Issue 244
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A man walks into a bar and asks for a pint of ale and two free tickets to the comedy. Bar man pours the pint and hands him the tickets. THE END! Terrible, right? But also brilliant because it's not a joke. The nation's best comedy club, The Glee, is giving away 1000 tickets, and has put 500 of them in independent venues in the nation's best city, Birmingham. To get your seats, buy anything, however small, from one of these 10 places, and ask for your pair of tickets. It's a first come, first served sort of dealio and it starts right now. SCRAMBLE!
Go there for: A mean game in herbal tea, cakes by Bake, craft beer and more pinball machines than ever — Tilt is now three floors, and even does beer to go. If you work in town get down there at lunch to beat the ticket rush.
Go there for: Available until September 9, Boca Grande is a menu of half a dozen different tacos (coming in pairs) with the baked cod (with red jalapeno and ginger, £6.75) possibly the pick. Frozen margaritas outside too.

"I'd like to start with the chimney jokes – I've got a stack of them. The first one is on the house." - Tim Vine

Go there for: Probably best not to assume the tickets will still be kicking about when Caneat open their doors for a not-to-be-missed kebab collab with the mighty OPM at 5pm tomorrow (Aug 3). But you never know
Go there for: Pick up your tickets while sampling Purity's new Saison IPA. They've launched with only a few kegs (the cheeky teasers) but little birdies tell us it's going permanent soon. Either way, you deserve a lunchtime pint.  

"My aunt Marge has been so ill for so long that we’ve started to call her ‘I can’t believe she’s not better’." - Milton Jones

Go there for: Little known fact: 200 Degrees Coffee is so named because that's the temperature they roast their joe at. Lower than some, but for longer, making it smooooth. Go sample exactly how smooth and claim your comedy seats
. Grab cake to celebrate.
Go there for: See this week's You Choose review for an astonishing write-up on the Custard Factory newbie. Digbethites should shuffle down for their morning brew, or pizza by the slice for lunch to bag the tickets. Salt beef on special from time-to-time. Website

"What’s a couple?’ I asked my mum. She said, ‘Two or three’. Which probably explains why her marriage collapsed" - Josie Long

Go there for: Here's a secret that those in the know are going to unsubscribe over us revealing. You know how people queue out of the door at Monty's every lunch hour? Waylands Yard is just opposite, is much quieter, and better
Go there for: Kings Heath's best new launch for aaaages, Grace + James aren't just stocking 50 free comedy tickets, they're also packing the kind of cheese, charcuterie and Chablis you'll want to be getting all chummy with on their sun trap of a front terrace

"Hedgehogs – why can’t they just share the hedge? "
– Dan

Go there for: Speaking of cheese, charcuterie and Chablis, Arch 13 is Grace + James' opposite number in the JQ, but last week they also set their new cocktail menu live
. Ask Jacob to mix you a off-menu Boulevardier.  
Go there for: BMAG are our final free ticket depot and they're stocking theirs in the stunning Edwardian Tea Rooms, which were built — we think — in the Victorian era but we're not sure
. Red velvet cake is immaculate. 
Tickets from the Big Glee Giveaway can be redeemed on Thursdays or Fridays, at Comedy Carousel or Friday Night Comedy taking place before the end of August. Once you've received your tickets, tag Glee, tag us, and the location you're in, in a post on social media using the hashtag #BigGleeGiveaway. Full instructions and T&C on tickets


Paul Rudd is so likeable, he could defuse the current polarised political mood with a few well-timed one-liners and a jokey reference to some Eighties comedy. Hang on, why hasn’t he? Probably because he’s been making a sequel to the Ant-Man that surpasses the first film – and considering how much fun the last film was, that’s high praise. This time Rudd – amazingly looking more or less identical to how he did in Clueless in 19-bloody-95 – and Michael Douglas team up to save Michelle Pfeiffer from ‘the quantum realm,’ where she was trapped after an experiment gone wrong. This may not have the epic sweep of Marvel’s more recent efforts, but it sure is their most, well, likeable film in ages. Times  


It used to be the OJS. It was also Metro Bar for a while. Then it was Purecraft. And if you're meeting someone in Birmingham for a beer, it's been Purecraft ever since. But this October, Pint Shop is opening on Bennetts Hill, and with 26 lines leading to 20 kegs and six casks, over 100 gins, plus a menu of totally British, totally nom looking plates, we'll see you there. To be in with a chance of winning drinks and dinner for six people, subscribe to Pint Shop's mailing list before midday on August 14. Get dishes like the charcoal grilled dry aged flat iron steak, the spit roast beer brined chicken or the tandoori fish kebab on a coal baked flatbread. Prize not valid with any other offer, which seems reasonable.


Within and Without: Body Image and the Self is a new exhibition at BMAG, and your next free lunchbreak sorted. Created as part of a collab with 80 partners, from academics to school kids, the exbo explores how body image impacts on issues such as social status, gender, politics and sexuality, using pieces from 1825, right through to brand new photographic commissions. Next to each work, you'll get colour-coded options to chose from, rather than just the usual seven word "museum label" explanation. You can follow a trail dictated by which object you feel most drawn to, from the wall pictured. You can read personal responses to the objects. Or get into the academics behind the art if that's your thing. Whatever path you take, leave time for Pygmalion, a shocking and controversial piece which relates to skin lightening — one of the curator's objected so strongly to its inclusion, that their objection has actually been included in the exhibition. However you like your art, or even if you're not so sure you like it at all yet, this is a super engaging collection, covering important issues in an accessible, positive way. And there's a feedback box, plus real life volunteers who want to hear how you found it to help direct the museum's future programming. More of this please arty types. Until Feb
Venue: Baked in Brick, Gibb Street The Custard Factory, B9 4AA; Website
Choice: Ragu and mushroom calzone (£10) Chooser: GM

It's like buses, isn't it? You wait almost four decades for a decent Birmingham pizzeria then five come at once. To add to Otto, Laghi's, Peel & Stone and Alicia's Microbakehouse, comes Baked In Brick, the Custard Factory-based venue of the street food awards velcro of the same name. Echoing the
classic Mini that owner Lee Desanges converted into a barbecue and pizza oven and took on the road, the nose of a red Mini hangs as a centrepiece above the boothed seating. Lee's nicked his GM, Richard, from The Button Factory and you can tell the tattooed Front of House honcho is revelling in the restaurant readjust. He's got just one beef shin ragu and wild mushroom calzone left, he says, as the table adjacent, who arrived just after us shuffle uncomfortably. They're right to. That calzone has our name on it. It did, after all, win Lee 'Best Main Dish' at the European Streetfood Awards. Thunderously rich, the tender meat spills out of its doughy domain at the first glimpse of a fork, like Neywmar hitting solid earth within two metres of a defender. Taste it solo. Divine. Totally and utterly divine. But scoop it into the airbubbled base, wrap it into a small parcel and plunge the lot, fingers and all, into the Colston Bassett blue stilton dip and suddenly your faced squarely with one of Birmingham's best mouthfuls. A bite you feel deep in the soles of your feet and in the atriums of your by-now smitten little heart. Be in love. Give your soul to a calzone. Sample menu
The candy-coloured nightmare fuel that is Cirque de Soleil is back at Birmingham Arena Oct 3 to 7 with OVO. Tickets
Cotswolds Distillery is at The Whisky Club with very ginny afternoon tea tasting sessions on August 4 and 5. It's £25 for a spot. Please don't embarrass yourself.
Birmingham Open Studios showcases the work of nearly 100 artists, across 11 spaces with one-off events, on August 3 and 4. Third row down on the right. Never sleep again.
Birmingham Dumpling Festival is coming to Birmingham and it's bringing with is dumplings. The clue was in the name.
Watch a preview screening of The Equalizer 2 at Everyman Cinema for but a tenner — Denzel Washington included. The one-off is on August 16. Tickets & trailer
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Katy Drohan,Tom Cullen, Andrew Lowry

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