by Sherry Lucas
I had a chance to go on a mini-vacation this spring and I’ve got to say, I was mighty tempted. But then, I looked around at blossoming fruit trees and blooming wildflowers, felt the sun’s warmth and the breeze’s cool, and I knew the best place to be is right here at home this season. Once clear of rain and storms, the weather couldn’t be better. The colors couldn’t be brighter. The landscape couldn’t be more packed on the fun front.
There’s plenty of Wednesday night action to scout, and more fun kicks in Thursday with Fondren After 5. Here’s what I love most about it: Even if you can’t find a friend to bring with you, you’re bound to run into one there. Stroll and visit and shop and eat and drink and listen to tunes and let your spring fever spike.
Vacation? Maybe I”ll take one in August.
Americana band Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors bring their stellar singer/songwriter listening experience back to Duling Hall Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. show. If a band’s known by the company it keeps, this one’s got it good from performing alongside John Hiatt, Don Henley, Los Lobos, Susan Tedeschi, Robert Earl Keen and more. You’ve heard their music in TV placements on “Parenthood,” “Nashville,” “Justified” and more, and now it’s time to hear ‘em live, particularly on the heels of their latest release, “Souvenir.” It’s $20 advance (ardenland.net), $25 door and $70 Neighborhood VIP Experience. Sean McConnell opens.
The touring production of “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” comes to Jackson’s Thalia Mara Hall for a 7:30 p.m. Wednesday show. Find tickets, $25-$100, at ticketmaster.com.
Get a head start on Crossroads Film Festival with a Wednesday night showing of “The If Project,” 7-9 p.m. at Millsaps College, in Room 137 of the Ford Academic Complex. The film by Kathlyn Horan, part of the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, focuses on a Washington state detective’s quest to help heal wounds and offer hope of rehabilitation to women prisoners. Horan and Detective Kim Bogucki will be on hand for a discussion after the film.
The spotlight’s on “Local Landmarks” at Brown’s Fine Art & Framing, with depictions by gallery artists Vicki Armstrong, David Waldrip, Ann Seale and Scott Hall. See favorite spots such as Fondren Corner, Walker’s, Babalu, downtown Jackson, CS’s, Fenian’s and more in a whole new light and medium. Drop in during Fondren After 5.
Fondren After 5 returns on Thursday, 5-8 p.m., and brings the fun into focus with Duling Avenue Live, presented by Babalu, Saltine, Hal & Mal’s, Abita Brewing and New Belgium Brewing. Find a family-friendly atmosphere with music, food, art, kids’ fun and more. Among the draws: St. Luke’s Bounce House, Mississippi Children’s Museum’s Imagination Playground, artist Teresa Haygood with mosaic fun for kids, artists Ellen Langford and Rebecca Wilkinson, music featuring Joshua Stephen Ward Music and more in Fondren’s historic district.
Fischer Galleries welcomes new paintings by Maryann Brummer with an opening reception 5-7 p.m. Thursday at its loft location in the Dickies Building, 736 S. President St. in Jackson.
Grab the popcorn. The 18th annual Crossroads Film Festival is coming onscreen, Thursday through Sunday at Malco Grandview in Madison. This annual celebration of the diversity and depth of the art of filmmaking is always an eye-opener to many of the lesser-told stories you’ll want and need to hear, from Mississippi and around the world. Film blocks tackle topics including speaking up, women filmmakers, quirky comedies, music videos, visually striking shorts, stories from the black experience and more. Highlights include: “You Are Everything” and “! Mile to You” Thursday; the Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” Friday with a panel discussion; and “Eyes on Mississippi” Saturday, about veteran Mississippi journalist Bill Minor whose death just last week ended a 70-year-career. Find the schedule and program details at crossroadsfilmfestival.com.
The craft beer focused Zoo Brew 6-9 p.m. Friday night offers a chance for an enhanced experience at the Jackson Zoo. Soak up the live music from AJC & The Envelope Pushers, DJ Young Venom, Chris Gill and Joe Carroll, graze on food from local restaurant chefs, and sip your way through samples of craft beer and a few specialty cocktails while strolling around the zoo and taking in all the animal action. The animals will be out until dusk; the Dinos have no curfew. A Wing Eating Competition and Cookoff are part of the fun, too. More than 80 craft beers will be on site for sampling at this 21-and-older event. Tickets are $70 VIP (5 p.m. entry) and $40 advance (jacksonzoo.org) and $45 the day of the event, and $20 designated driver. This is the 10th annual edition of the fundraiser.
Now, this is classic! Cue Beethoven’s Fifth and get ready for the composer’s towering talent in the instrumental hands of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Thalia Mara Hall. Drama, infectious melodies — it’s all there as the evening offers Beethoven’s Fifth and his Seventh symphonies for your listening thrill and pleasure in this Bravo season finale. There’s a free pre-concert lecture on the mezzanine to get you primed, 6:45 p.m. Concert tickets start at $23 adults, $5 for students; visit msorchestra.com or call 601-960-1565.
Lucky Town Brewing Company hosts its first Midtown Tartan Day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m Saturday with a crawfish boil, beer, art, kilts and music by Stonewalls.
Jojo’s Slim Wednesday, 9 p.m. Saturday at Duling Hall, dishes up the dance-worthy party sounds of quintessential New Orleans jazz and blues, so get ready to shake it up, to and fro. Tickets are $25 advance (ardenland.net), $30 at the door.
KidFest! Ridgeland, Saturday and Sunday (and April 14-15) at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland offers a slew of family fun, including the return of the delightful Zoppé, an Italian Family Circus, KidFest! favorite The Fearless Flores Family with their daredevil stunts (opening weekend only) and more. This weekend’s schedule is 9 a.m to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Keep an eye out for an Easter Egg Hunt on KidFest!’s second weekend, April 14-15 (Friday-Saturday). Admission is $12, free for children younger than 2. Visit kidfestridgeland.com for a schedule, details of the festival headliners and a printable coupon for discount tickets.
“White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday at The Warehouse Theatre, is up next in New Stage Theatre’s Unframed Series. It’s a new play about contemporary Iran by Nassim Soleimanpour, with an intriguing framework — no rehearsals, no director, no set, with a different actor reading the script cold for the first time at each performance. It’s been performed more than 1,000 times worldwide (including by Whoopi Goldberg, Alan Cumming and more) and translated into 20-plus languages. In Jackson, performances are by Joe Frost Friday, John Maxwell Saturday and Juniper Wallace Sunday. It’s $10 cash or check at the door.
Fondrenite Sherry Lucas, a feature writer in Jackson for the last 33 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting creativity and culture from Fondren and beyond. Reach her at email@example.com.