Tapestry, from 90.3 WBHM

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From January 25, 2007...

Photo: B'ham Public Library Dept. of Archives

O.V. Hunt was born in rural Georgia, but his sights were truly on Birmingham. The city's first commercial photographer ratcheted up thousands of shots that forever link the Magic City to its fast-growing, iron and coal-mining, smoke-choking, downtown-shopping, East Lake-swimming past. A handful of the pictures -- which normally are maintained by the Birmingham Public Library Archives Department -- are on display at Vulcan Park through July. WBHM's Steve Chiotakis takes us on a tour with a couple of guides who put Hunt's exposures into geographical -- and historical -- perspective..

Birmingham photographs by O.V. Hunt

Birmingham Public Library archivist Jim Baggett and Vulcan Park docent Bill Springer, with WBHM's Steve Chiotakis. The exhibit -- called O.V. Hunt, Commercial Photographer: Images of Life and Work in the Magic City -- is on display at Vulcan Park through July 20th.

Fiddler on the Roof

One prominent player in the cultural history of Birmingham is the little theatre - now known as the Virginia Samford Theatre. The Romanesque-playhouse opened in 1927...and 25 years later actress Boots Carroll made her debut on stage. Fast forward to this month - 55 years after Carroll's debut - and she's again on-stage in a production of Fiddler on the Roof. She, and director Dane Peterson, joined WBHM's Tanya Ott.

Virginia Samford Theatre presents "Fiddler on the Roof"

Director Dane Peterson and actress Boots Carroll. Fiddler on the Roof runs through February 3rd at the Virginia Samford Theatre.

Howard Cruse

As cartoonists go, Howard Cruse is not a household name. But the Springville native and Birmingham Southern grad has contributed to national publications like Playboy, Heavy Metal and the Village Voice. His cartoon scrip Barefootz has appeared in local publications and has been published in several collections. When the Advocate, the national gay newsmagazine, invited him to create a gay-themed comic strip, Wendel was his response. In 1995 he published his award-winning graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, a story of self-discovery set against the backdrop of the civil rights in the south in the 1960s. Howard Cruse was in town last week for an event at the UAB School of Public Health and I asked him if he recalled when he first considered cartooning as a career.

Howard Cruse interview

To hear the audio portion of the Community Calendar from Tapestry, click here.

Want to know more? Activeculture.info is a one-stop source for finding out what's going on in the Birmingham metro area.

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Light of Day

Like so many other southern musicians, James "PJ" Spraggins II's love for music developed at an early age -- in church, although it wouldn't take him down a vocal path. Instead, the Bessemer native zeroed in on the drums. Spraggins' zeal for the drums carried him all the way to a music scholarship at Alabama State University, where he played in the marching, pep and jazz bands to name a few. Over the course of his career Spraggins has played with a number of musicians, including Randy Owens, Eric Essex and The Vandellas. Now, the Birmingham transplant is ready to take center stage with his debut jazz album The Light of Day. This is "Sweet Nita" off the CD. Spraggins stopped by our studios to talk about his music. (AUDIO MONTAGE) James "PJ" Spraggins II, talking about his career as a drummer and his debut jazz album, The Light of Day. He plays his first solo gig March 17th at Ona's Music Room.

Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott, Michael Krall and Hunter Bell. Francesca Rosko tracks community events. Additional reporting this week from Steve Chiotakis and production assistance from Rosemary Pennington and Islara Vazquez. I'm Tanya Ott in for Greg Bass.

Support for Tapestry comes from the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Funds administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham.