The Coffee Shop of the Amazing Dreads

For anybody around the Birmingham area, I want to put in a plug for a really funky, fantastic coffee shop out in Bessemer. That’s right–Bessemer. If you thought you knew every coffee shop in town, this one’s a little off the regular circuit. It’s called Coffee Shoppee, and it’s at 2145 Bessemer Road.

I was there last night, and it was one of my more memorable nights out in Birmingham ever. I teach an afterschool writing program, and one of my students was doing her first public reading. (Kudos to you, Alexia!) My husband and I showed up and discovered 1) delicious little devil’s food pies, 2) coffee that’s only $1.10 per cup, 3) great live music that veered from funk to Santana to Hawaiian, and 4) some of the most amazing dreadlocks I’ve ever seen. Plus spoken word poetry. One amazing guy, whose card reads Prince Immanuel, would have been worth charging for admission–his work was dense and rapid and mind-blowing. (My favorite line: “You’re not Gotti or Capone/Your name Tyrone.” Not sure that translates out of context.)

I just reread that last paragraph and it’s hard not to go back and talk a little more about the dessert options. Pies and cheesecake and cinnamon rolls and donuts. Now I’ll stop.

Best of all, the music group included, tangentially, a brother and sister originally from Hawaii. They played songs from their childhood, and it was a little like eavesdropping on a (very musical) family reunion. The brother played his ukelele and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”–not the Judy Garland version. The sister then played her guitar and, as she was singing, her sister-in-law stood up and started hula dancing to the words. It was lovely. I’ve seen hula in Hawaii, and inevitably someone makes a disclaimer about how it’s about the hands and not the hips, but then the dancers are beautiful, scantily clad women and it sure SEEMS like it’s about the hips. This woman was older and fully clothed and the movements of her hands and wrists were graceful and sad and mesmerizing. So I’d like to go on the record saying that I learned to truly appeciate hula in Bessemer, AL.

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