Image: Sherry Lucas

by Sherry Lucas

I see zees! That’s how I think of the lineup when I glance at the weather app and see a column of tiny clouds with lightning bolts forecasting a wet week ahead. Armed (legged?) with a pair of wellies and a slicker, I usually cope all right and even have some fun mucking about and, for kicks, stomping in puddles.

I figure it’s washing the blackberries, to save me a step. Watering the wildflowers and the fruit trees, to save me two more. And it’s nudging the chanterelles into season, which is a whole other side of delicious.

Sure, the wet stuff can be a dampener on outdoor fun, but some of my fondest memories are of sticking around through the rain at outdoor events, and reaping the rewards that come when the lightweights go home and the diehards stick around. I’ll never forget the free-spirited wild child twirling in the drizzle on Capitol Street as an equally charmed Steve Forbert chuckled and sang at Jubilee JAM. Or, back in the day, the front row view with other soaked fans of Hall & Oates at Rapids on the Reservoir, after enduring a spot of rain so heavy I saw one girl wring out her ponytail. Or, huddled with a clutch of damp friends on the steps of the Landmark Center downtown to hear Bonnie Raitt.

So, rain or shine or a bit of both, don’t let the weekend go by without finding some fun in it.

Fondren After 5, starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, explodes with the usual monthly merriment, this time with a focus on Duling Avenue Live, hosted by Babalu Tapas & Tacos.Hal & Mal’s, Saltine and more. Activities include artists Teresa Haygood, Ellen Langford and Rebecca Wilkerson, pottery, crafts and fun by Summer Nation, Tara Yoga and hula hoops for the kids, music from Charley Crockett, merchants, food and beverages and much more with an open-air, family-friendly feel.

Fondren After 5. Image: Frank Farmer

“The Times, They Are a Changin’” is an evening without Bob Dylan, but with so many longtime Jackson and Mississippi favorites, it’s downright irresistible. Plus, it benefits Operation Shoestring. Win, win, win. The lineup includes Furrows featuring James Crow, Bronwynne Brent, Lee Barber, David Minchew & Pine Tar Rhythm Section, James Martin, Josh Little, Cynical Twins, Rhonda Richmond and SIKA, all on Thursday evening. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. the music kicks up at 6:30 p.m., all at Duling Hall. Tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the door and great listening’s guaranteed.

An Evening without Bob Dylan is Thursday at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Catch singer/songwriter Lee Barber & Company (that’d be percussionist Bruce Golden and bassist John Hicks) for an evening of cool and evocative music, 8 p.m. Friday at The Studio, 3017 N. State St. in Fondren. Admission is a suggested $10 admission and it’s BYOB (so long as it’s not red wine or juice).

Lee Barber and Company play The Studio Friday. Image: The Studio

Texas country artist Cody Jinks plays City Hall Live, a new entertainment venue at 1000 Municipal Drive in Brandon, 8 p.m. Thursday .Tickets are $22 general admission, $100 VIP meet and greet package, at ardenland.net and ticketmaster.com.  Saturday night, singer/songwriter and Staind founding member Aaron Lewis takes the City Hall Live stage, at 8 p.m.; tickets are $27.50 on ticketmaster.com.

Cody Jinks christens the stage at City Hall Live Thursday. Image: Cody Jinks

Midfest 20173-8 p.m. Saturday on Wesley Avenue in the Midtown Arts District, celebrates the neighborhood with a marquee street festival highlighting business products, music, arts, crafts, food and drink “Made in Midtown,’ a brand promoting Midtown’s growing business and creative culture. There’s also a car show, live art and live performances by DJ Young Venom, the Jason Daniels Band, Clouds & Crayons, 5th Child and Spirituals. Midfest is free and open to the public. It’s hosted by the Business Association of Midtown (BAM).

Clouds & Crayons will play Midfest 2017 on Saturday. Image: Clouds & Crayons

The Cathead Birthday Jam spreads the entertainment on thick all afternoon Saturday at Cathead Distillery with a lineup that really grooves. The jam features Keller Williams, The Hip Abduction, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and The Vamps, starting at 3 p.m. The rain or shine show is $15 advance (ardenland.net for tickets, package discounts), $20 at the gate, free for children ages 10 and younger. Gates open at 2 p.m.; chairs and blankets are welcome, but coolers are not allowed.

Keller Williams. Image: C. Taylor Crothers

Give your tastebuds a walk on the wild side at the Rankin County Wild Game Banquet, 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hinds Muse Center in Pearl. The event, sponsored by the Rankin County United Methodist Men to benefit Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area, is a family event with wildlife vendor booths, interactive exhibits for kids 5-6 p.m., and a wild game dishes such as deer poppers and duck gumbo served alongside Dickey’s barbecue. The guest speaker this year is former NFL player Macus Dupree and Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis will be a special guest at the event. Tickets are $25. Seating is limited; call Brandon First United Methodist Church, 601-825-5958.

Football legend Marcus Dupree highlights the Rankin County Wild Game Banquet. Image: Habitat for Humanity Missisippi Capital Area

A Summer Block Party, 5-7 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Jackson, on President Street between College and Mississippi streets (across from the State Capitol) offers live entertainment, food, space jumps and activities for families and kids to embrace summer’s start in the spirit of fellowship.

First Baptist Church Jackson hosts Saturday’s Block Party. Image: FBCJ

Muscle in on the action at the 34th annual NPC Southern Classic as buff participants pose in competition in bodybuilding, figure, bikini, fitness, physique and classic physique categories. The national qualifier is 6-10 p.m. Saturday at Thalia Mara Hall. Tickets for the 9 a.m. Saturday prejudging are $25, and for the night show, $30-$40; visit npcsouthernclassic.com.

Image: NPC Southern Classic

Scholar Max Grivno’s free public lecture at noon Tuesday at the Oaks House Museum, “The Last Slave: Sylvester Magee in History and Memory,” explores the life of the last slave in Mississippi and what public perception of his story suggests about how Mississippians dealt with the legacy of slavery. This is the Oaks House Museum’s first program in the series “A Time Gone By: History at The Oaks,” to celebrate Mississippi’s 200th birthday. It’s free; bring your own lunch if you like.

A Tuesday lecture at the Oaks House Museum discusses the life of the last slave in Mississippi. Image: Oaks House Museum.

Effervescent Florida singer/songwriter Elizabeth Cook, a Grand Ole Opry regular and SiriusXM Country Outlaw hostess, performs Tuesday night at Duling Hall, with Mississippi’s own storyteller-through-song Cary Hudson opening. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. It’s $10 advance, $15 at the door.

Elizabeth Cook performs Tuesday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

“Million Dollar Quartet” at New Stage Theatre starts this week, but after its original run dates sold out even before opening night, the theater added a third week of shows, June 13-18. All that’s to say, tickets are going fast for this hit musical about the famed recording session that brought together then-legends in the making Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. For tickets, call 601-948-3531 or visit www.newstagetheatre.com. Tickets are $35, $28 for seniors, students and military.

“Million Dollar Quartet” is held over at New Stage Theatre. Image: James Patterson/New Stage Theatre

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 sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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