Late Fall Schedule

By on 22 October, 2012 in City Living, Kate and Stephen with 0 Comments

Picture by mcdlttx

We’ve been doing Midtown Montgomery for a couple of years now, and we regularly talk about how much we enjoy the time of year both before and after Halloween. We’ve talked about our favorite haunted houses, the Haunted Hearse tour, and the many other virtues of late fall. This year, we are reflecting on the recent loss of a beloved family member, which seems appropriate for autumn, as leaves fall and thoughts turn to darker subjects, death and rebirth, graveyards and skeletons. We had a surreal moment just before the funeral, having dinner in a restaurant that was full of macabre decorations, an irony that our deceased relative would have greatly appreciated.

That said, there’s no time like the autumn to reflect on mortality. There’s a reason why Day of the Dead is also approaching on the calendar. But our culture lacks this kind of institutional and ceremonial reflection on death, life, and connections to our departed ancestors. We all likely have some contemporary connections to and personal memories of funeral homes, and probably some treasured photos of our deceased loved ones, but there are real virtues to commemorating these timeless concepts by way of some outward annual expressions.

Montgomery is a great place to do this sort of thing because we have some really great cemeteries for walking around. Oakwood is the classic, of course (the one where Hank Williams is buried). It has tons of great ancient graves and if you can latch on to a tour, you’ll get a real history lesson, enjoy some natural beauty, and possibly gleam some connection to the afterlife. And most people know about Greenwood too (the one where George Wallace is buried). It’s more contemporary, but also nice for a meditative stroll. And also Lincoln Cemetery is being refurbished after years and years of neglect, a process likely to accelerate once they complete the litigation trying to determine who legally owns the place and is responsible for repairs.

But tromping around final resting places isn’t the only thing to do. We’ve just completed a run of fantastic events in Montgomery (all of which we missed due to our own death-related obligations), but don’t despair just because we’re done with TavernFest, Henry Rollins, the WineFest, ZooBoo, and any number of other things just passed by. There are still cool things to do:

Dracula — October 27 (at 7:30 p.m.) and October 28 (at 2:30 p.m.) — This is a ballet put on by the Alabama Dance Theatre at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. We’re not huge ballet fans, but if the ballet is half as good as the dramatic rendering that ASF put on last year, it ought to be pretty solid.

While thinking about ASF, you should go ahead and buy your tickets for A Christmas Carol. This has become one of those traditions at ASF that really just can’t be missed. As the weather gets colder, the timeless lessons of Dickens connect in an almost-biological way. It runs November 23 – December 23 and you ought to grab your tickets now. A great gift idea as you start to think about holiday consumerism.
Pet costume contest — The Cloverdale-Idlewild Neighborhood Association presents the annual HOWL O’Ween Pet Costume Parade on Sunday, Oct. 28th at 2:00 p.m. It starts at the Lower Cloverdale Park at the Gazebo. It is $5 per pet to enter (or a pet food donation). All proceeds will go to the Montgomery Humane Society. Last year’s parade was a huge success. There were so many great costumes on the dogs and their human families, too. It’s a fun thing to do for a great cause.
Tribute to Billie Holiday — October 26-28 at Cloverdale Playhouse – This looks great. The two hour show starts at 7 p.m. You don’t have to know anything about Holiday to be seduced by her music, but if you don’t know anything about Billie Holiday, you’re missing one of the greatest stories in American (and musical) history. This should be fantastic and is a bargain for $15.
The Capri — “Robot and Frank” (showing now for only a few more days) looks good and seems to be about the death of books. But we’re especially excited for “Arbitrage” (which runs Oct. 26-31). It stars Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon and is set in the world of high finance. We’re also looking forward to “Butter,” about a small town butter carving contest, starring Jennifer Garner and the always hilarious Rob Corddry. And mark your calendar for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” a one-time screening on Nov. 1. You may have seen it before, but probably not on a big screen. If you haven’t seen it, you must go. We have a tendency to be skeptical of old things, or deemed by critics to be “classics.” We often prefer to make our own judgments and discover our own cult favorites. This is an instance (especially with the election looming), that you ought to go with the flow and absorb this critical artifact of the story of American democracy. It probably hasn’t been re-made yet only because The Simpsons already skewered the idea (“I second the motion … with a vengeance.”) in that episode where Homer becomes friends with Mel Gibson.
El Rey — cheap zombie party – Oct. 31. Celebrate Halloween with friends. But don’t be one of those people “too cool” to make a costume. Come on. They put “cheap” in the name. Also, cheaping out on the costume means you can save money for their delicious Day of the Dead celebration a few days later.
GT South — Remember that video game bar we reviewed a while back? They’re doing stuff. On Nov. 10, there’s a “Retro Game Tournament” featuring Goldeneye for N64 and Mortal Kombat Trilogy for PS1. I saw the best minds of my generation flushed (at least temporarily) into the toilet by that Goldeneye game, a first-person shooter based on the James Bond movie of the same name. It’s addictive and absurdly fun. On Nov. 17, they are having a tournament for the game Tekken Tag 2 (and others). And Nov. 24 is “Audience Participation Night featuring Monty Python & The Holy Grail.”

Veteran’s Day — A sober reminder that life isn’t all just war video games and shoot ’em ups. There are also the real wars and the people that are damaged by them. Montgomery honors those that sacrifice in its 3rd Annual Veterans Day Program and Parade in downtown Montgomery on Monday, November 12. Last year’s Armistice Day was on 11/11/11, but we should celebrate it every year, no matter how catchy the numerology of the date.

Architreats — The Architreats program at the Alabama State Archives is one of the real treats of each month. It’s over lunchtime, so a lot of people can’t go. But if you can step away from work for an hour, it’s totally worth it. Bring a lunch. Learn something. November’s offering is called “Lord Remember Me: Archiving Alabama’s Folklife” by Kevin Nutt.

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts — We love art, but often struggle to find exhibits at the MMFA that appeal to our tastes. There’s a promising one there now, though. “Accumulations: The Art of Joelle Ford and Stephen T. Johnson” looks pretty cool and it runs through January 13. From the exhibit’s promotional materials:

Prior to making these works Johnson poured over the English dictionary, selecting and grouping words to represent each letter from the alphabet. The phrases provide both visual cues and structure for the piece resulting in highly inventive works of art. In addition, furthering the idea of fun and games, Johnson invites the viewer to look deeper into the work and find the letter hidden within.

Catch a game — If you like football, the local college teams are doing pretty well. Faulkner is 5-3 and has a beautiful new stadium. ASU is opening a new stadium and is 4-3, a little disappointing, but still a winning record. The legendary Turkey Day Classic is Nov. 22 and will be the first game in the new stadium. Huntingdon is 5-1 and nationally ranked for the first time in school history. If you’re an Auburn fan, now would be a good time to take a Saturday off from the woeful Tigers and catch a game of one of your local teams.

If basketball is your thing, we’ve got plenty of that too. ASU’s men’s team is picked to finish 6th in the SWAC, which isn’t very good, but maybe they’ll play with a chip on their shoulders. ASU will begin the 2012-13 season on Oct. 31 when they host Huntingdon in an exhibition game beginning at 6 p.m. at the Acadome. The Hornets have a tough schedule, which includes Florida (11/11) and GA Tech (12/17). They’ll also split games (home and away) with Troy, which would be a good excuse to drive 50 minutes down the road and see Troy’s gem of a new basketball arena.

AUM also plays hoops. Who knew? They’re no longer the Senators, but the Warhawks will opens Nov. 2 against Selma’s Concordia College in the Jimmy Faulkner Classic at Faulkner University.


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