♫ ♪  "Happy birthday dear us"  ♬♩

INTRODUCING: I CHOOSE LIVE

As predictable as the British summer but a whole heap more pleasurable, for nearly two years we've been catapulting a thwack of Birmingham's best, direct to inboxes across the Midlands. But what if rather than just telling you about the best bespoke events in the city, we started to create them? Welcome to I CHOOSE LIVE.
EAT A BIG KAHUNA BURGER
To celebrate our birthday, we've gone big. BIG big. Big Kahuna, big. And while the Mac will provide both an outdoor amphitheatre (below) and the cinematic entertainment (can you guess what it is yet?), those meaty demagogues and British Street Food Awards victors, the Original Patty Men, will be on the grill. From 6.30pm on Friday, September 4, help yourself to a real life Big Kahuna Burger, complete with five week dry aged, juice-tastic beef patty, slathered in cheese and a specially crafted tomato and chorizo relish. And there's more...
Pick up your $5 shake (made famous by Jack Rabbit Slims) which literally comes with a cherry on top and is available with or without alcohol. Secure your ticket for this exclusive outdoor viewing of Pulp Fiction for £25, including award-winning burger, fries, shake, and, if you fancy yourself as a Vincent Vega or Mia Wallace dress up champ, the chance to win this. Though when it comes to (the very optional) fancy dress, best take note that we can be pretty fierce competition. The event starts at 6.30pm, with the screening at 8.30pm. More info and tickets here.
MASTER AMERICAN BEERS
You know how Independence Day is July 4 and Thanksgiving is some amorphous time after Halloween? Well, we thought we'd give one almighty chest bump to all things U S of A on Thursday, August 20 - a time that has no association with either holiday - at the place that dreams are made of, Purecraft Bar. And we've got clam chowder, a Purecrafted American Hot Dog, Oreo, peanut butter and dark chocolate tart, all served up with American beers to match, plus a masterclass in what you're drinking and why it pairs with the food. From 6.30pm, three-courses, with bottled and canned beers from across the States (including the rather tasty drop pictured) will set you back £30. Call or email info@purecraftbars.com to bag your spot.
GO OH SO VERY VEGAN
A festival celebrating all things vegan and beer is coming to the Two Towers Brewery, in the Jewellery Quarter, on Saturday August 15. For £5 (which you can claim back in ale), expect access to a plethora of vegan beers including Angel Ales' Ginger Stout, Beowulf Brewing Company's big wheat beer, Gold Work, and Two Towers' own classic Chamberlain Pale Ale. The food offering is being headed up by Change Kitchen and The Warehouse Cafe. Get a large plate of anything from Thai vegetable curry, to homity pie with a pile of cooked salads, from a refreshingly reasonable £6. Register here to secure your spot, then pay on the day.

THE HAPPIEST 5K
ON THE PLANET


What's the worst thing about running a full marathon? Don't answer that, we're about to tell you. It's the fact that you have to battle through over 26 miles of pure hell and nobody is cheering you up by hurling colourful powdered paint at you at regular intervals. Perhaps we can interest you, then, in the more achievable and a darn sight less painful Color Run, which, aside from the American spelling, looks all sorts of lovely. A five kilometre outdoor plod around the NEC on Saturday, August 15, is spiced up by organisers painting you with different coloured powder at one kilometre intervals. And once you're across the finishing line there's a rainbow-filled festival that looks a little like this. More info can be found right here.

FINALLY, CHEAT-FREE
PUB QUIZZING


Across the city, a new breed of pub quiz is putting pencil sharpener manufacturers out of business, one round at a time. Hark, smartphone pub quizzing has arrived. Conducted exclusively via your mobile or tablet (but with strict time limits to foil cheats), expect multiple choice rounds, numerical conundrums and pictures sent straight to your device. And forget the painful moment when you're required to strain to hear the answers from the exhausted compère - marking is automatic and there are bonus points (and a buzzer) if your team gets it right the quickest. Find an event close to you here. We hear the Lord Clifden's Thursday night edition is ludicrously popular, so we're off to the Actress & Bishop (Mondays).
Venue: The Restaurant at Harvey Nichols, Mailbox, B1 1RE; Website
Choice: Smoked Haddock (£12) Chooser: Glynn Purnell, no less

Down a dramatic, fairytale-esque spiral staircase, Harvey Nics has been rather busy. And a wine shop/bar and restaurant, which would feel entirely at home in a 5-star Singaporean metropolis of a hotel is the result. Hosted by menu curator, Glynn Purnell, we tried seven dishes from the all day, seasonal menu. The Himalayan pink salt-seared fillet steak (£22) was excellent and - though served rare - comes on a hot tile which allows diners to cook it further (don't). For its drama, our ultimate pick was the spiced, smoked haddock, with a mischievously misleading poached egg, the yolk of which sits in a carefully crafted crème fraîche potato mash rather than the egg white you expect, to the confusion, then rapture of all. A well-balanced, true all-dayer of a plate of food and at a price you'd be willing to expend for what remains, despite the ever so impressive trappings, a restaurant in a department store.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT


Oscillating somewhere between night terror eerie and as cool as it comes, Adrian Higgins has been putting animals' heads on Victorian figures for longer than is customary, and we're entranced. Whether your penchant is for wolves, cats, badgers or ravens, the Herefordshire-based painter and printmaker has a limited edition to suit (from £25). Each work is printed on 280 gsm archival satin finished Kodak paper (that's good stuff by all accounts) and comes mounted, signed and dated. You can catch up with Adrian's menagerie at Moseley Arts Market on August 29 and Colmore Row on September 11. And if there's a hula hooping cat sized space in your life that just can't wait that long, contact Adrian to buy.
  • From 9pm tomorrow (August 7), Magic Door is hitting up Lab 11 with its inimitable sights and sounds, for its only Brum-based event of the summer. A few tickets remain
  • The next Instameet is this Saturday at the University of Birmingham. If you like Instagram and you like Brum, get to Old Joe (that's the huge clock tower) at 11am. And follow the action in any event
  • Northern soul dance classes have launched at Digbeth's Night Owl on Wednesdays from 7pm (for beginners) and 8pm (intermediates). £5 introductory offer - more here
  • Tickets for Olivier award-winning Charles III are now on sale. At the Rep from September 4 to 19, Robert Powell takes the lead role as the imagined king
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"Hamburgers, the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast" - Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction 

WORDS: Katy DrohanTom Cullen
I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA 

Copyright © 2015 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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