Friday, November 5, 2010

Bollywood Comes To Birmingham!

"The Bollywood Experience" is coming to the Alys Stephens Center on Saturday, November 13 for 2 shows at 10 am and 11:30 am. The show is a family oriented perfomance and is part of the ASC Kid's Club, but interested people of all ages are encouraged to come and be a part of this fascinating presentation.

I had a chance to interview the star of this show, Parul Kapoor, who shared with me some interesting things about herself and "The Bollywood Experience".

ASC: Parul can you tell us a little about yourself!

Parul: I am 21 years old, I am a senior at UAB, studying Marketing and Psychology. I am from India, I moved to Buffalo, NY when I was about 10 years old. I have been dancing since the age of 3, and since then have performed in various shows.

ASC: What inspired you to pursue dance?

Parul: My parents registered me for classical Indian dance classes when I was very young, and ever since I just fell in love with dancing and decided to continue. I completed four years of Kathak (One of the classical Indian dance form) training before moving to the United States. Here in United states I continued to perform in various shows and further enhanced my dancing skills through Bollywood movies.

ASC: What led you to pursue Indian dance and did you study formally?

Parul: I have my parents to thank for this, as they are the ones who recognized my interest and talent in dance and encouraged me to pursuit it at an early age. Yes, I have formal training in an Indian dance form called Kathak, I compeleted a four years course in Kathak.

ASC: What can people who come to your performance expect to see/hear?

Parul: People coming to the Bollywood Experience show can expect to see very graceful and traditional performances from 8 different dancers, see extravagant and glamorous costumes and jewelry Inspired by Bollywood movies, and get a taste of different styles of dance music from India.

ASC: How would you define what "Bollywood" is to someone who is not familiar with the term?

Parul: Bollywood is the name of the Indian movie industry at Bombay, that makes almost 500 movies per year. Dances and music is an important and esential part of Bollywood movies. I plan to give the audience a taste of music and dances of Bollywood. All the performances in the show are inspired by Bollywood movies.

ASC: What do you want the audience to leave with after your performance?

Parul: The audience will experience a variety of performances ranging from epic tales to friendship, family and love and tradition, the show will certainly be an enjoyable new experience for the audience, and it will leave them wanting to see more in the future!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ASC Celebrates the Diversity of the World

ASC Celebrates the Diversity of the World

One thing about the Alys Stephens Center is that there is always SOMETHING going on! Prepare yourself for November 8-14th 2010 where music and dance from around the world will entice and enliven. The World on Stage Festival combines a variety of musical performers, and celebrates diversity. Make plans to buy your tickets now!

Take part in the Mandala Sand Painting where a Tibetan monk constructs a painting in the ASC's Grand Lobby—this is truly living art. Come dance to the hypnotic rhythms of Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Orchestra. Bring the kids to The Bollywood Experience where local dancers are sure to fascinate you and your family. Listen to the African Children’s Choir and you are sure to leave inspired.

Have I convinced you yet? The Alys Stephens Center has a plethora of programs that you do not want to miss out on. Hope to see you at ALL the shows. Please view the website as some events, and lectures are FREE. Let’s celebrate the world together one note or step at a time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

ArtPlay, New ASC Education & Outreach Center

Everyone here at the ASC is excited about its newest addition, ArtPlay!

Growing a Love of the Arts
Thanks to Jane Stephens Comer's generous donation to UAB's Alys Stephens Center, a brand new arts education initiative called ArtPlay will open its doors to the public in early 2011. This beautiful Victorian house, located in the heart of Southside only blocks away from the Alys Stephens Center, will be home to ASC's expanded education and outreach program. The house is being renovated to provide quality art programming for every generation of aspiring artist, a community venue with an array of programming for creative learning, and a beautiful setting for special events. Arts classes will be available for all ages in dance, music, visual arts, film, and theatre from local arts organizations and individual teachers. Classes will be announced and registration will begin this November.
Our Mission
ArtPlay, the education and outreach initiative of UAB's Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, endeavors to educate, inspire, and nurture creative growth and self-expression in people of all ages by providing innovative arts education programming in a collaborative and holistic environment.

Our Vision
ArtPlay Believes:
In the creative potential of every human being regardless of age or social background.

*That everyone benefits from being actively engaged and inspired by the arts and having an opportunity to express themselves creatively on the most basic level.

*That an arts learning center should serve as a classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, incubator, and town hall for the entire community.

*Involvement in creative endeavors encourages self-awareness, teaches discipline, and encourages communication between people of all backgrounds.

*The arts are an essential component of the learning and development process in building a comprehensive educational foundation.

Come and be a part of the ASC as we grow!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Seth Meyers Trivia

Seth Meyers, a longtime member of the cast of "Saturday Night Live" who delivers the "Weekend Update" each week, will perform at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on November 2. Meyers will perform at 7 p.m. at UAB's Alys Stephens Center. It will be UAB's first-ever Homecoming Comedy show.

Here are a few things you may not know about Seth:

After graduating from Manchester West High School in Manchester, New Hampshire, he earned a degree from Northwestern University, then he took his act on the road. He worked with the traveling troupe of a group called Boom Chicago.
While his dad, Larry Meyers, works with GE Trade Finance, his mom, Hilary Meyers, is a legendary French teacher at McKelvie Middle School in Bedford, New Hampshire, who is known almost universally throughout the town as Madame Meyers.
He sees three distinct Windows of Rejection, which refers to the fact that ideas on SNL have three different opportunities to get rejected before being aired.
He commutes to "Saturday Night Live" (1975) by subway from his apartment in the West Village. Once he gets there, it's hard to leave. There is a constant, break-neck pace to producing a live, weekly television show. Seth has already found that necks are not the only thing that can be broken--your spirit is also on the line every day.
Eventually, the road took him to Amsterdam, where he was the writer and co-star of a two-person comedy show called "Pick-ups and Hiccups" that he and Jill Benjamin staged five nights a week in a 200-seat theater. With Amsterdam as his home base, he did versions of the show in London and Edinburgh--even Singapore--but it was during a brief run at the Chicago Improv Festival that he caught the eye of a "Saturday Night Live" (1975) casting director. He was invited to New York for a try-out, then a follow-up, and then he was hired.
Brother of Josh Meyers, a cast member of "MADtv" (1995).
Promoted to full cast member status of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) in August 2003 along with Jeff Richards and Will Forte.
An avid Boston Red Sox fan, he donated his Celebrity Poker Showdown winnings to the Jimmy Fund. The Jimmy Fund is a Boston area charity specializing in children's cancer treatment. The Jimmy Fund has been associated with the Red Sox for over 50 years.
Seth did the introduction for WMUR's Friday Night Football broadcast on September 24, 2004.
In 2006, he was promoted to Weekend Update co-anchor on "Saturday Night Live" (1975) with Amy Poehler.
Personal Quotes
About Madonna: "She's the reason I asked my parents what the word 'virgin' meant. I've been fantasizing about her for so long, I feel like she's entitled to half my earnings." (In Style magazine, Sept/2006)

Tickets for the performance are $15 for students and $25 for the general public. Call 975-2787 or go to to buy tickets or for more information.

Small Steps, Big Benefits

As you have probably noticed, we are no longer producing program books for ASC Presents performances. Instead we have invested in updating our website and making more materials available online. The response we have received to this “greening of the ASC” has been tremendous! Thank you for your support and enthusiasm on this topic. Have more ideas on how we can be more efficient and eco-minded? Share your ideas with us in the comment section!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Birmingham's funniest comes home!

Rickey Smiley, the former host of BET'S Comic View was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He has taken his humorous gags to some of the most popular comedy clubs in the country. Rickey was the host of BET'S Comic View for the 2000-2001 seasons and led the show to its highest jump in ratings in the show's ten-year history. BET then quickly signed Rickey to host "The Way We Do It" during the 2001-2002 season, and that show went on to become one of the top five shows on the network.

Rickey studied at Tuskegee University and is a 1992 graduate of Alabama State University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in English. He began his career at small, amateur comedy clubs in Birmingham and is known for his characters, impressions and “Southern” sense of humor. Rickey takes everyday situations and turns them into everyday humor with the help of a few imaginary friends like 90-year-old church lady, Ms. Bernice Jenkins, along with Lil Daryl, a character that gained much notoriety on BET's "Live from L.A." He is a seasoned veteran who established himself as a “clean” comic, in that his material is appropriate for all ages.

From his daily syndicated radio show and intimate comedy club performances, to sold-out crowds at Madison Square Garden, the Universal Amphitheater and the Lincoln Center, Rickey's unique style of humor resonates with his audiences unlike any other comic on the road today.

UAB's Alys Stephens Center will present comedian Rickey Smiley at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, in the center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $62, $52, $39; $20 for student tickets. Call 205-975-2787 or go to

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greatest Song Ever List!

Congratulations to Lee Welden! He is the winner of our
"Greatest Song Ever Contest"! His pick was George Jones', He Stopped Loving Her Today.

Here are the songs you picked as the Greatest Ever! There were several duplictate entries for Country Road, Ring Of Fire and I'll Always Love You... Thanks to everyone who entered!

Take these Chains from my Heart - Hank Williams

Yesterday - Lennon/McCartney

Rosanne Cash - Seven Year Ache

A Day in the Life- The Beatles

Over the Rainbow- Judy Garland

Wild World by Cat Stevens

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Carry on my Wayward Son by Kansas

Sea of Heartbreak

I'll be Seeing You

Salisbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

Ring of fire by Johnny & June Cash and Merle Kilgore

I Will Always Love You written by Dolly Parton

Sunshine on My Shoulders by John Denver

Take Me Home, Country Road - John Denver

Come Sail Away by Styx

Ooh Child by The Five Stair Steps

Blowin in the Wind by Bob Dylan

Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan

Bless this Broken Road by Rascal Flatts

500 Miles

Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Pete Seiger

This Land is My Land by Woody Guthrie

You never even called me by my name

Moon River

Cyndi Lauper - Time after Time

Crying by Roy Orbison

George Jones - He stopped loving her Today

Unchained Melody

The Man Comes Around

The City of new Orleans

I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash

May the Circle Be Unbroken

Son of a Preacher Man

Elvis Presley's version of How Great Thou Art

You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin', Darlin by David Allen Coe

She's Got You

He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones

God Only Knows by The Beach Boys

Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow

I'm Movin On

Stand By Your Man

Heartaches by the Numbers