About 45 minutes north of Birmingham, just outside Cullman, is St. Bernard Abbey. The monastery was founded in 1891, by Benedictine monks from Germany. One of the monastery's earliest residents, Brother Joseph Zoettl, devoted his time to creating miniatures of St. Peter's Basilica, Old Jerusalem, and the Statue of Liberty, among many other well-known landmarks. Brother Joseph's handiwork remains on display at St. Bernard, in a place known as the Ave Maria Grotto. WBHM's Bradley George recently paid a visit.
Some experiences change you. They just do. For Birmingham journalist Cara Clark it was being embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan last year. The former editor of the Over the Mountain Journal found a renewed sense of self, but then came home to Birmingham to discover she'd lost the job she'd held for 17 years. She tells WBHM's Tanya Ott it's all prompted a lot of soul searching.
Martin Luther King's assassin was an escaped con who had been on the lam for almost a year before their fateful rendezvous in Memphis. James Earl Ray was a career criminal who spent his life in and out of jail. So, where did he get the money to buy a car and travel? And why was he obsessed with Martin Luther King? These are some of the questions journalist Hampton Sides seeks to answer in his new book Hellhound On His Trail. I asked Hampton Sides why James Earl Ray spent so much of 1968, the year of King's assassination, in Birmingham.
Hampton Sides is the author of Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin.
Across Alabama, recent high school graduates are getting ready to enter a new phase of life. They may be getting jobs, packing up to go college or, in the case of Lauren-Taylor Bachofer, slinging a guitar over their shoulder and heading to Nashville. Bachofer started playing music as a 10th grader at Vestavia Hills High School. She's played live concerts - if you can call them that - at some pretty unconventional venues here in Birmingham: Starbucks, Moe's Southwest Grill, the farmer's market. But now she's hoping to hit the big time in Music City U.S.A. This is her tune The List. (AUDIO MONTAGE)
Imagine a modern-day Peter, Paul & Mary, only edgier...and with a quirky sense of humor, and you get the band Girlyman. Their songs are described as leading edge three-part harmony folk-pop. One review summed up their music in just seven words, "Really good, really unexpected, and really different." Girlyman played a show in Birmingham in January, and they're back in town this month. As Ty Greenstein (center of photo) tells WBHM's Michael Krall, the seeds for Girlyman were planted when her second grade teacher sat her next to future bandmate Doris Muramatsu...
Girlyman plays June 17th at Aldridge Botanical Gardens.
You might know John Bryan Hopkins as the Foodimentary Guy. The Birmingham resident blogs and tweets about food. And his postings are so popular that he was recently nominated for what's billed as the Oscars of Twitter. Hopkins has more than 150,000 followers on Twitter. To compare, chef Emeril Lagasse has 41,000 followers and the entire Food Network - 128,000. So he's kinda big stuff in the culinary twittershere. But as Hopkins tells WBHM's Tanya Ott, it all began rather humbly.
Everyone eats, but not everyone "tweets" as much as the Foodimentary guy. John Bryan Hopkins talks about his approach to Twitter and other social networking sites...
What's the opposite of summer in Alabama? How about winter in northern Maine? This is the setting of John Cariani's play Almost, Maine. It's a series of vignettes about love, and falling in and out of it. Ellise Mayor directs the play for Birmingham Festival Theatre. She tells WBHM's Bradley George that a small New England town in the dead of winter is an ideal place to explore the themes of love.
Almost, Maine is at Birmingham Festival Theatre from June 10-26.
Tapestry is produced by Bradley George and Michael Krall. We had help this month from Collin Kurre, Tanya Ott, and Andrew Yeager. We always welcome you feedback. If you have questions, comments, or story ideas, send them to [email protected] . You can also reach us through Facebook and Twitter. I'm Greg Bass, enjoy June, and we'll see you next month.