Tallulah Bankhead’s Hometown Tribute
Jasper is roughly one-third a tank of gas from Five Points. Following the rambling guide produced by Google Maps, the highways and onramps roll along through loping hills, over the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River and northwest past the city of Cordova. The destination is worth the endeavor, especially this weekend, when the Walker County Arts Alliance presents the Tallulah Bankhead Tribute.
Beginning with the Tallulah’s Little Foxes kickoff cocktail party on Thursday, June 11, at the Musgrove Country Club, the entire weekend will revolve around celebrating the life and legacy of one of Alabama’s most memorable personalities.
Bankhead, born in 1902, grew up in Jasper at Sunset, her paternal grandmother’s home on Seventh Avenue, before pursuing her dreams in Manhattan and becoming a Hollywood icon. Bankhead is famed for her smoky voice and bedroom eyes that electrified the stage and silver screen in roles such as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Constance Porter in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat and Regina Giddens in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes.
To some, Bankhead’s most memorable stunts (some too ribald for print) occurred off-screen, much to her Alabama senator father’s dismay. She was a fringe member of the Algonquin while in New York, attended fabled parties like Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball and experienced all the excesses of fame before her death in 1968.
“The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it,” Bankhead famously quipped. “If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”
The Tallulah Bankhead Tribute Weekend will include celebrity guest appearances (Jessica Tandy and Keith Thibodeaux on Thursday night and Tandy Cronyn on Saturday), an art crawl, a walking tour of Jasper’s Historic District and the Bankhead Home and Heritage Center, the 5-K Dahling Dash and stage performances of Mr. Will and Dutch: Alabama’s Legendary Bankheads and Practically Immortal: A One Woman Show.
Times and prices vary. For a full schedule of events and to reserve tickets, visit tallulahbankheadtribute.com.
THURSDAY, JUNE 4
Art Crawl — Downtown Birmingham. June’s Art Crawl marks the first anniversary of the arts and cultural event that showcases local talent and businesses. As usual, the Crawl will take place at venues across downtown Birmingham including galleries, restaurants and bars and downtown businesses throughout the historic, loft, business, arts and theatre districts. Specials, giveaways and new art are waiting to be discovered around every corner. 5–9 p.m. Free. For more information, visit birminghamartcrawl.com.
LGBTQ Spoken Word — Beloved Community Church. 131 41st St. S., Avondale. Central Alabama Pride, Inc. and Beloved Community Church present an evening of LGBTQ-focused stories, poetry, humor and reflections. Live music will accompany the event, and an appetizer buffet will be available for snacking before the event. 7–9 p.m. Free. For more information, call or text (205) 542-8676.
First Thursday — Birmingham Museum of Art. 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. The first Thursday of the month, the Birmingham Museum of Art stays open late to allow the community to enjoy studio classes, docent-led tours and film screenings. This month brings “Art Onstage,” a live interview with father and daughter artists Trés and Lillis Taylor; a Drop-In and Draw class; and “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree,” a Gallery Talk with interim curator of education Kristen Greenwood, who will be showing works by artists related to one another. 5–9 p.m. Free. For more information, visit artsbma.org.
FRIDAY, JUNE 5
Mama Won’t Fly — South City Theater. 2969 Pelham Parkway, Pelham. The misadventures of Savannah Sprunt Fairchild Honeycutt and her feisty mother unfold in this topsy-turvy comedy written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. A destination wedding takes the duo on a road trip from Alabama to California in a race against the clock with plenty of mishaps and mayhem along the way. Thursdays–Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m. Through June 13. $16. For more information, visit southcitytheatre.com.
SUNDAY, JUNE 7
Vulcan’s Birthday Bash — Vulcan Park and Museum. 1701 Valley View Drive. The original Iron Man is turning 111. To celebrate, Vulcan Park and Museum is throwing an event for the entire community to attend. The Birmingham Zoo will bring a few party animals, Get Rhythm! will host a drum jam and Mayor William Bell will lead party-goers in singing “Happy Birthday” to the scantily clad Vulcan. 12–4 p.m. $5. For more information, go to visitvulcan.com.
THURSDAY, JUNE 11
Mr. Marmalade — Theatre Downtown. 2410 Fifth Ave S. Lucy is a five-year old with an imaginary friend. Pretty typical for a kindergartener, except that Mr. Maramalade is no ordinary friend. Marmalade enjoys cocaine and pornography far more than tea parties and Hide and Seek. When Lucy meets a new friend Marmalade gets angry and dangerous. The dark comedy presented by Theatre Downtown is an Alabama premier. Thursday–Saturday, through June 27 at 8 p.m. $17. For more information, visit theatredowntown.org.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch — Virginia Samford Theatre. 1116 26th St. S. Winner of the 2014 Tony Awards’ Best Revival of a Musical, this rock ‘n’ roll musical comedy presented by the Dane Peterson Theatre Series chronicles the life of fictional transgender German rock royalty Hedwig, her band The Angry Inch and her husband Yitzhak, a former drag queen. $45. Through June 13. For more information, call (205) 251-1206.
Tribes — Birmingham Festival Theater. 1901 11th Ave. S. Nina Raine’s award-winning Tribes is a play about families — the tribes we are born into and the tribes we fit in with. For Billy, a young man born with deafness into a hearing family that never bothered to teach him sign language, the possibility of a new tribe is a foreign idea. Until he meets Sylvia, a young woman born to deaf parents who is in the process of losing her hearing as well. Thursday–Saturday 8 p.m., and Sunday June 7, 2 p.m. Through June 13. $20. For more information, visit bftonline.org.
Becoming Dr. Ruth: An Unexpected Journey — Terrific New Theatre. 2821 Second Ave. S. Karola Siegel was a child when she fled the Nazis in the Kindertransport. She was a scout and sniper for the Haganah in Jerusalem and then struggled as a single mother in America before taking on perhaps the most unlikely career: a television network sex therapist. The Terrific New Theatre brings Mark St. Germain’s play to life in this honest and humorous production about the real life of Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer. Thursday–Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sundays 2:30 p.m. through June 20. $25. For more information, visit terrificnewtheatre.com.