There’s No Place Like Homewood

Have you ever heard of some of the suburbs of Birmingham and wanted to visit, but weren’t sure what to do there? We here at The Local will take time over the next four weeks to take you to the most popular neighborhoods of Birmingham and highlight the best things to do there.

Homewood is a thriving suburb south of Birmingham that balances the world of commercial retail and local joints, making this city a unique place to spend the day touring.

When you first arrive in Homewood, shop around and get something to eat on the iconic 18th Street in downtown Homewood. The strip of diverse stores and restaurants will bring the small-town feeling to life as you pop in and out of the locally run shops.

18th Street in downtown Homewood.

Next, drive less than a mile over to Do It Yourself Crafts to immerse yourself in a creative and relaxing environment. From making pottery and painting to glass fusing and decorating ornaments, there are a wide variety of crafts you and your friends can make together. Classes are offered throughout the week and spaces are available for parties and group events.

Urban Air is the next stop, especially if you have kids with you. Let them get all their energy out at the indoor trampoline park as they jump on wall-to-wall trampolines, dunk

Homewood antique store in the Edgewood neighborhood.

basketballs in super tall baskets, play dodgeball and flip into the huge foam pits. The family-friendly trampoline park hosts birthday parties for all ages.

 

When it’s time for dinner, the Edgewood neighborhood of Homewood will satisfy your hunger. With all types of cuisines, it’ll be hard to choose what to eat.

Once you’ve finished up your meal (and ice cream from the local creamery) stroll down to Homewood Park, where you can play ball or watch the sunset.

 

Homewood Park

Let us know how your day in Homewood was in the comments below.

 

The Timid Sons: The juggling act begins

Trip Wood, Tre Mason, Frank Robertson and Preston Little relax after a long day of work, school and band practice. Photo by Kate Sullivan.

Story by Hannah Garrett and Caleb Jones

The band lounged around on the couch after a late night practice session, visibly exhausted but genuinely in love with the opportunity they have to make music.

However, The Timid Sons, comprised of Trip Wood, Frank Robertson, Tré Mason and Luke Brown, only get to make this music after their full days of work and school. They come together late at night to practice and develop new songs, and wake up the next day to do it all over again.

The band’s only studio-recorded album to date, a self-titled work, includes its most popular single, Cocaine Lips. This up and coming band loves to play shows in the Birmingham area, but also likes to travel as well.

“It all started when Frank walked up to me in the food court and said he had a song idea,” Wood said. “We weren’t in a band yet, but he proceeded to pull out a napkin with the words ‘cocaine lips and a hurricane smile.’ I was expecting a chorus or something at least, but all I got was a phrase.”

“That ended up being all I needed though; I took the napkin back to my apartment, sat down and wrote the whole song that day. In that moment The Timid Sons were born,” said Wood.

The band’s name, The Timid Sons, came about when Robertson was reading a book called “I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son” by Kent Russell. The book itself is based off a famous Davy Crockett quote.

With a band name and one song under his belt, Wood was ready to churn out music at a rapid rate.

“This book really resonated with us,” Wood said, “The idea that a father would really rail their son and be that openly disappointed with him made the realization that we are all born into expectations. People naturally have expectations of us. While you are born into a world of disappointment, that doesn’t mean that you are a disappointment. While we are imperfect, and while we aren’t necessarily a band with full time musicians, we accept it, move on and make music we want to hear.”

Wood said he had a handful of ideas already in his head from the previous few years. At the time he didn’t think he would actually use them. Some of the lyrics he had were from experiences that happened that month and others were just things he thought about and wrote down.

Following their first song, “Cocaine Lips,” the band spent about a month recording eight songs at Mountain Brook Community Church. The album came together so quickly because Wood would spend days on end recording music, often times sleeping in the studio to maximize histime.

“Back when we were recording, a few days would pass,” Robertson said, “and I wouldn’t have seen Trip, so I would stop by the studio. I found him there multiple times, tucked away by himself, with lots of cups of coffee, some fresh, and some not so fresh. Trip would have this twitchy, kind of crazed look about him, but he was producing our songs at a ridiculously fast rate. Sometimes you just let the man work and appreciate the results.”

At this time, the band was moving quickly and Wood was rushing the entire thing because he wanted to have a couple of singles to release right away. Because of this, only three of the band members actually recorded on the album. It was challenging for their old drummer from Atlanta to drive to Birmingham every so often to record so they began to reach out to find a new drummer.

The Timid Sons faced several challenges in its early days, such as finding a permanent drummer in the Birmingham area, recording for the first time and singing in front of an audience for the first time. Wood said he was unsure of how to carry himself in front of others and found the experience of playing live nerve racking at first.

They are currently working on two new songs including one Trip wrote about a blind man called Jim James. The song, he explained, is about how easily we can get wrapped up in our own frustrations while much worse things happen in the world.

“I was driving back from my Spanish test and was obsessing about how bad I had done. I was drinking my Starbucks, listening to my favorite music, and just being super self-indulgent,” Wood said, “I was going down Lakeshore Drive and reached the part where there isn’t anything for about a mile and that’s when I saw this guy at the bus stop. He was blind, and he was sitting out there on the bench, in the sun, during the hottest part of the day, in the middle of the summer.”

“In that moment it became really obvious how self-indulgent I was being. Some of the lyrics I wrote were completely bashing myself and I had to refrain from keeping them in the song. How could I be so self-obsessed? This man is probably going to work right now, and probably not to his first job, more than likely, to his second one and he is blind. There was just a lot of things going through my mind at that moment and I was able to get it out on paper.”

Trip Wood:

What does music mean to you?

It’s meant a lot of different things to me, especially in the last few years. If I’ve learned one thing about music, it’d be this: Music can be a stress reliever, a medium to express yourself and so much more. However, once you start expecting something from it, you start to lose it.

How does your music reflect who you are as a person/musician?

Sometimes I worry that it reflects who I am a bit too much: fast, irrational, and not thought through.

Describe a typical day for you.

My average day changes frequently. Right now, the only things that are constant are how much I eat and that I write two songs’ worth of lyrics a day.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What role does your music play in that plan?

Hopefully I’ll still be pursuing music as a career. Like I’ve said before, the men and women that do this full time are incredible. It takes a lot of guts to decide to make your living off of something so inconsistent.

Frank Robertson:

What do you play in the band? How long have you been playing?

I play guitar and have been playing since about 7th grade

What do you do when you are not playing with The Timid Sons?

I work part time and am trying to figure out if I want to go back to school this coming year or pursue full time work.

Is it hard to balance music and work?

The biggest challenge is to feel like I’m being responsible in my pursuit of both. It seems like practices can only happen later at night, but I have to be up by 6 a.m. in order to start my morning for work.

What is your best memory with the band?

One of our first shows back from the summer at a venue called the High Note. It was one of our first shows at a legitimate venue with a real sound guy and PA system, and this stage that was so tall but not very wide. It was one of the first moments that “we’re a real band” clicked in my head.

What is your goal for the band?

To go as far as we can.

Banditos in search of BIG break

Photo courtesy of David McClister

Guitarist Corey Parsons sits down with The Local to discuss the band’s goals, influences and accomplishments.

The Banditos are natives of the Birmingham area, but currently live in Nashville as they pursue their music career fulltime. The band is comprised of six friends who describe themselves as more of a “gang” than a musical group. This rag-tag gang has been making music together for more than five years now. They started out playing in bars and out on the streets around downtown Birmingham. Now, they have put out a full-length, self-titled, album with a second album on the way. Guitarist Corey Parsons recently discussed the band’s journey with The Local.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have overcome as a band?

Being able to make a living by playing music is a challenge within itself.

How does the music you play relate back to your everyday lives?

Definitely, most everything we write has came from personal experience. And if not, it certainly does now.

What other artists (past or present) inspire you? 

Too many to name, but I’ll name a few that come to mind for the sake of the interview. Chuck Berry, Etta James, Gram Parsons, Ramones, Lightnin’ Hopkins, 13th Floor Elevators, Sly and the Family Stone, Dr Hook, Bob Seger, The Banana Splits, etc.

What are the band’s long term goals? 

To do our best to smooth the rough edges of life for anyone needing so.

What would you want your fans to know about the band that they might not?

We’re genuinely appreciative of them.

What inspires the lyrics for y’all’s songs?

It’s different every time, but we all take from personal experiences in some way or another.

What has been y’all’s biggest accomplishment so far? 

We just finished recording our second album. We’re pretty proud of it.

 

 

 

The Local’s Fall Jams

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The degrees are dropping and pumpkin spice everything fills the air. It’s time for a new playlist to accompany all your fall favorites and The Local has the perfect one for you! Enjoy the classics as well as a mix of new soothing tunes. It will be sure to keep your feet tapping.

 

 

Local Coffee Shops Transformed into Popular Fictional Diner

To celebrate the 16th anniversary of the first episode of Gilmore Girls, Birmingham coffee shops partnered with Netflix on October 6 and converted into the hit show’s own coffee shop, Luke’s Diner.  Lucy’s Coffee and Tea, Crestwood Coffee Co. and The Abbey were three of the 200 cafes around the country that participated in the pop up.

The pop-ups were open from 7 a.m. to noon, and the first 200 guest received free coffee. The shops included décor from the show, such as Luke’s signs, aprons, backward caps, and coffee cups covered in Gilmore Girls quotes. Even the staff at the shops wore Luke’s Diner branded aprons and T-shirts. Netflix also announced a new season which is to premiere around Thanksgiving time.  

Lucy’s, a coffee shop located on University Blvd, was thrilled to be one of the Netflix-sponsored coffee shops. Early on, the line wrapped around the block as Gilmore Girls fans excitingly waited for their free cup of coffee. The coffee shops said that social media was a big factor in whether or not a café was chosen to host a Luke’s diner pop-up.

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Coffee sleeves were adorned with Luke’s logo

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A line of fans awaiting their coffee

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Employees dressed up as characters for the occasion

  

Binge-Worthy Halloween Movies

Fall is here and along with it comes the Halloween season. In addition to leaves on the ground and the return of oversized sweaters, the change in season also means the updating of Netflix’s library, everything from horror to old childhood favorites. So no matter where you stand on the pumpkin spice flavor debate, here is a list of movies and tv shows on Netflix to watch this season to get you in the spirit.

Practical Magic:
This rom-com stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman and follows two witches/sisters who are stuck with a curse against all the men in their lives. Not quite heart-racing, give-you-nightmares material, but a fun movie with a great soundtrack nonetheless.

Scream 2:
The 1997 sequel to the classic slasher film follows the infamous “Ghostface” as he ravages a small town. While not as classic as the first, if you want a film that will keep you on your toes, this is it.

Scary Movie 2 & 3:
The Scary Movie franchise is not what you would expect. These movies take popular horror films and parody them by mashing up the plot lines and making them ridiculous. Some jokes may fall flat, but if you are looking for something more lighthearted, look no further.

Corpse Bride:
Tim Burton’s creation follows a groom who must search for a way back to his fiancée after he accidentally becomes the husband of a corpse bride in the underworld. This movies is exactly what you would expect from a Tim Burton film and follows in the footsteps of his wildly popular Nightmare Before Christmas.

American Horror Story:
This tv show is unique because it presents a new storyline every season. From a haunted house to a witch coven to an insane asylum, each season presents new twists and turns. If you don’t have time for the whole show, most agree that the 2nd season, titled Asylum, is a can’t miss.

It’s Relay For Life Time

Homewood — It’s here again! The Homewood community is gathering Friday, April 22 between 4p.m. and 11p.m. at Homewood’s Central Park for this year’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Homewood event.

 

Involved in this common effort to “create a world with less cancer and more birthdays” are organizations such as Samford Greek Life, Hall Kent Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Shades Cahaba Elementary, Homewood High School and Southern Nuclear.

 

Supported greatly by volunteers, the event will feature performances from HHS Cheerleaders, Edgewood Kids Choir, HMS Patriot Singers, Homewood Jazz Band and HMS Trendsetters—to mention a few!

 

To accompany these treats are an ice cream eating contest and an inflatable slide.

 

“Our Relay for Life event,” Relay For Life Specialist Christina Zabala wrote in a press release, “supports the mission of the American Cancer Society to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back against the disease.”

 

Readers are invited to join in this community celebration of the lives impacted by, lost to and reclaimed from cancer.

 

Readers interested in participating in this year’s Relay For Life event as a volunteer or team member may contact Zabala at 205-930-8868 or visit www.RelayForLife.org/HomewoodAL.

Track and field competes at South Alabama

Eight Samford University track and field athletes earned top-three finishes at the South Alabama Invitational, held Thursday, April 14 through Saturday, April 16.

The high-performing contingent was headlined by first-place showings from Sarah Sanford, Courtney Prengaman and Javion Lee.

Sanford won the women’s 400-meter hurdles in 59.76 seconds; Prengaman won the women’s high jump with a clearance of 1.69 meters; and Lee won the men’s triple jump with a leap of 15.04 meters.

Men’s pole vaulter Tray Oates and men’s long jumper Marquis Barnes claimed runner-up finishes in their respective events. Notably, Oates’ clearance of 5.32 meters set a new school record.

Jay Vines (400 hurdles), Chris Thrasher (javelin) and Tonia McKinley (100 meters) posted third-place performances to round out Samford’s top finishers.

The teams will look to carry their momentum into the coming weekend, when they’re slated to compete at the Auburn Invitational.

Birmingham Barons Opener

The Birmingham Barons had a rough season opener, losing to the Jacksonville Suns 6-1 last Thursday.

The team played the opener in Jacksonville and stayed the weekend, playing five games in all. The Barons won one of the five games against the Suns.

The Suns, with a 57-81 record for the 2015 season, proved to be too much for the Barons’ opening game.

The Suns scored the first point, and the Barons’ first baseman, Jake Peter, had a home-run in the second inning. This was Peter’s first professional baseball game.

The teams remained tied 1-1 until J.T. Riddle of the Suns had a three-run home run in the third inning. The next inning was scoreless, and in the fifth inning the Suns gained the last game point.

They will play their first home game tonight, against the Tennessee Smokies. First pitch will be thrown at 7:05 p.m. For ticketing information, call (205) 988-3200.

Pepper Place is Back

Birmingham’s favorite farmers market is back on Saturday, April 9th. It is open from 7 a.m. to noon rain or shine.

Pepper Place began in 2000 in provide a connection between family farmers and the people of Birmingham, Alabama. Since then is has grown from a few tents to over 100 tents spread across parking lots and streets around Pepper Place. The market has hosted around 10,000 people every Saturday at the height of the season.

All of the vendors are based in Alabama and are the actual growers, joined by their family members and friends.

Shoppers can expect bedding plants, herbs, lettuces, asparagus, and strawberries to be in season for the spring and as it gets closer to summer blackberries, blueberries, peaches and mushrooms. Alongside of the fresh produce market goers can find bakers and cooks who serve food to eat and take home, from breakfast food to dessert. As well as food, Pepper Place hosts Alabama artists, artisans and craftspeople with unique items to decorate with or give as a gift.

The address is:
2829 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233

A list of vendors can be found here:

http://www.pepperplacemarket.com/vendors/