Arts and Culture

New Book Chronicles History of Ruffner Mountain

Birmingham owes its existence to mining. But as coal and iron faded in importance, some of those old mines have gone “back to nature.” The new book "Back to Nature: A History of Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain" chronicles the history of the vast nature preserve.

Bessemer Residents Eager for Lincoln Theatre Restoration

Acclaimed actor Andre Holland is best known for his role in the Oscar winning film Moonlight and playing Andrew Young in the movie Selma. Holland purchased the Lincoln Theatre in his hometown of Bessemer, Alabama and plans to re-open it as a single-screen cinema and performing arts space.

BCRI Board Gets 12 New Members, 5 Reappointed

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Board received a makeover Tuesday with the City Council’s appointment of a dozen new members and reappointment of five current members.

Some Million Miles: A Search for Redemption

This short documentary film takes a hard look at a rural community atop Sand Mountain in northeast Alabama ravaged by drugs and poverty. Jared Ragland co-directed the film with Adam Forrester. It screens this weekend at the Sidewalk Film Festival.

The Mighty Wurlitzer Returns to its Roots at Sidewalk

The Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ's heyday has long passed. But this weekend as part of the Sidewalk Film Festival, it’ll return to its original purpose: accompanying silent films.

The First Wave of Girls Goes to Camp with the Boy Scouts

This year marked the first time Boy Scouts of America allowed girls to attend summer camp with the boys. At Camp Comer in Mentone, here's how it went.

Museum Exhibit Explores Empowerment Barbie

The Birmingham Museum of Art opens an exhibit this weekend that lets museum-goers become Barbie through an interactive, reimagined dream house. The exhibit also delves into how complex this figure can be.

The Risky Business of Music Festivals

Later this month, Freedom Fest makes its debut in downtown Birmingham. But music festivals around here seem to come and go. We sent WBHM’s Janae Pierre to find out why it’s so hard to keep a music festival going here in the Magic City.

The Story Behind Parcak’s “Archaeology from Space”

UAB anthropology professor Sarah Parcak uses satellite images to find buried sites in Egypt and around the world. She takes readers on that journey of discovery in her new book, "Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past."

“Welcome to Night Vale” Podcast Brings Bizarre Stories to Birmingham

The popular podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” can be a little hard to describe. It takes place in a fictional desert town with stories told through a community radio station where conspiracy theories are real. They bring their bizarre mix of horror and humor to Birmingham's Lyric Theatre Wednesday.

Birmingham Celebrates Historic A.G. Gaston Motel Anniversary

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. often planned strategy for the civil rights movement in room 30 at the A.G. Gaston Motel. For others, it was a place for wedding receptions and fancy dances. As restoration of the famed but deteriorating structure begins, Birmingham celebrated the motel’s anniversary and its founder on Monday.

Brittany Howard Announces First Solo Album, Shares ‘History Repeats’

Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard will release her first-ever solo album later this summer.

Juneteenth: A Celebration of the End of Slavery

June 19th 1865 -- or Juneteenth – marked the official end of slavery in the U.S. Barry McNealy, an educator with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, says even though President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it didn’t free all slaves.

Southern Baptists Vote to Address Sex Abuse in Churches

Thousands of Southern Baptists are in Birmingham this week for the denomination's annual meeting. In the first day of business, the convention voted to amend its constitution to take steps against sex abuse.

Top Wheelchair Rugby Teams Battle it out in Birmingham

Four of the world’s top wheelchair rugby teams squared off recently in Birmingham. It was their last chance to compete in the U.S. ahead of the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

Mt. Vernon Arsenal, Searcy Hospital Among Most Endangered Historic Places

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced this week that Mt. Vernon Arsenal, which later became Searcy Hospital, is one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2019.

Documentary Wrestles with Race and Class On and Off the Mat

A documentary that airs Monday on Alabama Public Television follows four high school wrestlers trying to make it to the state tournament. But "Wrestle" also delves into issues of race and class away from the mat.

John Paul White Makes His Peace With Being an Artist

It took years for singer-songwriter John Paul White to come to terms with the ego the music world demands. His latest album "The Hurting Kind" is a testament to how he's finally made his peace.

New Podcast Reveals “White Lies” in Selma

In 1965, Rev. James Reeb was beaten to death by white segregationists in Selma. Reeb himself was white. In an NPR podcast called "White Lies" co-hosts Andrew Beck Grace and Chip Brantley try to uncover the truth about Reeb's death.

Sidewalk Cinema Debuts in Birmingham Soon

One weekend a year, Birmingham becomes a destination for filmmakers and movie buffs during the Sidewalk Film Festival. For almost 20 years, the organization has showcased the work of hundreds of filmmakers during its annual festival while educating the indie industry. Now, Sidewalk is taking that concept to the next level with a new cinema and film center.

The Final Curtain Falls on Youth Shakespeare Group

The theater group Bards of Birmingham has performed Shakespeare with casts of mostly children for almost a decade. The group's performance of "Henry V" opening this weekend will be its final show ever.

Want to Create a Language? Here’s the Guy who did it for “Game of Thrones.”

The HBO show "Game of Thrones" envelopes viewers in a medieval fantasy world right down to the words that are spoke. Linguist David Peterson created the language Dothraki for the show, one of many he's developed for film or television.

Program Seeks to Preserve Queer History in Alabama

The South has the highest concentration of LGBTQ adults in the U.S. But they’ve largely flown under the radar, so collecting their stories has been a challenge. Enter the Invisible Histories Project, which seeks to showcase LGBTQ life in Alabama.

Doug Jones Recounts Church Bombing Prosecution in New Book

U.S Senator Doug Jones prosecuted two of the Klansmen who bombed Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. Jones writes about his experience in his new book "Bending Toward Justice."

Cowboy Junkies: All That Reckoning

Their sound is quiet. And in a way, that came about by accident. We spoke with the Canadian band Cowboy Junkies about how they've managed the demands of family and band life over decades.

Memorial Planned to Honor Jeffco Lynching Victims

Organizers of the Jefferson County Memorial Project will release findings today on 30 lynching victims in the county. That’s a small fraction of the thousands of African American lynchings that took place in the South. Now, the grassroots coalition wants to bring a lynching memorial to Birmingham as a remembrance.

A Friendly Homecoming for Activist Angela Davis

Civil rights activist and Birmingham native Angela Davis spoke at Birmingham's Boutwell Auditorium Saturday evening. The talk came after a controversy over an award from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Gaelynn Lea: Advocating for Disability Rights Through Music

Gaelynn Lea is a classically trained violinist who was born with brittle bone disease, a genetic disorder that results in very fragile bones. She shares more about her condition and how being a wheelchair user hasn’t stopped her from performing.

Jamie N Commons Makes Tour Stop in Birmingham

Singer-songwriter Jamie N Commons kicks off a tour of the South this weekend with headliner Jacob Banks. Commons is known for his creative blend of rock and soul. He talks about his influences and his upcoming performance in Birmingham.

ASO Director Reacts to Political Crisis in Venezuela

Venezuela’s political crisis is at a boiling point. There are food shortages, and dozens have died in recent violent protests. Carlos Izcaray, music director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, has seen Venezuela’s downward spiral firsthand and shares his experience.

Civil Rights Institute Reverses Decision on Angela Davis Award Again

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will award Birmingham native Angela Davis its 2018 Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award -- again. Friday's reversal is the latest development in a public controversy that has embroiled the institute for the last month.

Civil Rights Institute Grapples With Fallout From Davis Decision

A few weeks from now, political activist Angela Davis is expected to speak in Birmingham. This despite that earlier this month, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute rescinded an award it initially planned to give to Davis. The decision roiled the city, sowed divisions, and led to the resignation of three board members.