zoo will host a Virtual Zoo Camp on Facebook on weekdays at 11 a.m. Each 10-minute episode includes engaging activity, tours and interesting lessons about animals and Birmingham Zoo conservation work in our own backyard and around the world. The zoo’s education staff will be online to answer questions and chat with virtual campers about the day’s lesson. The zoo’s social media will continue to highlight animals through its Meet the Neighbors campaign. Each day at 1 p.m., viewers will have a chance to watch a short clip of zoo animals, learn about their behaviors and meet the professionals who care for them daily. Zoo members will receive an email video every Monday with exclusive content just for them. For more information and how to give, visit birminghamzoo.com.
Alabama Shakespeare Festival
While the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is taking an unplanned intermission, share your best memories of ASF. Tag the festival and use #ASFintermission to tell what you love about the theater. Nonprofit arts organizations are faced with incredible obstacles. Donations of any amount are appreciated. ASF audiences and artists are key to its future success. Stay updated about performances and messages from ASF artists at asf.net.
Red Mountain Theatre Facebook Live
Enjoy “Play Making Live with Bradford” on Facebook Live and YouTube each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:30 a.m. for an exciting adventure through theater for children ages 4 to 6 years old. Bradford H. Forehand is the education manager at Red Mountain Theatre Company (RMTC). He received his bachelor’s degree in musical theatre from the University of Mobile. He completed his master’s in theatre for youth at Arizona State University, where he also worked as a freelance actor, director and teaching artist. Prior to starting at RMTC, Forehand taught and directed at Lexington Children’s Theatre, Childsplay and The Coterie Theatre. He is a native of Trussville. Follow the event on Facebook. To support Red Mountain Theatre, visit redmountaintheatre.org.
The Birmingham Museum of Art Virtual Tour
Explore the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) online digital gallery. The exhibition highlights a vast collection of educational and entertaining art to view from the comfort and safety of your home. View the first live broadcast from BMA’s galleries with Executive Director Graham C. Boettcher, Director’s Cut and Facebook Live. For updates regarding the digital gallery, visit the website or follow Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Make donations here. The Birmingham Museum of Art Virtual Tour highlights a vast collection of educational and entertaining art to view from the comfort and safety of your home.
Alabama Public Libraries Online Services
Major libraries across the state offer a huge slate of online services. Patrons can check out e-books and audiobooks, stream movies and TV shows, prepare for standardized tests and get expert help with homework. Some systems have expanded access to their online offerings since the start of the pandemic, or even shifted their purchasing patterns for new materials. Some have taken storytime sessions online to maintain a sense of normalcy for their youngest clients (and some relief for their parents). A Digital Media Zone powered by OverDrive allows patrons to check out e-books, audiobooks and movies. Freading adds yet more e-books. Freegal has thousands of songs and music videos available for free and for keeps. The exact mix of services varies from system to system, as does the way they’re presented on websites. Most systems are actively promoting their online offerings on their homepages, but it pays to poke around. The Birmingham Public Library has a “Digital Library” tab. The website for Jefferson County public libraries has a coronavirus update on its homepage that lists online services. At the Mobile Public Library’s MPLonline.org, you can find the most popular offerings under the “eResources” tab, where you can select “Digital Downloads.” Options on the Mobile system’s site include Cloud Library (audiobooks and e-books), Flipster (magazines), hoopla (e-book, audiobooks, comics, music, TV shows and movies) and kanopy (movies, with an emphasis on independent, foreign, documentary and classic cinema).
Get online with ‘NASA at Home’
NASA’s new internet and social media special, NASA at Home, will engage viewers in the agency’s discoveries, research and exploration from around the world and across the universe – all from the comfort of your home. NASA offers something for the whole family. It brings together a repository of binge-worthy videos and podcasts, engaging e-books on a variety of topics, do-it-yourself projects and virtual and augmented reality tours, which include the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station, as well as an app that puts you in the pilot’s seat of a NASA aircraft. This special spotlights educational and entertaining resources and activities for families and students from kindergarten and up. Plus, it provides access to everything from formal lesson plans to amazing imagery and stories about how science and exploration help the world. If you want to practice safe science at home, there are opportunities for citizen scientists to contribute to ongoing research, from our solar system’s backyard to your own backyard. This includes searching for brown dwarfs and planets in our outer solar system and helping track changes in clouds, water, plants and other life in support of climate research. NASA at Home will feature ongoing opportunities to interact with and hear from agency experts. For example, astronaut Christina Koch reads children’s books on weekdays at 3 p.m. on Instagram live as part of educational and STEM activities for students. NASA Television is running NASA at Home-themed programming from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, as well as broadcasting around the clock with recent mission events and news, conversations with astronauts on the International Space Station, educational looks at science, technology and exploration topics, and historical programs from the agency’s storied past. Check in regularly with #NASAatHome for updates. For more information about all of NASA’s programs, projects and activities, visit nasa.gov.
GoodNight with Dolly
Dolly Parton will read a series of age-appropriate, carefully chosen content from Imagination Library books for 10 weeks. “GoodNight with Dolly” finds Parton snuggled in bed to share stories that are just right for this moment in time. Books in the series are “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” by Loren Long, “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney, “I Am a Rainbow” by Parton, “Pass It On” by Sophy Henn, “Stand Tall Molly Lou Mellon” by Patty Lovell, “Violet the Pilot” by Steve Breen, “Max & The Tag-Along Moon” by Floyd Cooper, “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña, “Coat of Many Colors” by Parton and “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper. The documentary about her Imagination Library, “The Library That Dolly Built,” will open nationally the week of Sept. 21 to commemorate the library’s 25th anniversary.