Arts and Culture

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.

Norman Rockwell’s America

Few painters have created images as popular and as intertwined with American culture as Norman Rockwell. For decades, Rockwell produced magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post – illustrations which are folksy, nostalgic and idealized versions of the county. And even if you don’t know anything about Rockwell, there’s a good chance you’d recognize his work. Those covers and other items go on display Sunday at the Birmingham Museum of Art. We sent WBHM’s Andrew Yeager there to get a preview.

Through the Sparks Returns to Birmingham

Through the Sparks may be a Birmingham-based band, but it's been a while since they've performed in Birmingham. That changes tonight. The band plays Bottletree Cafe tonight.

Remembering The Queen of Country Music

The Queen of Country Music has died. Kitty Wells died at her home in Nashville yesterday of complications from a stroke. She was 92. Wells was the first female to score a Number One hit on the country charts and paved the way for other women at a time when the men who ran the industry didn't think a woman could be a headliner.

Rising Star in Acoustic Music Plays Birmingham

One of the hottest young talents in the world of acoustic music makes her way to Birmingham tonight. The Austin Chronicle has called Sarah Jarosz "a songwriter of uncommon wisdom". A New York Times reviewer noted she's a "mandolin and banjo prodigy with the taste and poise to strike that rare balance of commercial and critical success." Jarosz garnered a lot of attention at Bonnaroo this year. WBHM's Greg Bass has a profile.

Art in Empty Windows

Walk along First Avenue North in Birmingham's East Lake neighborhood and you'll see a worn out sign protruding from a building. It's a reminder of a time when this strip was a bustling commercial area. And while there are still stores here, there are also plenty of empty buildings. Friday evening, several East Lake community organizations launch a new project that puts artwork in those empty spaces. As WBHM's Andrew Yeager reports, organizers hope it will help the neighborhood bounce back from a generation of decline.

Nightmare Waterfall

Birmingham rock duo Nightmare Waterfall, blends their music in waves of noise. It's catchy droning guitar riffs, crashing drums and howling vocals. They put their music together in such a way that you actually experience what the name implies.

Birmingham Americana Musician Josh Brown Gets Personal

If there’s one thing singer-songwriter Josh Brown knows about music, it’s how to write a simple song with deep meaning. Brown’s originally from Georgia, but he moved to Birmingham and brought his music and his experience with him. In his EP titled “Long, Long Way From You”, Brown tackles some tough issues.