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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Visitors to the Five Points South bar and restaurant district have long been able to dine at one of the nation’s finest restaurants or grab a beer and watch a game.

For the rest of the week, at least, you can add picking up a free poem or a fresh doughnut to the list of possibilities.

REV Birmingham’s Street Life Project is in Five Points this week, turning empty storefronts into temporary shops that sell everything from art to fresh produce.

On 11th Avenue South near the Jimmy Johns sandwich shop Lindsay McDuffie was tending a take-a-poem, leave-a-poem station, which encourages passersby to pause long enough write some verse, and then take someone else’s work with them. Among the poems placed in the box:

Were I to forget

My place, let me remember

The face of my father.

For I am a glitch

The result of time and place,

Never to be more 

Than is

In the first place.


Signed, JB

McDuffie, who by day is a training curriculum developer for a check cashing company, said Birmingham is full of budding poets. She was inspired by a similar project in Rhode Island.

“I’ve gotten tons of feedback” and lots of poems, she said.

About a block north on 20th Street David Bley was making coffee drinks from a sidewalk stand. His new business, Fivezies, will run a coffee, tea, fruit and bread cart downtown, catering to business people on short breaks, he said.

The cart, which will be on a bicycle, is still being built. So he was giving the concept a test run through the pop-up projects.

The project, which recently has placed temporary businesses for short runs on Third Avenue North downtown and in East Lake, among other locations, is meant to encourage foot traffic. Other events that are part of the project have included a street party, the lighting of the Lyric Theatre and a jazz concert. The events in Five Points will run through Saturday.

The Five Points pop-ups include Freshfully, Doughboys, Little Forrest, Harold & Mod, Chip Ghigna, Rob Clifton, Fivesies, and Poetry Box. The schedule for events:

–REV Residence. All week, 1024 20th Street South.

–Design Week. All Week, dwbhm.com.

–The Circuit: Commercial Property Showcase. Tour of available Five Points South commercial properties. Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. REV Residence, 1024 20th Street South.

–Urban Food Project Local Veggie Bags (sourced by Freshfully). Order by Tuesday, pick up Friday.

–Retail REVolution Small Biz Workshop: Taking Your Business Online. Presented by Freshfully. Wednesday, 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. REV Residence, 1024 20th Street South.

–Five Points Snippets, Retail Open House. Featuring merchant sales and specials. Thursday, 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. Five Points South.

–Little Forrest Gala. Saturday, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. 1921 11th Avenue South.

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