In an interview with the Birmingham News, concert promoter Brian Teasley explained the vision behind Bottletree Café: "We wanted to open a place that would serve food we wanted to eat, show films we liked to see, and play music we wanted to hear." It turns out Teasley, along with co-owners Merrilee and Brad Challiss, has pretty good taste: according to Esquire, which ranked the café as one of the country's best bars, "This place is already stealing thunder from every small music venue in the region." FlavorWire backed up this endorsement by ranking Bottletree Café as one of The 10 Greatest New Music Venues of the 21st Century. Since opening in 2006, the venue has hosted Rogue Wave, Band of Horses, and other indie-leaning rock groups.
But the accolades don't stop there. The venue also has attracted praise for its vegetarian-centric menu. Birmingham Weekly rated the café's brunch among the city's best and devoted a full-out love letter to the lunch menu, which was reintroduced in August 2012. The award-winning vegetarian chili ranks among house favorites and makes a repeat appearance in cheese-smothered nachos. Tofu plays a centric role in entrees and desserts, and black-bean patties made a fiber-rich substitute for beef in burgers, or a biodegradable substitute for frisbees in games of disc golf.
Theatre Tuscaloosa sprang directly from the Tuscaloosa Community Players, a rag-tag troupe formed in 1971 that played hotels, churches, and the castles of wealthy Southerners before it moved to the Bama Theatre late in the decade. By the end of the 20th century, Theatre Tuscaloosa had racked up a wall full of awards, including the Governor’s Arts Award and numerous Druid Arts Awards. 1998 saw the completion of the Bean-Brown Theatre, which serves as Theatre Tuscaloosa’s current home. It’s also the site of the company’s first world premiere, A Dickens of a Carol, scored by Alabamian Brad Simmons.
Time for Three mixes classical, country-western, gypsy, bluegrass, and jazz music to create a unique hybrid sound. Violinists Zachary De Pue and Nicholas Kendall and double bassist Ranaan Mayer met while studying music in college. The three-piece bonded over a shared love of musical improvisation and went on to play more than 200 shows. Conductor Christopher Confessore leads the trio with a skillful eye and even more skillful conductor’s wand. Though the concert begins at 8 p.m., it’s preceded by a cocktail hour that begins at 7 p.m., where guests can impress each other by playing octave-jumping leapfrog.
The Comedy Club Stardome has been bringing comedic talent to Birmingham since 1983, when it played host to then-unknowns Tim Allen and Sinbad. The club is currently in its third iteration, having moved, burned down, and finally been brought back to life by the necromantic arts of owner Bruce Ayers. A veteran comic who has stood up comedically on The Tonight Show and his own Comedy Central special, Henry Cho brings his clean brand of knee-slapping, tail-wagging comedy to microphone stands countrywide.
Stomp has thrilled audiences with mind-blowing percussive pieces for more than 20 years, touring 350 cities and 36 countries across the globe. Kinetic dance numbers incorporate ubiquitous everyday objects, using brooms, sheets of newspaper, and Zippo lighters to fashion intricate beats and sterling examples of what children should not do. The current tour revamps the classic show, phasing out old numbers and adding in exciting set pieces involving paint cans and tractor tires. The BJCC's capacious concert hall provides plenty of room for airborne harmonies to stretch their wings while orchestra- and tier-level seats provide enviable views of onstage numbers and chimpanzees capering in the catwalk.
Birmingham Children's Theatre aims to mint pint-sized playwrights, actors, and audience members. It has pursued this goal since its inception in 1947, impacting more than 170,000 children and their 170,000 imaginary friends annually. The theater's kid-friendly programming not only introduces kids to the theater, but also initiates them into the production process. Since 1982, its New Voices Project has yielded upward of 50 original scripts, stories, musicals, and adaptations for young audiences, all while celebrating artistic experimentation and supporting promising new playwrights.