Tapestry, from 90.3 WBHM

From March 17, 2005...


Arts news

Alabama may be the football capital of the south, but there’s a movement underfoot to redefine Birmingham as the Arts capital of the South. Will it work? I’m Greg Bass and tonight on Tapestry -- a look at how local theaters cope with uncertain budget times. Also – we remember one of local theater’s founding fathers. And – for St. Paddy’s Day… a little music from Henri’s Notions. That and more, after this roundup of arts news from Tanya Ott.

Arts news



Randy Marsh

This afternoon – hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of a man who touched the lives of thousands of Birmingham students and theater goers. Randy Marsh was an actor, director and playwright. He co-founded Birmingham Festival Theater and taught at the Alabama School of Fine Arts for more than two decades. Marsh died Monday after a lengthy battle with throat cancer. When the Birmingham Area Theatrical Alliance honored Marsh with its first lifetime Achievement Award last month, ASFA’s Theater Department chairman Jesse Bates gave the introduction. Bates and Marsh first met back in the late 1960s as theater students Samford University. Bates shared some of his memories of Randy Marsh with WBHM’s Tanya Ott.

Jesse Bates interview

There’s an extended version of this interview and a transcript of Randy Marsh’s lifetime achievement acceptance speech on our website – wbhm.org.



Money Bags

Arts advocates are carefully monitoring budget talks at the state capital. This week lawmakers are fine-tuning Alabama’s 1-point-5 billion dollar spending plan. Every year, arts organizations operate on the slimmest of margins. They rely on ticket sales, grants, donations and government funding. Often, it’s still not enough, as reporter Russell Lewis explains.

Arts funding in Alabama



Kieran Quinlan

It is St. Patrick’s Day and while they’re dying the river green in Chicago, you won’t find quite as many people sporting Kelly green here in the south. If you ask Southerners why that is, they’d likely tell you the Irish influence wasn’t as strong here as it was in the North. But UAB English professor Kieran Quinlan says that’s not so. Quinlan has written a book about Irish ties to the South called Strange Kin: Ireland and the American South. He tells WBHM’s Rosemary Pennington what started off as a comparison of Southern and Irish writers turned into a more complex look at Southern history and the role Irish immigrants played in helping shape the south.

Interview with Kieran Quinlan

UAB English professor Kieran Quinlan speaking with WBHM’s Rosemary Pennington. Quinlan’s new book is Strange Kin: Ireland and the American South.



St. Patrick

By the way, do you actually know anything about the patron saint of Ireland whose day we celebrate? I called a friend of mine to shed some light on the subject. Jim Tuohy is an Episcopal priest and a native of the auld sod with some definite opinions about how St. Patrick should be remembered.

Remembering St. Patrick

Father Jim Tuohy also plays the accordion and sings. This song is "Christ the Seed."



What's going on in and around the Birmingham area. For additional details, go to our online version of the Community Calendar.

Community Calendar

Poet Lori Hamilton reading If I Had Two Breasts



Henri's Notions

As we were auditioning musical groups to close out this week’s show – there was no way it couldn’t be Tuscaloosa band Henri’s Notions. Their finger-picked ballads and hard-driving jigs are a favorite on the touring circuit. They’ve opened for such folk icons as Bob Dylan and The Kingston Trio and top celtic acts like Paddy O’Brian and the Tannahill Weavers. This is Billy Boy from the CD John O’Dreams. Tom Stem is with the band.

Music and interview with Henri's Notions

Billy Boy from the CD John O’Dreams. We've got more music from Henri's Notions available for download on Tapestry section of our website, wbhm.org.


Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott and Michael Krall. Hunter Bell handles our music. Production assistance from Brian Creel, Brad Robinson, and Ali Boudhani. Additional reporting this week from Russell Lewis and Rosemary Pennington. I’m Greg Bass… we’ll be back again next week – for Tapestry!