The new year is swinging into action with a variety of events.
Experience Native American art
Artists offer a visual voice that gives shape and form to history, ideas, experiences and feelings. “Voices So True: New Native American Art” from the Clyde Oyster Bequest features the work of seven contemporary Native American artists, whose vision gives voice to Native American perspectives, past and present. Ranging in media from photographs, prints and paintings to basketry, the works explore subjects including history and identity, environmental justice, healing from illness and violence, and giving voice to the voiceless. The seven featured artists — Kay WalkingStick, Wendy Red Star, Norman Akers, Eugene Tapahe, Zoe Marieh Urness, Shan Goshorn and Larry McNeil — are affiliated with many different tribal nations, including Cherokee, Navajo, Osage, Crow, Tlingit and others.
In her series “1880 Crow Peace Delegation,” Star adds handwritten text to a group of historic photographic portraits of Crow leaders — images over which the sitters had no control — and which were appropriated into popular culture. Akers’ prints explore the perception of encounters between invading European colonists and Native Americans, and a painting by WalkingStick evokes the heroic voyage of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce people who tried to walk to freedom. A basket by Goshorn expresses support for the protesters at Standing Rock and draws attention to the issue of environmental justice among the Eastern Band Cherokee. Photographs from Tapahe’s epic project Art Heals: The Jingle Dress Project document an artist’s vision and action to help bring about healing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the works in the exhibition were recently acquired for the museum’s permanent collection with the support of a generous bequest from the late Dr. Clyde Oyster, a professor and research scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a longtime docent and volunteer at the Birmingham Museum of Art. The title of the exhibition is inspired by the writings of Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation and the first Native American Poet Laureate of the U.S. See “Voices So True” through Sunday, Jan. 30, at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
‘God’s Trying To Tell You Something’ musical
This critically acclaimed production returns to the stage after a 30-year hiatus. Presented in vignettes, the show quickly moves from slavery and the auction block to the underground railroad, then from Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King and beyond. The show is saturated with gospel music in Acts 1 and 2, saluting famous entertainers who got their start in the church. The performance is at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Saturday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m.
‘Faces of Vietnam’ exhibit
The exhibit is underway through Friday, Feb. 11, at the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur. Curated by attorney Stephen Humphreys from his travels throughout Vietnam, most of the collection is from the post Đổi Mới (Reform) era of the 1990s. Through the exhibit, Humphreys strives to answer the question: “What is the real Vietnam, and what is the face it shows the world?” The exhibit includes works from leading contemporary Vietnamese artists of the post-reform period in traditional and contemporary media, such as oil paintings, lacquer and woodblock prints. See the exhibit Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Concert and show tickets
Upcoming events include:
- Reba McEntire – Feb. 24: Tickets are on sale for the Reba: Live in Concert tour with special guest Tenille Townes. McEntire will perform Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. All seats are reserved. Dates, acts and ticket prices are subject to change.
- Lyle Lovett – March 17-18: Tickets are on sale for Lyle Lovett and his acoustic group at Birmingham’s Lyric Theatre. A singer, composer and actor, Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers.
- Chelsea Handler – May 13: Tickets are on sale for the Chelsea Handler tour at the Alabama Theatre. Handler is a comedian, TV host, best-selling author and advocate. She has penned six best-selling books, five which reached No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, including 2019’s “Life Will Be the Death of Me.” Most recently, Handler released her first stand-up special in more than six years, the critically acclaimed “Chelsea Handler: Evolution” on HBO Max, and launched her iHeart Radio advice podcast, “Dear Chelsea.”
Weekend concerts at the Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Dvorak’s New World Symphony coffee concert will be Friday, Jan. 7. The composition is based on the vast expanses of the American West, while showcasing the true virtuosity of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Each movement captures drama, elation and intensity, showing the true prowess of the orchestra. Due to the pandemic, coffee and refreshments will not be served. Copland’s Appalachian Spring & Dvorak’s New World Masters concert will be Jan. 7-8. Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring takes audiences on a joyous journey through rolling hills and the boundless American countryside. COVID-19 protocols will be in place for the events. Audience members must wear masks while inside the venue. Seating capacity will be limited and the audience will be distanced throughout the hall (many subscribers will not be able to sit in their usual seats). Click here to read more about COVID-19 protocols. Due to social distancing, the Symphony will not hold concert comments. The conductor will incorporate brief comments into the concert. The concerts will be at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. Stay updated at alabamasymphony.org.
Styx in concert
After forming in 1961 in Chicago, while in high school, Styx steadily toured and expanded from a three-piece group to a quintet during the ’60s, signing with Wooden Nickel Records in 1972 and releasing its self-titled debut that year. 1973’s “Styx II” and “The Serpent Is Rising” followed, as well as 1974’s “Man of Miracles,” transitioning from straight-forward rock’n’roll into a more progressive rock, incorporating psychedelic flourishes and experimental structuring, as well as hard rock guitars, powerful ballads and theatrical elements.
The band signed with A&M Records, releasing “Equinox” in 1975, and subsequently 1976’s “Crystal Ball” and 1977’s “The Grand Illusion,” the group’s breakout album that sold more than 3 million copies propelled by singles “Come Sail Away” and “Fooling Yourself.” In 1981, Styx released “Paradise Theatre,” a concept album chronicling the fictional rise and fall of a Chicago theatre, which became their fourth consecutive triple-platinum album. The album reached No.1 on the Billboard charts and spawned five singles, including top 10 hits “The Best of Times” and “Too Much Time on My Hands.” Next was 1983’s full-fledged rock opera “Kilroy Was Here,” which featured synthesizer and vocoder-driven “Mr. Roboto” and the power ballad “Don’t Let It End.” Following a half-decade separation in the 1980s and a brief break-up in the 1990s, Styx reformed in 1996 and has continued releasing albums. The show is Friday, Jan. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham.