Arts and Culture

Stephen Hough: Playing the piano isn’t enough

Stephen Hough is one of the world's leading pianists, but he's also been described a as a renaissance man -- excelling as a writer and composer. It's all part of his creativity beyond the piano. But it also adds to his creativity and his musical personality. He performs with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Friday and Saturday night.

Birmingham Author’s JFK Assassination Book Inspires Play

Next Friday, November 22, marks the 50th Anniversary of the assignation of President John F. Kennedy. It's a story James Douglas of Birmingham knows well. He's the author of the 2008 book "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters." It’s a detailed account of his research into President Kennedy's work for peace and his assignation. The book has been adapted into a play, entitled "Noah’s Ark," by Pittsburgh playwright Ginny Cunningham. The Birmingham Festival Theatre will present a staged reading of the play this Sunday, November 17, at 2 p.m. As Douglas and Cunningham describe in this interview, there were many challenges involved in turning Douglas's 500-plus page book into a 90 minute play. The version presented in Birmingham this weekend is three years and 20 drafts in the making.

Birmingham Ghost Tours: Revealing the Unseen

Walk around downtown Birmingham and you see many old, vacant buildings. But Wolfgang Poe argues just because you can't see someone in one of those old buildings doesn't mean nobody's there.

Meet Danail Rachev: ASO Guest Conductor

Since the 2011-2012 season the Alabama Symphony Orchestra has been led by esteemed guest conductors from all over the world. One of these conductors could eventually become the new Music Director and Principal Conductor of the orchestra. This weekend Danail Rachev continues that trend and pays a return visit to Birmingham.

Yotam Haber: A More Convenient Season

A work of new music by composer Yotam Haber will have its world premiere Saturday night at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center.  Featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, “A More Convenient Season” was written specifically for and about Birmingham’s Civil Rights struggle. WBHM’s Michael Krall spoke with Haber about the piece….

WBHM Looks Back On 1963

Throughout the past year WBHM has marked the key moments from the civil rights movement and explored the legacy of events of 1963. Today we take a look back on some of those stories and voices.

The Mystery of Addie Mae Collins’ Remains

While Birmingham marked the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing this weekend, a mystery lingers about one the victims. Three of the four girls killed in the bombing were buried in Greenwood Cemetery near the Birmingham airport. There’s a gravestone for Addie Mae Collins, but her remains are not actually there. One woman is trying to figure out where they are.

Four Spirits Statue, Memorial to 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims, Unveiled

City and civil rights leaders unveiled the “Four Spirits” statue in Kelly Ingram Park Saturday memorializing the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, one day before the 50th anniversary of that tragedy. Other than a plaque on the side of the church, it's the first permanent memorial to the victims.

A Sunday School Lesson From the 16th Street Baptist Church

Verses from a Sunday School lesson taught the day of the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church will once again be shared with the church's youth this Sunday. WBHM's Sarah Delia visited the church to hear how those Bible verses resonate 50 years later.

The Story Behind Newsweek’s 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Cover

Among many haunting images from the aftermath of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham is a Newsweek magazine cover from 1963. It shows Maxine McNair, whose daughter Denise died in the blast, grieving with her sister. That photograph came about in an unexpected way. Birmingham resident Reggie Holder tells how he stumbled across the story.

Black Women Don’t Exercise

Have you heard the stereotype that black women don't exercise? African-American women are at an increased risk of obesity and more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than white women. While WBHM Race and Diversity Blogger Javacia Harris Bowser is big on fitness, she's also making sure her mother doesn't become a statistic.

Saying Goodbye To Marty’s

Regulars at Marty’s in Birmingham’s Southside neighborhood will have to find a new bar to call home after August 31st. The institution is calling it quits after two decades of drinks, music, and the passing of the bar’s owner, Marty Eagle, earlier this year. Marty’s was a second home for many but also a home for jazz in Birmingham. WBHM’s Sarah Delia stopped by during the bar’s final week as staff, musicians and regulars say goodbye.

Rivers: A Debut Novel

Eight years ago today Hurricane Katrina roared out of the Gulf of Mexico leaving more than 18-hundred people dead with an estimated 125 billion dollars in damage. Now imagine a series of storms of that intensity parked over the Gulf all the time and you have the setting for a first novel by a young Mississippi author.WBHM’s Greg Bass spoke with Michael Farras Smith about his debut novel Rivers

Eric Essix Evolution

Alabama native Eric Essix has released his 20th record. "evolution" is a musical excursion from the times of Birmingham in 1963 to the progress of the city and its people, today.

WBHM Wins Seven AP Awards

WBHM 90.3 FM/WSGN 91.5 FM has won a total of seven 2013 Alabama Associated Press awards. The awards were presented at a luncheon July 20 in Birmingham. Here's the list of the winners.

The Civil Wars: Dust to Dust

Fans of The Civil Wars were heartbroken when Alabama-native John Paul White and Joy Williams announced they were putting the group on indefinite hiatus last year. The pair’s rich harmonies and onstage chemistry garnered praise from critics and fans alike. And while they are barely able to talk to each other now, The Civil Wars will release their new album "The One that Got Away" August 6th. NPR has an exclusive preview with their song “Dust to Dust.”

Susan Werner: A Musician With Big Ideas on Farm to Table Food

Folk singer-songwriter Susan Werner knows food. She grew up on a family farm in Iowa. She has strong opinions about what we should eat and where that food should come from. So she says it was a no brainer when she was commissioned to write a concept album about farming. Werner brings that music to Birmingham tomorrow night.

Spreading the Love on Loving Day

Loving v. Virginia is not as well known as other U.S. Supreme Court civil rights cases, but it has significant consequences for many people. The case overturned bans on interracial marriage and spawned an annual celebration called Loving Day. WBHM Race and Diversity Blogger Javacia Harris Bowser writes about one Birmingham couple who might not be together without that decision.

Tanya Ott’s final day at WBHM

On her final day as News Director and Morning Edition host, WBHM's,Tanya Ott speaks with Michael Krall about her time in North Central Alabama and tells us about her new position with Georgia Public Broadcasting.

The Postman’s March

All this year we’re marking the 50th anniversary of key moments from the civil rights movement. While many are familiar with the turmoil in Birmingham, Gadsden was relatively calm. That is until a white man named William Moore set out on a solo protest walk across the south. It ended with his murder in Etowah County, Alabama. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager has the story of the “Postman’s March,” a case still unresolved today.

I Was Told I Couldn’t Be a Feminist Because I’m Black

I remember the first time I wrote and published a piece for a newspaper declaring myself a feminist. I received a message from a black man who couldn't believe that a black woman would dare associate herself with a movement that was spearheaded by "racist, wealthy white women."

Remembering Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert has joined his friend Gene Siskel in the balcony in the sky, and according to WBHM blogger Billy Ray Brewton film criticism has died along with him.

Virgil Trucks

Birmingham native Virgil Trucks passed away over the weekend. He was 95. Trucks pitched for the Detroit Tigers and, while not a household name, is one of the few players who threw two no-hitters in a single season. WBHM's Michael Krall interviewed him in 2011...

Cell Phones and Rape Take the Stage in Ruined

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been wracked by war for decades, but most Americans know very little about the struggle. Two Birmingham-area theatre companies hope to change that. They're staging an award-winning play that calls attention to the dark times in the Congo.

Interview: Justin Brown on Sibelius and conducting the ASO

This weekend, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s masterworks series features two works by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Music Director Laureate Justin Brown talked with WBHM’s Michael Krall about the concert, as well as his new role with the ASO. Brown says that right from the start, Sibelius made a mark on the Finnish nation….

Found Footage Festival

Meet the Instant Adoring Boyfriend, Blue Berry the Creepy Clown, and crowd favorite, the Sleazy Hypnotist. They didn't start out to be funny, but they are. These characters and others star in the Found Footage Festival that stops in Birmingham this weekend. WBHM's Greg Bass has the details.

UAB and Birmingham Partner on 50th Anniversary Events

The City of Birmingham and the University of Alabama at Birmingham are collaborating on a series of events to recognize the 50th anniversary of some of the key events of the civil right era. The year will include lectures, musical performances, special academic courses, internships and more.

Alabama Shakes Up For Three Grammy Awards

A year ago the members of Alabama Shakes were working day jobs and playing small gigs in bars. Today, they're nominated for three Grammy Awards and being hailed by Rolling Stone, NPR and the New York Times.

NY Times Profiles Morning Edition

The New York Times has a behind the scene look at public radio's premiere program and the most-listened-to news program on the radio.

Found Sound: Boyd Hayes

Public radio listeners are accustomed to hearing people share their very personal stories (think Story Corps). Today, WBHM's Will Dahlberg shares the story of his adoptive father's quest to hear his own father's voice for the first time.

Wayne Flynt on Selma Monument Controversy

Protesters backed by several civil rights groups will march in Selma Tuesday afternoon, protesting a planned monument to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The project is supposed to replace a bust of Forrest which was stolen earlier this year. While supporters say he was a military genius, Forrest was also an early Ku Klux Klan leader, making him a symbol of hate according to opponents. Alabama is no stranger to these types of conflict, so we asked for some perspective from former Auburn University history professor Wayne Flynt.

Opera Birmingham Announces New Season

Opera Birmingham has announced its 2012-2013 season. The season opener features the winner of the “Opera Idol 2012” Audience Favorite Award and later in the season the company presents Mozart's The Magic Flute for the first time in more than a decade.