F is for Field Trip

If you haven’t visited the Birmingham Museum of Art, please make your way there. The regular exhibitions are awesome; but I had the privilege of viewing both Black Like Who? and Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College last night. Both are moving exhibits that provide visual, social and cultural commentaries relevant for today.

I can’t remember the last time I walked into a museum and wanted to cry, just because something in the art connected with me so deeply. Okay, I’m a known crier anyway, but the pieces just grab you! Although I’d definitely heard of Hale Woodruff’s murals, nothing prepared me for the beauty, dignity and triumph in the bold paint strokes he used to depict the Amistad case as well as the building of Talladega College.

And as for Black Like Who?, if you don’t walk out seriously contemplating identity and beauty–you may have missed the point totally. The collection includes works by renowned Elizabeth Catlett, as well as two with Alabama roots.

Go. Soak it up. Come out changed. I’m already figuring out when I can go back. The museum has ArtBreaks, lectures and public tours scheduled throughout the month of August. And if you stay for lunch at Oscar’s, attending selected events on certain days will get you a free dessert!

Rising Up closes September 6; Black Like Who? closes November 1. And don’t forget: Art on the Rocks is this Friday!

Photo of mural via the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Instagram account. All other photos taken by AEB.

That’s Haute: Gee’s Bend quilt inspires resortwear

Celia L. Smith shares something quite interesting in her Designer Inspirations piece for Essence.com:  BCBG Max Azria’s Spring 2013 pieces were inspired (at least partially) by Gee’s Bend, Alabama quilter Annie Mae Young.  The Design Inspiration: Layers that Bond the Eye references Young’s  “Center medallion strips with multiple borders” quilt (pictured above).

I checked out BCBG Max Azria’s Resort 2013 pieces, and they are fabulous.  The vibrant colors and intricate patterns make me excited to get shop for next spring/summer! And what an interesting way to draw inspiration from Ms. Young’s work, which has toured the country and been featured as part of a Smithsonian exhibit.  The work of the Gee’s Bend quilters, according to  “New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman, “turn[s] out to be some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”

To see more Gee’s Bend quilts, click HERE.

Image by Annie Mae Young, via Essence.com

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Fashion Recap: NAACP/SWAC Night of Fashion

SCDD was in the building (yes, fashionably late!) for the NAACP Night of Fashion last Friday night, and what a fabulous night it was!  Held at the Birmingam Museum of Art and hosted by Jazze Pha and Miss Alabama  2010 Ashley Davis, the standing room only event featured designs by Alabama A&M alum Nicci Hou, Francisco Azucar, Shaka King, and Piedmont, AL native Borris J. Powell.  The evening also included formal recognition for Justice Ralph D. Cook, Sr., who received a crystal gavel courtesy of Bromberg’s.  And over$30,ooo was raised for the NAACP!

The catwalk sizzled with some serious looks, but if we had to choose a favorite, it would have to be the taffeta shirtdresses featuring layered or puffed sleeves, nipped waists, popped collars and ballgown silhouettes.  These classic looks brought the drama and would up the ante for any after-five social event.  We also loved Shaka King’s Spring 2012 preview, with its easy, breezy tribal-inspired resortwear for men.  Clothed in textured and printed fabrics, his models looked like they were flown in from some rocking party in Morocco!  For more fashion fab, check out the video from Kenny Luk here.

The fashion wasn’t just on the runway however, as Birmingham’s social set turned out in their finest furs and baddest hats.  Ashley Davis dazzled in a teal silk satin one shoulder floor-length gown with front slit, and of course, Jazze Pha was in his “uniform”: a red checked dress shirt, navy vest and denim with coordinating baseball cap.  We spotted several ladies in red, but our best dressed of the night has to go to the young woman who was spotted wearing a knee-length red chiffon dress with long sleeves,  accented with long strands of pearls, black tights, and leopard boots.  Trés uptown chic!

Connect with Same Chic Different Day on Twitter @SameChicSouth

Recommended Reading: asha bandele’s Something Like Beautiful

This 2009 release from former Essence editor asha bandele is a follow-up to her memoir The Prisoner’s Wife and recounts bandele’s experiences as a single mother combating drinking and depression.  I struggled to relate to her as the wife of a imprisoned man, then as a mother to his child, until I read this passage:

“I would have to ask myself this question, and find the heart to answer it:

Had I ever really loved myself? Had I ever handed myself over to myself, whole and complete, willing and wanting…wide open and without barrier?

…Had anything worked either its magic or science and moved me closer to the place where I could claim my own heart, my own desires, and my own needs?

Did I ever commit to myself the way I did to others, and if I didn’t then why not? And if I didn’t, is that why I found myself in my thirties still trying to stand, years after I could have sworn I had taught myself to run?” –  asha bandele, Something Like Beautiful 2009.

Whoa. 

What mother doesn’t want the absolute best for her daughter? And what daughter doesn’t – at some point – contemplate her mother’s choices as she makes her own? As the publisher’s site notes, “[Something Like Beautiful offers] a vision of hope for all women struggling to keep it together on their own.”  Don’t miss this lovely, lyrical read.

Image courtesy of HarperCollins; brief excerpt reprinted with permission

Bill Cosby @ the Alabama Theatre, 2/17/2012

Hey, hey, hey…Miles College presents an evening with Bill Cosby on February 17! Whether you know him from I Spy (which made television history by being the first drama to feature an African-American actor as a lead), Uptown Saturday Night  and Let’s Do It Again, The Cosby Show, his stand-up comedy or Fat Albert (which was also part of Dr. Cosby’s dissertation), his extensive philanthropy, his books, or from his activities as a no-nonsense,  outspoken social critic, – whew! – you don’t want to miss this show. 

No word on whether pudding pops will be provided.

Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

Image courtesy of art.com

Lalah Hathaway @ the Alys Stephens Center 12/15-16/2011

Mark your social calendars, chic ones! Lalah Hathaway (daughter of Donny and owner of a FAB set of classically trained alto and contralto pipes) is performing at the ASC on December 15 and 16, and YOU can win tickets! How? Simply check out Magic City Post’s contest and enter by 5 PM on December 12, 2011; many will enter and a few will win-you know the drill!

For more on Ms. Hathaway, whose newest album Where it All Begins  dropped in October,  click here.   And just for kicks check out this clip of what Birmingham concert-goers can expect.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Iron Bowl Cocktails & Couture

We’re a little (okay, a LOT) biased at SCDD, but we fully appreciate that all bets are off during the Iron Bowl. So whether you’re heading out for celebratory cocktails after the game, or just need one to console yourself after the final score, here are our picks for what to sip (courtesy of Birmingham’s own Bottega Cafe). Enjoy. (Oh – and these super cute gameday/cocktail dresses are by Judith March).

Roll Tide!

Roll Tide Roll (Also known as a Scarlett O’Hara)

Ingredients: 1 jigger Southern Comfort Juice of 1/2 lime 1/2 jigger cranberry juice Lime slices for garnish

Preparation: Pour the Southern Comfort, lime juice and cranberry juice into a shaker with cracked ice, and shake well. Strain into a sour glass.

War Eagle!

Wayne’s Orange Thing (Created by Wayne Russell)

Ingredients: 2 cups ice cubes 1/4 cup vodka 2 tablespoons orange liqueur 1/4 cup fresh orange juice Orange slices for garnish

Preparation: Combine first 4 ingredients in a martini shaker. Cover with lid, and shake until thoroughly chilled. Remove lid, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired. Note: For testing purposes only, Grand Marnier was used for orange liqueur.

Images courtesy of Judith March

Haute and Homespun: Gee’s Bend Quilters & Alabama Chanin

If you’re in the Birmingham area, don’t miss Common Threads: Quilters of West Alabama Meet Mud Cloth Makers of West Africa  Part of the World on Stage Festival, this collective features the famous quilters of Gee’s Bend and Groupe Bogolon Kasobane, mudcloth makers from Mali.  Textiles from both groups are being shown in the lobby of the Alys Stephens Center, and the programs – lunchtime chats, hands-on crafting, and more – will conclude on November 11 (all events are free to the public). 

Full Circle – the new boutique next door to Zoe’s in Forest Park, is hosting an Alabama Chanin trunk show and workshop November 16-19.  The line, which features handmade items for the individual and home made from sustainable and organic materials, is produced in Florence, Alabama under the direction of Natalie Chanin.   The stenciling and beadwork on these pieces is AMAZING. 

Image courtesy of Auburn University/Tinwood Media

SCDD Recommends: 2011 Magic City Classic Edition

Hornets. Bulldogs. A mass exit after halftime. Totally inappropriate attire for late October. That’s right children, it’s time for the 2011 Magic City Classic…show up and show out whether you actually attended either Alabama State or Alabama A&M Universities!  Here’s our guide to some of Birmingham’s best bets (if you’re not stuck at the Galleria or the Summit trying to hook up your party  outfit at the last minute).

EAT:  Cafeteria-style meat and three:  Niki’s West.  Wings:  Green AcresFine dining (reservations recommended!): Bottega Cafe, Bettola, and Ocean (best seafood north of the Gulf; try the lobster tails!).  Casual  dining: Michael’s  (our choice for steaks).  Modern TexMex: Cocina Superior (Have the queso! And a margarita!  And the shrimp brochettes!) Cocktails: Avo and Dram (super chic!).  Breakfast: The Original Pancake House (if you’re not down with the Awful Waffle).

SHOP: Check out The Summit on Highway 280 (where you will find the only Saks Fifth Avenue, BCBG, Juicy Couture and Sephora), or if you have time to kill, The Shops of Grand River in Leeds.  There’s also great boutique shopping in Homewood’s SoHo district.

STAY:  Take your pick: Aloft in SoHo, the super swank  Ross Bridge Renaissance, the Embassy Suites  in Hoover, or  Southside’s  favorite boutique hotel The Hotel Highland.  And the Sheraton  is conveniently located downtown as well.

PLAY:  You’re here for the game and after parties, supposedly, so we’ll skip the scenic tour (although you can find highlights here).  After the game, get your party on, hit up a concert or catch a comedy show…this is when Birmingham’s nightlife comes alive (and if you don’t believe us, check out Urbanham.com’s Classic Weekend Event Guide!  And for a taste of local radio, tune your station to WBHJ 95.7, KISS 98.7, Hot 107.7,   Power 102.1 or 104.1 The Beat.

Image courtesy of State Farm Magic City Classic

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