a june weekend in Birmingham

This weekend I got to enjoy a lot of the reasons that I love living in Birmingham. Living here is such a unique experience. We live in close community with our friends, and are growing deeper with a church family as we walk with them in the adventure of a new church, and it all happens in this city--Birmingham. Almost everyday I feel like I see another layer, or glimpse another piece of this city. Some days the view is so hopeful and exciting and beautiful. Other days its heartbreakingly sad. My heart breaks more and more for the deep scars in this place, marked by defacto segregated neighborhoods, and areas of the city that are hauntingly filled with boarded up buildings and overgrown property. I'm glad it hurts.

This weekend had a lot of the hopeful views though--of vibrant life and community and creativity.

On Friday night we went to Bryan Johnson's loft for a small concert of Peter Bradley Adams, and one of our very favorites, Matthew Perryman Jones. It was a really great time, a bunch of our friends from Redeemer Community Church were there, and it was cool to see them outside of church and feel like we were really connected through RCC. The concert was wonderful. The atmosphere was so peaceful, and both musicians were really down to earth and talented. MPJ has the sweetest voice. Check him out if you havnt yet. Here are some pictures courtesy of Bryan...there we are chillin in the background. You can also see video on his blog.
On saturday morning, while Keith was at work, I ventured down to the farmers market at Pepper Place on 4th ave. and 29th st. It was packed with people. Stand upon stand of locally grown peaches, strawberries, blackberries, zucchini, squash, cucumber, beans, and basically every fruit or veggie you could imagine. There was also coffee, organic cheese, arts and crafts, wine tasting, and live music. And tons of families with little kids and great dogs. I'm definitely going to go back. And bring cash next time so I can get me some of them peaches.

On Saturday afternoon, we joined thousands of people downtown for City Stages, an annual music festival that takes place right in the center of downtown Bham every year. They block off streets with stages. Its pretty cool. Honestly, my favorite part was just walking around, watching incredibly interesting people eat possibly even more interesting food. Non-musical highlights included finding a "music oasis" in a church that offered live classical and blue grass music--and air conditioning. When we went in a bunch of old people were square dancing, it was pretty amazing. We also ran into a ton of friends from RCC, and even one of my coworkers. The shows we went to were Griffin House, Ingrid Michaelson, and Andrew Bird. All were great. They have a nice set up where the crowd is split down the middle by a fence and people sit on one side, and stand on the other, and lets just say that when you're not much over 5 feet, sitting at a show makes a big difference. Ingrid Michaelson was even more delightful than I expected. I'm sure, given the opportunity, we would be friends. The highlight of the whole day was when she invited 3 15-year-old girls to sing a round with her. They were so cute, and could actually sing, and i'm sure they felt like rock starts. The crowd even gave them a semi-standing ovation. I still get goosebumps, it just made me so happy. Andrew Bird was fascinating. His music is so intricate that he can't even keep up with himself sometimes. But he absolutely rocks his violin, strumming, plucking, picking, and bowing(?) it like a mad man. And his talent at whistling is mind-boggling. Somehow during the concert we caught wind of a rumor that he is autistic. And wholeheartedly believed it, thinking, that explains it! It turns out that he's not. But his brother may be. Anyways, it was fun. And exciting to see something like that going on downtown, which is usually pretty lifeless after business hours wind down. (not my photo either, i might post some later).

In other news:


Rebekah said...

We bought the peaches and they were tas-tee!

Anonymous said...

Hi Elaine -

Amy here at Original Signal. I noticed you enjoyed the Ingrid Michaelson concert at City Stages, and was wondering if you'd like to hear music from another artist of ours, David Ford. I'd love to send more info.



Kelly said...

If you like Ingrid you should definitely listen to more Greg Laswell, Ingrid's opener on her latest tour. His mellow singer/songwriter sound should appeal to the same ears. He has a new album coming out July 8 and his latest single is on his Myspace page.

P.S. David Ford also rocks. I saw him open for KT Tunstall a couple years ago and his solo set blew her's away!

Kimberly Joy said...

hey sissy, I cant wait to see you in Philadelphia. love you

Britney said...

i love your blog elaine! so glad to know of its existence now. :) By the way, you have to try those peaches... they definitely are aMAZing! Speaking of Pepper Place, Connie, Claire and I were just talking about going early on Saturday morning. Wanna join? Let me know and hope you have a restful night!