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Casey Marley - Staff Writer

Carrie and MorganCarrie Rollwagen and photographer Morgan Trinker celebrate localism on their birthdays (Photo by Casey Marley).On Wednesday, March 11, author Carrie Rollwagen celebrated her birthday in the upstairs loft of Carrigan’s Public House. While birthdays in American culture are a much-celebrated event, most are not covered by the news. What makes Rollwagen’s birthday party different? It’s theme: Localism, not only the concept of her recently published book, “The Localist,” but also her creed for living in Birmingham, Ala.

Rollwagen, Samford graduate and journalist turned co-owner of Church Street Coffee and Books, has always had an affinity for the small businesses that help create the culture of a community. In 2011, Rollwagen decided to transform that affinity into a lifestyle—buying from only local businesses for one year. Due to her love of writing, she decided to blog about her experience.

The blog, Shop Small, soon evolved into the book “The Localist,” but in order for the book to reach the public, the self-proclaimed “Localist” needed financial support. Her answer to the daunting task of raising $5,000? Use Kickstarter, a popular crowd-funding site.

“I thought if I could make a fun Kickstarter video and have it be something people are sharing and are involved with then when the book comes out I want them to see it, and think ‘Oh, I know what that is.’,” said Rollwagen before her party started.

The campaign was a success. The book, speckled with secrets about the best Birmingham spots, exceeded the $5,000 goal: earning a total $8,199. The exceeded earnings meant that Rollwagen could not only pay to have the book edited and published, but could also go on a tour promoting the book in cities from New Orleans to New York City, following the Amtrak Crescent train line. Noting that she wrote most of “The Localist” on the train, Rollwagen is taking the train as a “romantic” notion that also serves as a way to bring her books with her.

Her stop in Birmingham on the six-week book tour marked a small reunion for the community that originally inspired her project. The party, attended by both friends and fans, celebrated all things local with door prizes from businesses like Piper and Leaf Artisan Tea Co. to We Three Beeks honey and a Kickstarter funded performance from local band War Jacket. “Me and Morgan [an area photographer] were talking and we have the same birthday and we just thought this would be fun and be a way to promote these local shops,” the author said.

“The Localist” can be purchased in either paperback or as an ebook on Carrie’s website: carrierollwagen.com.

Calling all creative students: Honors College students to showcase talents of writing, reciting

poetry cutout

Abby Thompson showcases her book, “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur, to plan which poems she will be reciting at the Honors College Poetry Fest.
Photo by Lakyn Shepard/Staff Photographer

Myah Clinton
Campus Reporter

Honors College students interested in sharing their hidden talents of writing, reciting or performing will soon have an opportunity to showcase their skills in the first Honors Poetry Fest.

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Breaking stereotypes: An authentic showing of Working class

theatre working stream

The cast of the musical consists of six members who will portray over 25 different characters.
Photo courtesy of University Relations

Lauren Moore
Campus Reporter

Breaking perceived stereotypes of America’s working class and giving an authentic representation of them, UAB Theatre will soon host a musical, Working to provide insight into the lives of those in professions that are often times taken for granted or forgotten by society.

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National Geographic competition win may give a chance to restore Alabama Theatre marquee

Alabama Theatre both signs

In 1927, the theater appears with the 3rd Avenue marquee and its twin on 18th Street, but 30 years later, the sign on 18th Street was taken down to be refurbished.
Photos contributed by Birmingham Landmarks Inc.

Bella Tylicki
Community Reporter

The Theatre District is one of the more prominent pockets of downtown Birmingham, and its vitality is largely credited to historic preservation. Grand architecture and nostalgic lighting make the area unlike any other district. Some believe its most iconic feature is Alabama Theatre’s vertical marquee.

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A light on history: National Geographic competition win chance to restore Alabama Theatre marquee

Alabama Theatre concept

This rendering shows what the Birmingham Landmarks Inc. will do with the Alabama Theatre after winning the National Geographic VoteYourMainStreet.org competition.
Photos contributed by Birmingham Landmarks Inc.

Bella Tylicki
Community Reporter

The Alabama Theatre will once again shine down on 18th Street with the restoration of its vertical marquee. With $120,000 from American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Main Street America, Alabama Theatre will regain its 1957 glory.

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