by Sherry Lucas
I strolled to my gate at Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport, eager to be on my way to Washington state, to vacation, to a cooler clime that August some years back. Then, a photograph caught my eye. And, another. Portraits of people I recognized, by a photographer I knew, I was certain of it. Even from a distance.
It slowed me to a stop as I walked up for a closer look. Yep. Photograph by James Patterson. It was like running into an old friend and I hung back, spending time with my fellow Mississippians just a bit longer, and admiring the uncanny way James has with the camera he points their way.
Somehow, he synchronizes the shutter with the spark in an artist’s eye. Or a musician’s. Or an actor’s. Or any subject, really. It’s that flash of passion and connection that makes the whole thing come alive. He’s a master at it. It pulls me in every single time.
An exhibition of James’ work, “James Patterson: Life in Pictures,” will open Sunday at the Mississippi Museum of Art with a 4-6 p.m. reception. The show will be on view through the end of August, so make sure you get by to see it. The museum owns 24 of his incredible photographs, and there’s an opportunity to expand that legacy and support the museum’s purchase of new work from him, through the James Patterson Acquisition Fund.
Music, trivia, cowboys, ice cream and hot topics are all wrapped up in the weekend ahead. Take advantage.
Give your stash of trivia knowledge a workout at these fun Fondren and neighboring venues; trivia at Sneaky Beans, 6 p.m. Wednesday; Thursday Trivia with “Star Wars” Night at The Flamingo, 7 p.m; Live Trivia at Lucky Town Brewing Company, 6:30-9 p.m. Friday; Challenge Entertainment’s Live Trivia at The Pig & Pint, 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Laugh it up at Funny for the Free, 8 p.m. Wednesday at Offbeat, with Merc B. Williams, Ben Compton, Nardo, Rita Brent and Petty Que. Doors open at 7 p.m. There’s no cover, but donations are encouraged, with proceeds going to Offbeat.
Check out the nightly tunes in the dining room at Hal & Mal’s, always the perfect accompaniment to your pint of craft draft and catfish po’boy (yeah I know, I’m obsessed). Wednesday, it’s New Bourbon Street Street Jazz Band, the D’Lo Trio on Thursday, the Kats on Friday and flamenco/jazz/samba more from Jackson Gypsies Saturday night. Circle back for Blue Monday (that one’s a $5 cover/$3 Central Mississippi Blues Society members) and the always-great Dinner Drinks & Jazz with Raphael Semmes & Friends Tuesday night.
Join the praise Thursday at a Malaco 50 Year Gospel Celebration, 7 p.m. Thursday at Thalia Mara Hall. Bobby Jones, Luther Barnes, Keith Wonderboy, LaShun Pace, Fred Hammond, Ann Nesby, Christina Bell, the Mississippi Mass Choir and more are among the many artists. Doors open at 6 p.m.; grab your seat, since this will be filmed. Find tickets, $39 to $89 and up, at ticketmaster.com.
Eat, drink and merrily mix at Mantle. City Club + Inc.ubator, 622 Duling Ave. in Fondren, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday for FLEET – July Portfolio Social, where you can check out some of the portfolios of Jackson’s coolest creatives.
Tuck into The Flamingo, 8 p.m. Thursday, to hear New Orleans bands Hand Out and Red Fam, and Jackson’s own Reed Smith.
Community Night’s Hip-Hop in the Park, 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Claiborne Park, 785 Claiborne Ave. in Jackson, is a show and more, with Fifth Child and Amanda Furdge and more, plus a chance to learn how to create beats and write songs — one session focusing on kids 4-9 and the other for kids 9 and older.
Believe It or Not Fun Friday focuses on optical illusions in a fun eye teaser of a program, 10 a.m. to noon at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Learn how some common optical illusions are able to throw our senses for a loop! After you’ve got the science down, find more fun in the exhibit “The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” The event and exhibit are included with museum admission.
The Sticker Show, an adhesive art show and silent auction benefiting the Greater Jackson Arts Council is 6-9 p.m. Friday at Offbeat and features sticker art from the capital city to Europe. Peel yourself away from other distractions and give it a look-see and a listen, with music from DJ Young Venom and DJ Sandpaper.
The best of ‘80s tribute spin, songs to lights to film clips and cheeky fun, returns to Duling Hall Friday night in the form of The Molly Ringwalds. Join the scene; doors open at 7 p.m. and the show kicks in at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 advance (ardenland.net) and $30 at the door.
You can bet your brass these guys are good! Enjoy a blast from the best with the Southern Komfort Brass Band, Friday night at Martin’s. Saturday night, the stage holds South Jones with Waterworks Curve.
Lick the heat at Saturday’s Blue Bell Ice Cream Safari at the Jackson Zoo, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Jackson Zoo. The 24th annual event puts a cool stamp on summer with local celebs scooping fun flavors and vie for your vote as Best Scooper. Entrance for the fundraiser is regular admission or membership, plus $4 a person — $14.25 adults, $11.25 children and $4 members.
People Politics & The Press: A Civic Engagement Summit, on Saturday at the Two Mississippi Museums, features nationally recognized journalists and the region’s best reporters in panel discussions and open conversations about the press’s crucial role creating informed citizens and a healthy democracy. Speakers include Associated Press Washington correspondent Jesse Holland, New York Times national political correspondent Alexander Burns, Emmy Award-winning journalist Randall Pinkston and more. The one-day summit starts at 9 a.m. and includes a break for lunch. It’s a free event (there is a charge for a boxed lunch), and reservations are required. Find out more, including a schedule at peoplepoliticspress.com/schedule.
The Market returns to The District at Eastover Saturday at a later time of day – 4-8 p.m. – with nearly two-dozen vendors of the artistically talented kind. Kellie Grantham, Samantha Ledbetter and Emily Hamblin are among the list who will paint, draw, weave and craft their way into your hearts – and hopefully your homes. Admission is free for this monthly event.
Neon Night — Mississippi Children’s Museum’s glowing fundraiser 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday — invites young adults to a cool summer social that includes food trucks, beer and signature drinks and live music from Mustache the Band. It’s a fun way to mix and mingle with fellow young pros while supporting the museum’s educational initiatives. Tickets are $50 online at mschildrensmuseum.org/neon-night and $55 at the door.
The Baddest Show on Dirt returns to Jackson with the 16th annual Jackson, Mississippi, Black Rodeo, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Coliseum, where cowboys and cowgirls of color pay homage to the African-American heritage of the American West with bareback bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding (featuring “meanest bull on the planet” 9-1-1), barrel racing, junior breakaway, steer wrestling, team roping and more. In addition to all that, Big YaYo (“Cowgirl”) is on hand with Southern soul. Ready to ride? Find tickets, $20 each, at ticketmaster.com and the coliseum box office. It’s general admission; ages 2 and older require a ticket.
New Stage Theatre’s Broadway Junior Summer Camp performs Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.,” based on the 1992 animated film and 2014 Broadway hit, about the scruffy street rat who learns that his true worth lies deep within, with the help of a magic lamp and Genie. Let it sweep you into “a whole new world,” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, $15 each, are going fast; visit newstagetheatre.com or the New Stage box office, or call 601-948-3533.
A reading and book signing by author Joyce Carol Oates is 6-7:30 p.m. Monday at the Recital Hall at the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Hall at Millsaps College. It’s free and open to the public. The event is organized by the McMullan Young Writers Workshop.
Creative Craft Camp at the Mississippi Craft Center Monday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through July 20, includes hat and apron design, pottery, fiber design, initial charms, flower pot mosaics and more. Call 601-856-7546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up (5 p.m. Friday deadline) or for more info; cost for the week is $185 ($160 for a second child, same family).
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 Fondren events, see our online calendar here. Reach Sherry at email@example.com.