Why The Re-Modeling Of The Powell Avenue Steam Plant Is Great For Birmingham


This week, Alabama Power announced something very cool for downtown Birmingham!  Alabama Power is taking the old Powell Avenue Steam Plant and turning it into a major hub for activity around the Railroad Park area of Downtown Birmingham.  The former industrial plant is going to be turned into a entertainment and cultural center just across from Railroad Park and near the upcoming Rotary Trail.  The center might include restaurants, entertainment space, stores, and even a museum.  Here is a video from Alabama Power highlighting what they want to do.

In Alabama Power’s view, The Powell Avenue Steam Plant has been a fixture on Birmingham’s skyline for over a century.  Reimagined, it can become a part of the city’s transformation by becoming a thriving and diverse destination.  A place where creativity and innovation combine to generate economic energy for the future of Birmingham.  And I agree!  If you have not been to Downtown Birmingham lately, you need to go back and see the changes that have already taken place.


For example, Railroad Park has become a top destination for people and families, Region Field has become a very popular baseball park with great attendance at each game, McWane Science Center is a top science museum in America, and this is just the beginning.  The Entertainment District near the BJCC is growing and soon will become a top destination for nightlife in the city.  And many buildings that were once empty and falling apart, are now becoming re-modeled or re-built to house businesses and homes.  And with that, people are coming back to live in Downtown Birmingham!


Yes, some parts of the City of Birmingham have some violence problems, but violence is not a problem in the downtown area.  Yes, some violence happens, but it can happen at any city anywhere in America.  I am glad to see an outdated and closed down steam plant being re-purposed for today’s times, it was closed down in 2013, but soon will come back to life to serve the people of Birmingham.  Alabama Power is supporting economic development and ongoing revitalization of Birmingham, and I am glad it is happening!  The naysayers who say Birmingham is dangerous needs to go to downtown and see for themselves!

Learn more at: http://powellsteamplant.com/


Digital City Videos Are Here

Last week I had a blast at the UAB Digital City Ethnographic Film event.  Eight movies were shown on the giant IMAX screen inside the McWane Science Center.  And all the films were very good!  For a recap of the event click on the link.  https://geekalabama.com/2012/05/03/digital-city-at-mcwane-science-center/

Now all eight films have been put on Vimeo for everyone to enjoy!  Here’s the one I am in called Riders on the Storm produced by Kevin Franks and Tyler Malugani.  This film also features James Spann, John Brown, and T.D. Todd.  Notice the excitement that my tornado lamp was used in the opening of the film.

The other films were great as well.  I know you are going to enjoy these films.  Take the time and watch all eight!

Unfare System: Birmingham Public Transit by Melissa Crook and Daniel Twieg.

We Came To Learn: The Drop Out Recovery Program by Jessica Craig and Adrian Jones.

Abandoned Canvas: Painting on Birmingham’s Margins by Majaliwa Mzombwe and Naithon Henning.

From Mountains to Metropolis: Old Time Music in Birmingham by Stephanie Cook and Rachell Berry.

Awake: Hip Hop Artistry in Birmingham by Ebony Hinton and Sierra Nicely.

Physical Truths: Making Art at UAB by Katelyn Armstrong and Ali Massoud.

Never Too Late to Learn by Nathan Ennis.

Digital City at McWane Science Center

On Wednesday night I had a great time at the Digital City movie event which showed short ethnographic movies made by UAB students.  Eight ethnographic films were shown to a packed audience inside the IMAX in the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham.

These movies were made by students who were enrolled in the ethnographic film class inside the UAB Media Studies department.  Ethnography is a method used in social science in which community based research or fieldwork is conducted to learn about and represent a group of people or social phenomenon.  The students produced these films over a semester long research project.  The students had to investigate a social justice issue related to a local community or culture.

Before the show began; the music from Friends of Old Time Music & Dance was great.  They were featured in one of the movies!

The show featured eight ethnographic films ranging from hip-hop; seniors learning to use computers, graffiti artists, high school dropouts getting a second chance, people playing music, art programs at UAB, problems on Birmingham bus routes, and people who do storm spotting.

Ebony Hinton and Sierra Nicely produced “Awake: Hip-Hop Artistry in Birmingham.”

Nate Ennis produced “Never Too Late to Learn.”

Naithon Henning and Majaliwa Mzombwe produced “Abandoned Canvas: Painting on Birmingham’s Margins.”

Jessica Craig and Adrian Jones produced “We Came to Learn.”

Rachell Berry and Stephanie Cook produced “From Mountains to Metropolis: Old Time Music in Birmingham.”

Katelyn Armstrong and Ali Massoud produced “Physical Truths: Making Art at UAB.”

Melissa Crook and Daniel Twieg produced “Unfare System: Birmingham Public Transit.”

I was featured along with James Spann, John Brown, and T.D. Todd about storm spotting.  The film was titled “Riders on the Storm” and was produced by Kevin Franks and Tyler Malugani.  Yes I do look great up on a IMAX screen!

After all of the movies were shown; the audience gave a standing ovation to all of the filmmakers.

And the reception after the show was great as well!

Me with filmmakers Kevin Franks and Tyler Malugani.

It was a great night!  To learn more about UAB Media Studies visit http://www.uab.edu/mediastudies/

Check out past ethnographic films made by students at http://vimeo.com/channels/digitalcommunity.  I will let you know when this year’s films are put online!

Digital City Tonight

I wanted to share something happening tonight that is very cool!  I was interviewed by one of the students about storm spotting.  And tonight the Department of History will present Digital City, a free film screening of students’ ethnographic films, on May 2 in the McWane Center’s Imax theater at 7 p.m.

The production will feature films with topics such as Birmingham public transit, graffiti, high school dropout programs, storm spotters (me), old time music, pursuing art at UAB, hip hop and computer literacy for the elderly.

UAB Ethnographic Filmmaking is an interdisciplinary class that merges the methods of documentary filmmaking and anthropology as a way for students to research and represent local communities through film. Ethnography is a method used in social science in which community-based research or “field work” is conducted to learn about and represent a group of people or a social phenomenon. The students’ films are the product of a semester long research assignment in which students investigate a social justice issue related to a local community or culture.

If you plan to come tonight get there early!  They say it will be a packed house; plus its free to attend.  Look for a review post about this event on Geek Alabama soon!