by Sherry Lucas
It was summer 2002, and I’d slipped away from the office for the cool comfort of Thalia Mara Hall and a Round I matinee session of the USA International Ballet Competition. As afternoons go in a Mississippi June, this was a fine one, as a parade of young artists danced their hearts out and set the stage ablaze with their skills.
Then came Haiyan Wu, a dancer from China in a pas de deux from “Giselle.” “The ballet’s tragic story of a peasant girl who dies of a broken heart came crashing back to me as I watched the way, in a series of lifts, she floated through the air. Like. a. ghost. People around me gasped, just like I did. My eyes stung and I felt a tear or two sneak down my cheek. I knew I’d just watched gold. It gives me chills to think about it still.
I’ll be in the audience again for the 11th IBC here in Jackson, starting Sunday. Wouldn’t miss it. I go to be wowed, and I go to be moved. It’s a gold medal win for me both ways. Get tickets, volunteer, catch a film or lecture and enjoy two weeks of dance hoopla. You don’t want to miss it, either.
Out and about, there’s tons of cool things to do for a hot time around town.
History Is Lunch, noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at Two Mississippi Museums, presents “Atticus Finch and American History,” Joe Crespino, author of the new book, “Atticus Finch: The Biography.” It’s free. At 5 p.m. Wednesday, catch up with Crespino for a signing and reading at Lemuria Books.
Fondren After 5, 5 p.m. Thursday in the historic district, is sure to be a hot one in more ways than one. Look forward to music from Epic Funk Brass Band, face painting, local artists, beer trailers and more on Duling Avenue, a Spacecamp live music takeover at Sneaky Beans, Phantom Mile on the cabana stage at Hops & Habanas (5-9 p.m.) and so much more.
Trivia Night at The Flamingo, 5-10 p.m. Thursday, invites teams of up to four members to compete for prizes, armed with nothing but random knowledge. Entry’s free, with prizes going to the top three teams.
The “Mississippi to Missouri” Pop Up Art Show, 5 p.m. Thursday at Brent’s Drugs, offers great art for sale from local students and a chance to meet the artists. Proceeds go to send students of Red Door Jackson to summer camp for adventure and personal growth.
EQ (Entrepreneur Quarterly), 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Sal & Mookie’s is a networking group for Jackson creatives and entrepreneurs.
Celebrate the summer season at Kendra Scott Design in Highland Village, 5 p.m. Thursday, in a fundraising event for the Animal Rescue Fund.
A guest lecture, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Mississippi Museum of Art by anthropology professor Robbie Ethridge focuses on “Before Mississippi Was a State: A Brief History of Native Peoples.” It’s free and open to the public.
“Backyard Beasts: Painted Feathers by Elaine Maisel,” an exhibit in the George Berry Gallery at the Mississippi Craft Center through June, has an opening reception 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the gallery.
Sip and learn at Bourbon & Cheese 101, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at Rickhouse by The Manship, where flights of whiskey and heavy hors-d’oeuvres will pique your curiosity as well as your palate, with owner Steven O’Neill, first executive bourbon steward of the Stave & Thief Society. Find tickets, $50 plus fees, on eventbrite.com .
Believe It or Not Fun Friday, 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, highlights “Science Magic.”
Deborah Hunter, host of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s “Deep South Dining,” launches her first cookbook, “My Delicious Mississippi Life,” with a signing, noon to 4 p.m. Friday at MPB’s auditorium lobby.
Food Truck Friday’s “Dog Days of Summer” outing, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Smith Park downtown, rolls out the sustenance and refreshment, and you bring the cash, appetite and fellowship.
Austin psychedelic rock band The Bright Light Social Hour perks up the stage at Duling Hall with an 8 p.m. Friday show. At press time, , ardenland’s ticket service, was down for repairs, so get advance tickets at the office (2906 N. State St., Suite 207), call 601-292-7121 or email with questions.
Country artist Riley Green kicks up interest at Hal & Mal’s with a Friday night show that spotlights the singing, the strumming and the songwriting stylings of this talented Alabama up-and-comer. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 at the door. This is an ardenland show, so see above for details if ticketfly.com is still down.
Here’s the title you’re looking for on a hot summer night: Fine Art & Chill. The event, 8 p.m. to midnight Friday at The Flamingo, brings a chance to reserve a canvas and paint while sipping beer and hobnobbing with great company. Tickets are $15 on eventbrite.com.
The 8th annual Garden Bird Sale at the Wolfe Studio starts with a 9 a.m. Saturday ribbon cutting and continues until all the discounted birds fly home with new owners. It’s the studio’s biggest sale of the year.
Check out The Market, a curated art market, at The District at Eastover, 11 a.m. Saturday.
Hop into the big ring of fun and song Saturday night as Movie Night in Belhaven Park screens “The Greatest Showman,’ complete with a costume contest (6 p.m. registration, 6:45 p.m. contest) and a sing-a-long with the movie, which starts at 8 p.m.
Catholic Charities; annual Bishop’s Ball, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Country Club of Jackson, honors Samaritan Award recipients and promises an evening of music, cocktails, dinner, live and silent auctions and a themed basket raffle. Find tickets, $85 general admission, at catholiccharities.org.
Performances of the divine musical comedy “Sister Act” continue through June 17 after the run was extended by a week due to popular demand. Shows are sold out through Sunday, and the hold-over week is selling fast. Find times and tickets at newstagetheatre.com or 601-948-3531.
The 11th USA International Ballet Competition lights the torch Sunday for two weeks of classical and contemporary dance and keen competition of dozens of top-notch young dancers at Thalia Mara Hall, along with plenty of associated special events. The Opening Ceremony features dancers of the Joffrey Ballet and the parade of nations. Round I competition starts Monday with 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. sessions daily through June 14. Find tickets and details at usaibc.tix.com, usaibc.com and 601-973-9249.
To observe the 55th anniversary of civil rights leader Medgar Evers’ death, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum presents “Knowing Medgar: 55 Years Later,” 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, that includes a program by MADDRAMA Performance Troupe, a poetry reading by C. Leigh McInnis and a special performance by Deanna Tisdale-Johnson, followed by a discussion of Everes’ early life and family, career and his 1963 death. The free event is co-sponsored by the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute and the Mississippi Humanities Council.
Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 34 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional events, see our online events calendar here. Reach Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.