Earth Day Purpose and Celebrations

Earth Day comes around every year on April 22 but the history and idea behind the day is not commonly discussed. The concept for Earth Day was for the nation to focus on the environment for one day. Founder Gaylord Nelson was a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. After seeing the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara and being ruled by the student anti-war movement, he related the public needed to be aware of the air and water pollution they were contributing.  Nelson worked until the next year

Earth Day Network states that “on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.” Learn more about Earth Day.

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String Theory

An unconventional & groove-worthy ensemble

A musician guides his bow across the strings of a cello. He is tucked away behind a conductor stand, embracing the cello as if it is a beloved friend. Just a few measures into the song, he thrusts the bow with vigor. The instrument delivers a melody reminiscent of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen’s chart-topping, pop-rock anthem. Have your ears deceived you, or is a conservatoire-trained musician performing rock ‘n’ roll hits on a cello?

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Top five things to do in Birmingham this weekend

By: Taylor Pigman

1. Happy Feet Fridays at Railroad Park
This is the last exercise class offered at Railroad Park for the season. Kick off your weekend by heading out to the park for a 60-minute walk/run workout class. The best part? It’s free! Classes begin at 6 p.m. in Railroad Park. For more information visit http://www.railroadpark.org/events-get-healthy.html.
*Last class Friday, Oct. 31

2. Warehouse 31 Haunted House Presented by Schaeffer Eye Center
The monsters of Warehouse 31 are back for chills and thrills this Halloween. Located in the former Marvin’s Home Improvement Warehouse in Pelham, visitors can expect frighteningly good times. The event is recommended for ages 12 and up. Tickets can be purchased at www.Warehouse31.com.
Ticket Prices:
$20 for Rigamortis Trail Friday and Saturdays
Combo rate: $25 for Rigamortis Trail and 3D Experience Friday and Saturday
$17 for Rigamortis Trail Sunday and Weeknights
Combo rate: $20 for Rigamortis Trail and 3D Experience Sunday and Weeknights

3. Boo Halloween Party
Live music, dee-jays, karaoke, photo booths and a chance to win a $1,000 cash prize for best costume, the 19th annual Boo Halloween Party is sure to be a hit! This year’s theme is BOOZILLA 19 and takes place Friday, Oct. 31 at B&A Warehouse. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Alabama. Attendees must be 21 and up to enter. Visit www.boohalloweenparty.com for more information.
Ticket Prices:
$20 and can also be paid at the door

4. Dia De Los Muertos Festival
Celebrate Alabama’s 12th annual Day of the Dead this Sunday, Nov. 2. There will be a parade, food vendors and live performances. Guests are encouraged to dress for the occasion! The festival will begin at 4 p.m. at 1st Ave. S. For more information visit www.barehandsinc.org.
Ticket Prices:
$10 ages 13 and up
$3 ages 7- 12
Free under age 7

5. Alabama Ballet Presents: Dracula
The Alabama Ballet is performing Dracula for Halloween this season. The thrilling ballet is open to all ages and runs until November 2 at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre. Visit www.alabamaballet.org to purchase tickets.
Tickets range from $22 to $45.

The Dalai Lama Comes to Birmingham

The Dalai Lama is coming to Birmingham this weekend. This will be his first visit to Alabama. His Holiness will be at two different events this weekend.

Beyond Belief Interfaith Moderated Discussion
The Alabama Theater, Oct. 25, 9 – 11 a.m.
This cooperative dialogue will take place between leaders of different religions and different religious sects. Sects to be represented include Tibetan Buddhism, Judaism, and both Catholic and Protestant Christianity. Tickets are required for this event and can be purchased online here. Each guest will go through multiple security checkpoints before entering the theater. Plan to arrive early.

An Afternoon with His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
Regions Field, Oct. 26, 2 p.m.
The afternoon will also feature the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The event is free to the public, but you must have tickets to enter. Attendees should plan to arrive early.

 

 

October Means Think Pink

October means one thing: it’s time to think pink!

Why should you join in the October festivities aimed at fighting breast cancer?

According to breastcancer.org, one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and more than 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. For a disease that the world hears so much about and seems to work so actively to cure, the statistics are staggering and the disease far too common. It strikes a chord with many.

It is shocking to consider the number of women around the world who have faced this diagnosis. When October rolls around each year, it comes to mean more than simply wearing pink or putting a sticker on the back of the car.

October is a time to remember those who have been touched by the disease and to do everything our power to prevent this disease from taking any more lives.

How, then, can we make a difference? Awareness of the disease is the best place to start. Early detection is crucial and greatly increases chances of the cancer being treated successfully. Spread the word; encourage friends to create a plan for regular exams and early detection.

For more information about breast cancer, prevention and how to donate to the cause, visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month.

VisionWalk gives hope in a dark place

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VisionWalk’s Natalie Linton paints her face to support the fight against blindness.

Last Saturday, Birmingham’s fifth annual VisionWalk rallied a diverse cast of people to Homewood Park for one cause – the fight against blindness.

University of Alabama student Nicole Mullins was looking for volunteer opportunities. Aaron Sparks came because his wife, Amanda, heard about the event at her office. UAB Department of Ophthalmology’s Megan Yates just came to lend some enthusiastic support.

Birmingham is just one of 51 cities hosting VisionWalk, a seven-year-old fundraising event for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. So far, VisionWalks across the nation have raised $28 million in the fight against retinal degenerative disease, according to the organization’s website.

Events assistant Kensi Magnum announced that 2013 was one of the organization’s best years. “It’s a wonderful cause,” she said. “We have really given hope.”

Walk chair Randy Ferguson agreed, citing a personal connection to VisionWalk. Ferguson’s daughter Lauren suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition that attacks her peripheral vision.

“Five years ago, I didn’t think there was any hope for a cure,” Ferguson said. “But thanks [to VisionWalk], we have hope. This is a great thing.”

Hope is exactly what psychologist Laura Dreer hopes to give to the visually impaired community. Dreer, who first moved to Birmingham to study traumatic brain injury, noticed there was little psychological aid for adults with visual impairments. To fill that void, she started UAB Connections, a support group for adults adjusting to blindness.

“Of course it affects your eye,” she said, “But [I’m here] to show they can still have a great quality of life.”

Marcellus Scott, who is legally blind, needed to hear that message.

“Connections is a great support,” he said. “It’s a struggle to live every day, but at least you know you’re not alone.”

Paul Mayo, a friend from the Department of Rehabilitation in Homewood, concurred. Also legally blind, Mayo dedicates his time to raising awareness for people with little to no vision.

“I’m just trying to give a little back of what’s been given to me,” he said.

For more information on supporting the Foundation Against Blindness, visit this link.

By Jonathan Adams

Annual Greek Festival offers color, flavor

Greek Festival

Birmingham is known for being a major contributor to the beauty of the Southeast. From fried food to Southern hospitality, visitors often leave Birmingham with an appreciation of the history and comfort of a “small” big city. However, what many people have grown to love most about Birmingham is a fall event that captures the hearts of natives and visitors alike with zest and color. From September 28 – 30, people all across the Southeast came down to the 41st annual Greek Festival, eager for a plate full of chocolate baklava and Greek chicken and a night of Greek dancing and music.

The lively festival began in 1972 by the Ladies Philoptochos Society and has since become one of the most popular cultural events in Birmingham. Now hosted by the Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral on 19th street, the three-day event offers food and culture that might not be common to the south but is certainly adored. The event has a community-centered spirit to it, offering large round tables and long lines that give visitors and church members opportunity to mingle, meet, and relax together.

“The Greek Festival is an exciting and engaging way to learn more about Birmingham and its intriguing culture and history. The Greek population is quite extensive and influential in Birmingham society, and the fact is dually noted at the annual festival,” Birmingham-area native and local college student Courtney Bell said.

“Amazing food, entertaining dancers, and a tour of the chapel were enough to have me saying ‘OPA!’ It was not my first time to attend nor will it be my last.”

By Rebekah Robinson