March 1, 2011 11:52:00 AM
Spring is in the air; the evidence is all around us. Daffodils, Japanese magnolias, Bradford pears and other flowers and trees are blooming. The jackets and sweaters are coming off; shorts and flip-flops are going on.
In these parts, the sounds of spring include more than birds chirping and bees buzzing. The sounds of Mississippi blues, New Orleans jazz, and even orchestra arrangements will fill the air -- punctuated by a shout of "Stella!" or two.
The arts are coming alive, and there''s something to appeal to most everyone in the next week. Tonight, the famed Second City comedy troupe performs in the Trotter Convention Center in Columbus. This is the improv troupe that has spawned "Saturday Night Live" and other comedy greats including Dan Akroyd, Tina Fey and Steve Carrell. Tickets are still available for the 7 p.m. performance, call the Columbus Arts Council at 662-328-2787 for more information.
Thursday, the Arts Council is hosting a free reception from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main St., for a new exhibit featuring artist Cynthia Mutch and potter Mary Jo Williams.
Over in Starkville on Thursday, the Mississippi State University Lyceum Series presents the Ahn Trio at 7:30 p.m. in the Bettersworth Auditorium, Lee Hall, on the MSU campus. For information on the evening of chamber music, call 662-325-2930 or visit msstate.edu/dept/lyceum.
Friday in Columbus, it''s all about the catfish. Catfish in the Alley is here again, with $7.50 catfish plates and music by blues artist and harmonica player Scott Albert Johnson. The outdoor event on Fourth Street South, between Main and College Streets in downtown Columbus, always draws a crowd.
Saturday night, a few brave souls will parade through downtown Columbus on a Mardi Gras Mambo -- adults 21 and over are invited to don costumes, and join the Mardi Gras procession to downtown establishments. The crewe will depart J. Broussard''s, 210 Fifth St. S., at 7 p.m.
Also Saturday, the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra presents a free "Romantic Rendevouz" concert in Lee Hall''s Bettersworth Auditorium. Works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Schumann''s romantic periods will be featured.
That''s a lot of culture -- and just plain fun -- for one week. We didn''t even mention the nature part -- the Everything Garden Expo on Saturday and Sunday at the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville will help all of us get our green thumbs in tune.
And further down the road are the Tennessee Williams Festival and the Columbus Pilgrimage.
But this week, spring is off to a great start, with plenty of reasons to get outside and enjoy a little culture along with the great weather.