Outside of the requisite reading of "Romeo and Juliet," and a long weekend at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival — and despite the fact that my name is an anagram for "bard" — I never studied much of Billy Shakespeare's work. So the local production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" is perfect for me. With three actors performing 37 plays in 90 minutes, it's like a crash course in classic theater. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Liberty Theatre, and tickets are $8. Details: 702-423-6366.
Saturday morning, the wife and I will take a bike ride downtown to Market Days, where area farmers and craftspeople sell homegrown and homemade stuff. It's great spending a couple of bucks and taking home a bagful of vegetables pulled right out of the Georgia (or Alabama) soil. The market it open from 8:30 a.m.-noon on the 1000 block of Broadway.
And Saturday night I'll endure the smoke of the SoHo Bar & Grill to see one of my favorite formerly local acts, Misfortune 500. My favorite moment was when they once announced to the crowd that the song they just played was by Elvis. Then, on seeing the puzzled faces in the crowd, they added "Costello. Elvis Costello." They share the bill with The Drownout, and music starts at 10 p.m. Cover is $5. Details: 706-568-3316.
— Brad Barnes
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A VERY P.C. WEEKEND
It's time to change your opinion of a place that often unfairly earns notoriety just for its mullet-hunting tales: Phenix City.
Yes, there are plenty of good things that come out of our Alabama neighbor and this weekend you can experience some of the best of them.
Friday, Phenix City's own Freddie Hart comes home for a show at The Phenix City Amphitheater. Hart had a bunch of country hits in the '70s, and two years ago part of 13th Street was renamed in his honor.
Show starts at 8 p.m. and it's $10 for adults, free for children under 12. Call 334-291-4719.
Saturday, immerse yourself in Phenix City nightlife by visiting Broad Street Blues, 913 Broad St. It's one of the few local smoke-free venues. House band Mojo:Saint performs beginning at 10 p.m. and cover is $5. Call 334-297-3200.
Finally, end your weekend with dinner at Char-Broil Steakhouse, 3546 U.S. Highway 280/431 North in Phenix City. Snag a spot at the patio area, order a pork chop and sing choruses of "Sweet Home Alabama." Call 334-297-5664.
— Sonya Sorich
A DREAM OF COLUMBUS
Nothing says "weekend" like whiling away your free hours in a haze of dreamscapes and fantasy worlds. Since you don't have the kind of cash it takes to achieve those states, you'll have to do with pretending.
Start out by visiting the 7 p.m. Columbus Catfish game at Golden park either Friday or Saturday. Fireworks will cascade o'er the field after Friday's game. It's $5-15 for either session.
Saturday, check out the sweet lofts for sale at the Eagle & Phenix Mills at the corner of 12th Street and Front Avenue. You can't afford to live there, but it's nice to look at.
You deserve a respite Sunday from your weary ethereal wanderings, so grab a Miller Chill, open up one of your camping chairs on the back deck and listen to the crickets sing a sad tale of longing and death.
Smile — you get to go back to work on Monday.
— Alan Riquelmy